K-12 Momentum: February 2022

Dear Friends,

As we start the process of rebuilding, new research from Zearn adds insight to the urgent need to address unfinished learning stemming from the pandemic. Zearn (study) tracked student participation in their online math learning platform. Nationwide, online participation in math learning trended similarly for low- and high-income students in October and November of 2021. However, starting in January 2022, student participation among low-income schools dropped 13 percent, in contrast to students in high-income schools, where their participation dropped just two percent.

How do we address this participation gap? Zearn found that acceleration strategies – models that help students access their usual grade-level content by providing just-in-time supports – is more effective than trying remedial teaching to cover material the students missed out on learning. We need to thoughtfully speed up, not slow down. Acceleration is one way to achieve better results.

You can find out more about promising initiatives by visiting the Education Recovery Hub, a new online resource that identifies innovative education practices. Developed by the Collaborative for Student Success, the Center on Reinventing Public Education and the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University, the user-friendly website provides easy access to state relief spending plans and allows viewers to explore emerging practices alongside expert reviews to stay up-to-date on the latest K-12 recovery news and efforts.

Thanks to all who are contributing to our collective understanding of new and better ways to respond to the pandemic. Your work is unprecedented and exhausting. The load is lighter by sharing our collective learnings. I remain inspired by your willingness to act with urgency, lead with equity, and commit to innovation and recovery.

In partnership,

Bob Hughes



Quick Takes

  • Improving Teaching Practice with Instructional Coaching

    Results for America and the Annenberg Institute for School Reform released a new brief highlighting evidence-based strategies to improve teaching and learning through instructional coaching. Among the findings: "Instructional coaching generates substantial improvements in student achievement at a lower cost per student than student-level interventions such as high-dosage tutoring or summer learning programs."
  • Driving Towards Equity

    The U.S. Department of Education has approved applications for funds under the American Rescue Plan for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. But are those plans ambitious enough to drive equitable change for students? A new analysis by Education Reform Now highlights best practices and raises concerns regarding how states plan to equitably distribute and oversee K-12 relief funds under the ARP. Only seven states earned a top equity rating. And just five states specified that local education agencies would be required to detail how they are equitably allocating resources to schools based on student need. 
  • Increasing Latino and Black Students' Access to Experienced Teachers

    Ultimately, teachers are the number one in-school predictor of student success, estimated to have two to three times the effect of any other in-school factor. Yet according to two studies by Ed Trust, Latino and Black students
    have disproportionately more teachers who are novice, in their first year, and
    uncertified. The state-by-state studies examine what’s behind the disparities
    in access to experienced teachers and offer a road map to address inequities.
  • The COVID-19 Longitudinal Database

    The American Institutes for Research (AIR) has launched a new database to facilitate research on the effects of the pandemic on education and the pursuit of equity in communities around the country. The COVID-19 longitudinal deep dive database draws on datasets across the sectors of education, health, housing, social services, employment, and technology access. Researchers can explore the database through a search engine and a mapping/graphing interface. The database includes information for six focus states: California, Florida, New York, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.

What We're Reading

What can you do this Black History Month?
Holding Students Back — An Inequitable and Ineffective Response to Unfinished Learning
Tackling Teacher Shortages: What Can States and Districts Do?

Our Country's Economic Rebound Must Include Dismantling Barriers To Mobility and Opportunity
Data Science is the Future. Let's Start Teaching It