ERNed Media – Vol 5 – June 2020


June 4, 2020

Education Reform Now’s monthly policy newsletter
We hope, as always, that this finds both you and your families healthy and safe.

As things continue to move quickly, and as COVID-19 begins to spike anew across a swath of states, we’re again reminded that the ripple effect of the pandemic can have serious, lasting consequences on already present inequities in our education system. While leadership continues to debate reopening schools and the parameters therein, we know that we must remain diligent in our work to ensure that all education structures—whether online or in-person and spanning early education through higher education—are safe, equitable, and accessible, so that every student has the chance to reach their fullest potential, regardless of external pressures.



Joining with Civil Rights, Education Allies to Push a Bold Education Agenda for Next Administration

On Tuesday, Education Reform Now released a joint policy agenda with more than a dozen other groups for the 117th Congress and next Administration that details 10 recommendations spanning early childhood through higher education. The groups emphasize how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the long-existing inequities within our public education system, and that drastic actions must be taken to combine an unprecedented increase in federal financial investments with policies that support student learning in and out of the classroom.

Signatories include the Alliance for Excellent Education, the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, the Center for American Progress, the Center for Black Educator Development, Education Reform Now, IDEA Public Schools, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), National Action Network, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, the National Urban League, ReGeneration Schools, Rocky Mountain Prep, and UnidosUS.

Supporting the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act

In response to the latest proposed COVID-19 relief bill, the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA) proposed by U.S. Senator Patty Murray and Senate Democrats, Shavar released a statement praising “Sen. Murray and Senate Democrats for their leadership in prioritizing education funding” in what is being called a Phase IV bill. We joined a coalition of groups calling for Phase IV funding to not be conditioned on schools re-opening in person and for it to be accompanied by requirements that states maintain their own overall commitment to education funding and targeting of resources on the neediest schools and students.

Applauding Congressional Legislation on Police Reform & D.C. Statehood

In June, ERN endorsed three bills under consideration by the U.S. Congress: the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 and the D.C. Statehood bill, both of which passed in the House, and the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act, introduced in the U.S. Senate.

  • Justice in Policing Act of 2020: In a statement released last week endorsing the bill, Shavar noted that, “It will take more than legislation to dismantle deep-seated racism within these systems and within our nation, but the Justice in Policing Act is a move in the right direction by introducing comprehensive reforms and bringing long-overdue accountability to law enforcement.”
  • D.C. Statehood Bill: D.C. Director Ramin Taheri applauded the D.C. Statehood Bill, noting, “Statehood will—finally—give DC’s residents a say in the federal policies affecting their lives and livelihoods, on issues ranging from education to housing to taxation. The time has come for Washington, D.C. to be heard.”



Analyzing State Summer Learning and Reopening Guidance

Senior Policy Analyst Nicholas Munyan-Penney released an analysis of state guidance regarding summer learning. As of 6/19, his findings have shown:

  • While 32 states have released some guidance, no state is requiring districts to offer summer learning.
  • While 42 states have issued guidance around reopening, most are leaving districts to their own devices, rather than fostering consistency through requirements around reopening.

The apparent lack of willingness on the part of virtually every state to demand equitable educational supports and instructional practices when final decisions are made does not bode well for students from historically disadvantaged groups whose communities are already bearing a disproportionate brunt of the COVID health crisis. We encourage states to use our equity priorities, released along with the Alliance for Excellent Education and 12 other organizations, to support districts in 6 key areas: ensuring equity in fiscal policies; meeting students’ basic needs; expanding and improving remote learning; easing high school-to-college transition; extended learning time; and determining students’ academic, social, and emotional needs.



Arguing Against Legacy Preferences

In June, Policy Analyst Katlyn Riggins and Senior Policy Analyst James Murphy released a blog post highlighting how eliminating the legacy preference in admissions does not lead to a drying up of financial giving at colleges universities. Their analysis compared Texas A&M University and the University of Texas, which have both discontinued their legacy preference systems in the last 20 years, to other schools with like size and cultural similarities. The results — not only is the legacy preference unethical if not immoral, it also doesn’t appear to undermine a school’s compound fundraising amount or alumni-based giving rate.