ERNed Media – Vol 6 – July-Aug 2020


September 11, 2020

Education Reform Now’s monthly policy newsletter
We hope you and your loved ones are continuing to navigate these difficult times as safely as possible.

As we head toward the start of a brand new school year, the need to ensure a safe and equitable education for every student has never been more pressing. While states battle with the decision to either open their doors for in-person classes or stay with the remote education that was already in place this spring, at ERN, we are continuing to push for policies that create a safe space for equitable learning—wherever that learning occurs. Read more on how we are safely moving the needle below.


Pushed for Schools to Adopt High Dosage Tutoring

As wealthy families increasingly turn to “pods” and private tutors to combat COVID-19-related learning loss, Policy Analyst Nicholas Munyan-Penney and Vice President for K-12 Policy Charles Barone released a brief explaining how all districts could feasibly incorporate High Dosage Tutoring (HDT) to support student learning. HDT would allow districts to provide personalized academic intervention to help students more quickly access grade-level content after months out of the classroom. Research shows that HDT can be an effective strategy to support academic gains for all students—particularly historically underserved students and students in need of additional academic support.

Analyzed States’ Readiness to Reopen Amidst COVID-19

In an update to their earlier analysis, Nicholas Munyan-Penney and Charles Barone reviewed state reopening guidance, focusing on what schools need to consider when restarting instruction for the 2020-21 school year. They urged states to have more specific requirements around academics and instruction to ensure equitable access to a high-quality public education, as disparities within the system have already been exacerbated due to the virus. They also directed readers to the Recommendations for Prioritizing Equity in the Response to COVID-19, co-released earlier this summer by the Alliance for Excellent Education, Education Reform Now, and 12 other organizations.


Advocated for Quality, Online Higher Education

Given the dire financial state of most colleges and universities and likelihood most postsecondary education courses will be fully online this fall, as well as for the foreseeable future, the next federal COVID-19 relief bill, now in negotiation in Washington, should do two things when it comes to online higher education: (1) earmark funds specifically for improving online education, and (2) hold colleges accountable for the quality of that instruction, argue ERN’s Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Higher Education Policy Michael Dannenberg and Senior Policy Analyst James Murphy in a recent blog post. Specifically, they say there must be substantial support from and for faculty— from training in how to design quality online courses safely, securely, and in an iterative fashion, to how to evaluate student performance.

Highlighted the University of Michigan’s
President’s Racial Hypocrisy

ERN’s Policy Analyst Katlyn Riggins authored a blog post that compared University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel’s statement on racial equity within his institution with that same institution’s spotty record on the very same front. In the piece, Katlyn urges U of M to do better by its students and to not make empty promises without following up with solid, tangible action. James Murphy followed up with a post comparing U of M’s record with peer institutions in and out of state.

Advocated for Quality, Online Higher Education