Education Policy Issues for the COVID-19 Era
As school districts deliberate over reopening schools with the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, the Aurora Institute has released a new report with strategic guidance on how to harness the current opportunity to transform K-12 education. The new education policy report highlights the top 10 issues surfaced by the COVID-19 pandemic to effect high-level, systematic change for the future of teaching and learning.
Education Policy Issues for the COVID-19 Era: Policy Actions and Responses to Leverage the Moment for Future Readiness offers insights and recommendations on these critical issues identified through Aurora’s technical assistance in the field and work with education policy decision-makers around the country.
Calls for a redesigned education system
K-12 system leaders report that they are both contending with and leveraging the following 10 issues to transform schooling:
- Using Blended, Competency-Based Learning as an Entry Point for Innovation
- Moving Away from Seat Time Credits to Awarding Credit Based on Demonstrated Mastery
- Re-Examining Grading Policies
- Rethinking Assessment and Addressing the Need for Balanced Systems of Assessments to Measure Student Learning
- Examining the Purpose of Accountability
- Creating Flexibility and Multiple Pathways for Graduation Requirements
- Ensuring All Communities Have the Necessary Technology Infrastructure and Internet Access
- Supporting Students with Disabilities
- Ensuring Students Have Continued Access to Meals during School Closures
- Prioritizing Future Readiness for Pandemic Preparedness and Continuity of Learning
Education Policy Issues for the COVID-19 Era examines each of these issues and offers actionable recommendations to move from Aurora’s current one-size-fits-all system to a future-focused system that exists to equitably support all learners toward success. It also offers a 10-step program with options to build capacity for a more personalized, competency-based education system.
Susan Patrick, Aurora Institute President, and CEO and report co-author said, “Our educators and students have a daunting year ahead as the pandemic persists. We are fortunate to have the liberty to seize the moment, share strategic guidance on education policy issues to rewrite the narrative, and fundamentally reshape this public good.”
Groundwork for reforms
K-12 needs a re-alignment of systems and structures toward every learner’s growth, as opposed to a system that ranks and sorts students and moves them along an impersonal, invariable learning continuum. A re-imagined education system requires meeting students where they are, with culturally responsive, inclusive, and personalized learning approaches to ensure every student is on a path toward their goals. Such a system will also take into account community and workforce needs by making a series of changes led locally by the leadership of empowered educators, working closely with communities, and in partnership with students and families with competency-based pathways.