What Comes Next for Professional Learning in the Time of COVID-19

Addressing the Social and Emotional Work of Improvement
Carrie Wilson

Students will begin next school year with highly diverse needs, which means educators will face huge demands for differentiation on shoestring budgets. A focus on cognitive science and adult learning, particularly on social and emotional capabilities, can help educators be self-aware and creative in developing strategies to better support students across the full range of their educational and psychological needs. To help students and educators succeed in this new and unpredictable environment, a clear focus on conditions for learning will be key.

Voices of Educators

Supporting Student Learning Amid the Pandemic Requires Prioritizing Social-Emotional Care
Krista Fairley
Rebecca Norwood
Janice Phan
Cynthia Sanchez

The global pandemic and resulting economic devastation, not seen since the Great Depression, have underscored how schools are essential to the well-being of their communities. During this time of high stress, students are reporting anxiety, depression, and thoughts about hurting themselves, as well as increasing abuse. Moving from crisis triage to action guided by core principles that center student well-being is necessary but, to do so, social-emotional care is paramount, both for children and adults. For these reasons, our recommendations include reaching out to families, adjusting expectations, developing flexible guidelines, and investing in teachers’ professional development.

Quality Matters More Than Ever in Times of Crisis

Does the California Quality Rating and Improvement System Predict Child Outcomes?

Quality Counts California rates program elements to assess overall program quality. But are we assessing the right dimensions of quality with measures that are predictive of children’s learning and development? In an era of restricted resources, it is critical that CA identify, measure, and deliver the dimensions of quality that actually matter for children.

COVID-19’s Impact on English Learner Students

Possible Policy Responses

As an immensely diverse group of students, English learners (ELs) will have widely varying experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and thus a broad range of educational, physical, and mental health-related needs.This commentary offers recommendations for how policy can support ELs whether education is online, in person, or both.

Navigating the Education Budget Crisis Following COVID-19

How the State and Districts Can Make Smart Cuts
Michael Fine

California faces a massive budget gap next year due to reduced tax revenues, with schools expected to see a shortfall of $19 billion. Though there are proposals to impose across the board cuts, each district has different needs and resources that should be carefully assessed to come up with the best plan for each.

Understanding, Measuring, and Addressing Student Learning Needs During COVID-19 Recovery

Students re-entering the classroom following the COVID-19 crisis will likely experience severe learning loss and emotional challenges arising from their time out of school. Schools will need to develop tools for assessing students’ varied needs along with the resources, clear guidance, and flexibility to address them. This commentary is modified from testimony delivered to the California Assembly Budget Committee on April 28, 2020.

Moving Forward from COVID-19

Voters’ Opinions on Educational Equity Initiatives in California

COVID-19 and its concomitant school closures are affecting students in many ways; there is good reason to expect the pandemic will adversely impact educational equity. New PACE research uses data from the 2020 PACE/USC Rossier annual voter poll to report on CA voter attitudes towards educational equity policy initiatives. A majority of voters supported a focus on ending racial inequality in educational outcomes and specific initiatives to do so, suggesting that voters may also support a targeted approach to mitigating the pandemic’s adverse effects on CA students who have been hardest hit.

As Funding for Schools Plummets, California Leaders Face a Fiscal Reckoning

The coming months and years will be painful for the California economy in general and especially for school funding, which is overly dependent on volatile state tax revenues. California leaders should respond to this pandemic-induced fiscal crisis as a kickstart to finally reimagine and fully fund our schools—not just for this challenging moment but also for the future.

Why Funding California Schools Is Crucial to the State's COVID-19 Recovery

Transcript of CASBO Podcast

In this podcast (transcribed) for the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO), Heather Hough highlights research and perspectives related to the fundamental importance of public education, school funding levels and policies, and proactive approaches that should be on the table as California plans its recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

UC Regents Should Consider All Evidence and Options in Decision on Admissions Policy

As the UC Board of Regents approaches an important decision on the use of SAT/ACT in admissions, a task force report meant to inform has instead mischaracterized key issues. This commentary and its accompanying analyses seek to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the options and urge the Regents to consider wider perspectives. Our goal is to support an evidence-based and responsible decision.