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Phone forum on remote learning, framing 2020 elections, + ed takes national stage during COVID-19

During this period in which the latest news is primarily focused on COVID-19, our “Social Distance” editions will look at the manner in which the public health crisis is impacting public education, children, and families in Connecticut and nationwide.

TOMORROW: You’re Invited to ERN CT’s Next Phone Forum

On the tails of an exciting virtual forum at the beginning of the month—which explored how Connecticut's higher education system is serving low-income students during this period of remote learning—we have another phone forum coming! Mark your calendar for Thursday, April 16th, when we'll hear from Superintendents Testani (of Bridgeport) and Torres-Rodriguez (of Hartford), as well as Manager of Strategic Initiatives Nick Simmons (Office of the Governor), about state and local efforts to address student needs.

Framing the 2020 Elections

While politics should never drive our response to a public health crisis, it is also true that elections, campaigns and political efforts do not simply stop during this difficult time. This week, the DFER CT team has put out a Political Playbook to frame the coming presidential primary, how the legislative races are shaping up during the health crisis, and how the pandemic might change campaigning efforts.

Education Policy Takes National Stage

As the country has tackled a growing pandemic, the initial state and federal responses largely focused on immediate public health and economic realities. But the long-term implications for children and families of prolonged school closures are coming to the fore—particularly because of the potential to disproportionately impact vulnerable student populations and widen gaps in academic achievement.

On Monday, The Washington Post published an article about education leaders' conclusion that learning will be stunted for millions of children—focusing on economic realities for public school systems; deepening gaps due to distance learning and remote absenteeism; and whether students should repeat a grade given the lost classroom time. Last week, Charles Barone from our national policy office also published an opinion for The Hill, contemplating how states can combat these potential crises by making use of aid through the CARES Act. For example, he suggested postponing (rather than canceling) this year's annual assessment, and repurposing existing funding and infrastructure for testing to assess students when classes resume; under this proposal, testing data would be used to inform educators and parents and to target remediation resources.


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