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Academic Guidance for Statewide Education Recovery; and Schools Contemplating Reopening

This weekly segment by Democrats for Education Reform CT looks at the top education stories Democrats are watching, providing bite-sized analysis and links to recent articles. On the roster this week: academic guidance for statewide education recovery; and schools contemplating reopening.

Our Guidelines for an ACADEMIC Recovery

Governor Lamont has recently said that schools will reopen in the fall. While the logistics and costs associated with reopening classrooms will be informed by the most up-to-date research from the medical community, we maintain that schools must focus on the new academic realities for Connecticut students who will have spent one-third of the school year out-of-school. It is imperative that the state articulate requirements for local school districts to benchmark their plans for delivering quality, continuous academic instruction during this period of recovery. Accordingly, Education Reform Now CT has produced a memo that reviews three other states’ plans—all of which are ahead-of-the-curve in their provision of state-level guidance for the coming school year. We hope our research will be useful as the state develops plans to address a new reality for Connecticut's students and school districts.

Schools Take On Reopening

The 2019-20 school year has finally come to a close, with much of it spent on remote learningto differing degrees of success. Absent comprehensive guidance to address the logistics, academic hurdles (see above), or extra costs associated with reopening for a new normal in the 2020-21 school year, local districts across the state, country, and world are beginning to speak up. Last week, for example, the Stonington Board of Education reviewed an analysis showing that the district may not be able to afford reopening while following CDC guidelines (a finding echoed in a national analysis by the American Association of School Administrators and the Association of School Business Officials). Meanwhile, fully anticipating that distance learning will continue even after schools reopen, Waterbury has asked students to keep their devices over the summer break.

Across the state border—in an ongoing demonstration of education leadership—when Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo announced that schools would reopen in the fall, she also unveiled a statewide school calendar designed to keep all school systems coordinated as the public health crisis unfolds. Abroad, countries that have already contended with reopening can also provide lessons.

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