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COVID-19

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

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The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted American education in myriad ways: Nearly every school system across the country shut down, school leaders and districts tried to quickly pivot to online instruction, and organizations grappled with how to support students’ and families’ basic needs. Looking forward, nearly every aspect of education faces uncertainty: School operations and instruction are being fundamentally reconsidered, an unfolding recession will have a profound impact on state budgets, and policies on everything from school accountability to student grades must adapt to the consequences of the novel coronavirus. Schools must also be attentive to students’ general health and well-being.

The pandemic is exposing the deep inequities in every corner of the American education system. The painful consequences of COVID-19 will be felt most acutely by the students and families furthest from opportunity — the same students who were chronically underserved by public education even before the crisis took hold, due to race, socioeconomic status, or geography. At Bellwether, our goal throughout this uncertain time is to find solutions, amplify best practices and successful models, and work with the partners who will help rebuild a better system in the long run.

Since the crisis began, Bellwether has consistently worked to understand what is happening, what is coming, and what is needed across the education system. Within days of school doors shutting, we made our time available pro bono to school districts and charter school networks and published resources and analyses to support those in the field. As the education system resets and rebuilds — a process we anticipate taking several months — we’ll be defining solutions on content delivery, distance learning, quality child care, and school operations, among others.

The content below reflects the resources and research we’ve put out in response to the novel coronavirus. We’ll be updating this regularly.

Publications

October 21, 2020
Hailly T.N. Korman, Bonnie O'Keefe, Matt Repka
Introduction Why aren’t students attending school? What will happen if these students don’t get back to school? How did you estimate 3 million...
September 22, 2020
Ashley LiBetti, Lynne Graziano, Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
COVID-19 has altered education as we know it, and no one school has found the perfect approach to distance learning. Every school struggles with the...
September 8, 2020
Ashley LiBetti, Jennifer O'Neal Schiess, National Association of Charter School Authorizers
Great charter school authorizers believe in the charter school promise and relentlessly pursue excellence to give every child an educational option...
September 2, 2020
Ashley LiBetti, Juliet Squire, Justin Trinidad, Amy Chen Kulesa, Rebecca Gifford Goldberg
One of the greatest promises of the charter school movement has been the potential to create diverse school models to meet the varied needs of...
August 25, 2020
Alex Spurrier, Chad Aldeman, Jennifer O'Neal Schiess, Andrew J. Rotherham
For nearly two decades, state and federal policymakers have built standards-based accountability systems as a way to improve educational outcomes and...

Op-Eds

October 22, 2020
Schools and the fragmented social services sector have not pivoted quickly enough to support new needs in this crisis and generally lack sufficient...
October 20, 2020
Bellwether’s Chad Aldeman compared the number of hours of live instruction planned this year for 5th-, 8th- and 11th-graders in 10 large districts...
September 12, 2020
The last six months have posed an unprecedented level of instructional and operational challenge as school systems navigated closure and planned...

Issue Experts

To speak to one of our teammates with expertise on running a school or organization in light of COVID-19, contact us here.

Blog Posts

November 6, 2020
Alex Spurrier
In our federated system of K-12 education governance, state legislatures and governors play a huge role in shaping the educational...
November 2, 2020
Tanya Paperny
Throughout the past month, Bellwether has weighed in on the financial health of schools in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, with different...
October 30, 2020
Ashley LiBetti
This is our latest post in “The Looming Financial Crisis?” series. Read the rest here. Even in the best of times, the community-based...