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‘The space and grace is evaporating:’ School leaders eager to tackle learning loss faced unexpected challenges this year. They’ll need help to lead everyone back on track

Read the entire piece published by Brown Center Chalkboard at the Brookings Institution, or download it as a PDF.

School and district leaders had hoped to make up for learning losses during the pandemic by teaching kids at grade level this year and providing just-in-time help. But unexpected challenges, from frequent staff and student absences to fights over race, culture and politics, often stymied that work, a new CRPE report shows.

Headed into 2022-23, school administrators are going to have to pursue new strategies – and they’ll need political, community or philanthropic support to do it, writes Paul Hill, CRPE founder and research professor, and Kate Destler, in a new opinion piece for Brown Center Chalkboard at the Brookings Institution.

As part of in-depth interviews that accompanied the American School District Panel, CRPE researched how districts are weathering the pandemic, top leaders revealed specific challenges to getting students back on track.

In one district, half of high school students were missing too many days to pass their courses. In others, one or more schools closed every week because of student and teacher absences and a lack of substitutes. Some districts lamented the bad habits adopted by students and teachers and during the pandemic.

“Everyone’s feeling stressed,” one district leader said. “The space and grace is evaporating.”

Check out the full piece at Brown Center Chalkboard for Hill and Destler’s proposed solutions – which could help anchor improvement efforts next year at school systems nationwide.

The American School District Panel (ASDP) is a partnership among the RAND Corporation, the Center on Reinventing Public Education, Chiefs for Change, the Council of the Great City Schools, and Kitamba.

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