Principal - May/June 2021 - 11

5 Themes in Education
Policy and Advocacy
During the 2021 virtual National Leaders Conference,
education and policy experts discussed the future of
K-12 education under the new administration and
the impact of COVID-19 on state and local budgets.
The conference featured presentations and
discussions from education policy experts. Speakers
included Arne Duncan, former U.S. Secretary of
Education; Erica Green, New York Times education
reporter; Marguerite Roza, director of the
Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University; Jeremy
Anderson, president of the Education Commission
of the States; and Charlie Cook, editor and publisher
of the Cook Political Report.
What emerged from these conversations
were several trends in education that have been
amplified by the pandemic and are likely to have
impacts far beyond this school year:
Theme 1: Decreased enrollment affects
funding. Fewer students are enrolling in schools,
and decreases in attendance mean funding cuts
for schools at a time when they need it most.
Theme 2: The pandemic is hitting certain areas
harder than others. COVID has hit every community,
but it has hit the Black community especially hard-including students and teachers of color. People of color

have also been affected by heightened levels of racial
injustice over the past year.
Theme 3: Assessments need to happen.
Educators can't just guess or trust their intuition
to figure out where students are academically and
social-emotionally, Duncan said. He recommended
assessing students now and again in the fall.
Theme 4: This is an opportunity to rethink
education. This includes rethinking teacher
training and pay, as well as making processes
easier for parents.
Theme 5: There's no financial playbook for
recovering from a pandemic. Though this situation is new, Roza highlighted a lesson learned
from the Great Recession in 2008: Federal
money stopped coming in when the recession
was over, but school districts didn't adjust their
budgeting practices. Districts then needed to
make cuts to survive on state and local revenue
streams. Pace yourself with funding,
Roza cautioned.
To keep up to date on all things policy
and advocacy in the education arena,
check out the Advocacy section on
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naesp.org and sign up for text alerts.

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Principal - May/June 2021

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