As Secretary of Education, I have traveled to 35 states and spoken to countless students, families, and educators. In every conversation it is clear that the pandemic is having a profound impact on children and young people. Our students’ academic performance not only reflects these impacts, but the inequalities in educational opportunities that persisted prior to the pandemic.
The latest data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress bears this out, showing long-term trends in reading and mathematics among 9-year-olds in America. Although his NAEP scores hadn’t increased until March 2020, these results show that we shouldn’t be complacent about improving student performance.
Data helps increase focus and accelerate student growth
From day one of this administration, President Joe Biden has recognized these threats the pandemic poses to student academic progress. That’s why we’ve made safely reopening schools and getting students back into classrooms for in-person learning a top priority for the Ministry of Education. But we know it’s not enough. That’s why under President Biden’s rescue plan for America, he directed more than $130 billion to school districts across the country to reopen schools and accelerate student learning.
Inbox opinion:Get exclusive access to columnists and the best columns every day
This data should serve as a further call to action for states, districts, and communities to use these funds quickly and effectively, and to take action based on strategies known to work. We must now raise the bar for our students and use the necessary resources to meet that bar. We must recognize the urgency of this moment. Our students, and the progress of our country, depend on this moment.
We’re using this new data to clarify and focus our plans to accelerate student progress, but we also know that many of our students are making significant progress this semester.
Recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, which is not reflected in this week’s NAEP results, shows that a significant portion of students who fell behind in at least one subject last year’s grade will drop out this summer. It is shown that they caught up in time. At the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, approximately half of the students were behind the grade in at least one subject. According to school leaders. But by the end of the school year, that percentage had dropped to 36% for him.
Initial state assessment results in places like Indiana and Connecticut also show that many students have made enough progress to close some of the pandemic-related academic gaps.
This progress proves that our educators and school staff can make a lasting impact in helping students catch up academically and developmentally.
Q&A with teachers union leaders:Attacks on teachers ‘never been as bad as now’
Student Loan Forgiveness:I paid off $65,000 in debt a month before Biden’s loan forgiveness. Here’s how I feel
School Districts Use Federal Resources to Improve Results
In deficit and blue states, schools are leveraging relief funds. We invest in evidence-based initiatives that facilitate student learning and are most likely to improve student performance in accordance with departmental guidance.
Places like Guildford County Schools in North Carolina have used millions of dollars in federal relief funds to provide nearly 67,000 hours of intensive tutoring to their students in the past year alone. Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky has a student support center staffed by retired teachers who are committed to providing students with targeted support using their expertise.
Earlier this year, we launched the National Partnership for Student Success. It brings together federal, state, local and community partners with the goal of providing an additional 250,000 tutors and mentors to support recovery.
Because good teachers are essential to our educational progress, I am calling for state, district, and higher education leaders to work together to address the national educator shortage, strengthen the educator pipeline, and improve teacher education. called for leveraging federal resources to keep in classrooms.
Shortage of teachers:It’s all a fun game until you have no one to teach your child
States and districts are stepping up. This year, Iowa will use her over $45 million in relief funds to train 500 new teachers and her 500 new para-educators, a program to support and accelerate student recovery statewide. is creating
These examples are just a snapshot of progress happening across the country. But you can’t take your feet off the gas. Helping students not only recover but thrive requires collective action, dedication, and resources from local, state, and federal partners. We need to listen to the needs of parents, teachers and students living through the effects of the pandemic in schools and classrooms across the country. Rather than penalizing or labeling schools and educators, we all have a responsibility to ensure that local leaders can direct resources to the communities and schools that need them most. You must commit to using the data you have.
Together, we can ensure that the road to success for our students continues to run straight through America’s public schools, and that the best days of education lie ahead of us.
Miguel Cardona is the U.S. Secretary of Education.