“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
Attributed to Albert Einstein, this quote perfectly captures my optimism for the year ahead. The extraordinary challenges for families and students in 2020 will require our full commitment in 2021 and beyond to help every child regain momentum and succeed.
ExcelinEd reflected on how to focus our work to achieve this, building on the many current opportunities for innovation while also protecting fundamental policies that ensure equity and opportunity in education systems.
With this in mind, we identified 5 key goals for ExcelinEd for the next 5 years, with an aim to make a lasting difference in the lives of 5 million students—or more!
- Bridge the Digital Divide: One of the pandemic’s most vivid lessons is that digital access must be foundational to how we deliver education. With 15 million K-12 students lacking access to the internet or devices, we will advocate for policies that ensure digital resources for underserved students, access to high-quality online curriculum and provide supports for students, teachers and families.
- Close Learning Gaps: Pandemic impacts to student progress have been devastating, especially to our most at-risk students. In the fall, McKinsey and Company found that on average, students had lost the equivalent of 3 months of learning in math and 1½ months in reading—but that students of color are faring worse. Our goal is to advance policies that ensure every child gets the support they need, especially in early literacy; that we measure how students are progressing; and that funding and high-performing teachers are more equitably distributed.
- Empower Families with Opportunity: Parent demand is higher than ever for access to education options. ExcelinEd will work to create opportunities by removing zip code-based barriers to schools, expanding access to high-quality charter schools, private schools and educational services, and retooling funding formulas so education dollars follow the student.
- Strengthen Pathways to College and Career: Fewer students transitioned to college this year due to the pandemic’s impact on in-person instruction. At the same time, most of the fastest-growing job opportunities require a postsecondary credential. K-12 and postsecondary systems must build pathways for student success. We’ll advance policies for improved quality and access to college acceleration and workforce preparation in high school, better transitions between systems and closer alignment of college and career programs with high-skill, high-wage and high-demand occupations.
- Reimagine Learning: Parents want normalcy—but not a return to normal. It’s time to rethink education, including flexible paths to mastery, credit for work experience, opportunities for teachers and allowing students to learn anywhere. These all have their place in 21st-century education, and we’ll keep innovating with new ideas whenever and wherever they help students.
What remains unchanged is ExcelinEd’s commitment to education opportunity, equity, quality and access for all students. We remain committed to supporting state leaders and policymakers to achieve these goals, and we invite all who believe in a quality education for each and every child to join us.