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Good morning!

From New England to the Great Plains and points in between, we have a full lineup of news, features and analysis for you today. A few highlights:

  • Maryland: A $3.8 billion-a-year blueprint for improving education equity
  • Washington: The Government Accountability Office takes the Education Department to task over strategies for addressing teacher shortages
  • Massachusetts: How "Portrait of a Graduate," community input and project-based learning are spurring innovation in Springfield schools
  • Kansas: School boards take action after 11 years of special education funding shortfalls

All this and more, today at The 74.

Education Reform

Maryland’s Humble Mission: Build the Nation’s Best, Most Equitable School System

Laid out in 235 pages of legislation, with billions of dollars in funding and a decade to implement, Maryland has embarked on what may be the nation’s most ambitious effort to improve education equity. The policy promises to provide free preschool for all low-income families, boost teacher diversity and correct a regressive K-12 funding scheme. The effort has been called a “seismic shift” for education and a “radical reimagining” of schooling. But outside the state, the blueprint has garnered little national attention. The 74’s Asher Lehrer-Small reports.


Go Deeper:

  • Are Schools Progressive or Regressive?: Analysis — The Hidden Figures Behind Per-Pupil Funding in D.C., Maryland and Virginia
  • 'Maryland Leads': State Unveils ‘Ambitious’ Slate of Learning Recovery Programs Using COVID Relief Funds
  • Summer Learning Sprint: Gifted Programs Skew White & Wealthy. Not Baltimore’s — and It’s Free
  • EDlection2022: MD is Not VA — Education Issues Playing Out Differently in Governor’s Race
Join North Dakota State Supt. Kirsten Baesler in a two-part discussion about K-12 recovery through the lens of a rural state, as well as the increasing importance of high-quality training and support to local school board members. Listen to the Route K-12 Podcast at or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.


GAO Criticizes Ed Department Teacher Shortage Strategy as Lackluster

Building on stories of acute teacher shortages across the country and systemic challenges facing the workforce, a recent Government Accountability Office report outlines why current federal strategy is insufficient. Without timelines or measurements to gauge success, the strategy outlined by Secretary Miguel Cardona in June will have a hard time contending with compensation challenges, “increasingly disrespectful and demanding” school workplace cultures, differing state licensing requirements and high costs of becoming a teacher that constrict the labor supply. The 74’s Marianna McMurdock reports.



  • A ‘National Teacher Shortage’?: New Research Reveals Vastly Different Realities Between States & Regions
  • Podcast: Class Disrupted — Is There a Teacher Shortage? It Depends
  • Union Report: ‘Teacher Shortage’ — A History Told in Numbers, and Decades


Putting a Price Tag on Education News

The 74 doesn't charge people to read this coverage. We think it's too important to put behind a paywall. 

But we know that The 74's reporting on the top issues in K-12 education has value. And we hope you feel that way too. With tax season approaching, this would be a great time for you to show you much you value The 74. Please donate today.



How 'Portrait of a Graduate' Is Spurring Innovation in Springfield Schools

Last spring, elementary school students in Springfield, Massachusetts, excitedly showed their families and guests a presentation on endangered species they had been working on all year. The project-based learning experience was one of many community-inspired initiatives that are part of a six-year strategic plan to reimagine Springfield schools. It’s the result of the “Portrait of a Graduate” project, a districtwide blueprint for a vision of what every high school graduate should know, and how to get there. Contributor Paul Foster of Springfield Public Schools explains.


Read More:


  • Teacher’s View: Project-Based Learning Can Help Educators and Students Succeed
  • Project-Based Learning or Lectures?: Analysis — Research Shows PBL Helps Low-Income Students Do Better in AP Classes, Earn College Credit
  • Dear Adult Leaders: Commentary — Incorporate Hands-On, Project-Based Learning to Keep Students Engaged Virtually


3 Misconceptions About Pandemic-Related Learning Loss

The recently released NAEP scores brought renewed urgency to conversations around learning loss and recovery. Beliefs about these topics shape how policymakers, educators and parents act to support students moving forward. Yet, new research by the Illinois Workforce and Education Research Collaborative shows that three common assumptions about whose learning was affected the most and what it will take for students to catch up are, in fact, misconceptions. Contributors Sarah Cashdollar, Mariana Barragan Torres and Meg Bates of the collaborative explain.

School Funding

Kansas Education Leaders Urge Lawmakers to Fully Fund Special Ed Services

One in six public school students in Kansas receive special education services. But due to persistent underfunding from the state legislature, districts are forced to increasingly shoulder the financial burden. Our latest partnership with the Kansas Reflector examines the state's special ed law, which requires the funding of 92% of extra costs — a mandate the state hasn't met for more than a decade. The current funding level, says the Kansas Association of School Boards: 71% statewide. Rachel Mipro reports. 



  • Virginia: In Lawsuit, Parents Say Special Education Cases Are Rigged Against Them
  • Indiana: Launches Grant Program for Special Education Students
  • Wisconsin: After Five Decades of Dwindling Support, Sparse Funding and High Stress in State’s Special Education System
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