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'A pivot does seem warranted'

That's the prescription Marguerite Roza, director of Georgetown University's Edunomics Lab, has for school districts that finalized their budgets before this year's dismal NAEP results made clear the yawning achievement gaps facing America's students, particularly in math. Her team’s analysis shows that almost 2 million middle- and high-schoolers, who would have scored as proficient had the pandemic not occurred, are now below that level, and about 700,000 students fell out of the advanced level in math, says Chad Aldeman, policy director at Edunomics — meaning “700,000 fewer future scientists, engineers, data and medical experts.” 

While district budgets include costs that are already locked in, funds can still be redirected toward academic interventions if positions haven’t been filled. And when negotiating contracts with afterschool providers, Roza says, districts can require staff to spend time on math or other areas where students have fallen far behind.

Learning Loss

Experts: Dismal NAEP Scores Offer Districts Chance to ‘Pivot’ on Relief Funds

Most school districts adopted their budgets last spring, long before state and national test scores laid out the extent of pandemic declines. That’s why some school finance experts are urging districts to rework those plans to redirect some of their federal relief funds toward learning recovery before that money is actually spent. “From our perspective, a pivot does seem warranted,” Edunomics Lab Director Marguerite Roza said last week. Linda Jacobson reports.


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Plenty to Be Thankful For

At The 74, we have much to be thankful for this holiday season, including the support of so many readers who've donated to the cause of independent journalism. We are so grateful.

If you haven't given, please consider the value of The 74's fact-based reporting. We need you to support it. And through December, all donations will be matched, dollar for dollar.


Supreme Court

Federal Policy Protecting Native Youth from Family Separation Is on Trial

An adoption case being weighed by the Supreme Court could roll back measures designed to protect Native American children from being taken from their families — a process frequently initiated in schools. Educators are required to report abuse or neglect but often make unsubstantiated reports because of bias or cultural misunderstanding. In Alaska and Minnesota, more school-aged Native children are investigated after calls from school staff than from any other group of mandated reporters. Asher Lehrer-Small examines the implications of Haaland v. Brackeen.

Read More:

  • 500 Child Deaths, Probably More: Federal Probe into Native Boarding School Deaths Likely a Severe Undercount
  • Exclusive Data: Educators’ ‘Careless’ Child Abuse Reports Devastate Thousands of NYC Families
  • Surviving Genocide: Native Boarding School Archives Reveal Defiance, Loss & Love
  • We Are Here’: Debates Over Teaching History Exclude Native People, Rhode Island Indigenous Parents Say


Keeping College Hopes and Diversity Alive in a Post-Affirmative Action America

In a post-affirmative action America, students who are already hesitant to pursue a degree from elite institutions will be even more reluctant to apply. Contributor Patty Diaz-Andrade was almost one of those students. In this essay, the chief impact officer for OneGoal, an organization whose mission is to close the postsecondary degree divide for students of color, describes how schools and communities will need to step up to keep the door to higher education open if the Supreme Court ends consideration of race and ethnicity in college admissions.




Paid Internships Can Give HS Students Something No College Counselor Can

Short-term certificate or a four-year degree? How to avoid accruing too much debt? Which degrees and certificates lead to good-paying jobs? For first-generation college students, the answers are often difficult to come by. That's why paid internships are so important, says contributor Jeffrey Artis of Genesys Works, a nationwide program that provides high school students in underserved communities with skills training, paid corporate internships, college and career coaching, and alumni support. These opportunities, he writes, are a win for students, schools and local employers — and can make all the difference in the trajectory of a young person’s life.


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Union Report

Early Results Show Union's Favored School Board Candidates Win Big in California

The California Teachers Association spent heavily on school board races in the state, distributing $1.8 million to 125 local affiliates, which were required by union policy to add almost $1 million more to the total. That investment seems to have mostly paid off. California election results take weeks to finalize, but union-backed candidates are leading in 35 of the 52 races in which the state union spent the most money. From Los Angeles Unified to tiny Big Pine, Mike Antonucci has the rundown in this week's Union Report.


The Voters Speak: Post-Election Lessons for America’s Schools

Voters delivered powerful messages Nov. 8, not all of them consistent: They want schools to focus on education, not culture wars or woke policies. Vouchers got a boost in Oklahoma with the re-election of Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, but Wisconsin voters rejected a GOP candidate who pledged support for universal vouchers. The red wave never materialized, but neither did a blue one. These post-election crosscurrents will be the topic of the next webinar sponsored by The 74 and the Progressive Policy Institute’s Reinventing America’s Schools project. Join us Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 1 p.m. Eastern for a look at the future of education reform in the current political climate. Register for the Zoom here.



  • Wisconsin: ‘Holy Mackerel, Folks’: Voters Re-Elect Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, Derail Push for School Vouchers
  • Oklahoma: Easily Winning 2nd Term, Gov. Stitt Plans to Move Forward on School Vouchers


'The Bottom Has Dropped Out': Study Confirms Fears of Growing Learning Gaps

Soon after COVID-19 forced schools to close, NWEA researchers made two predictions: Disadvantaged students would lose two or more years of progress, and that would widen the range of academic achievement in any given class. A new analysis bears this out. It shows that all students lost ground in 2020-21, but in 2021-22, kids at the top surged ahead, while those at the bottom languished. Meaning that classrooms that used to have kids at seven grade levels of achievement are experiencing even wider gaps. Beth Hawkins reports. 

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