Keystone Policy Center (KPC) and the Public Education & Business Coalition (PEBC) announced Monday the launch of the Education System Resiliency and Innovation Initiative (ESRII). The initiative assembles education system leaders, educators, government officials, and stakeholders from within and outside the education system to develop new approaches that will improve support for the teaching workforce, deliver instruction that better prepares all students for the challenges of an ever-evolving world, and address issues within the education system that perpetuate inequities and achievement gaps that are only exacerbated during disruptive events like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of teachers, who worked tirelessly rising to the challenge to support students. But too became evident already-existing inadequacies and inequities in our education system that have far too long negatively impacted students and left teachers with too little support. Keystone is honored to partner with PEBC to bring practitioners and leaders together to advance recommendations for actionable, system-level changes at the local and state levels that will strengthen our education system, increase teacher support, and improve educational equity for students. This is an opportunity to create positive change and bring hope to a tired system” said Christine Scanlan, president and CEO of Keystone Policy Center.
“Teachers are the backbone of our education system, and PEBC is proud to partner with Keystone Policy Center and collaborate with a broad coalition of educators, leaders, and stakeholders to strengthen supports for the teacher workforce for the upcoming school year and beyond,” said Sue Sava, president and CEO of the Public Education & Business Coalition. “Students throughout Colorado and the nation deserve nothing less than our full support to ensure that all teachers are well-prepared and well-supported to propel learning for all students forward in a newly resilient system.”
The ESRII will pilot new approaches for instructional delivery, teacher workforce utilization, and support for teachers based on the discussions and findings of the coalition. The pilot programs will be implemented in Fall 2020.
A comprehensive report based on the initiative’s work, discussions, and research as well as the early findings of Fall Pilots will also be released. The report will be distributed broadly in Colorado to education system leaders, educators, community organizations, state officials, legislators and other interested stakeholders. It will also be shared with peer organizations and leaders in other states and with national organizations.
“Our commitment to teachers, families, and students is that we will seize the opportunity not to get back to what was but to move forward to something much stronger and fundamentally better in how we deliver early childhood and K-12 education. We owe our students an education system that prepares them for the world they will enter after high school and our teachers a profession that honors their commitment to kids,” said Berrick Abramson, director of the education program for Keystone Policy Center. “We are facilitating conversations to pilot new approaches that will better serve teachers and students during any future interruptions and will move forward many of the innovations that for too long have languished on the sidelines or been under-resourced for too many local school systems.”
Keystone and PEBC kicked off the ESRII July 10 with the initial meeting of the initiative’s steering committee. The initiative will focus and develop recommendations on three primary streams of inquiry:
- Teacher Practice & Teaching Workforce: Identifying needs to improve professional development to better support teachers for delivering instruction in a variety of contexts and the associated implications for the structure of the teaching workforce.
- Instructional Delivery: Creating a research-based exploration of best practices, innovations, and emerging systems of instructional delivery and examine the strengths, challenges, and innovations surfaced through the statewide shift to remote delivery of instruction.
- System Support for Shifts & Technology: Examining teacher experiences using various technology solutions (hardware and software) for remote instruction to identify strengths or shortcomings and develop best practices, systems, and resources for supporting their use.
“Teachers stepped up to the challenge in the face of unprecedented circumstances this last school year and quickly adapted to keep their commitment of doing whatever it takes to educate our students,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, president of the Colorado Education Association. “I look forward to working with this initiative to ensure we provide our teachers the kind of robust support that matches the challenges placed on them both by the current pandemic as well as any potential future disruptions.”
“COVID-19 brought upheaval in our education system that continues throughout the country today. Responding to the pandemic, preparing for other future disruptions, and delivering an education that reflects the vision of the Education Leadership Council, the work of the legislature, and the promise we all make to Colorado’s kids will require bold, forward-thinking enhancements throughout our education system,” said Bob Rankin, Colorado state senator and co-chair of the Colorado Education Leadership Council. “This initiative brings the right individuals together to lead that audacious effort and deliver innovative solutions for our teachers, students, and Colorado families.”