Unlocking the Future

Nothing About Us Without Us

COVID-19 wreaked havoc on our country’s education system, especially for students of color and those from low-income backgrounds. These inequities existed before COVID-19, but were exacerbated by the pandemic.

The good news is that the federal government has made an unprecedented financial investment during and after the pandemic. Some experts believe those funds can address educational gaps made worse by the pandemic, but must target those most impacted.

In Opportunity America’s essay collection “Unlocking the Future: Toward a New Reform Agenda for K-12 Education,”  Denise Forte, president and CEO of The Education Trust, contends the future of K-12 education hinges on how educators work with students and families, with the promise of school improvement depending on bringing communities together to drive solutions.

“All too often, districts seeking to engage families check a box but don’t involve parents in decision-making,” Forte wrote. “They talk at parents rather than listening. Other districts don’t consider parents’ logistical needs for childcare, transportation or translation, so they miss out on crucial input. Research shows that parents of color consistently report barriers to school engagement, including feeling unwelcome and ignored by educators.”

In her report, “The Future Depends on Students and Families,” Forte provides examples of student and family engagement in district policymaking and school decisions.

To read Forte’s report click here.

Mark R. Lowery
Mark R. Lowery was formerly managing editor of Ed Post. He is a veteran journalist who has managed national magazines and worked for major newspapers, including New York Newsday, the Detroit Free Press and the Plain Dealer. He previously served as editorial director of October Research.

Join the Movement