September 1, 2022
“Everybody should be treating this like the crisis that it is.”

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) long-term trend assessment results released today are disastrous. They reflect the first-ever drop in math and the largest drop in reading in 30 years.

Chiefs for Change Board Member and former Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson spoke with The New York Times about the scores, the first from a nationally representative sample of students comparing achievement from before the pandemic to now. Here is an excerpt from the story published this morning.

This is an “all-hands-on-deck” moment at Chiefs for Change, a bipartisan network of district and state education leaders. The next monthly call for the full membership and participants in the network’s Future Chiefs leadership development program will focus on the NAEP results. Chiefs will discuss how they are working to not only get students on track but to address the inequities and troubling gaps that existed in America’s schools long before the pandemic.

As the largest community of practice for education leaders in the United States, Chiefs for Change has crafted a multi-faceted strategy to accelerate learning and meet students’ needs in this moment and beyond. The strategy revolves around technical assistance, advocacy, and leadership development. In the area of technical assistance, the work involves engaging with system leaders and others to understand their needs; examining relevant issues; helping leaders develop and implement research-based programs; evaluating the impact of those initiatives; and replicating approaches shown to make a difference.

Through the technical assistance, Chiefs for Change is also creating a library of resources to help K-12 leaders support students. The resources—developed in partnership with systems, experts, and former superintendents who serve as the network’s chiefs in residence—are aligned to a 10-point framework developed by The Coalition to Advance Future Student Success. Materials are free and publicly available for any school system to use and for other organizations to include in their own clearinghouse or collection of tools.

Resources produced to date are:

  • A guidebook for creating high-dosage tutoring programs in partnership with community organizations.
  • A guidebook to help systems implement large-scale initiatives.
  • Tools to help states and districts assess and meet students’ wellbeing needs.
  • A brief to help systems tell the story of how federal pandemic recovery funds are supporting students.
  • A resource that explains how registered apprenticeship programs can help to address the teacher shortage.

Just yesterday, the Biden Administration highlighted the first-of-its-kind registered teacher apprenticeship model that Chiefs for Change member Penny Schwinn created in Tennessee and encouraged other states to adopt the same approach. As a companion to the resource listed above, Chiefs for Change produced a video in which Commissioner Schwinn and educators from across Tennessee describe how the state’s Grow Your Own program recruits aspiring teachers and gives them a path to work with veteran educators and earn their bachelor’s degree and teacher certification for free.

Chiefs for Change will add two more resources to its library later this month. One outlines promising practices for supporting students’ overall wellbeing. A second explains how districts can strengthen procurement operations to ensure federal Covid aid and other funds are spent wisely in ways that will make a meaningful difference for students.

The NAEP results released today are yet another indication that America’s students were severely harmed by the pandemic. With robust technical assistance, focused advocacy to scale best practices, and a premier program to develop highly effective, student-centered superintendents, Chiefs for Change is determined to help children catch up in their learning and go on to thrive in life.