News Roundup – 4/5

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Our weekly roundup of education technology, workforce technology, and venture capital news.

Superintendent coalition aims to strengthen whole child supports – A coalition of superintendents from 19 school districts has initiated a new fellowship, the Place-Based Education Leaders Design Fellowship, aimed at bolstering “cradle-to-career” services in disadvantaged communities. Led by the William Julius Wilson Institute at Harlem Children’s Zone, the fellowship focuses on tackling intergenerational poverty and enhancing wraparound services. The six-month fellowship, conducted in collaboration with The EdRedesign Lab at Harvard Graduate School of Education and Chiefs for Change, involves district leaders from Boston, Orange County, Salt Lake City, and Oakland, aiming to foster lasting positive change in communities nationwide.

How To Overcome The Pandemic K-12 Learning Loss – There is an urgent need for transparent, evidence-based, and accountable K-12 education recovery plans in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, current efforts are insufficient, and he emphasizes the significant learning loss and its potential long-term impacts, including a 6% reduction in students’ lifetime earnings. To achieve recovery, there is a need for plans that address learning loss honestly, leverage evidence-based strategies, and include accountability measures, such as tracking progress through a customized scorecard, to ensure effective outcomes for all students.

Starting Earlier Will Create Better Student Pipelines into STEM Fields – Elementary school STEM education isn’t merely “fun projects”; it fosters critical thinking and ignites interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). According to research, early exposure to STEM helps to build a foundation for future careers in these fields, addressing representation gaps. GreatSchools’ partnership with Project Lead The Way is an initiative that aims to provide parents with information on STEM programs, potentially altering children’s academic and professional trajectories. Clearly, there is a need for equitable access to STEM education, and steps such as resource provision, early STEM curriculum adoption, and mentorship programs to support underrepresented students and create a diverse STEM workforce.

Our portfolio company, Brains & Motion seeks to foster a lifelong love for learning through world-class STEM, Arts, and sports programs all year long.

How In-School Tutoring Benefits Both Attendance and Math Scores – Two new research studies from Chicago University’s Education Lab and Stanford University’s National Student Support Accelerator highlight the effectiveness of in-school tutoring for academic recovery, showing significant improvements in math scores and reduced absenteeism rates among students. The studies emphasize the importance of integrating tutoring within the school day rather than offering it as an extracurricular activity. In-school tutoring not only enhances academic performance but also promotes better attendance, offering a more inclusive approach to providing additional support to students who need it most.

How Food Deserts Impact Black Youths Education – Lack of access to nutritious food not only affects the health of Black students, but also their academic performance. Studies show that food insecurity leads to lower academic achievement, increased likelihood of chronic illnesses, and psychological distress among children. To combat food insecurity, there needs to be development of full-service grocery stores in underserved areas and support through initiatives like free school lunches and community food banks. However, sustained funding and infrastructure improvements are essential for effectively tackling this pervasive issue and improving overall quality of life.

Internships matter more than ever — but not everyone can get one – There is an ever-growing pressure for college students to secure internships, particularly as a means to stand out in the job market. However, due to financial constraints and inflexibility, traditional internships often exclude many students. Which is why organizations like The Washington Center are creating new programs to broaden access to internships, including fully funded, short-term programs. Initiatives like micro-internships and partnerships with third-party providers also aim to provide valuable experience and networking opportunities for students who have been historically underrepresented. Despite these efforts, the lack of paid internships remains a barrier for many students, highlighting the need for more inclusive practices in the internship landscape.

Unlocking Education: The Rise of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) – The article discusses the rise of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) and their potential impact on the education landscape. ESAs allocate state funds designated for public school education into specialized accounts controlled by parents, providing flexibility in education-related expenses beyond traditional tuition fees. With ESAs rapidly gaining prominence and participation increasing, various stakeholders, including K-12 districts, alternative education providers, and infrastructure support services, are facing challenges and opportunities in adapting to this evolving educational model. Additionally, the distribution of ESA funds and logistical challenges, such as transportation for students, are highlighted as areas of concern and potential investment opportunities.

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