When COVID-19 closed schools in March, it was evident that traditional education systems were not working. Many worried about learning loss and accountability, in addition to technology and equity, during distance learning. Relying on technology to digitize what systems have been doing for years, as KnowledgeWorks Senior Director of Policy Karla Phillips-Krivickas pointed out, is not working. But many personalized competency-based learning systems adapted well. For Arizona, COVID-19 sparked a need to adopt those systems of resilience and flexibility.
Education leaders of Arizona joined Arizona Capitol Times Editor and Associate Publisher Luige Del Puerto for a panel on education in Arizona. The panelists, in addition to Phillips-Krivickas, were:
- Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman
- Center for the Future of Arizona President and CEO Sybil Francis
- Mesa Public Schools Superintendent Andi Fourlis
- Representative Reginald Bolding
- Center for the Future of Arizona Managing Director, Strategic Initiatives & Impact Amanda Burke
To help prevent equity and pacing issues brought on by COVID-19, Burke recognized that their work with Arizona districts aims to overcome those challenges with systems that can better prepare for large-scale disruptions. Superintendent Fourlis stressed that since closure, “Instructional loss does not always equal learning loss” and that we should not “tackle a learning loss as a deficit because if we tackle it as a deficit, we are going to perpetuate the inequities that have been very prevalent in the public education system for many decades.”
To help meet the learners where they are and go forward, not backward, educators need focus on learning and not instruction, as Superintendent Fourlis and Burke reinforced. This includes a complete systemic transformation that places the student at the center. And that begins with removing all barriers holding innovation – and students – back and working collaboratively at local and state levels to build the future of learning, together, in Arizona.
Watch below for thorough discussions on social-emotional learning, special education, accountability, systems change and technicalities of daily learning.