Evidence suggests that there are several challenges facing school districts planning for summer 2021 and the 2021–22 school year—and that these challenges disproportionately affect disadvantaged students and schools—but research can also inform those planning efforts as well.
- A new RAND report provides insights from the American Educator Panels Spring 2021 COVID-19 Surveys. Among the key findings, K-12 instructional modes varied a lot across the 2020–21 academic year. Fully remote schools served higher percentages of low-income students and students of color. Students in fully remote schools had access to fewer instructional opportunities, with less instructional time and lower reported curriculum coverage.
- A design guide, from the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, draws on existing research to inform recommendations for summer school programs this year. The principles are grouped into program structure (duration, class size, attendance, enrichment activities, and academic curriculum) and personnel (academic teachers, enrichment instructors, and administration), and are intended to help school leaders and administrators implement effective academic summer learning programs.
- A report from FutureEd at Georgetown University focuses on the pandemic-induced problem of student absenteeism. Absenteeism rose faster among younger students than for high school students, and disadvantaged students are missing more days of school than their more advantaged peers. More students are absent, and students are absent more days than pre-COVID. Enrollment declines in the early grades also spell trouble for school districts in the coming school year, as they work to integrate newly age-eligible and previously age-eligible students in pre-K, K, and first grade classrooms.