District Responses to COVID-19 School Closures

Research Rundown Issue: April '20
Publisher: Center for Reinventing Public Education
Date Published: April '20


To identify best practices in distance learning, the Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) compiled a database of distance learning plans from 82 districts and 18 charter management organizations (CMOs) around the country. Overall, their analysis found significant differences in approach from district to district, with some simply providing access to resources and others providing full-fledged remote instruction. They also found that CMOs have been more likely to implement rigorous learning plans: CMOs were far more likely than districts to track academic progress (67% v. 27%), grade student work (67% v. 16%), and require teacher-student check-ins (56% v. 33%).

CRPE also found that district plans are not static: since they started their database and have been updating it weekly, more districts have developed plans for supporting students with special needs, English learners, and other marginalized student groups. They also found that 59% of districts have some type of technology distribution plan and nearly half have plans to help get students access to the internet. CRPE notes that, despite these growing efforts, it may not be enough to close the digital divide.

Why This Matters in Minnesota

From conversations EdAllies has had with educators, students, families and other advocacy organizations, as well as a community survey, the biggest concerns related to distance learning are lack of access to internet and devices, accommodations for students with special needs and English learners, and mental health supports. As Minnesota district and charter leaders hone their distance learning plans, respond to the barriers facing their students, and start to plan how they will spend the federal CARES Act funds, they should look to the most promising models from across the country to pave the most equitable path forward.

Read the report