The COVID-19 crisis has made clear what many of us know to be true: our success and prosperity—throughout California and the United States—depend on our public schools’ capacity to serve as beacons of light and hope that spark opportunity. As schools across the state closed down in response to COVID-19, students and families lost access to schools as critical hubs of connection, community resources and learning.
The California Partnership for the Future of Learning conducted a needs assessment based on feedback from more than 20 grassroots education and racial justice organizations who heard from over 600 students and families from low-income communities of color in more than 20 school districts across the state. We wanted to learn directly from students and families about their most critical needs at this moment and use them to inform our ongoing work to transform California’s public schools to be just and inclusive for all.
The following top concerns emerged:
- The importance of support for mental health and building positive relationships for students
- Access to equitable learning environments in every home and every school
- Addressing the uncertainty facing students, especially juniors and seniors worried about graduation, college, and financial aid
- Engaging students, parents, and educators as leaders to create the solutions our schools and communities need
- Addressing the intersecting needs of families and students and the importance of schools as a safety net
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