June 21, 2020

Experts urge focus on summer months to help address inequities and stem learning loss for students

Posted: June 11, 2020
Author: Wallace editorial team

Summer has always been an important time to keep young people learning and developing in healthy ways. But now that the public health crisis has forced schools across the nation to close for weeks, says the National Summer Learning Association, making the best possible use of the summer months should be at the top of the education agenda.

The association hosted an online event, “When Schools Close: Harnessing the Power of Summer for America’s Young People,” to draw attention to research about the importance of summer and to provide innovative examples of state and local efforts to keep kids learning, moving and creating this summer.

“We hope that this will lead to partnerships and people picking up the phone and emailing and reaching out to one another,” said Aaron Philip Dworkin, the chief executive officer of NSLA. “How can I work with you, how can I bring that resource and experience to the families and the kids I serve?”

Karl Alexander, a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel that produced the report, Shaping Summer Experiences, said the “elevated risk” of food insecurity, learning loss, and lack of enrichment activities for students who live in low-income neighborhoods is even more pronounced now.

“Three months away from school have stretched to six, with practically no time to plan,” Alexander said. “The pandemic has made the issues taken up by our report even more urgent and more challenging.” (The fall 2019 report was supported by The Wallace Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.)

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