Cambium Learning Group Report: Reflecting on Education’s COVID-19 Response and Looking Towards the Future
How district leaders rated their response to the pandemic.
More than a year after the U.S. first entered lockdown due to COVID-19, vaccines are increasingly available throughout the nation and teachers in every state are eligible to be vaccinated. With that, many students are back in the classroom — and the end of the pandemic (and light at the end of the tunnel) is finally in sight.
However, amid the excitement, we must take the time to reflect on what this past year has thrown at educators, students, parents and school leaders. To better understand how the pandemic has impacted education at the district leader level, Cambium Learning Group surveyed more than 100 leaders from across the country on their perception of their area’s COVID-19 response and their outlook on the education field going forward.
To me, the results indicate a different and more optimistic narrative than what we see typically headlining in the news. While of course this year has disrupted the education system and caused significant strain for all, most believe that the field has been changed forever — but not for the worse. The disruption to education has created an opportunity to reconsider the way we teach, reassess how students learn best and has paved the way for tremendous innovation in education technology. Not only that, but all things considered, many district leaders felt satisfied with their response to the pandemic overall and are looking forward to the future.
- Even with the sudden onset of remote learning in March 2020, district leaders largely felt supported: 83% indicated that their state-level government leaders were helpful in navigating school closures and the impact of the pandemic. A majority (89%) also agreed that they were able to provide teachers with the resources needed to successfully practice distance learning.
- Looking at their personal contributions, district leaders provided an even scoring on their response to the pandemic: There was virtually no way to know or prepare for what was ahead of them, and the majority of district leaders (61%) gave themselves a “B” when it came to their COVID response.
- Half of leaders view most facets of their districts’ responses to COVID-19 as easy to implement: These COVID-19 protocols include providing effective resources for non-instructional and school staff, school administrators, and teachers/instructional staff. Almost all leaders indicate their districts provided teachers with sufficient materials for successful distance learning (89%).
- Although COVID-19 is a major challenge, there are positive impacts: Leaders believe the education field is in a better position than five years prior (71%). They also are problem-solving more effectively (76%), leveraging digital tools more effectively (64%), and experiencing greater flexibility (61%).
Despite the challenges, there seems to be an underlying sense of optimism for what’s ahead in education at the district leader level. Being able to support educators and equip students with the appropriate technology and resources, as well as social and emotional guidance, will be essential moving forward as district leaders continue to navigate the fallout from COVID-19.
You can read more about the survey in my recent Insights blog post.