ACYPL Virtual Town Hall: The Future of K-12 Education

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ACYPL Virtual Town Hall: The Future of K-12 Education

I thank you good afternoon everyone and thank you for joining us my name is Ashley Anton and I’m a program officer here at AC ypl today is the final town hall in a three-part series focused on the American education system and the impact of in response to Coba 19 last week our panelists discussed lessons learned from their first phase of distance learning after the initial shutdown the methodology behind teacher and student assessments as well as budgetary concerns for the upcoming academic year and the week before that we tackled inequities within the education system that was exacerbated and exposed by coab in nineteen with the beginning of the school year quickly approaching and many districts planning to return to some version of school next month today’s discussion will be focused on what the future of K through 12 education looks like during colvett 19 what are the new and evolving responsibilities of the public and private institutions at this time and finally we’ll examine how the pandemics resulting economic downturn has impacted education funding but before we get started I want to introduce our wonderful alumni panelists first we have Coby coetc who is the director who’s the government relations director for the Nebraska Association of school boards and a former member of the Nebraska Legislature who travel with AC ypl to China in 2010 and Brazil in 2017 we have Chelsea King who was the vice chair of the Westland Wilsonville School Board in Oregon she’s also a communication coach and organizational development consult at heart centered work a company she founded in Tunis in 2007 she traveled on the delegation to Brazil in 2017 and Quinten fips fips I’m so sorry who is the director of advocacy and policy for the excellence community school organization and serves as a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives he traveled AC ypl to Russia into 2016 welcome everyone thank you thank you so first I will just want to allow you all to introduce yourselves Coby would you get started for us aye sir well good afternoon everybody it is afternoon here in Nebraska as Ashley said my name is Colby I’ve had a very storied career in politics and now in education I served in the Nebraska state legislature for eight years we have term limits there so I was termed out and following that parlayed the relationships and understanding a state government working with elected officials again working with school board members which is a pretty important role in our state we’ve got about 1,800 locally elected school board members who really are the heart and soul of our communities I get I got to travel to China in 2010 and host in Brazil and finally we’ve had several delegations that we’ve hosted here in Nebraska from Southeast Asia and Israel among others and the beard that you see just a little bit about me is is unusual I was telling my co-panelists outside of my world and government relations I do film and have to be growing my hair beard out for a film I was casting I would be filming here soon so that’s a little bit about me and I’ll kick it over to Chelsea hello everybody I am Chelsea and thank you for the introduction Ashley and thank you so much to AC ypl for all that you do for building relationships across our country and other countries as well and you all have been just a top-notch organization to work with and organizing the us busy politicians of thanks for the opportunity I am in my second term and the school board in Westland Wilsonville and and the vice-chair which means that I assist the chair in developing the agenda and driving our meetings but also I run the superintendent performance evaluation and contract negotiations I do have three kids in our local public schools I have one who’s going to be a sophomore at Wilsonville high school and I got a two for one the second time around so I have boy-girl twins who are going into the eighth grade in a dual language a Spanish immersion program in our local middle school and yeah I think that’s enough for me thank you kick it over to cue oh this is why you should not go Laska that is very hard to follow so good afternoon everyone I am Q Phipps a representative of the 100 district here in Connecticut we are equidistant between both Harford our Capitol and New Haven the home of Yale University and also equities between

Boston in New York City my first term in the state legislature before that I was a four year planning and zoning commissioner in eight years city treasurer’s and when I went to Russia to the great cities of both Moscow and cutters Berg I was a city treasurer and also a parent advocate and director of advocacy and policy for excellence community schools a Blue Ribbon School which is when the high that you but you can get from the Department of Education and the highest-ranking School District in the state of Connecticut which is the private organization that I serve and our scholars are doing phenomenally well so with that back to Ashley right wonderful so toasty Kobe I’m so sorry when I get started with you can you tell us a bit more about your district and the other district you represent all right I sure can as you can see on the map here and a blast a wheel in the middle of the country and we’re very diverse state we have our state is divided up into two hundred and forty-four different school districts to give you some perspective on the scope of our state our largest school district has about 60,000 students our smallest has about 100 so we have districts of all sizes some of our students ride a bus because they live in a rural part of the state for over an hour to get to their building every day because they live in ranch country and the brass was heavily tied to agriculture ranching beef production is a big part of our economy and so that’s where the kids live and some a lot of parts of our state and so to get to school that’s where they have to drive I know you talked about equity a couple of town halls ago and that’s something we talked about in abrasca quite a bit of course from the socio-economic perspective but we have an equity issue in our state related to broadband and access to technology because of the realness of our state and it presents some unique challenges for our local local school boards to do but that is our state in a nutshell hopefully you won’t fly over your welcome back to our state any time thank you and it’s interesting to listen to Colby I would say that the spread of our the size of our school districts is about the same in Oregon and with our largest being Portland Public Schools with I don’t know the exact number of students but I know that our second largest school district has 45,000 and so I imagine Portland Public Schools has at least the 60,000 and we do have districts that go down as you know as small as 100 or maybe even less I represent Westland Wilsonville school district Westland Wilsonville those are two different cities so our school district does span two communities and but we create one school community from Westland and Wilsonville we are in the South metro area Portland Oregon and we have just shy of 10,000 students you can see a little bit about our demographics there we do have a very good reputation I like to believe we are the best school district in the state according to the data and that you know when you look at our graduation rates and and our efforts and equity we do we’re consistently ranked very high and US News and World Report and Mitch comm you can see that we have a 95 percent graduation rate and proud to say that in the year 2025 we have declared a goal of having a hundred percent of our students graduate a couple of notable things about our school district are that one is that we have totally inclusive practices and so we don’t have any separate classrooms for special education all of our students regardless of their neurological abilities are all in the same classroom and we support all of our students to be successful in in one mainstream classroom and another notable feature is that we do have a dual language program and so starting in kindergarten our kiddos can enter this program in the Wilsonville side because we do have a large Latino population it is half native English speakers and half native Spanish speakers and and it’s they they graduate totally by literate and it is a K through 12 program and yeah I think that those are some of the key points I think one more thing that I’d say that would be relevant perhaps

later in our discussion is that because we have such a high achieving school district our community has super high expectations of our students our administrators our school board that has definitely informed some of the ways we’ve approached you know the COBIT 19 response when we you know hear from our community and what their expectations are of their schools and I’ll hand it over to you cue so I like to paint a picture of what Middletown is so my district is half of Middletown we have two state representatives that represent the entire area it is our population is a little over 50,000 I’m gonna said it we’re equi distant from the Capitol and from New Haven which is where Yale University is we are also a river town and we are the home of Wesleyan University which is considered a little I we were gonna go to the next slide so what’s good my district it’s a little over 25,000 now it’s grown over the loves data was taken Middletown almost like the namesake was can not just middle as in distance or in between but middle sometimes as in like average or median or representative and indicative and our city not will say closely models are very similar to the overall demographics of both of our state and also our nation our population of Latinos or Latin X I’m an Asian are a little bit lower than national averages but generally speaking fairly similar so what happens in Middletown and we have by the way what’s voted the most romantic Main Street in all of the US and it’s also the widest Main Street in all of the u.s literally what happens on our Main Street typically it’s indicative of what’s happening throughout the entire state and what’s happening throughout our entire nation can go to the next slide there we go our so the district that I represent has two extremes what’s been very similar to our country we have those that have considerable means and fairly wealthy mainly because we have several major employees obviously employers the hospital Middlesex Hospital which is the third or fourth largest hospital network in the state we have Western University which is a major employer our city governments both of our Board of Education in mr. pally and we also have Pratt & Whitney which is a jet engine maker part of the UTC or United technology company which is major defense company for the US so our median incomes are medium household incomes are a little bit higher than the megawatts to be frankly significantly higher than the nation but our town and district has what’s getting vast disparities between those that have and those that do not and you’ll see that also in the next slide when it comes to education so generally speaking once again our oh and we also have a community college i forgot to mention the keen cop got a major employer but also but still a major asset for the town we have significantly higher rates of higher education than what the rest of the state and what the population the overall population looks like almost getting those disparities and differences leads a lot of the inequities that we’ll see that we’ll talk about as we discuss what’s happening in our what’s moving forward after the cold virus great thank you quick cue and again thank you all for joining us and providing some insight into your communities what will the upcoming school year look like for you all you’re in respective districts as you head back to school and what are some of the state and local policies that are informing these decisions Chelsea yeah that’s an excellent question our school districts in Oregon have an August 15th due date to let our constituents know what school will look like but in Westland Wilsonville we did already release our plan because what we found is that a lot of parents were what they wanted to make decisions now and in an effort to ensure that we keep our students in our public K through 12 system and not lose them to private virtual online academies we went ahead and released a plan and there’s a slide that will give some more information but essentially there’s two trajectories that students will be able to you know choose one is an entirely distance learning track and so it will model much of what we did the last few months of this recent academic year fully online

we will be contracting with a company that handles online learning and to help with the infrastructure in the curriculum but it will all be taught by our licensed teachers all of whom have master’s degrees and students who choose that trajectory will stay within the Westland Wilsonville School District and will get a diploma you know that’s from the Westland Wilsonville School District this will be K through 12 and we’re encouraging families if they choose this program to stay there because as you can imagine it takes a huge amount of planning to figure out which teachers will be learning how to do this online which teachers will be doing the place-based then we have a hybrid model what we’re hoping to do in accordance with what you know experts recommend you all probably saw the article came out with the American Academy of pediatricians recommitting that that young kids go to school every day we’re gonna do that K through 4 kiddos are gonna go to school every day when they get older grade 5 they’re usually around the age of 10 and legally an organ could be left home alone and they will do the hybrid model like our secondary students and that’s going to look like probably in every other day going to school because we’re gonna have to divide up classrooms and make our classrooms half the size of what they normally are we measured all the classrooms determine what would be a six-foot distance and we have all kinds of protocols in place think we’ll talk about that a little bit later as far as policy coming out of the state that’s you know mandating how we do this you know place-based learning but I will say just before we got on I read an article in our organ live which is our state you know online newspaper and the governor today issued what they’re calling an ultimatum but basically she said Oregon if you don’t flatten the curve again we’re not going back to school in the fall so wear your masks and stay out of you know large indoor gatherings because we’re are seeing COBIT cases they’re growing unlike they have grown since we became responsive to the pandemic so even though we’ve opened up and we have this plan to go back to school what the data is showing us about the virus is that we’re not going to be prepared to go back to school so all of this thinking and planning is our best thinking for right now and the truth is we don’t know in a month or a month and a half what exactly is going to happen and I think if I may just go ahead and touch on the other side and then I’ll hand it over to my co my colleagues here this just gives you a little bit of an idea about what our administrators in partnership with their teachers are planning they have to consider all the public health protocols that are coming out of the organ Health Association all the facilities and school operations so if you can imagine we have three High School’s four Middle School’s nine primary schools all of those schools need to be assessed measured evaluated for you know flows of traffic how you’re gonna serve lunches we have to have a plan for how we’re going to respond if there’s a COBIT outbreak and that’s just on the you know facilities an operational side there then you have all of the instructional issues of which equity is at the core you know and we talked about that and the last Town Hall so I won’t get into details a lot there but we’re going to be considering a lot of you know the staffing issues what was our community wants a community with very high expectations you know what how do we serve our teachers and so as you can imagine it’s very complicated to respond to the needs of all the different stakeholders and to come up with plans very meticulous plans in a state of very high ambiguity so that’s a little bit about what our school district is is dealing with and how we can return to school in the fall yeah it sounds like a lot of moving parts Coby you represent a lot of different school board districts what are the policies on the ground in Nebraska well we already heavily local old state we’d like to push everything down to the lowest level possible and something that’s been kind of interesting in our state is that we’ve got school districts that and counties who have had zero cases of quarterbacks now these are very rural districts and what they’re telling us is that they’re gonna be back to normal as if this has never happened those are very few and far between but just to show you the range of what we’re dealing with the other thing that I thought was interesting and I don’t I think Chelsea covered much of what we’re dealing with here is that we’ve spent so much time

talking about safety of students we’ve kind of lost sight of what about the education of the students we’ve become so focused on sanitation and masks and space that we’ve kind of forgot about the primary role which is education and so when we started to shift that way our policy thinking one of the things that we’ve highlighted and we tried to push is that unfortunately when children come back whatever that is this fall many of them will have been out of school for six months or so and if you have a good stable family you’re learning continued but if you you haven’t really engaged in education for half a year and so what we’ve talked a lot about in our state is we’re kind of the massive amounts of assessment and I don’t say testing because we’re just trying to assess where kids are when they come back because unfortunately we’ve got like I said a lot of kids who have not not engaged in education a sad statistic that came out of our state not long ago was the number of child protective services decent neglect calls that were investigated has been cut in half or more and unfortunately that’s not because those children weren’t at risk or having things abuse in their life it’s just that we have found out how important schools were to the protection those kids as that first line of assessment and engaging law enforcement or social services in order to provide them the safety that we need and so those are two of the policy areas that were really focused on and thinking about I think from our state’s perspective everybody feels like they’ve got the safety thing handled there that’s all out there what we’re really trying to figure out is how do we catch kids up and try to make it as normal as possible that’s a really good point so as and there’s gonna be an open question to any of you as your students go back to school and we have the sanitation and safety under control how do you begin to assess with your administrators and your teachers how do they begin to assess the current needs of the students who are coming back from you know economic challenges say their parents have lost a home or I know Stephanie in our previous Town Hall mentioned that some of the students are picking up shifts because you know parents have lost jobs or to Kobe’s point where they have faced abuse at home so how are teachers now as they begin to implement these new curriculums how are they going to assess the needs of the students when they return back to the schools or as Josie said go and transition to a hybrid program I’ll just say one thing and then I’ll let them continue but what we’ve asked for is grace and that’s the best word I can use from our policy and our state and federal policymakers we’ve asked for flexibility and that grace to allow for assessment we trust our teachers we trust that they know what to do but we’ve got to give them the time to kind of get reactivated and virtually or physically touch those students so to speak to figure out where they are and then plan education from that point thank you so I wanted you so I wanted to speak about what’s good two things both the district that I represent as an elective but also my professional career as an educator for a school school that’s essentially a suburb of New York City but over in our state we have over 160 plus municipalities we have over 100 school districts meaning one over over 100 different superintendents for to serve less students than like LA Unified that LA Unified School District which is a lot of bureaucracy which is a lot of replication and it’s very expensive but also once can lead to tremendous amounts of inequity towns that are affluent have high property values can tax and assess more to be able to get their students what they need other municipalities like my own that have significantly less taxable property mainly because of our nonprofit services that we have was to community colleges a hospital so on and so forth it makes it a lot harder to have a balanced budget to invest in our students the way that we should so this is where I would say before I start sequence specifically about the policies around getting our children back to school this is where I would encourage I said if you are a woman and said that I’m not ready to run or if you’re a

person of color and said that I’m not ready to run I would encourage you to read the guidelines put forward by the State Department of Education in the governor’s office to returning our children back into the school district and it’s so completely unrealistic things like having young children wearing masks all day all day you can’t get a four year old or five year old just not touch the crayons on their desk let alone that fidget with a mass for eight hours in the school day that’s just not realistic and I think it just and I so I bring up that to say that if we had more diverse perspectives whether it’s gender whether it’s race whether it’s occupation if we had more educators making policy would we get the results that we have today and I think that question is is we would have very different results so the results that were put out from the state of Connecticut as a matter of fact I want to say yesterday or two days ago I would say and I’m being taped recorded that I don’t think they’re worth of paper that it’s it’s written on because it’s just so unrealistic and I think Kobe starts to bring up a point about like what is education and we have done a very good job of talking about the academics but education is significantly more broad and comprehensive than that education is about the academic and scholarly work education is about being able to understand your world and your community around you education is about being able to build relationships with the people with you it’s a much more broader perspective than can you answer things on a test and when you would you have very different interactions and sometimes little to no interactions that we’ve had over the last few months and then expect our children to then do well in the classroom it’s an fundamentally unfair expectation so we’re gonna have to reframe that and we are also going to have to reframe so I’m pretty confident especially when you look at some of the rising kovin numbers and other states that we’re probably going to be continuing distance learning and having a shift with making parents understand and making the community understand one that education is not just a profession and a career but is an academic field and study and it takes mastery and expertise to do that so I think we finally might start to see teachers and educators and administrators as the experts that they are because they’ve been undervalued for years predominantly because of who’s typically has been leading education especially have the early education levels women and people of color when we were blatantly segregated not quite so much more but definitely it’s been a woman led field which is why it’s been undervalued so I think we are going to start to see that parent in the community recognize that teaching kids is very difficult and I will say as someone that is not a classically trained educator trying to teach a child to read is literally one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done in my life to the point of impossibility because I didn’t have the skills to understand all the different people like reading you think it’s just like okay this letter the sound especially in English it’s really really difficult so the point is is that we’re going to have to have a major shift in expectations we’re gonna have a major conversation and change in the role of Education and we’re also going to have to have clear role clarity on what are the expectations and commitments from educators were the commitments and expectations for children were the commitments and expectations for the community for what skin everyone in the entire educational process is it okay if I continue that conversation actually or would you like to ask the next special go right ahead okay and we’ll just a few of the things that were said by the two of you I just want to respond to I mean one is that thank you I have had the same thoughts when I look at the directives coming out of the state and the things we need to implement in our schools to get the kiddos back we are going to be encouraging masks frequent hand-washing you know physical distancing lunches to go instead of eating and I you know cafeteria style you know extensive considerations about air flow and you know we’ve become a sanitary environment to bring kiddos back to school and and the truth is that we have to because we have a teachers union who has you know an age you know many of our teachers are of a certain age it’s more vulnerable

and if we’re gonna bring kiddos back to school and provide safe environments for our teachers you know we have we have to respond to these directives coming from the state as well as the fact that Colby you know you’re talking about local control and there’s a lot of perks about local control but for us to have any power at the state or federal level then we as local school boards must be united because you know if we’re going to ask for funding decisions you know based on standardized the fact that we don’t implement standardized tests then all of the local school districts in the state of Oregon doing the same thing gives us power but if we started to have you know Wessling Wilsonville is doing one thing and you know but Portland Public Schools is doing a different thing than we’ve just lost a lot of power and the one thing I would like to say too is it you know child care is a major issue so if we’re not gonna have our kiddos going back to school and we’re going to look at things like equity you know I heard the phrase good stable family well the truth is that there are some good stable families to have one parent has to go to work every day and we have good stable families to have two parents in the house I have to go to work every day you know and there are essential workers and those kiddos are home alone if they’re not going to school and so we’re gonna have a childcare crisis as well as an education crisis if we can’t get our kiddos back in school yeah and I think that speaks to the circumstance and many people people are facing across the country I have a friend in the Fairfax County Virginia public school system and the teachers are very reluctant to go back to school because of the numbers within the county and so she has to be at work every day and it’s like grappling with finding a way to continue to educate her children to the best of her ability but understanding like cue said that her gift is not an educator and doesn’t want to do her children the disservice of you know providing that education but not being able to fully be there because she also has to work so I think that is a really good um a really good I guess question that we’re proposing now because we want the children to go back to school and if the state and the health care the state helps and our governors are saying that it’s safe enough having those teachers input on whether if they feel safe I’m especially like you said Chelsea for those who are in the demographics of 80 um you know 50 and older who are still presently teaching so I know states state government state legislature isn’t the only institution private or public that is contributing to if students go back to school or the viability of they stay home um what do you think the role of corporations are in providing technology because I know Kobe spoke to you know he represents a lot of rural communities how is the connectivity in some of those rural places hi Kobe can you hear us oh yeah I’m sorry you know that was that was for me yeah how are the connectivity out in the rural communities if some of them say decide to stay within their stay within their homes distant learning it’s incredibly poor and one of the things that yes it’s not a silver lining in this but this is certainly the distance learning is certainly highlighted the inequities in our state and our school board members were vocal about that and I guess there’s some good news that the federal government you know through the cares Act did allocate money to all the states related to education some directly to districts some to governor’s for the purposes of education our state has decided to use the bulk of the governor’s funding to buoy up and the infrastructure of to technology access whether it be mobile hotspots actual devices that students can use but our rural school boards have been fighting for that for years and it never became a priority until this year and now we’ve got a unique situation where our governor is gonna spend money on that and we’re very appreciative on that and we think you know this coldest stuff will be gone hopefully sooner than later but now we’ve got an opportunity to really improve access through the technology and we have had some private corporations step up they haven’t been as altruistic as you’d like them to think but they really have been a partner with us so we’re excited about the the cares a plan has been huge for our state we’re doing things we could have done without it have there been any public-private partnerships within your communities that are supporting your education

system so we so will talk about two things one the school that I work for it’s a charter school and a charter school is a public school but it is as private management in the sense of we don’t report at the board of education we have our own board that we report to separately and that school because of the underfunding from the state side if we didn’t have private donations and supporters and investors we couldn’t actively run the school most the highest performing school teacher in the entire state is Connecticut but the one that I really want to talk about is the public-private partnership that just happened in Connecticut for the entire state for the public school system and it failed miserably where it got off the ground they did their hiring had a few months of meetings and then immediately fired their director and dissolve the entire thing so I think there’s multiple roles that private industry would have an education system but the fact of the matter is that we really have to look at well one they could pay their fair amount of taxes I think that’s one way that they can support public education if we had a truly equitable and progressive taxation system throughout our country I think that would be their best way to do their part but what I think the what we’ll see is a calling on especially those that you already have relationships with and as clients or you have contracts with that what we should be doing moving forward is that there should be a clause in these contracts that there is some sort of give back or what’s going to partnership so it’s not just a one-way street where we give money and we get a service but they also have an investment in how well the materials that they provide actually help propel student achievement you know if I may I’d like to take this conversation just one step further I mean what we’re seeing now that Kovach brought us and I do think it is a gift is that it’s glitter it’s shining a light on vast inequities between the haves and have-nots and that has to do with income but it also has to do with where one lives and what we’re seeing is that the internet and communications companies have been privatized they have very little obligation to the public unlike when telephone came about electricity and water those were public utilities and we can see widespread access across vast rural stretches of space where people have equal access to water electricity telephone we don’t have that for internet and so when you talk about corporate responsibility and I think nowadays the internet is access to livelihood the Internet is access to looking for a job it’s access to paying your bills it’s access to education I mean this is this is a utility that needs to be a public utility and widely and dare I say free access to everybody in our country yeah I think a lot of corporations are realized and then many of the work or a lot of the work that they thought needed to be done within the office can be translated remotely because we need you we’re in a state where we’re finding new in different ways just like a sieve idea where we’re transitioning most of if not all of our part we’ll all of our programs to virtual and still being able to have the connectivity and we’re finding it vital to sustaining our business so yeah I think that’s really important moving for for industries to recognize that it’s imperative just like water just like any of the other needs that we have within our homes so have you for Oregon I know you’re gonna be in a hybrid program how are your students now I know in our previous discussion you talked about providing hotspots to them is everyone now connected or as part of your hybrid implementations that continue to give those hotspots and left and assessing the needs as you continue or how was that funding going it’s or is that going to be a part of the funding conversation a little later on yeah well I think you know Q touched on it earlier when he said that the way that we fund public education through things like property taxes is one of the drivers of inequity in westlin Wilsonville we have an amazing reputation for passing our capital bonds and Local Option levies we pass it every single time that local option levy gives us 80 additional teachers in our schools and that capital bond just gave us two hundred and six million dollars to spend on building new infrastructure buying technology so in

Westland Wilsonville everybody that didn’t already have you know broadband high-speed Wi-Fi has a hotspot provided by the district everybody who needed it has a Chromebook and so we have a hundred percent connectivity from an infrastructure perspective not necessarily from a parental support in the household or if you start to talk about you know kiddos with special education needs the kinds of supports they have but if we’re just talking about hardware nuts and bolts infrastructure were covered my sister lives in rural Southern Oregon and they they’re not covered I mean her school district is funded very differently they have a very high need their community does not pass capital bonds and local option levies they were not given devices they were not given a hotspot and so her kids in rural Southern Oregon are going to have a very different experience of distance learning than our kiddos here in Westland Wilsonville and the thing I think that’s important to remember is that every single family there might be one family somewhere but other than that one family every single family wants what’s best for their kids they want their kids to have a good education they want access to you know livelihood and so you know the fact that people live somewhere else or have a different level of access to these types of things is it has nothing to do with you know their level of desire or drive or motivation you know it has to do with the way that our society and our infrastructure has been built so beyond the Care Act how have how has the economic downturn because I know a lot of unfortunately a lot of people have lost their jobs due to COBIT how is that translated into education funding for the upcoming school year have you all on a state and local level begin to discuss some of the implications of shrinking budgets or increasing budgets what does that look like for your respective areas it’s it’s going to be devastating for our state 50% of our state budget is education k12 and higher ed so if you’re losing state revenue there’s no way you can’t make make that up by without touching education and we have a real workforce issue but I think it’s going to be exasperated here or you may have seen Nebraska just that recognized last week we have the lowest unemployment in the state which most cases you it is a good thing people who want to work here are working but we have an aging educational workforce who is probably not coming back and then Plus that they’re not going to be taxpayers anymore from an income standpoint either so we’re we’re going to struggle because of this and we’re not unique in that respect across the country Chelsea yeah yes why are we were told to build a budget on 17% reduction that’s you know millions and millions of dollars and they told us the state they is the state they’ll have that we need to budget we’re in the second year of a biennium school budgets work with bienniums and so we were told a year ago that we had a certain number of millions of dollars and we budgeted to spend 49 percent of that which is our practice and then 51 percent the second year so you know to budget it for a certain dollar amount in a biennium and to spend nearly half of what you think you’re going to be told and then in the second year be told 17 percent of your budget for the biennium it’s cut that’s a substantial cut and so we were look we’re looking at you know things like not replacing retiring teachers you know reducing FTE which is full-time equivalency we cut our preschool program because it’s not a state mandated program so we will not be doing preschool we’re doing things like cutting professional development days we had a teacher a mentor program that we’re cutting we cut principals budgets so we’re in a cuts budget and and that’s because you know we rely on the state largely we have our local option levy from our local taxpayers but otherwise we rely on the state to give us what’s called an ABM you know for for students and when we had an economy that was not generating wealth for several months if

you could think about the expense that the state acquired and helping people stay afloat you know things like suspending rent payments increased access to food benefits you know the unemployment Oh in Oregon with an unemployment Fiasco that included the director being fired by the governor you know people still haven’t received money from what they applied for back in March I mean so it’s a really complicated financial situation interestingly when you leave a bunch of people at home one of the places it turns out that they like to spend money is in marijuana dispensaries so one of the industries where we actually generated more revenue what was in the cannabis industry we saw an Oregon sales skyrocket and fortunately we had already you know decriminalized legalized and regulated that industry and so all that cannabis sell is actually being taxed and and that money will go into the state fund as well q from a legislators perspective what kind of conversations have you all been having is your are you all in session have you had any emergency sessions to discuss the new education funding budget that’s a fun question so we ended our session so our typically our session we have it’s in two different cycles the first year of the cycle is January to June the second year cycle is from February to May we essentially ended session in early March like a week before March 14th and then had no session days until the end of session like literally no legislation passed at all we are supposed to go back into session in January sweet up sherry in July so in a week or two to talk about covert relief police accountability in elections because right now in Connecticut if you are not sick or out of the state you cannot have access to a absentee ballot so we need to make provisions to change that so that we can actually vote in November without getting mass amounts of people’s um sick or ill or at least put their lives in danger to vote which does doesn’t seem right in the year 2020 with that said we pushed back like most of the country on the ability to file your tax returns so we are looking at receipts to come I want to say on July 15th I’m afraid with July 15th or all 15 almost in July 15 fell correctly and we are already expecting a three billion dollar deficit than what we were anticipating which means significant amounts of cuts now mind you over the years we have already cut what some folks they said we’re not even in the muscle or fat anymore we’re not even at the bone anymore we’re talking the proverbial metaphorical like severing limbs like this is going to be a very very tough budget in education or for for everything to be frank which is scary because I mean I think as Chelsea talked about our Department of Labor they saw in the last three months typically what they see in two years and the amount of people that have filed on so they are still significantly behind they have caught up a little bit but they are still behind but they have been large components of saying that we need to invest in a human capital part of our state’s infrastructure for years and they’ve always said that they are down about 50% of the people that it would take in case of an emergency so we think we have to fundamentally change how we’re doing things how that is going to impact education so you’ve heard me mentioned the school that I work for several times the number one school district in the state of Connecticut if you had not heard me mention it for the first three times there’s one more time the school is wasn’t always intended to be a pre-k through eighth grade program this year they eliminated at least for one year our pre-k program to save money so not bringing in and more students welcome to the highest performing school district an entire state of Connecticut but they have also denied the our ability to go from kindergarten to eighth grade so eliminating our middle school too so they and by high-performing things like here’s some quick examples eighty-six percent of our students are at grade level in mathematics 95 I have it backwards 95 percent of our students are at grade level of mathematics eighty-six percent of them are at grade level in English language arts typically in an urban district or suburban district like ours you would send out a press release if you had 40 percent or 50 percent of your students at grade level and we are said well above that so we are school school district is performing very similar to some would leave richest

areas in the entire country so Greenidge New Canaan dairy an it’s where a lot of the investment bakers that work in on Wall Street they live in in our state and these in these very very extremely wealthy neighborhoods and communities and our schools even outperforming those schools and they’ve eliminated it they’ve eliminated it so if they would are willing to eliminate the ability to serve children from the highest performing school district I am incredibly terrified of what they’re going to be willing to do for special education students for english-language learn for English language learners and to be frank for all of our metropolitan urban cities they’ve always been underfunded and I have a feeling that are gonna be continued to be underfunded and underserved and I was a significant problem concern with that thank you yeah I think that’s a concern was of course like Chelsea said everyone wants their children to do well and as someone who doesn’t have children I want the people who will be taking care of me and who will be taking care of all of us and just trying to grow their futures on to be well-educated and have the ability to be successful and as they get older so I think that’s something that we’re all gonna have to be keeping our eye out for I want to turn to Oh show me Anne to say one thing also about what you said is that I’ve often heard though you know we want our the future of our country to be skilled you know to take care of the next population and stuff like that and let us not forget that true vibrant healthy democracy relies on a literate populous and so we need to have a population that can critically think that can read and interpret text that can formulate opinions that can understand the complex system around them and make decisions based on accurate information and data and so alright the vibrancy of our democracy rests on it not just whether or not there’s a skilled workforce to take care of me when you know I’m in a nursing home someday yeah and just to be able to survive on your own I know my generation with the fake news or just deciphering all these different media outlets and being able to decipher what is and what isn’t relevant for you in your life what is it real news in this digital area where everyone was a phone as a reporter or a journalist and you have a lot of small to medium to large media outlets it’s just really important like you said to be able to have those abilities to analyze contacts and data in order to inform your votes inform the houses you buy to inform the food that you should give your children and how to take care of yourself if you were ever to be sick and being able to have those informed conversations with health care professionals it’s just really important for us to continue to invest in our education system but I thank you for that cute I know you all are gonna continue to have those talks and hopefully we can invite you all back so we can find out what happens at the end of this first school year I just want to pivot quickly we have a few of our audience members who have gracefully sent us some questions so I just wanted to send some of those out one question is play isn’t all fun and games it serves as an important role in teaching kids how to interact with others reach critical developmental milestones and learn stem and steam skills how our school how can schools continue to incorporate play into the curriculum while social distance E and eLearning are they likely to stay well since these are learning and social distancing that are likely to stay for the near future I open that up to anyone – oh my goodness about first Jillian there we go so two-part structure to that question so one especially get the early education areas I think and many times we often over almost any overvalue play but I would say that we undervalue academics in a sense of at pre-k and kindergarten I think we could definitely be doing a lot better job at having children learn the skills to be able to learn the fundamentals to be able to read and write and just kind of like following the rules of like a classroom management and like what it means to be a student or a scholar so sitting in being attentive not talking when others are I think we could focus on those skills while also engaging in play because the playing is worse if a lot of the communication skills are learn setting boundaries all really really important skills how to do that at the earliest education levels is a little different it’s a it’s very difficult right like how do you get a four year old that doesn’t know how to type doesn’t know their letters to be able to perform on a computer that’s that that can be difficult which is actually one of the reasons why the school that I work for was amendable to eliminate in the pre-k program because they couldn’t efficiently execute its model with pre-k for students if we don’t have the

children in front of us that’s just very very difficult for what they’re trying to teach for the later grades I think what we can do is because we’ve often overvalued play in the sense of physicality right sports is often used physical education and gym and throwing balls and that sort of thing very it’s often how we have used play to teach I think what we can do is start to be and I’m going to get to my geeky side for a second using whether it’s video games or role plays not necessarily dungeon dragons but just what’s gonna pass amounts of Euro gaming’s Settlers of Catan let’s give huge things that we can use to teach kids the same things how to communicate rules mathematics and strategy so on and so forth in our school is actually started to do that which I’m really really proud of in using online gaming platforms to make sure that kids are still building relationships yeah I think we just have to get really creative I know again to refer back to my friend and her children her their school’s decided to do like an online yoga so to see this four-year-old performed he’s like yoga poses that he learned that day is really great and to see his other classmates interact so I think like you said you’re gonna have to figure out how to do it in an academic standpoint to make sure that they learn these skills and to be creative in that sense but then also to do it in a physical way for students who are able so that they can begin to stretch and make sure that they’re still using those motor functions but like you said it’s going to be really interesting to figure out how they can have those communication skills or say if they’re an only child or you can’t play with the kids in the neighborhood and have that you know have to have that social distancing so it’s gonna be really interesting to see how they how they figure that out another question we have is my wife as a teacher in the Fairfax County OH shout outs of Virginia and the tentative F CPS reopening plans does not make us confident that it will be safe or t for teachers and students what are the things that school districts must do to ensure that teachers and students are safe I’ll pop in here unless Colby I know I’ve been talking more so if you okay it this is a fascinating kovat question one that I’ve been really considering with friends is that this time is calling on us you know Q was talking about learning communication skills and boundaries that’s what kovat 19 is bringing us we all need to be able to make decisions about our comfort level you know our risk tolerance be responsible for our own behaviors and communicate our boundaries and so giving options and not being punitive if people choose an option that works for them so for example a teacher it needs to decide if he if they can do distance learning or place-based and that’ll be based on their risk tolerance and you know their bubble that they want to create and the same is true with our families each individual family needs to decide if we go back to school and a hybrid model they get a choice they want to do all distance learning or do they want to come back into school and then there’ll be a thousand little choices in between they have to do with whether or not you wear masks whether or not you wash hands what you do with your free time how often you go to the grocery store you know do you go the family vacay reunion or not and that’s gonna all this is embedded in you know knowing my own personal boundaries you knowing yours and that’s being willing to be responsible for our choices and make informed choices it’s really what it’ll come down to any last statements from our panelists before we conclude this Town Hall thank you a cyp all thank you and I just wanted to say to our audience thank you for joining us for this three-part series I’ve had a wonderful time time learning about our education system and all of the things that our districts across this country are going to be dealing with and grappling with as they return to the classroom as our exchange we’re transitions to virtual engagement during the Cova 19 pandemic it’s vital that we measure the impact and effects of our virtual Town Hall series for our fountain fire funders we seek to do this via a short exit survey that will ask you all to take note of on one key takeaway that you learn from this session in addition to a few other questions zooom attendees may view the survey link on the zoom post attendee screen and will also receive and it receive it in their email tomorrow viewers on Facebook Life and YouTube can finds the survey link in the video description on the receptive platforms on the respective platforms I’m sorry thank you in advance for taking the survey and helping us to

measure the impact and our programming during this time so if you just want to say one thing that you learned let us know how your communities are being impacted and something that you want to see next time that we do this town hall I hope that you all tune in again as we can see in these town halls and you know just engaging and learning about all of the different things that affect all of our community communities across this nation so again I thank you so much to our panelists chelsea q and Colby I hope you have a wonderful for for the July weekend thank you Mike we’ll be Ashley