US Education Policy

How Governors and Mayors Can Support Schools So Schools Can Support Students

July 22, 2020  • Education and Society Program

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Schools are getting plenty of advice regarding reopening. What schools aren’t getting is enough material support to meet the needs of students and families.

There is a growing recognition that reopening schools is vital for students’ well-being and academic learning, as well as parents’ well-being and their ability to resume anything approaching normal work routines. Whatever the mode of instruction next year — in-person, online, a hybrid approach — school systems urgently need more support to access the resources their students and families need so educators can do their essential work.  As the needs of children and families continue to grow and compound — through the pandemic, the economic upheaval, and the racism and racial reckoning gripping the country — addressing health and well-being are essential foundations for learning. 

But schools cannot do it alone.

Governors and mayors are driving pandemic response. While they have varying levels of direct responsibility for schools, governors and mayors can use the power of their offices to support schools for the 2020-21 school year, this includes expanding and ensuring broadband access and addressing technical considerations around school operations and schedules to ensure health and safety. In addition to these areas of focus, governors and mayors play an important role in making sure wellness and health supports are as robust as possible for students and staff. This document suggests concrete actions state and local leaders can take now to make sure schools have access to money, people, and collaborative structures that ultimately benefit students, families, and society.