Group Focused on Future of Education after COVID-19

Staff Writer

MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Vermont Agency of Education’s Continuity of Learning Task Force delivered its final report to Secretary of Education Dan French. The Task Force was composed of Vermont teachers, educational leaders and business leaders. Secretary French established the task force in April and charged it with identifying strategic opportunities in education that might emerge as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. The report: Making Revisions to the Grammar of Schooling is available on the AOE website.
“It was clear even at the beginning of this emergency that COVID-19 would pose significant challenges to our education system,” said Secretary of Education Dan French. “At the same time, we wanted to be alert to the more strategic aspects of our emergency response in the event useful ideas and themes emerged that could be utilized in planning for the future. To that end, I formed this task force in April, independent of our COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, to surface key concepts that we could evaluate and use to inform our future work.”
"Though we are mired in the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is incumbent upon those at all levels in our education system to acknowledge that our current approach to schooling is not working for all students and to start rethinking how we "do school" post-COVID-19,” said Andrew Jones, Director of Curriculum at Mill River Unified Union School District and Chair of the Continuity of Learning Task Force. “This work will not be easy or comfortable. We will need to take a hard look at certain past practices and engage in unlearning to better meet the needs of our students. Now is the time for this to happen. I hope this report can act as a north star for those tasked with upending the entrenched "grammar of schooling" and to inform the shift to a truly student-centered approach to teaching and learning."
The report’s title references the “grammar of schooling,” a longstanding concept in educational leadership that advocates for fundamental changes to the structure and approach to education to support student learning. The task force concluded that the changes to education that COVID-19 has forced are fundamental and present an opportunity for the system to identify ways to innovate, adapt and grow in ways that will ultimately benefit student learning.
The report identifies “noteworthy” practices identified during Vermont’s period of continuity of learning in the spring, and presents recommendations in three areas: Student-Centered Learning, Identifying Educational Malpractices and Crafting Policy Coherence. In each of these areas, the task force presents recommendations to Legislators and Policymakers, State Agencies, School and District Leaders, and Classroom Teachers.