Education in the Balance: Tensions Affecting Education’s Future

June 7, 2021

Education leaders at all levels need to grapple with key issues and tensions as they strive to meet learners’ needs, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to understand how to support and empower school systems in tumultuous times, we explore three topics in the series Education in the Balance: Tensions Affecting Education’s Futuresleadership focus, strained systems and contested power. Explore these complex topics and tensions via articles and virtual conversations.

Education in the Balance: Leadership Focus

leadership focus

KnowledgeWorks leaders Karla Phillips-Krivickas and Julianna Charles Brown interviewed Nevada’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jhone Ebert, and Superintendent of Churchill County School District, Dr. Summer Stephens. In the article, “Nevada Centers Equity in Leading Education System Design,” Ebert and Stephens go into greater detail about the work Nevada policymakers and educators are undertaking to re-imagine an education system that is future-ready, resilient, equitable and student-centered.

In this virtual conversation, KnowledgeWorks leaders – Jason SwansonRobin Kanaan and Virgel Hammonds – focus on the role of leadership as learning communities face a critical point of choice. They answer questions like “how do leaders remove barriers” and “what do we want to preserve from the past?”

Education in the Balance: Contested Power

contested power

KnowledgeWorks vice president of policy and advocacy, Lillian Pace, had the opportunity to sit down with Janelle Wood, the Founder of the Black Mothers Forum. Black Mothers Forum is an organization working to educate, organize and take action to end the school to prison pipeline. In the article, “Centering Black Voices and Shifting Power: An Interview with the Black Mothers Forum,” Wood talks about her organization’s work to center marginalized voices in education and policy conversations.

Gregg Seaton and Jason Swanson discuss contested power and how education leaders can help rethink systems and stakeholders through learner agency, transparency, accountability, educator workforce preparation and roles of caregivers. They answer questions like “how is learner agency contributing to systemic change?”

Education in the Balance: Strained Systems

strained systems

In the article, “How Public Schools Can Grow Stronger out of Strained Systems,” KnowledgeWorks leaders Lillian Pace and Rita Pello share details about how COVID-19 disrupted and strained the public education system. And they provide ideas about what it would take for policymakers and communities to revitalize public schools.

KnowledgeWorks’ Lillian Pace and Rita Pello join Jason Swanson in conversation on the impacts of strained systems – including on learners with disabilities, funding allocation and the educator workforce. They answer questions like “how do we address learner variability in the context of a strained system?”

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