by Kevin J. Gray, President and Chief Content Officer
Earlier this month, I attended the EdWeek Market Brief Summit. The annual event has proven to be an excellent source for information and perspectives that help us understand how the education market is evolving and changing.
Here are some of the top themes and topics we found interesting and are watching:
- States and local school boards are using language that started with a Trump executive order (rescinded by the Biden administration) to police the way teachers are able to discuss race and racism. The laws appear to be intentionally vague and are having a chilling effect in the classrooms, although resistance cropping up in places like Arizona and Oklahoma seems to be providing some teachers and districts the ability to address these topics.
- Despite the concern around how to talk about race, 72 percent of districts are still working to enact DEI policies and DEI-related changes. Many districts are looking for professional development related to how to talk about race, and schools are hungry for educational materials that reflect the diversity in their classrooms, seeking out materials that are written by and highlight historically marginalized perspectives.
- Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 still looms large in schools, with many district leaders and teachers wrestling with how to address gaps in learning caused by the unevenness of the last two school years. Assessment plays a key part in diagnosing skills gaps, but there is a fair bit of uncertainty about how best to assess students.
- Finally, a lot of the COVID-related discussion revolves around how to support students beyond just academics. The interest in social-emotional learning continues as a way to mitigate some of the trauma students have experienced during the pandemic. And schools are still wrestling with what place does virtual and online learning have moving forward.
These topics are likely to dominate for some time the discussions with educators and those creating products for the classroom. We are applying the findings from these discussions in the work we’re doing with our ed tech and publisher clients and will be tracking on the ways these concerns continue to evolve.
As you are identifying your content requirements that have an emphasis on social-emotional learning and DEI, talk with Westchester Education Services about how our content development and culturally responsive education reviews can ensure your products are academically sound and respectful of all learners.