NJ Children’s Foundation Announces New Initiative To Measure Impact of Digital Divide & Covid Slide On Children and Families.

The New Jersey Children’s Foundation, a Newark-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting a fact-based discussion about education, today announced a significant new investment to measure the impact of COVID-19 on education in New Jersey. The goal of the initiative is to ensure that education stakeholders have better information about how families are navigating the educational disruption caused by COVID-19 as well as getting better estimates of the scale of student learning loss caused by those disruptions.

“We know that COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on students’ learning experiences, but there’s still a lot we don’t know about the impact of COVID-19 on children and families,” said Kyle Rosenkrans, Executive Director of the New Jersey Children’s Foundation. “Our new initiative will attempt to quantify the impact, and provide a roadmap for policymakers to help New Jersey’s students make up the lost learning time.”

The new initiative will kick off later this fall with a statewide survey of New Jersey parents – done in partnership with renowned public opinion research firm, Global Strategy Group. That poll will measure parent opinions about how their children’s schools and government leaders have handled the crisis, roughly one month into the new school year. Later in the winter, the foundation will commission new research to help estimate the scale of learning loss that New Jersey students will face and push for bold statewide recovery strategies. Each initiative will focus on equity, and therefore examine disparities by race and income–given that previous reporting has shown that students of color and low-income students are far more likely to be facing a digital divide and falling farther behind during the pandemic.

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of a series of efforts by NJCF throughout the spring and summer to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Last spring, the Foundation rolled out a COVID-19 charitable fund to help Newark community-based organizations that are on the front lines supporting families reeling from the pandemic’s effects. The Foundation later released a national study analyzing the resiliency and remote learning practices of the urban school districts and charter school networks with the most “beat the odds” public schools (Newark leads the nation in this ranking). Since March, the Foundation has also been convening Newark’s charter school leaders for weekly meetings about navigating the COVID-19 crisis and helped the schools form a COVID-19 compact to drive their reopening policies. In prior years, NJCF was instrumental in changing the narrative on the City of Newark’s education system, by commissioning an extensive report demonstrating the significant progress its public schools have made over the prior decade

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