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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #20-28
April 29, 2020
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Creates New Committee with State Leaders Focused on Achievement Gap and Loss of Learning

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced the formation of a new committee created to take an in-depth look at the impact of COVID-19 on student learning in public schools and how solutions identified now can be used to support innovation moving forward.

“This pandemic caused a shift in education that has been disruptive for our schools, our students, and their families,” said Thurmond. “Though our students, families, teachers, and classified staff have made an inspiring shift to distance learning, the changes to public education we’re experiencing during this pandemic are forcing a closer look at the persistent inequities that have faced our students for far too long. It also presents an opportunity to design long-term solutions. I want to start the conversation now and am grateful for all of those who have chosen to take part in this committee to support our students.”

The Loss of Learning Ad Hoc Committee is co-chaired by Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) and E. Toby Boyd, President of the California Teachers Association (CTA), and includes education leaders from Thurmond’s Closing the Achievement Gap work group, an initiative launched last year. The goal of the committee is to apply the lessons learned from schools’ transition to distance learning to strengthen student learning in the months and years ahead.

“I’m very concerned about the loss of learning currently being experienced by our K–12 students, especially those students who are already furthest behind,” said Assemblymember Weber. “While California has made a significant investment to ensure that our schools can continue to serve our students during closure, I fear that it will not be enough to make up for the instructional time our students are missing. During this period, we should be looking at how we will supplement that learning loss with bold new education strategies. I look forward to working with the committee to address this unprecedented challenge.”

“It’s an honor to join Assemblymember Shirley Weber as the co-chair of this important committee. The school closures have been hard on our students, educators, families, and communities,” said CTA President Boyd. “Educators are worried about the health and mental well-being of our students in these anxious times, and we are worried about the students we have not been able to reach. When students physically return to school campuses, it needs to be planned and deliberate with public health at the forefront of all decision-making. We want our students to be safe and ready to learn. This will include safety supports for students and educators. Educators will partner with parents to address any learning loss. When we can physically open schools again, educators will look at what each child needs and work together in determining how best to help each student, especially those who may be struggling.”

 State Superintendent Thurmond will also co-chair the committee, and meeting schedules are currently being defined.

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

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