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State Strategic Plans Prioritize Learning Recovery

New NASBE analysis sees shift in emphasis for state strategic plans for K-12 education that were developed post-pandemic.

Most state boards of education develop strategic plans to crystallize a long-term vision for K-12 public education, setting goals and strategies around postsecondary readiness, quality education, and student success. However, a new NASBE analysis reveals a shift in recent plans toward learning recovery and other pandemic-related education issues.

The NASBE analysis examines 49 state strategic plans, including those of Guam and the District of Columbia. Among the key findings:

  • Postsecondary Success. Thirty-five (35) state strategic plans prioritize postsecondary success, ensuring students are prepared for college, careers and work, and citizenship.
  • Early Literacy. Twenty-two (22) plans call for early literacy or grade 3 reading proficiency, signaling greater attention to specific learning recovery efforts.
  • Academic Growth. Twenty (20) plans target academic achievement or growth, rigorous coursework (19), and closing achievement or opportunity gaps (19).
  • Educator Effectiveness. Twenty-six (26) plans prioritize recruiting and preparing high-quality teachers. Eighteen (18) focus on strengthening the teacher and leader pipeline.
  • School Environment. Plans frequently call for schools to create safe and supportive learning environments, with seven prioritizing physical safety of school buildings.
  • Family Engagement. Twenty-nine (29) plans elevate family and community engagement. Sixteen (16) set goals for timely, transparent data collection and reporting.

Seventeen of the state plans have been revised since the beginning of 2023 or are in revision. Several states—notable among them Missouri, Illinois, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Virginia—have addressed learning recovery in the wake of the pandemic, setting goals related to digital instruction, tutoring, mental health, and chronic absence.

Missouri, for example, saw a disconnect between their strategic plan and emerging issues from the pandemic. “We realized that the plans weren’t keeping up with how the world was shifting and how the educational climate was shifting,” said Pamela Westbrooks-Hodge, chair of the Missouri state board’s strategic plan revision committee.

Other states have focused on embedding their work to develop a portrait of a graduate into their strategic plans. For example, Washington’s plan asks, “How well do existing graduation requirements and learning standards align with the skills and abilities outlined in the Profile of a Graduate, and where are the gaps?”

Read more from “New State Strategic Plans Zero In on Learning Recovery,” including key process points for strategic plan development.

New State Strategic Plans Zero In on Learning Recovery

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