Robert Balfanz: Rally “People Power” to Undo Pandemic Learning Loss
The world is only beginning to come to grips with the educational costs inflicted by COVID-19, but Johns Hopkins’ Robert Balfanz is working on a solution to learning loss that can help students catch up. He envisions a nationwide corps of adults working hand in hand with teachers helping students succeed.
Balfanz recently joined in a White House rollout of the National Partnership for Student Success (NPSS), a public-private collaboration between the U.S. Department of Education, AmeriCorps, Balfanz’s Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, and over 100 nonprofit organizations that aims to add 250,000 tutors, mentors, success coaches, post-secondary advisers, and other supports to America’s schools in the next three years.
“There are pragmatic, evidence-based solutions out there in the research and in practice that can help, right now, but they require ‘people power’ on a national scale to move the needle,” Balfanz says. “The NPSS aims to help engineer this by delivering trained, supported, and vetted adults into America’s schools to work side by side with principals, educators, and counselors to give support to learners who need it most and keep them connected to their schools.”
To build and prepare this corps of educators, NPSS will partner with local communities and nonprofits, leverage existing federal COVID-19 relief funding, and deliver requisite training. Candidates will be drawn from university work-study programs, corporations and public employers rallying their employees to volunteer, AmeriCorps national service programs, and youth-centered community organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, United Way, and the YMCA. The partnership’s legions will then fan out across the country, helping students develop the skills they need to succeed in school and throughout life.
There are pragmatic, evidence-based solutions out there in the research and in practice that can help, right now, but they require ‘people power’ on a national scale to move the needle.
Robert Balfanz, PhD
Director, Everyone Graduates Center
LEADING THE REBOUND
The U.S. Department of Education, AmeriCorps, and Johns Hopkins introduce the “National Partnership for Student Success” to address the educational effects of COVID-19. Evidence-based help is out there, says Robert Balfanz, professor and director of the Everyone Graduates Center, who will lead Johns Hopkins’ participation, if we can muster the “people power” to bring it to life.
WHITE HOUSE EVENT ON STUDENT SUCCESS
The U.S. Department of Education, AmeriCorps, and Johns Hopkins launch the National Partnership for Student Success at a special White House briefing.
ON DESIGNING EDUCATION
Professor Robert Balfanz, director of the Johns Hopkins Everyone Graduates Center, takes a turn behind the mic with “Designing Education,” a series of conversations with education leaders on new ideas and evidence-based strategies for overhauling the American education system. The first three episodes are available now.
U.S. HIGH SCHOOLS MUST TAKE NOTE AND TAKE ACTION AFTER DISMAL NAEP SCORE REPORT
In this Hechinger Report op-ed, Robert Balfanz, director of the Everyone Graduates Center and coauthor Angela Jerabek, founder and executive director of the BARR Center, spell out the urgent work needed to get students successfully back on track and ready for college.
AS ABSENTEEISM SOARS, SCORES SUFFER
Robert Balfanz talked to The Washington Post about chronic absenteeism brought on by the pandemic and the resulting drop in test scores. The two go hand in hand, he says: “If [you] are getting less instruction … you’re going to be able to answer fewer questions on the tests.”
A DISTRESSING DROP IN GRADUATION
The Everyone Graduates Center’s Robert Balfanz talked to EducationWeek about the troubling plunge in graduation rates over the last few years, the first declines in a decade and a half. To reverse the trends, Balfanz argues, educators need to look past mere academic recovery to reignite their students’ passion for and connection to learning.
Grad Nation Report
STUDENT SUPPORT MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER
In this 90-minute program, Bob Balfanz and the Everyone Graduates Center convene a panel of experts to talk about their Corps for Student Success (CSS) Framework—an evidence-based, locally driven system of student supports to address short- and long-term educational needs
A new book by professors Martha Abele Mac Iver and Bob Balfanz seeks to boost high school graduation and postsecondary preparedness through a process of continuous improvement in five key areas.
CENTER FOR THE SOCIAL ORGANIZATION OF SCHOOLS
The center maintains a staff of full-time sociologists, psychologists, social psychologists, and educators who conduct programmatic research to improve the education system, as well as full-time support staff engaged in developing curricula and providing technical assistance to help schools use the center’s research.
At the Johns Hopkins School of Education, our research builds on evidence in new and dynamic ways to bring practical, scalable ideas to education’s foremost challenges.