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Using recent graduates to strategically expand Americorps will help those still in school

Using recent graduates to strategically expand Americorps will help those still in school

By Robert Balfanz
For the Baltimore Sun
June 24, 2020

Our country’s systemic racism combined with inequities exacerbated by COVID-19 threaten a 15-year trend of improving educational advancements of low income and minority students. Unless we take bold action, we are on the precipice of creating a lost generation of students, without secure pathways to adult success, further increasing racial injustice and economic dislocation. A key, immediate step is to expand AmeriCorps to enable all students to receive the supports they need when schools reopen.

We’ve learned that national disasters, when overlaid on existing racial inequities and economic challenges, have negative consequences on education that are long-term and far-reaching. After Hurricane Katrina, it took students in New Orleans nearly two years to recover from the learning disruption and negative consequences stretched on for a decade or more. We can now anticipate a similar “COVID-19” effect with three particularly worrisome impacts: Elementary students will have the largest academic losses; middle and high school students will be at an increased risk of falling off track to high school graduation; and high school juniors and seniors who lost essential college or postsecondary training  transition supports will increase the ranks of out of school and unemployed youth. These effects will be further exacerbated for students of color and those from low income families

Follow this link to read the full commentary on The Baltimore Sun’s website.

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