K-12 Education Recovery Task Force to Serve 16 States

News SREB News Release

Leaders from 16 states will serve on a new regional Education Recovery Task Force to help states determine the best strategies for reopening K-12 public schools, providing each student with the support they need, and planning for a possible COVID-19 resurgence and future emergencies, the Southern Regional Education Board announced today.

The SREB Education Recovery Task Force will be co-chaired by Virginia State Superintendent of Public Instruction James F. Lane and SREB President Stephen L. Pruitt and will convene its first meeting next week.

Plans for the task force emerged from SREB’s frequent consultation with state K-12 education chiefs as the health crisis has unfolded. Members will be appointed by next week and will include state education chiefs or their appointees—including educators who work on the frontlines.

“States will benefit from the task force’s collective expertise as each state strives to make the best proactive decisions for our students, now and for the coming school year,” said Lane, a former county school superintendent who became Virginia’s state superintendent of public instruction in 2018.

“How schools re-open is much more important than how they closed. We must ensure each student has every opportunity to learn, and that the crisis doesn’t hinder states’ improvement in education and strengthening of the workforce,” said Pruitt, who served as the state education commissioner in Kentucky prior to becoming SREB president.

The task force will collaborate on a playbook for states, school districts and individual schools as they consider how to re-open schools when states deem it safe. The task force also will address key issues in the 16 SREB states, from Texas to Delaware, including:

  • Students’ academic growth and any possible learning loss
  • Equity and opportunity for students during and after the crisis
  • Using federal stimulus funds effectively and managing state budget priorities
  • Access to broadband and the use of technology