As school winds down for this year, discussion in education circles has turned to next year. After a spring of uneven distance learning and a long summer, should classes pick up where they were last March—or where they would normally start? Should they ask those who did not participate in distance learning to repeat a year?
But these questions miss the point. All students arrive, every year, at different stages in their academic growth. Some are multiple years behind grade level; some are near grade level but have gaps in their learning, topics they have never mastered. And some are at or above grade level.
Schools full of low-income children have struggled with this reality for years, because many of their students are years behind grade level. Many charter schools were founded to serve such students, and they have led the search for answers.
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