- Jill Rosen
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Johns Hopkins University today joined an inaugural group of 26 universities pledging federal work study funds to address K-12 learning loss, answering a call for service from the Biden Administration to help close achievement gaps heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S. Department of Education called on colleges, universities, and school districts to use federal work study or other resources to increase the number of college students supporting K-12 schools and after-school programs. The administration encouraged universities to set a goal of using at least 15% of their work study funds for community service within the next two years, and to devote the increase to employment of students as tutors, mentors, student success coaches, and other high-impact support roles in the community.
"We know the profound impact of the pandemic on K-12 students in Baltimore. They have lost months and years of academic preparation that will have lingering effects on their economic opportunity in the years to come," said Johns Hopkins University President Ron Daniels. "Our work-study students will be able to make a measurable and meaningful difference in the lives of future learners while also learning new skills and engaging with our neighbors and communities."
Today's announcement advances the work of the National Partnership for Student Success, announced last year, where the Biden administration, working with the Johns Hopkins Everyone Graduates Center and AmeriCorps, pledged to help students and schools recover from the impacts of the pandemic and thrive by recruiting an additional 250,000 tutors and mentors over three years. Johns Hopkins Distinguished Professor Robert Balfanz, director of the Everyone Graduates Center, oversees the National Partnership for Student Success Support Hub, which aims to increase the number of adults serving as mentors, tutors, and post-secondary transition coaches in P-12 schools and after-school programs. This includes developing quality standards and providing both technical assistance and training programs.
"Coming out of the pandemic, we know that our students have a range of needs. We know there are evidence-based supports to address these needs. What we are lacking is the people-power to form supporting relationships with students and provide these supports," Balfanz said. "That is why we are so excited that Johns Hopkins is among the initial cohort of schools launching NPSS' Institutes of Higher Education Coalition to significantly increase the number of college students providing these supports in schools and after-school programs."
The group of 26 inaugural colleges and universities includes: Arizona State University, Howard University, Montgomery College, Grand Valley State University, University of Michigan, New York University, State University of New York (SUNY) System (Campuses: Buffalo State, Binghamton, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Courtland, Old Westbury, Oneonta, Onondaga Community College, Rockland, Tompkins Cortland Community College, Upstate, and University of Albany), Rhodes State College, University of Memphis, Texas A&M University System (Campuses: Central Texas and Kingsville), Longwood University, University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Tech University.
"Our colleges and universities have always been a driving force in solving America's greatest challenges; and, today, we're calling on these critical institutions to stand up once again by using Federal Work Study and other dollars to help accelerate learning and recovery in our K-12 schools," said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. "I applaud the 26 colleges and universities that are leading the way as early adopters of this effort by answering the call and partnering with the National Partnership for Student Success in this work."