It’s November, classes are in full swing, and we (each and as a community) have adjusted to this new school year. We have been comforted by the familiar return to new and old rhythms, yet remain surrounded by very high levels of uncertainty around both the immediate and long-term effects that COVID has had on our education systems, our children, our families, and our work lives.
And yet, in the midst of this uncertainly the work continues. At Spencer, we remain committed to supporting scholarly research in education, reimagining education, and creating equitable education systems. There is no better time to dig into this work, to engage as a collective, and to lean into the openings that rapid social change has fostered to create something new. We have spent much of the past several months figuring out the best ways for us to do these things, and in spite of the challenges, we have made some headway.
This newsletter offers some updates on our grantmaking and our current activities, including lists of recently awarded grants and three recent Spencer-commissioned White Papers on Dimensions of Racial Equity. I’d also like to share that last month we released the first of what will be a series of articles in Phi Delta Kappan focused on reimagining education. The second installment, Possible Futures: A curriculum that promotes civic ends and meets developmental needs by Carol Lee, was released last week. Over the course of this series, we ask a range of scholars to respond to one of the following questions: What will the goals, the scope, and the shape of the preK-12 curriculum look like in 25 years? What kinds of teaching and learning will be most prevalent? How will we assess the performance of students, teachers, and schools? How will the teaching profession have changed? How will our public schools interact with families and local community organizations, government agencies, businesses, health care providers, and other institutions? How will we fund public education and ensure the equitable allocation of educational resources? And what will have changed about the infrastructure of educational policy, governance, and decision making?
Our goal is to describe a set of possible futures that can inform and perhaps inspire the next generation of practitioners, researchers, advocates, and policymakers as they think through their plans and priorities for education. As you’ll see in the coming months, these pieces are not meant to offer firm predictions of what our schools will look like in the year 2047. Rather, they aim to provoke, inviting us all to think deeply and creatively about the kinds of educational systems we hope to create.
We are also incredibly proud to announce our new initiative on Indigenous Education. We are undertaking a set of activities, led by our Senior Vice President Megan Bang, to focus on research in our field about the current state and the future of Indigenous Education. As you will read about in the announcement included in this newsletter, our goal is to support and galvanize the community of scholars doing work in this area, and to think together about the cutting edges of the field of research on Indigenous education and its critical role in educational equity.
As always, we are grateful for your work, your scholarship, your thinking, and your contributions to the field of education research. May this fall bring you much joy and generative thinking and work and find you happy and whole.