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Hosted by Jim Cowen from the Collaborative for Student Success, this podcast travels the country on a kind of “road trip” to talk about the ways federal recovery dollars are being used in states to reshape education. Along the way, we’ll hold up the best examples – with the hope that those practices are repeated in other schools.


Guests will include education commissioners, district superintendents, parents, and others who can give insight into how the funds are flowing. Look for the Route K-12 Podcast wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts weekly starting on June 13th.

Season 2, Episode 3: A Journalist’s Perspective on Education Recovery

Linda Jacobson, senior writer at the 74 Million, uses her unique point of view to talk education recovery in the media—how her outlet is approaching stories about what assessment results are showing and how federal recovery funds are being spent to drive improved outcomes for students. She describes the tension between identifying the good but not sugarcoating challenges, and the importance of lifting up the voices of school leaders, students and families.

Jim Cowen and Linda Jacobson


Season 2, Episode 2: The COVID Generation

Mike Petrilli, the president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, describes what’s needed to make a significant and long-lasting impact on America’s schools. He argues that the life-altering impact learning loss has had on students should motivate leaders to seek out the best practices and investments transforming outcomes for students.

Jim Cowen and Michael Petrilli


Season 2, Episode 1: Quadrupling Down on Education Funding

Join Collaborative for Student Success Director Jim Cowen and guest Maryland State Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury as they discuss the toll COVID-19 disruptions had on students and how Maryland is quadrupling down on federal funding with a state investment in public schools of over $4 billion. Listen in to hear about Maryland’s “very historic moment” for students and schools.

Jim Cowen and Mohammed Choudhury


Episode 6: An Education Researcher Sounds the Alarm on Learning Loss

Tom Kane, an education economist from Harvard, describes the urgent need to address pandemic learning loss while federal recovery funds are available to support states and districts. He argues that district leaders need to be transparent with parents about what it’s going to take to get students caught up and discusses what research shows is effective in helping them do so.

Jim Cowen and Tom Kane


Episode 5: Alaska Doubles Down on Career and Technical Education

Brad Billings, the career and technical education program administrator in Alaska, describes steps the Last Frontier has taken to bolster career and technical education using federal recovery funds. Efforts include the development of a resource clearinghouse serving industry representatives, schools, university systems and others as well as funding skills camps. Billings also tells of how career and technical education has transformed to better help students develop more advanced skills.

Jim Cowen and Brad Billings


Episode 4: State Legislators Walk the Education Recovery Tightrope

Austin Reid, senior legislative director for the National Conference of State Legislatures, shares the nuts and bolts on how states are distributing federal recovery funds and what role state legislators play in the process. He also dives into how labor shortages are impacting the ability of states and school districts to spend recovery funds and the need for more accurate and actional data to help shape recovery-focused decisions.

Jim Cowen and Austin Reid


Episode 3: Is It Working? Connecticut Leads in Evaluating K-12 Recovery Spending

Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker explains how Connecticut has partnered with colleges and universities to determine the effectiveness of summer school and other programs funded by recovery dollars. In turn, Connecticut has become a leader in the transparent spending of federal funds, as well as in engaging students and their communities in determining how federal dollars should be invested.

Jim Cowen and Charlene Russel-Tucker