In March 2020, school districts across the country were forced to close their doors due to the worldwide health crisis caused by the novel coronavirus. CRPE responded to the unprecedented disruption of learning by quickly turning our attention to district and state responses to COVID-19.

Databases and Analysis

Beginning in March, CRPE researchers compiled a database of school district plans from across the country, constantly adding new indicators to reflect the rapidly changing realities on the ground and producing regular analysis

This work has shaped the public debate and informed media coverage of critical issues related to distance learning. Major newspaper editorial pages, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times, have regularly cited CRPE’s work. Our experts have appeared in national and regional outlets such as NPR, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, BBC NewsPolitico, TIME, the Houston Chronicle, USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Boston Globe. We’ve been in close contact with the education media, talking to reporters from EdWeek, Education Dive, Chalkbeat’s national and regional sites, EdSource, and The Hechinger Report. We have also partnered with The 74 to share insights from our database and thought leadership from experts on what it will take for schools to reopen effectively.

Partnerships and Presentations

The district database catalyzed several spinoff efforts from organizations, such as the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, EducationNC, ConnCAN, and DelawareCAN. is using data collected by CRPE on their site to provide parents, advocacy organizations, and education leaders with information about distance learning.

Closing the Gap between Research, Practice, and Policy

In May, Robin Lake delivered remarks to members of the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee on the impact of COVID-19. CRPE’s research team has received dozens of requests for advice and guidance from practitioners and policymakers at the district, state, and federal levels, and has been asked to present at multiple virtual conferences and webinars. CRPE team members presented at a webinar about school closures and e-learning hosted by the Council of State Governments Midwestern Legislative Conference Education Committee, as well as a webinar to the DC Public Charter School Board. Researchers also planned a webinar in partnership with the Washington State Charter Schools Association.

CRPE is working closely with education nonprofits, advocates, funders, and policymakers to share ideas and discuss potential collaboration. Researchers have met with dozens of nonprofit leaders and have been asked to share emerging trends with district leaders across the country. Robin Lake has also been invited to provide strategic guidance about the challenges and opportunities presented by this moment to a number of national foundations. 

Recognizing that in times of crisis, knowledge must flow freely and quickly, CRPE launched the Evidence Project to bring together researchers from around the country to make sure practitioners and policymakers get useful information when it can make a difference. Two months in, we’ve recruited more than 150 researchers from over 100 different organizations and have formed working groups to identify and assess emerging innovations.