March 11, 2021

Learning pods popped up like mushrooms after Covid struck as the answer du jour for wealthy parents who could afford private tutors. But across the nation, nonprofits on their own or with districts, began creating more inclusive forms serving low-income families. They’ve provided tutoring, social and emotional support, and, in the case of Oakland REACH’s City-Wide Virtual Hub, martial arts, science activities, summer school, K-2 literacy classes and family liaisons for hundreds of children and parents.

This week, we check in again with Oakland REACH CEO Lakisha Young, who describes her learning hub’s evolution. It just received $900,000 to partner with Oakland Unified to expand its work. And we talk with Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education, which selected Oakland REACH for funding, on why learning hubs are worth watching.

We also speak to policy analyst Desiree Carver Thomas, lead author of a report by the Palo Alto-based Learning Policy Institute that examined the pandemic’s potential to worsen teacher shortages and widen staffing inequities in low-income schools, unless the state and districts double down on solutions that work.

For background on these issues, check out the following: