COVID-19 and Equity in Education: Longitudinal Deep Dive

Masked students raising hands in a classroom

The COVID-19 and Equity in Education: Longitudinal Deep Dive project is creating a broad, in-depth view of how states, districts and their communities—especially those with higher percentages of Black and Latinx students and students experiencing poverty—responded to the pandemic's effect on K-12 learning opportunities. The aim is to understand not just community responses to the pandemic, but how the pandemic has changed core assumptions about how the education system operates in context of community.

An archive of state, district, and community data will enable a broad view of pre-, during, and post-pandemic trends. Ethnographies and community partnerships will provide deeper insights into responses to the pandemic and their outcomes.

The project focuses on six states: California, Florida, New York, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.

The Project's Two-fold Purpose

  • Contribute to the foundation for a field of study focusing on community responses to the pandemic.
  • Empower communities and researchers to examine and implement strategies to improve equity in K–12 education.

Why This Project?

  • The project offers communities, researchers, and education stakeholders nationwide the opportunity to analyze, understand, and act on critical questions about community and education system responses to the pandemic, their recovery, and their resilience and transformation.
  • The project empowers key stakeholders in communities and their education systems to use data and research to improve outcomes for students, with a focus on the trajectories of Black and Latinx students and students experiencing poverty.

Research Questions

  1. How has the pandemic shaped education systems and interacts with other systems (e.g., health, economic, social support) and factors, the experiences and outcomes for their students and families, and the systems’ stakeholders in the short and long term?
  2. How do responses to the pandemic in the short and long term vary across communities?
  3. How can research driven by community-determined priorities inform and support improvements in equity in education during the post-pandemic period?

Project Approach

  • Create a COVID-19 and K–12 education and community longitudinal database: a public dashboard that helps examine education, health, economy, social vulnerability, and employment indicators from 2016 to 2023.
  • Engage and support community teams through a research-practitioner partnership network to identify critical areas of need and drive a research agenda that contributes to the community and pandemic recovery.
  • Conduct community and stakeholder-specific ethnographic studies from 2021 to 2023 that document their experiences during the pandemic and recovery period.
  • Establish a community for Black and Latinx researchers who will use the data to build a body of work and lead an emerging field of study focusing on the pandemic’s impact on K–12 education and communities serving Black and Latinx students and students in poverty.
  • Support a network that will enable community-based research–practice partnerships to learn, share, and create approaches to increasing equity in post-pandemic education.

This project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the AIR Equity Initiative.


Managing Researcher
Vice President and Institute Fellow