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A for Arizona and the Center for the Future of Arizona Release "The Future of Schooling Starts Now" Policy Brief

Posted on March 23, 2021 • Category: News Release

A for Arizona and the Center for the Future of Arizona released today “The Future of Schooling Starts Now” Policy Brief, a collaborative report focusing on innovations in the K-12 education system during the pandemic. The brief analyzes the lessons educators learned from  COVID-19 and provides recommendations on how to meet the needs of all Arizona students through flexible, locally-driven school design.

“Like most other aspects of daily life that accompanied the pandemic, responding to COVID-19 has led to an evolution of teaching and learning,” said Emily Anne Gullickson, Founder and CEO of A for Arizona. “Many school leaders across the state implemented new programs and models to better meet the needs of individual students and their families amidst to uncertainty of the pandemic. In doing so, schools have laid the foundation for transformational change to advance an excellent, resilient, and equitable education system needed for the future success of every child.” 

Many effective and innovative strategies surfaced during the last year – including productive ways for schools to maximize student learning time, improve their online and technology-enabled learning options, and efficiently spend their funds. The policy brief outlines the following recommendations to ensure high-quality learning for all Arizona students: 

  • Rethink “Seat Time” at the school and student level: Accelerate strategies to tailor or personalize learning for students
  • Modernize the availability of quality online and remote learning: Reduce hurdles to offering remote or virtual learning experiences
  • Ensure flexible and highly transparent spending mechanisms: Lessen restrictions on spending categories while monitoring results

Extending these practices will be necessary to allow schools to continue to transform Arizona’s educational system into one that meets the needs of every student and family.

“In a months-long series of conversations with school and system leaders across Arizona, we consistently heard the need to preserve the best ideas that surfaced during one of the most challenging times in our schools’ long history,” said Amanda Burke, Managing Director, Strategic Initiatives & Impact for the Center for the Future of Arizona. “Leaders shared that over the past year their educators learned a lot about student engagement, tailoring learning to the needs of every child, and effective 21st century school design. Many of these gains will be lost if the key policy waivers that created this innovative environment are not made permanent.”

The “The Future of Schooling Starts Now” Policy Brief is available here:



About A for Arizona
At A for Arizona, we firmly believe that expanding excellence is our best chance to ensure all K-12 students have access to, and benefit from, high-performing schools and all educational opportunities. We imagine a day where excellence has spread, and failure has fallen away, leaving only the best learning options available for all students.


About The Center for the Future of Arizona
The Center for the Future of Arizona is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that brings Arizonans together to create a stronger and brighter future for our state. We listen to Arizonans to learn what matters most to them, share trusted data about how Arizona is doing, bring critical issues to public attention, and work with communities and leaders to solve public problems. CFA has worked with policymakers, public schools, and communities for over a decade to expand learner-centered education in order to create more excellent and equitable outcomes for all Arizona students.