This month, K-12 students across the country will return to their classrooms amid a continuing pandemic and political strife over school policies and curricula. Experts from CU Boulder are available to discuss a wide range of issues related to the back-to-school period:

Kids in a classroom listening to teacher

Credit: Unsplash

Teacher shortages

Kathy Schultz is dean of the School of Education and author of the book Distrust and Educational Change. She can discuss teacher shortages in Denver and around the country, teacher strikes and the recent politicization of education policy. 

Read: “How to address distrust to create lasting change in education

Schools & SCOTUS

Kevin Welner is a professor in the School of Education at CU Boulder and director of the National Education Policy Center. He can discuss recent Supreme Court rulings related to K-12 education and their implications for the 2022-2023 school year and beyond. They are Carson v. Makin, in which justices blocked Maine’s policy of barring public funding for religious schools; and Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, which upheld a high school football coach’s right to pray on the field after games.  

Read: “How Supreme Court ruling lays groundwork for religious charter schools” (The Washington Post)

LGBTQ+ students

Elizabeth Meyer is an associate professor in the School of Education at CU Boulder and a co-author of a 2022 report titled “Transgender Students and Policy in K-12 Public Schools: Acknowledging Historical Harms and Taking Steps Toward a Promising Future.” She can discuss recent policies around LGBTQ+ kids in schools, and how discriminatory practices can harm transgender and non-binary youth. 

Read: “From 'Don’t Say Gay' to bathrooms and sports: How debates over LGBTQ+ rights impact kids
Brittni Laura Hernandez, Bethy Leonardi and Sara Staley direct a project called A Queer Endeavor at CU Boulder. They can discuss their efforts in Colorado and beyond to “organize safer, more humanizing learning environments for LGBTQ+ youth, families, and staff.”

Read: “A Queer Endeavor comes of age in Colorado

School safety

Beverly Kingston is director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. She can discuss evidence-based strategies for preventing mass shootings in the wake of this year’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Read: “Can we avert the next mass shooting? Yes, and here’s how

School boards & politics

Anna Deese is a doctoral student in the School of Education and a former school board member from Montana. She studies public school boards, with a focus on how boards approach equity-focused goals. She can discuss the history of school boards and board decision-making and planning. 

Banned books

Wendy Glenn is a professor in the School of Education at CU Boulder who studies literature for young adults. She can talk about the recent wave of literacy censorship in schools across the country and how frequently-banned books can introduce students to “hard and essential lessons.”

Watch: “The Double-Edged Sword of Story: Literary Censorship in Schools

Social studies

Noreen Naseem Rodríguez is an assistant professor in the School of Education who studies, among other topics, diverse children’s literature. As Colorado considers a new set of social studies standards for K-12 students, she can discuss elementary social studies education and teaching kids about Asian American and Chicanx histories. 
Note: Available after Aug. 15

Read: “As schools become political battlegrounds, one educator sees room for hope"