A look at testing, the role of student social behavior and the impact of domestic travel restrictions/quarantine requirements.
When Zena Abro came to the University of Richmond in 2018, she wasn’t excited about the idea of joining a sorority. She did it only because her friends joined, and she didn’t want to feel left out on a campus where more than half of undergraduate women are in sororities.
As Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed this summer for schools to reopen, state leaders told school boards they would need Health Department approval if they wanted to keep classrooms closed.
Then they instructed health directors not to give it.
Following a directive from DeSantis’ administration, county health directors across Florida refused to give school boards advice about one of the most wrenching public health decisions in modern history: whether to reopen schools in a worsening pandemic, a Gannett USA TODAY NETWORK review found.
When schools closed in March because of the coronavirus, Vanessa Cronin had no idea how to make instructions for her Spanish lessons engaging enough for her students to read.
“So now I’m supposed to type my instructions in an email?” Cronin, who teaches at Marine Science Magnet High School in Groton, Connecticut, asked herself. “I could picture my kids at home saying things like, ‘Too long. Too boring. I won’t read this.’”
A team at NPR used the advice of pediatricians, infectious disease specialists and education experts to create a guide for families trying to weigh the key elements of a school reopening plan.
Attention families: Want a clear, informative, and visually engaging guide to help sort through safe practices for schools that reopen this fall? Check out this excellent primer from @NPR. #tellEWA @anya1anya @pneighmond @nprjane et al. https://t.co/n1v4nfKI82
Attention families: Want a clear, informative, and visually engaging guide to help sort through safe practices for schools that reopen this fall? Check out this excellent primer from @NPR. #tellEWA @anya1anya @pneighmond @nprjane et al. https://t.co/n1v4nfKI82— Erik Robelen (@ewrobelen) August 6, 2020
In Montgomery, Alabama, communities where bullets hit the flesh of humans each week, violence and loss have become a common experience in the lives of young people, reports Montgomery Advertiser’s Krista Johnson.
As the school year starts in many districts across the country, a new national poll of teachers from NPR/Ipsos finds overwhelming trepidation about returning to the physical classroom.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress say they agree that a new stimulus package must include billions of dollars to help schools struggling financially and logistically to resume education this month and next.
But the parties are digging in over profound ideological differences, especially the divide between Democratic demands for public education spending and a Republican push to channel federal dollars into vouchers that families could use at private schools willing to open for in-person classes.
Most American parents think it’s unsafe to send their children back to school given the risks of the novel coronavirus, and more than 80 percent favor holding school at least partly online, according to a Washington Post-Schar School survey conducted by Ipsos.
But parents also express serious concerns with online schooling and many are drawn to systems that mix the two.
Special Education Students Are Losing Critical Skills During Coronavirus Remote Learning, Parents Say
Parents across the country who have students with special education needs say the stakes are high if schools do not reopen soon. They say their children are not just falling behind academically but are missing developmental milestones and losing key skills necessary for an independent life.
Behind a viral photo of a crowded hallway at a high school in Georgia, a potentially dire situation is brewing. Students, teachers, and parents fear the Paulding County school’s rushed reopening plans may be spiraling out of control just two days after students — who said they were told they could face expulsion for remaining home — returned to class despite reports of positive coronavirus cases among students and staff.
For decades, experts have understood 4 as an academic fault line, the year that cleaves wealthy and even middle-class children from their poor and working-class peers. Yet amid the pandemic, public preschools such as Darlene’s have struggled to reopen, despite being classed as essential. When they do open — probably weeks or months after most private preschools — as many as two-thirds of classroom spots for 4-year-olds could be gone.
The closure of schools this past spring because of the pandemic means that Virginia schools will keep their same accreditation until at least 2022.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane waived the process for the 2021-2022 academic year on Tuesday, citing the lack of standardized tests from the spring that would’ve been part of the ratings.
The General Assembly in April gave Lane temporary flexibility to waive some requirements, including school accreditation, that could be impacted by school closures during the coronavirus pandemic.
The first day of school for thousands of Nashville families started off rocky Tuesday with many experiencing technology and connectivity issues as they tried to log on for virtual learning.
Some students and families were able to get online to join live classroom meetings or check in with their teachers on personal devices for the first day, but some of those dependent on devices provided by the district were left in the dark.
The Education Department’s civil rights chief has for 40 years labored to enforce civil rights protections in the nation’s schools and universities, but few in the position have attracted as much attention as Kenneth L. Marcus, who will leave the post this week after two years marked by dissension, disputes — and significant accomplishments.
This is my choice, but I’m starting to wish that it wasn’t. I don’t feel qualified. I’ve been a superintendent for 20 years, so I guess I should be used to making decisions, but I keep getting lost in my head. I’ll be in my office looking at a blank computer screen, and then all of the sudden I realize a whole hour’s gone by. I’m worried. I’m worried about everything. Each possibility I come up with is a bad one.
“Nice White Parents” is a new podcast from Serial Productions, brought to you by The New York Times, about the 60-year relationship between white parents and the public school down the block.
Private schools restrain and seclude children hundreds or even thousands of times per year, reports The Teacher Project’s Sharon Lurye and Joseph Hong for USA TODAY.
Without EWA's Diving into Data workshop last year, I wouldn't have been able to find this out: Black and Hispanic students in CT private special education schools are twice as likely to be restrained as White students. #tellEWA https://t.co/QGJBJseuKn pic.twitter.com/CIjyniYrLk
Without EWA's Diving into Data workshop last year, I wouldn't have been able to find this out: Black and Hispanic students in CT private special education schools are twice as likely to be restrained as White students. #tellEWA https://t.co/QGJBJseuKn pic.twitter.com/CIjyniYrLk— Sharon Lurye (@sharonlurye) July 27, 2020
CalMatters’ Mikhail Zinshteyn covers the efforts of school systems to prepare teachers for distance learning in the fall.
I'm reposting this story about California schools and colleges training their educators for a virtual fall to #tellewa. I get into what educators are being taught are the best strategies for improving student learning if it happens online.https://t.co/fq9YmeyCnj https://t.co/KT9GTOLC4X
I'm reposting this story about California schools and colleges training their educators for a virtual fall to #tellewa. I get into what educators are being taught are the best strategies for improving student learning if it happens online.https://t.co/fq9YmeyCnj https://t.co/KT9GTOLC4X— Mikhail Zinshteyn (@mzinshteyn) July 29, 2020
Once the pandemic upended normal school this spring, students of all ages in high-poverty school districts were asked to do less schoolwork and spend less time in class than their peers in affluent school districts.
That’s according to a national survey led by the American Institutes for Research, one of the most sweeping efforts to date to track what student learning looked like during that period. It includes responses from a nationally representative group of 474 school districts across the country, collected from mid-May to mid-July.
Top DeVos Deputy Tells Nation’s Education Reporters That Pandemic Adds Urgency to Federal Push for Private School Choice
If anything, the global pandemic has deepened U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s commitment to all forms of school choice, top deputy Jim Blew told reporters in a keynote question-and-answer session at the Education Writers Association’s 73rd National Seminar, held remotely last week.
Dream Center: DeVos Aide Diane Auer Jones Helped For-Profit Art Institutes, Argosy University, Texts And Emails Show
For the past year, the Education Department has denied that a top official went out of her way to help Dream Center Education Holdings, owner of the Art Institutes, South University and Argosy University, as the company spiraled into insolvency.
But a batch of text messages, emails and letters shed new light on Dream Center’s relationship with Diane Auer Jones, the head of higher education policy at the department, and her efforts to help the company regain accreditation at two of its schools.
Survey Reveals Stark Rich-Poor Divide In How U.S. Children Were Taught Remotely During The Spring School Closures
As the coronavirus pandemic spread through the country, a common (socially distanced) conversation among friends and families compared how many hours of remote learning kids were getting. Preliminary results from a new survey of school districts confirm what many parents learned through the Zoom grapevine. The number of hours your kids got varied wildly depending on where you happen to live. But the amount of time was not the only difference, according to a recent survey: the type of instruction students received also diverged dramatically.
Greater Clark County Schools plans to resume in-person classes on Wednesday, making it the first southern Indiana public school district to do so.
The district said it worked with Dr. Eric Yazel and the Clark County Health Department to create a plan that prioritizes the safety of students and staff.
LISTEN: What Does the Future of School Safety Look Like? New EWA Podcast Interviews 74’s Mark Keierleber About Efforts to Dismantle Campus Policing After George Floyd’s Death
As school districts nationwide reconsider the role officers play in classrooms, The 74’s Mark Keierleber joined EWA Radio, a podcast produced by the Education Writers Association, to discuss his reporting on school policing.
Listen to the conversation and read more of Mark Keierleber’s recent reporting on school policing here.
State education officials announced earlier this summer that third through 12th grade students would take the state standardized exams, or STAAR, this upcoming academic year. Normally, fifth and eighth graders must pass the STAAR in order to move on to the next grade, or else they must retake it later that year or over the summer. But Abbott said that next spring, the fifth and eighth grade math and reading exams would only be administered one time, in May.
Recent graduates of Alamo Heights High School have spent most of their summer meeting with school district leaders to press for a more inclusive environment for Black and Hispanic students there.
But even as they were drafting proposed policy changes, a video was circulating on social media showing three white cheerleaders from the high school using a racial slur.
What Do Schools Need, and What Might They Get? Making Sense of the Big Numbers That Will Shape the Stimulus Bill
How much do schools need to make the coming school year work — and how much federal help will they get?
There are a lot of big numbers being thrown around, and now that Senate Republicans have introduced their proposal, competing plans. Here’s a cheat sheet.
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Twenty years ago, a visitor to Centennial School would have heard a cacophony.
“Banging on doors, yelling, wailing,” said Julie Fogt, the current director of the school. “Adults were loud: ‘Stop that, stop that! Crisis! I need help!’”
It was a private school, but public schools paid to send their most troubled kids there. The school took only children who had both a diagnosis of autism or emotional disturbance and a history of severe behavior issues.
An assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Education said Friday that his agency’s inclination is not to grant states waivers from federally mandated tests for the upcoming school year like it did in the spring.
Should schools administer standardized tests next year?
Many state and local education officials from across the country are pushing for cancelling federally required testing for next school year. Most recently New York City council members made the case, writing, “Amidst the extreme conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, conducting state tests cannot possibly be fair to students.”
One state, Georgia, has formally requested a waiver, and others have indicated they will as well.
Fears are growing that COVID-19 could widen inequities in an already inequitable education system.
The threat to equity from the pandemic was a major theme at last week’s virtual 73rd Education Writers Association National Seminar. Marquee seminar speaker Nikole Hannah-Jones, New York Times writer and creator of the 1619 Project, which reexamined how slavery shaped American history, took aim at “pandemic pods.”
The city of San Antonio will leverage traffic lights in its plan to connect 20,000 students’ homes to their schools’ wireless networks.
“In order to get into a neighborhood, you have to go where the infrastructure is,” said Craig Hopkins, the city’s chief information officer.
The city will build LTE wireless broadband connections off an existing fiber-optic cable network that runs for 1,000 miles above and below ground and links libraries, police stations, public safety radio systems — and remotely operated traffic signals.
In-person classes without a mask requirement are scheduled to begin on Friday in Jefferson, worrying some parents, students and teachers as the state confronts the coronavirus.
As she walked up to the podium to speak, one of the moms grabbed a face mask and spit her gum out into it. “It’s garbage,” she shrugged, wadding it up. “It doesn’t work anyway. Not for me and not for my kids.”
Wading into the contentious debate over reopening schools, an influential committee of scientists and educators on Wednesday recommended that, wherever possible, younger children and those with special needs should attend school in person.
A 15-year-old in Michigan was incarcerated during the coronavirus pandemic after a judge ruled that not completing her schoolwork violated her probation, reports Jodi Cohen of ProPublica Illinois.
"I haven't really wrote you because I had to ask God to give me the strength so I could write without crying."
Stunning story from @jodiscohen which also makes strong case for a @propublica Michigan (just saying, @dicktofel). It's my pick for this week's @EdWriters #tellEWA. https://t.co/3TPAA6uEBT
"I haven't really wrote you because I had to ask God to give me the strength so I could write without crying."
The Wall Street Journal’s Tawnell Hobbs covers how remote learning widened the education gap for predominantly Black and low income students in Mississippi.
The pandemic set students needing the most help further behind -- in communities already working to overcome legacies of racial inequities. “Are they setting my children up for failure?” #coronavirus #remotelearning #tellewa https://t.co/JQFpufOp4H via @WSJ
The pandemic set students needing the most help further behind -- in communities already working to overcome legacies of racial inequities. “Are they setting my children up for failure?” #coronavirus #remotelearning #tellewa https://t.co/JQFpufOp4H via @WSJ— Tawnell Hobbs (@Tawnell) July 15, 2020
When Arizona State University transitioned to online-only classes in March, Ja’Mya Williams’s grades began to fall.
Without a laptop, the campus library, and her after-class tutoring, the freshman biological-sciences major was forced to complete her assignments on her cellphone or at her friend’s house, and struggled to keep up with her honors-level courses.
State lawmakers are trying a new approach to help enroll more Black and Latino students at New York City’s elite but segregated specialized high schools. A group of Assembly members this week filed a bill to repeal the state law governing admission to the schools, which would then give the city control.
The proposed law would phase out the current admissions process by 2022, partly to give the city time to come up with a new admissions plan.
Universities across the country have written addendums into their residence-life contracts specifying that refunds will not be issued if a Covid-19 outbreak forces their campuses to close early this fall.
The University of South Florida has said that if any of its campuses have to shut down prematurely, students should not expect to be reimbursed for housing or dining fees they’ve already paid.
California State University students could be forced online for the rest of the academic year, which ends May 2021, CSU Chancellor Timothy White said Tuesday.
White’s remarks came during a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor subcommittee.
White told the committee that the move to a virtual fall semester, “and quite frankly, the academic year,” was driven by health and safety issues, and students progress to success.
Bus monitors to screen students for symptoms in Marietta, Ga.: $640,000. Protective gear and classroom cleaning equipment for a small district in rural Michigan: $100,000. Disinfecting school buildings and hiring extra nurses and educators in San Diego: $90 million.
As the White House, the nation’s pediatricians and many worn-down, economically strapped parents push for school doors to swing open this fall, local education officials say they are being crushed by the costs of getting students and teachers back in classrooms safely.
Championed by health experts and flouted by the president, the humble face covering has become an emblem of America’s fractured response to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the mask debate is heading to school.
Who must wear them? Who will provide them? And who will solve the umteen logistical riddles they pose, from cleaning procedures and accommodating students with special needs to redirecting distracted children who tug, scratch, and remove their masks during lessons?
The U.S. Supreme Court has carved out a major exception to the nation’s fair employment laws. In a 7-2 vote, the court ruled on Wednesday that the country’s civil rights laws barring discrimination on the job do not apply to most lay teachers at religious elementary schools.
President Trump pressured the government’s top public health experts on Wednesday to water down recommendations for how the nation’s schools could reopen safely this fall and threatened to cut federal funding for districts that defied his demand to resume classes in person.
School reopening plans are now part of COVID-19 politics, reports Erin Richards of USA TODAY.
This story is loaded with facts, voices, and clear analysis of just how high the stakes are for reopening schools: personally, professionally, and politically. @emrichards gets my nod for @EdWriters #tellEWA. https://t.co/N8z9H4nyh0
This story is loaded with facts, voices, and clear analysis of just how high the stakes are for reopening schools: personally, professionally, and politically. @emrichards gets my nod for @EdWriters #tellEWA. https://t.co/N8z9H4nyh0— Emily Richmond (@EWAEmily) July 8, 2020
Colleges and universities are slashing their budgets and preparing for drops in enrollment amid a “cacophony of crises,” reports Elizabeth Hernandez of The Denver Post.
With a stroke of his veto pen, Gov. Ron DeSantis wiped out the entire $29.4 million budget for a suite of online education services that have become critical to students and faculty during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The school year hasn’t begun, but an Arizona teacher has already died from COVID-19, according to a school superintendent.
As President Donald Trump’s administration pushes for schools to reopen on time, a small community in eastern Arizona is reeling from the death of a teacher who contracted COVID-19 after she taught summer school virtually while in the same room as two other teachers.
Coronavirus cases are soaring across the country and some states are pausing the reopening of their economies. Still, pressure is mounting to reopen schools full-time this fall — and it’s coming from state politicians, the White House, pediatricians and parents.
Teachers are caught in the middle. While many desperately want to return to their classrooms, they’re worried about putting themselves or their families at risk of getting sick. Nobody knows how likely that will be once adults begin working in close quarters in school buildings again.
‘I Feel Disappointed And Blindsided’: Boston Public Schools Moves Forward With New Exam School Test, Despite Calls To Suspend It
On a Zoom call early last week, a Boston Public Schools task force focused on equity and opportunity unanimously voted to recommend suspending the city’s exam school admissions test this year because of the pandemic, which has disproportionately hurt Black and brown communities.