For this story I talked to educators in six states, from California to South Carolina. For the most part they say things have improved since last spring. But they are close to burnout, with only a patchwork of support. They said the heart of the job right now is getting students connected with school and keeping them that way — both technologically and even more importantly, emotionally. Here are five lessons learned so far.
President-elect Joe Biden has repeatedly promised to appoint an education secretary with public teaching experience, and it has been widely believed he is referring to a former K-12 teacher when he makes that pledge.
Cheryse Singleton-Nobles knows her 2-year-old son is regressing.
While the toddler is getting the hang of colors, numbers and shapes, she says, “he’s back to the stage of ‘me, me, me.’” He doesn’t want to share anymore. He struggles to follow a routine and gets distracted by all his toys.
Singleton-Nobles, 47, attributes this backtracking to the COVID-19 pandemic, which recently forced her son’s free Chicago preschool to close its campus.
The former president of the nation’s largest teachers union is working to lock up support from Republican senators and Hispanic leaders in her bid to be picked as Education secretary, according to officials familiar with the talks.
Lily Eskelsen García is expected to score the backing of more than 40 Hispanic groups finalizing a letter endorsing her for the position this week. She has also strategized in recent weeks with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the retiring chair of the Senate committee that oversees education and himself a former Education secretary.
The state of California has failed during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide a free and equal education to all students, violating the state Constitution and discriminating against Black, Latino and low-income families, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.
These children have been left behind during months of distance learning, lacking access to digital tools as well as badly needed academic and social-emotional supports, according to the lawsuit filed by the Public Counsel on behalf of California students, parents and several community organizations.
In 13 years of playing flute, Gabriella Alvarez never imagined playing with a clear plastic trash bag around her instrument. Kevin Vigil never foresaw his fellow tuba players wrapping pantyhose around their instrument bells.
And neither expected to watch their marching band at New Mexico State University play through cloth face masks, separated by six-foot loops of water pipe, with bags filled with hand sanitizer and disinfectant strapped around their waists.
But this is band practice in a pandemic.
At Noble Charter Network, the school year usually starts with a pep rally. This year, students tuned in to a video — preceded by a trigger warning — showing a series of news stories about the police killings, protests, and pandemic that have made 2020 a year like no other.
Afterward, in a virtual town hall, Noble’s leaders apologized for past actions they said hurt Black students, from punitive discipline policies to steering students away from historically Black colleges and universities.
Zalaunshae leaned close to the laptop camera, her oversize pink bows filling the computer screen. The teacher asked students to name characters in “The Enormous Turnip.” Zalaunshae raised her hand first.
When European schools reopened their classrooms in the spring, after the first wave of the coronavirus had crested, some parents expressed concern their children were being used as “guinea pigs” in a dangerous experiment. But to the extent that European schools have acted as laboratories for the world, the findings eight months later are largely positive.
Parents of K-12 students participating in hybrid learning models have a more pessimistic outlook on the impacts of this pandemic-disrupted school year than those whose kids are receiving entirely remote or fully in-person education, a new poll shows.
The survey, conducted by the MassINC Polling Group and sponsored by The Barr Foundation, found that around half or more of parents anticipate the current school year will have negative effects on their children’s academic learning, mental or emotional health, opportunities for friendships, and social or behavioral skills.
Almost midway through the school year, it has become increasingly clear that virtual learning is failing a sizable number of Texas public school students whose parents decided to keep them home as COVID-19 grips the state.
The disturbing number of students posting failing grades while trying to learn in front of computer screens has also brought into sharper focus the failure of state education and political leaders to prepare for an academic year they knew would be like no other.
Four-year-olds attending the city-funded pre-K program at Kuei Luck Early Childhood Center still went to school on Thursday. Four-year-olds enrolled at the pre-K program in the public school at P.S. 175, just a few blocks away in Rego Park, Queens, had to stay home.
Some of the country’s leading education experts recently gathered virtually to discuss a simple but weighty question: Are the gaps in test scores between children from low-income and wealthy families closing?
Then something puzzling happened.
No one could answer the question. Or, more precisely, no one could agree on the answer. One researcher claimed the gap was growing, another said it was shrinking, and a third argued that it hadn’t changed much in decades.
The closure of city public school buildings Thursday also marked the end of in-person classes for another population of New York City youngsters: kids being held in juvenile lockups.
But for the 141 minors jailed citywide, remote learning means a system where they cannot be seen or heard by their teachers during school hours.
They can only communicate with their instructors via text chat, according to teachers and other sources familiar with the system.
A high school teacher in Arlington gave students a question that asked them to insert the name of a chemical element to fill out a sentence describing how George Floyd died beneath the knee of a Minneapolis police officer in May.
“George Floyd couldn’t breathe because a police officer put his ____ George’s neck,” the question read. The answer was the chemical element “neon.”
Bars, restaurants, theaters, gyms, and museums here are closed for the month of November as cases of COVID-19 in Germany top 20,000 per day, four times as many as the previous highs of April. Unlike what took place in April, though, most schools and daycares remain open while social life is restricted.
For St. Louis Public Radio, Ryan Delaney and Elle Moxley cover how some European countries are keeping schools open.
Want to know how school systems in Europe are weathering the COVID-19 pandemic, and what America might learn from their choices? Follow @EdWriters Reporting Fellows @rpatrickdelaney and @ellemoxley. They're my picks for this week's #tellEWA. https://t.co/wgdj0QV4ta
Want to know how school systems in Europe are weathering the COVID-19 pandemic, and what America might learn from their choices? Follow @EdWriters Reporting Fellows @rpatrickdelaney and @ellemoxley. They're my picks for this week's #tellEWA. https://t.co/wgdj0QV4ta— Emily Richmond (@EWAEmily) November 19, 2020
The Seattle Times’ Joy Resmovits takes a look at where the Biden administration will likely land on a variety of education issues.
The Hechinger Report’s Jon Marcus covers the pandemic’s impact on getting underrepresented students to and through college.
“We had some momentum. Then Covid hit and everyone went into disaster mode. We’re just triaging."
Progress in getting underrepresented people into college and skilled jobs may be stalling because of the pandemic. #tellEWAhttps://t.co/yAgOvDgo1v (via @JonMarcusBoston)
“We had some momentum. Then Covid hit and everyone went into disaster mode. We’re just triaging."
David Lewis was just a few credits shy of earning his associate’s degree in journalism from Long Beach City College when the pandemic hit.
Lewis, 29, was already encountering scheduling conflicts between his classes and a new job at Trader Joe’s. As the assignments for his online classes started to pile up, he struggled to keep pace. In March, he left school.
New York City’s entire public school system will shut on Thursday, signaling that a second wave of the coronavirus has arrived as the city is still struggling to revive from its devastating spring, when it was a global epicenter of the pandemic.
Pasco’s Sheriff Uses Grades And Abuse Histories To Label Schoolchildren Potential Criminals. The Kids And Their Families Don’t Know
The Pasco Sheriff’s Office keeps a secret list of kids it thinks could “fall into a life of crime” based on factors like whether they’ve been abused or gotten a D or an F in school, according to the agency’s internal intelligence manual.
The Sheriff’s Office assembles the list by combining the rosters for most middle and high schools in the county with records so sensitive, they’re protected by state and federal law.
Here in the Chicago suburb of Bensenville, and in places like it throughout the country, Guatemalan teenagers spend their days in class learning English and algebra and chemistry. At night, while their classmates sleep, they work to pay debts to smugglers and sponsors, to contribute to rent and bills, to buy groceries and sneakers, and to send money home to the parents and siblings they left behind.
In 29 years as a teacher, Finkle has never seen anything like this. Districts around the country — the world, really — scrambled at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic to provide learning opportunities, but it’s the classroom teachers who are still struggling to execute those plans.
Read the full story here.
An Arlington U.S. history teacher resigned due to the school district’s in-person instruction policies, and nearly 600 people have signed a petition for the district to allow her to teach from home.
Read the full story here.
Eugenia Bradford believed her job was safe. After all, she was the only administrative assistant for college advising services at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. Who else would schedule appointments or supervise work-study students if she were gone?
But weeks before the fall semester began in August, Bradford’s boss told her the department was downsizing and her position would be eliminated. The university offered to pay her through mid-October, but after that she was on her own. No more health insurance. No more peace of mind.
The number of international students at American colleges plunged this fall, according to a just-released survey by the Institute of International Education, with new enrollments diving 43 percent as tens of thousands of students stuck overseas because of the pandemic deferred their admission or called off their studies altogether.
Read the full story here.
In his first address to the nation as president-elect, Joe Biden made it clear that he will make education a priority during his administration. He noted in his victory speech that his wife, Jill, is a teacher and that educators “will have one of your own in the White House.”
Like most federal agencies, the Education Department followed President Trump’s lead in seeking to undo the legacy of his predecessor, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos diligently tore into President Barack Obama’s policies.
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is planning to return the favor.
Like other teachers, career and technical educators have had to adapt to the pandemic. But with classes more hands-on than in traditional schools, the adjustments are different.
Schools around the U.S. are fighting a wave of increasingly aggressive ransomware attacks by hackers. The U.S. Treasury Department warned last month that ransomware attacks in general have increased during the coronavirus pandemic—and districts make an especially tempting target due to their often thinly staffed technology departments and networks full of personal data.
Samantha Smylie of Chalkbeat Chicago reports on young adults with disabilities who face an abrupt disruption of transitional programming that is intended to launch them into adulthood.
Important story well told by @chalkbeatCHI’s @sammie_smylie. I encourage @EdWriters journos to pay attention to older students w/disabilities in their own districts, many of whom face rocky transition out of school. It’s my pick for this week’s #tellEWA. https://t.co/wTjB31LWxU
Important story well told by @chalkbeatCHI’s @sammie_smylie. I encourage @EdWriters journos to pay attention to older students w/disabilities in their own districts, many of whom face rocky transition out of school. It’s my pick for this week’s #tellEWA. https://t.co/wTjB31LWxU— Emily Richmond (@EWAEmily) November 12, 2020
Black and Indian-American girls find inspiration and hope in the first female vice president, reports a team from The Dallas Morning News’ Education Lab.
"We are doing the impossible." Many young Indian-American and Black girls can’t help but see themselves — and hope — in the country’s first female vice president. By @EmilyJDonaldson @TaliRichman @corbettsmithDMN #tellEWA #txlege https://t.co/zO5xXWFWeD
"We are doing the impossible." Many young Indian-American and Black girls can’t help but see themselves — and hope — in the country’s first female vice president. By @EmilyJDonaldson @TaliRichman @corbettsmithDMN #tellEWA #txlege https://t.co/zO5xXWFWeD— Eva-Marie Ayala (@EvaMarieAyala) November 9, 2020
The Detroit school district is suspending in-person learning and its learning centers until at least January 11 due to an increase of positive COVID-19 cases in the city. The closures are effective beginning Friday.
The district joins several other school districts in Michigan shifting to all remote learning.
“Based on this week’s reporting, the infection rate will reach 6% or higher by Friday. There are no signs that these rising numbers will decrease soon,” superintendent Nikolai Vitti wrote in an email to staff Thursday morning.
A U.S. appeals court on Thursday upheld Harvard University’s use of race in undergraduate admissions, rejecting a challenge by affirmative action opponents who said the school’s policy discriminates against Asian-Americans.
The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston rejected the claims by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), a nonprofit founded by anti-affirmative action activist Edward Blum that gained the support of Republican President Donald Trump’s administration.
San Antonio voters overwhelmingly elected to renew the city’s popular pre-k program, PreK 4 SA, drowning out any remaining questions about the program’s benefits.
The eight-year-old early childhood education initiative has so far served over 12,000 students in its four brick and mortar centers, with additional estimates near 200,000 served by professional development programs and grants to other pre-k providers.
The Arizona Republic’s Lily Altavena examines Arizona’s 5% student enrollment decline, including a 14% drop in kindergarteners.
While tracking Arizona's dizzying array of education-related ballot measures & school board races (200+ candidates for 163 seats!), @lilyalta keeps laser focus on heart of the beat: COVID-19's impact on students and schools. She's my pick for this week's @edwriters' #tellEWA. https://t.co/To1l3sF15D
While tracking Arizona's dizzying array of education-related ballot measures & school board races (200+ candidates for 163 seats!), @lilyalta keeps laser focus on heart of the beat: COVID-19's impact on students and schools. She's my pick for this week's @edwriters' #tellEWA. https://t.co/To1l3sF15D— Emily Richmond (@EWAEmily) November 4, 2020
Eric Kelderman of The Chronicle of Higher Education looks at the connection between education level and political affiliation and what that schism could mean for the future of higher ed.
Washington public schools will begin phasing in comprehensive sexual health education next school year after voters approved a referendum Tuesday that mandates the lessons.
Multnomah County’s highest earners will foot the bill for a universal preschool system that prioritizes access for Black, Indigenous and other communities of color, as voters supported the measure.
The county-backed Preschool For All initiative won majority support in partial returns, with 64.2% of voters backing it as of 9:50 p.m.
The preschool measure is a 1.5% tax on incomes of more than $125,000 per year and joint filings topping $250,000.
A complete picture has yet to emerge of how much learning was lost by students during the pandemic. That’s all right with educators like Superintendent Craig Broeren, whose top concern is figuring out where each student stands now.
The Alexandria City Public Schools board voted Thursday to approve significant revisions to the school system’s contract with police — changes meant to boost accountability and equity amid a national debate over racism in American policing.
Within Seattle Public Schools, only one student with disabilities is currently receiving services in person. Next week, that number will increase to two.
“Yet for some of those for whom virtual school is viable, the current disruption has opened up a new world: education without daily anxiety about racism,” writes Melinda D. Anderson in her op-ed for The New York Times.
One reason Black families say they prefer virtual learning? There are no school police at home. @mdawriter makes her NYT op-ed debut, and she's my pick for this week's @edwriters' #tellEWA. https://t.co/2bfwjumDyJ
One reason Black families say they prefer virtual learning? There are no school police at home. @mdawriter makes her NYT op-ed debut, and she's my pick for this week's @edwriters' #tellEWA. https://t.co/2bfwjumDyJ— Emily Richmond (@EWAEmily) October 28, 2020
EdSource’s Theresa Harrington covers local and statewide measures that seek to give 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote in local and national elections.
In St. Louis, many public school districts are just beginning to bring students back for in-person instruction. Saying it’s still not safe, other districts continue to offer only a virtual model. But in Germany, things look much different. School was in session last spring, and it resumed in person again in August — and not just for little kids, either.
It’s halfway through the fall semester, and many students in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas are just now trickling back into classrooms. Thousands are still learning from home. Meanwhile, in most of Europe, schools have been open since August with students attending in person daily.
A robust public health system, hygiene measures and targeted quarantines of students and staff exposed to the coronavirus get the credit. But that early success could soon be put to the test as cold weather arrives along with a resurgence of cases of the coronavirus.
Although the Bavarian government, to the south, has ordered the first widespread lockdowns in districts along the Austrian border amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, schools in most of Germany, generally speaking, are back to normal. At least for the moment.
Nationwide, the U.S. state budget shortfall from 2020 through 2022 could amount to about $434 billion, according to data from Moody’s Analytics, the economic analysis arm of Moody’s Corp. The estimates assume no additional fiscal stimulus from Washington, further coronavirus-fueled restrictions on business and travel, and extra costs for Medicaid amid high unemployment.
Most education decisions are local decisions. But the pandemic has thrust education policy onto the national stage, bringing unusual attention to new debates about when to reopen schools and what resources schools need to get back on track.
“You’re out of your mind if you think I’m ever going back to school.”
Awo Okaikor Aryee-Price, a Black mother of two who lives in Florham Park, N.J., initially laughed off the pronouncement her 13-year-old made in March after the Covid-19 pandemic closed the state’s schools. But it became clear that her daughter, Saige, was serious.
Two more Jefferson Parish public school students have been suspended after teachers saw weapons in their rooms over the computer during virtual classes, doubling the previously known number and continuing a troubling trend in the school district.
Read the full story here.
A 2019 state law toughened up rules on how Colorado schools teach reading — establishing new training requirements for teachers and placing guardrails on the kind of curriculum schools can use in kindergarten through third grade.
But for the average parent, figuring out if schools are using proven approaches to reading instruction and following the new state rules still isn’t easy.
Read the full story here.