Coronavirus Public Health Emergency Underscores Need for Department of Education’s Proposed Distance Learning Rules

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos proposed new rules today that would govern distance learning for higher education students. Although work on the proposed Distance Learning and Innovation regulation started more than a year ago, the COVID-19 National Emergency underscores the need for reform and for all educational institutions to have a robust capacity to teach remotely. “With our support, colleges and universities were among the first to transition to online and distance learning so learning could continue during Read More

Coronavirus closures present districts opportunities to rethink schedules

The sudden closure of schools due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic creates both challenges and opportunities for districts. At this point, few states indicate schools will reopen before the end of the school year. The lengthy break will likely lead to learning loss, experts warn. In an episode of Harvard EdCast, Jennifer McCombs, a senior policy researcher for RAND Corporation, said students from low-income families and those performing below grade-level are at the highest risk. These at-risk students may Read More

With Schools Closed, Kids With Disabilities Are More Vulnerable Than Ever

With school closed, Marla Murasko begins her morning getting her 14-year-old son, Jacob, dressed and ready for the day. They have a daily check-in: How are you doing? How are you feeling? Next, they consult the colorful, hourly schedule she has pinned on the fridge. Jacob, who has Down syndrome, loves routine. So this daily routine is important. Schools in Hopkinton, Mass., are closed until May 4th, so Jacob’s morning academic lesson — which according to Read More

Study: New Hampshire Lacks Pandemic Planning Laws for Schools

AS SCHOOLS CLOSE AND turn toward virtual learning amid the exponential spread of the coronavirus, nearly every U.S. state has laws that allow for schools to plan how to respond to pandemics. Just one state doesn’t, according to a March report from Child Trends: New Hampshire. The education research organization’s report, which was developed by studying state health and education codes in LexisNexis and Westlaw, found that the laws in most states allow for flexibility when it Read More

Readout of Vice President Pence and Secretary DeVos’ Conference Call with Education Stakeholders

WASHINGTON – Today, Vice President of the United States Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos held a conference call with leaders of several national K-12 education organizations to answer their questions and to provide an update on what the Department of Education has done so far to support students, parents, and educators during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The Vice President and Secretary began the call with opening remarks and provided an update Read More

States Get Creative To Find And Deploy More Health Workers In COVID-19 Fight

When Dr. Judy Salerno, who is in her 60s, got word that the New York State health department was looking for retired physicians to volunteer in the coronavirus crisis, she didn’t hesitate. “As I look to what’s ahead for New York City, where I live, I’m thinking that if I can use my skills in some way that I will be helpful, I will step up,” she says. Salerno says she doesn’t think of herself as Read More

Urging States to Continue Educating Students with Disabilities, Secretary DeVos Publishes New Resource on Accessibility and Distance Learning Options

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today the Department has released new information clarifying that federal law should not be used to prevent schools from offering distance learning opportunities to all students, including students with disabilities. This new resource from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) explains that as a school district takes necessary steps to address the health, safety, and well-being of all Read More

Ed Dept: Assessment waivers to be provided to states impacted by coronavirus

“Teachers need to be able to focus on remote learning and other adaptations,” DeVos said in the press release. “Neither students nor teachers need to be focused on high-stakes tests during this difficult time. Students are simply too unlikely to be able to perform their best in this environment.” The department said it will “will accept, process, and approve any appropriate waiver request” and respond in one business day to a states that use a waiver Read More

Tractor Day Offers A (Slow) Dose Of The Freedom Every Teenager Longs For

Once a year, 15-year-old Brandt Hiestand gets a taste of the kind of independence every teenager longs for. “It’s the one day out of the year I can drive myself to school and no one can really say I can’t,” says Brandt, asophomore at South Central High School in Farina, Ill. “I milked it last year,” says Alec Langley, a South Central sophomore. “I definitely had my fill of fun. It’s a little dose of Read More

‘Panic-gogy’: Teaching Online Classes During The Coronavirus Pandemic

As colleges across the country pivot online on very short notice, there are a host of complications — from laptops and Internet access to mental health and financial needs. Digital learning experts have some surprising advice: do less. “Please Do A Bad Job Of Putting Your Courses Online” is the title of one popular blog post by Rebecca Barrett-Fox, an assistant professor of sociology at Arkansas State University. Her point: “your class is not the highest priority of their or your Read More