Report: Most districts lacked clear plans in shift to remote learning

It’s almost a given that districts will continue some level of distance learning this fall — either to maintain social distancing, respond to future coronavirus outbreaks, give families more choice or a combination of all of those reasons. District leaders can now begin planning “to align the resources, create teacher professional development and assess community priorities to design plans for the fall that have high expectations for each student’s learning and are responsive to each Read More

‘A different kind of horrific’ for K-12 as states anticipate revenue shortfalls

Threatened with budget cuts from falling tax revenues on one hand and unprecedented expenses on the other, superintendents are faced with difficult decisions regarding layoffs and program cuts this fall. While some states are now revising budget projections and making plans to rework the numbers, others have stayed silent on whether, or how deeply, K-12 will take a hit. Some leaders have claimed their districts will be shielded, at least for the time being, from Read More

With Pandemic, Privatization Advocates Smell a Big Opportunity

For public educators, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a crisis, which they’re tackling through hard work, creativity, and communication with students and families. Educators are streaming lessons, delivering meals, and bridging gaps in technology—with enormous approval from parents. But for for-profit education businesses and proponents of school privatization, especially Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the pandemic is something else. It’s an opportunity, a chance to steer hundreds of millions of dollars in public money away from public Read More

Will early learning, after-school shift toward home-based care?

When Philadelphia launched its new pre-K initiative in 2017, financed through a beverage tax, the city’s Office of Children and Families not only invited centers to become part of the program, but also opened up funding to providers operating home-based early learning programs.  One of them is Adrienne Briggs, whose Lil’ Bits Family Child Care Home has earned four “stars” in Pennsylvania’s Keystone STARS quality rating system (STARS stands for standards, training/professional development, assistance, resources Read More

Survey: Children’s loss of social ties, learning top parents’ closure concerns

Parents are more concerned about their children missing social interactions at school and with peers than they are someone in their family getting sick with the coronavirus, according to a new survey released Wednesday. Fifty-nine percent of the more than 3,600 parents and guardians responding to the nonprofit Learning Heroes’ survey said their children’s lack of in-person connections was currently their top pandemic-related concern, with 57% saying they are worried about COVID-19 affecting a family member. Making Read More

School Superintendents Dismiss White House, Will Follow Leaked CDC Guidance on Reopening

SCHOOL DISTRICT superintendents – those responsible for making decisions about how and when to reopen schools – are planning to follow detailed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was shelved by the White House last month instead of the official guidance published Thursday. Education officials have been clamoring for more thorough direction from the Trump administration as to how and when they can safely reopen schools, but the long-awaited CDC guidance published to Read More

NEA Hosts Tele-Town Hall to Mobilize Support for Coronavirus Relief Bill

The message of NEA’s “We Rise Together” campaign, a national call to demand Congress pass the HEROES Act to help stabilize education funding, couldn’t be any clearer: “If we don’t do something, it’s going to get worse,” cautioned NEA President Lily Eskelsen García, during a national tele-town hall with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.), and award-winning actor Bradley Whitford, as well as thousands of education activists. The group underscored throughout the hour-long call that the “something” is to take collective action to urge Read More

Can’t Leave The House? Try Playing Competitive Video Games

For millions of college students around the country, coronavirus lockdowns effectively canceled their hobbies and extracurriculars. But that’s not the case for Madison Cragle, a graphic design major at the State University of New York at Canton. She’s co-captain of her school’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate team — an esports team. That’s right, varsity video games. “There’s a joke going around that once the quarantine ends, everyone’s going to be like a thousand times better Read More

School meal programs seek relief, plan for uncertain summer

School districts are distributing millions of meals for students per week — primarily through grab-and-go sites and school bus deliveries — but nutrition experts are shifting their focus toward how to keep feeding students over the summer. Waivers from the federal government allowing schools to serve all students in “non-congregate settings” and granting some flexibility over what’s included in meals will expire June 30. Advocacy organizations, such as the School Nutrition Association and the Food Research Read More

AP Tests Begin Online And At Home — But Not For Everyone

Starting Monday, Advanced Placement exams, which test high schoolers’ knowledge of college material, will take an unusual form. The high-anxiety, college credit tests normally last three hours and are taken in person. But this year, in response to disruptions from the coronavirus outbreak, the College Board, which administers AP exams, shortened the tests to 45 minutes and moved them online. The new format has raised questions about fairness. For many students, changing the test site from Read More