Scheduling the COVID-19 School Year

Five days a week, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. That traditional school day—so coveted now for its normalcy and essential contribution to how our families, communities, and economy function—probably won’t make a full comeback this fall. Some school communities will forge ahead with a return to the typical school calendar, but that carries large risks. If there’s an outbreak of the coronavirus, they’ll have to shut down abruptly. But in many school districts, the sheer Read More

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

Colleges Must Mandate Face Masks on Reopened Campuses, Union Says

The required use of face masks on campuses, sanitation stations in every college classroom and office, and comprehensive COVID-19 testing and tracing programs are a few of the recommendations made this week by a United Faculty of Florida (UFF) committee, which stepped into the debate around reopening campuses with a detailed 13-page report of best practices. The intention is to be helpful, and to make sure the voices of students, faculty, staff, and health experts are Read More

Colleges Under Fire for Plans to Open Football Stadiums, Bring Back Athletes

PURDUE UNIVERSITY President Mitch Daniels came under fire Thursday during a Senate hearing for plans to allow fall sports teams back on campus for preseason practice and to open the university’s 57,000-seat football stadium for games. “I think it’s interesting that college sports teams are coming back for practices before professional sports leagues are feeling it’s safe enough to come back,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, during a Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Read More

Parents opting to homeschool beyond COVID add to school finance concerns

Kristen Smith’s 10-year-old son is a self-motivated student who loves to learn. And while Smith has been told multiple times that she should consider homeschooling her son, who excels academically and jumped from 4th to 6th grade last year, the idea always overwhelmed her. Besides, her son has enjoyed the social aspects of school and needed to work on organizational skills that come from being in a classroom.  Now, however, everything is different. In the 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

Universities Weigh Reopening for Students

Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California, is open for business this fall — but to get there, you really have to want it. Tucked amid verdant hills 23 miles east of San Francisco, accessible by a single road and a single entrance, the small, private Roman Catholic school receives almost no visitors by accident. This, in the age of a pandemic, is good news indeed for its administrators. “We can control who comes in or out in a Read More

‘Feels Very Anticlimatic’: Seniors Reflect On Ending High School Amid The Pandemic

Prom portraits are often windows into the past, capturing a moment in time with a special person, or friends you’ve lost touch with. It’s a celebration of hard work; a well-earned break from studying and stress. Frozen in time — often to the delight and amusement, decades later, of future generations — are cultural trends in fashion and hair : Why did you pick that dress? Sneakers with a suit –really? Yet for the class 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