Darling-Hammond: COVID-19 Brings ‘Central Importance of Public Education Back to People’s Minds’

Few education researchers have had as much influence on educational policy and practice over the past quarter century than Linda Darling-Hammond. A former teacher and school founder, the Stanford University scholar is president and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute, and last year, she was appointed president of the California State Board of Education. In this Q&A, Darling-Hammond discusses the state board’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, how school closures are affecting her research interests and the lessons she hopes school leaders take away from her work.

Academically Speaking, the ‘COVID Slide’ Could Be a Lot Worse Than You Think

Education leaders are already bracing for a worse “summer slide” this year for students whose schools were shut down to curb the spread of coronavirus. But new research suggests the so-called coronavirus or “COVID slide” is going to be significantly worse. In one study out today, Beth Tarasawa and Megan Kuhfeld, researchers for NWEA, the Northwest Evaluation Association, analyzed student achievement and growth data from more than 5 million students in grades 3-8 who participated in NWEA’s widely used MAP-Growth test in 2017-18. The researchers used the data to project growth trajectories for the students under two scenarios.

How Schools Will Overcome the ‘Coronavirus Slide:’ Ideas From 5 Superintendents

More governors are canceling in-school instruction for the rest of the academic year, leaving superintendents and their academic teams to figure out how they will make up for what could be profound learning losses for millions of students. Will they run summer school? Would they even have the money to do that? Should they start the 2020-21 year earlier? Can they require longer school days in the upcoming year? Those options—some more feasible than others—are what superintendents are weighing right now as it becomes increasingly likely that few, if any, schools will resume in-person instruction this academic year.

Amid Coronavirus Shutdown, States Tweak Graduation Requirements for Class of 2020

States are moving swiftly to manage the educational fallout from school closures and other disruptions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic for high school seniors, with more than 30 states already having enacted changes to their graduation criteria or guidance on smoothing out the unexpected bumps to students’ K-12 careers. State education officials agreed issues of equity and consistency for seniors have been particularly challenging. For the most part, districts will bear the brunt of decisions about which student should get credit for which partly completed class, and how.

2020 State Education Policy Watch List

We are closely monitoring 2020 policy action on several education issues and updating this database with pending, enacted and vetoed bills on an ongoing basis. Legislation we are monitoring from introduction includes bills related to: Career/Tech Ed, Charter Schools, NEW – Education Policy Responses to COVID-19, Financial Aid, High School, Postsecondary Affordability / Finance, Postsecondary Campus Safety, Postsecondary Workforce Development, School Safety, Teaching.

Students: Chicago Needs a Mental Health Hotline — and Fast — for Youth Displaced by Coronavirus Closures

Youth leaders on Thursday called on Chicago and its school district to launch a mental health hotline to support young people grappling with the emotional fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. In a virtual town hall, Chicago teens said the outbreak has heightened mental health challenges and cut them off from school and community help. They said they need an easy way to connect with school social workers and other professionals — both while schools remain closed and in the aftermath of the crisis.

Analysis: How 18 Top Charter School Networks Are Adapting to Online Education, and What Other Schools Can Learn From Them

As public schools across the country build out remote learning plans to support students during school closures prompted by the novel coronavirus, some of the nation’s most prominent charter networks have made rapid leaps from the classroom to the cloud. Many of them are holding real-time online classes, checking in regularly with their students and grading student work. Those practices remain somewhat rare in our examination of remote learning in 82 school districts across the country. The Center on Reinventing Public Education began tracking these efforts three weeks ago.

Our Children will Need Much More than Remote Learning to Get Back on Track in School

Across Illinois, families are doing their best to navigate the “new normal” of shelter-in-place schooling since Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered school campuses closed as part of the state’s response to COVID-19. We now know that the closures will extend through April. And we wouldn’t be surprised if school doors are closed for the remainder of this school year. Saving lives must be the first priority. We applaud the students, parents, teachers, administrators and volunteers who are making the best of a difficult and frustrating situation. And heartfelt thanks to the Illinois State Board of Education, elected and community leaders, philanthropic organizations and residents who are giving their time, talent and dollars to ease the pressure.

Coronavirus Aid Might Not Prevent Cuts to School Funding, Analysis Shows

Even with $13.5 billion in coronavirus relief aid provided to schools by Congress last month, an across-the-board 8 percent cut to states’ school funding would lead to a decline in per-pupil spending in all 50 states, a new analysis shows. In addition, the analysis by Michael Griffith, a veteran school finance consultant, finds that the K-12 relief package signed by President Donald Trump on March 27 as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act amounts to less than 2 percent of all spending on public schools.

How Much is Your Illinois School District Slated to Get from the Federal Stimulus Bill? Find Out Here.

Illinois is expected to receive $569.5 million in emergency school funds from the federal government to spend on its coronavirus response, the state’s top educator has told district leaders. Now that it has become clear that school closures could span weeks, even months, the state “strongly” encouraged district leaders to use the money to “strengthen your infrastructure for remote learning,” Superintendent Carmen Ayala said in a message to districts Tuesday night. Earlier Tuesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker extended school closures to April 30. The money is part of the federal government’s coronavirus stimulus bill. In all, the Trump administration has said it is sending $13.5 billion to schools for meal programs, technology purchases, remote learning infrastructure, distance mental health programs and counseling for students, sanitization and deep cleaning, and summer programs to help address the learning gaps.

Expulsion From School as a Disciplinary Action

This report examines the percentage of U.S. public elementary and secondary schools that were allowed to expel students from school as a disciplinary action and the percentage of schools that used this action. Specifically, this report investigates the trend over time in schools’ allowance for and use of these disciplinary actions, and comparisons between schools with varying levels of minority student enrollment. In school year 2017–18, about 46% of schools were allowed to expel students from school with continuing services, compared with 35% that were allowed to expel students without continuing services. This pattern was consistent over time, with a higher percentage of public schools reporting being allowed to expel students from school with continuing services than without in each survey year.

Maryland State Senator Pitches Year-Round School Schedule

Maryland state Sen. Paul Pinsky pitched a plan for a year-round school schedule to State Superintendent Karen Salmon and other leaders in an April 7 letter, according to WBALTV11. Pinsky, the chairman of the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee,​​ said he suggests an “immediate conversation about starting year-round school …. beginning, possibly, this summer or next.” Pinsky is advocating for four quarters, each lasting nine to 10 weeks, and four seasonal breaks and vacations between each quarter. Salmon said she was open to the conversation and that she is “not sure we are not going to be doing school in the same way going forward,” but added she is currently putting her efforts into distance learning. Baltimore’s Robert Coleman Elementary School set up a year-round schedule in the late 1990s, but the program was scrapped in 2005 due, in part, to poor academic performance.

Ed, Tech Coalition Launches Resource for Remotely Serving Special Needs Students

As the U.S. Department of Education considers whether to recommend waivers from certain aspects of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, several organizations have joined together to support the special education community through the challenges caused by school closures. The Educating All Learners Alliance, announced last week, features resources, case studies, webinars and virtual “office hours” and brings together special education and technology organizations, such as the National Center for Learning Disabilities and the International Society for Technology in Education.

How the $2 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill Supports Education

The frenzied activity on Capitol Hill has yielded the single largest funding bill in our nation’s history at $2 trillion. The 888 page bill—H.R. 748, the CARES Act—passed the Senate late Wednesday night with a vote of 96-0. (Four Senators were absent due to the virus, including Sen. Rand. Paul (R-KY) who has tested positive, and 3 others who are self-quarantining.) The House is looking to pass the bill today [Friday, March 27], hoping that a voice vote will work—meaning that no Member of the House would object. President Trump has indicated that he will sign the bill.

Engaging the Arts Across the Juvenile Justice System

This Special Report explores research and programs that employ the arts along the juvenile justice continuum: in prevention, intervention, transition and healing.

When School Pipelines Fail, Parent Organizers and Support Staff Step In to Help the Most Fragile Families

When Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz ordered his state’s schools closed, he directed them to continue to provide food for anyone 18 or under who needed it. Yet even as cafeterias were making the rapid switch to grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches, Rashad Turner was hearing from needy families who had no idea how to get those meals. The founder of the Minnesota Parent Union, Turner and his team heard from 85 families in the first days after the closure was announced, with food insecurity topping the list of concerns, followed by where and when students could pick up Chromebooks and other technology.

Putting Rivalries Aside, Media, Education and Tech Giants Come Together to Offer Free Lessons, Activities During Pandemic — All in One Curated Place

Under normal circumstances, companies like Time for Kids, Scholastic and Khan Academy are competitors; after all, each provides educational content, and teachers can bring only so many apps and websites into the classroom. But these are not normal circumstances. So instead, those big names and many others across education, technology and media came together over the past two weeks to create a free, one-stop-shop site for education resources for K-12 students, teachers and parents.