Education Needs to Address Significant Quality Issues with its Restraint and Seclusion Data

The Department of Education’s (Education) quality control processes for data it collects from public school districts on incidents of restraint and seclusion are largely ineffective or do not exist, according to GAO’s analysis of school year 2015-16 federal restraint and seclusion data—the most recent available. Specifically, Education’s data quality control processes were insufficient to detect problematic data in its Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC)—data Education uses in its efforts to enforce federal civil rights laws. (U.S. Government Accountability Office)

Schools need a big influx of federal money — with strings attached, union think tank argues

The federal government should flood public schools with money — with strings attached — to make up for the rapid declines in state funding caused by the coronavirus. That’s the argument being made in a report released by the Shanker Institute, a think tank affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers. To get those federal dollars, states would have to ensure that high-poverty school districts don’t face the bigger state cuts. “Education funding is primarily a state and local affair, and so truly sustainable solutions cannot take the form of federal aid with states continuing business as usual,” wrote Bruce Baker and Matthew Di Carlo.

READS: Helping Children Become Summer Bookworms

This research summary explores READS and the rigorous research behind its development over the years, as well as the program’s outcomes and key components. The brainchild of James Kim, a Harvard University education professor, READS provides 10 free, carefully-matched books to third through fifth graders over the summer, along with three key supports: a reading comprehension routine taught to the students at school before their summer vacation begins; the engagement of the students’ families in the program; and keep-up-the-reading nudges from teachers through texts or other communications during the summer.

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.

California, Oregon, and Washington Research & Education Networks Announce Collaborative Support for COVID-19 Western States Pact

Statewide research and education networks in California, Oregon, and Washington have joined to support the shared approach announced by their states’ respective leaders, Governors Gavin Newsom, Kate Brown, and Jay Inslee, this week to move toward a reopening of economic activity while safeguarding health outcomes. CENIC, Link Oregon, and Pacific Northwest Gigapop (PNWGP) offer their ultra-broadband research and education telecommunications networks and services.

Steiner & Weisberg: When Students Go Back to School, Too Many Will Start the Year Behind. Here’s How to Catch Them Up — in Real Time

A summary of the best research shows that as a single strategy, retention basically doesn’t work. In the earlier grades, it may make a tiny initial difference that largely dissipates over time. Retaining middle school students doesn’t work at all, making them more likely to drop out of high school. And even the limited positive effects of retention seem to come from strategies that go well beyond just repeating a grade. Remediation — promoting students who have fallen behind but continuing to give them work better suited for earlier grades — is a far more common approach, but just as ineffective.

State Policies to Address COVID-19 School Closure

The COVID-19 crisis led to a near-nationwide closure of K-12 public schools. Many states are not planning to re-open schools for face-to-face instruction for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. Governor Gretchen Whitmer has announced that Michigan will end face-to-face instruction, require schools to submit plans for distance learning, and suspend many requirements for assessment and instruction. The truncated school year is likely to reduce student learning, leaving students less prepared to advance grades, and severely strain school planning, financing, and assessment capabilities. Michigan State University’s Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC)(link is external)and Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR) have jointly tracked crisis responses across all 50 states, which are summarized here.

Why Are Some Kids Thriving During Remote Learning?

Increasingly, teachers in our audience are reporting that a handful of their students—shy kids, hyperactive kids, highly creative kids—are suddenly doing better with remote learning than they were doing in the physical classroom. “It’s been awesome to see some of my kids finally find their niche in education,” said Holli Ross, a first-year high school teacher in northern California, echoing the sentiments of dozens of teachers we’ve heard from. That’s not to say it’s the norm. Many students are struggling to adapt to remote learning: Digital access and connectivity remain a pervasive equity issue; stay-at-home orders have magnified existing problems in familial dynamics; and, universally, teachers and students grapple with how to replicate the engagement and discourse from an in-person classroom.

Despite coronavirus uncertainty, Chicago school leaders move forward with $125 million budget boost

Chicago will spend $125 million next school year to boost special education and low-enrollment schools and to add some of the nurses and social workers it agreed to in the latest union contract, officials said Tuesday. The district, which offered a first draft of school-level budgets for the 2020-21 year on Tuesday, expects to present a balanced full-district budget this summer, thanks in part to about $205 million in federal emergency funding to help it face strain from the coronavirus pandemic and resulting school building closures. Chicago Public Schools must share some of that funding with private and charter schools, according to the federal government.