A tale of two states: Ohio and New York take different paths to budget cuts for schools

Ohio had an economic crisis to deal with and a budget to balance. So it made cuts to public schools — $300 million worth. But instead of simply slashing budgets across the board, Gov. Mike DeWine took a targeted approach. “We have an obligation to do our best to balance these cuts and to protect the most vulnerable of our students, and we intend to do that with these cuts,” he said earlier this month. Cleveland’s school district, where the vast majority of students come from low-income families, lost $109 per student, or 1 percent of its main state funding stream. The wealthy Cleveland suburb Solon, meanwhile, lost $302 per student, or 40 percent of those state dollars.

Back to school? 1 in 5 teachers are unlikely to return to reopened classrooms this fall, poll says

Most Americans expect schools to reopen in the fall, but a stunning number of teachers and students may not be there. In an exclusive USA TODAY/Ipsos poll, 1 in 5 teachers say they are unlikely to go back to school if their classrooms reopen in the fall, a potential massive wave of resignations. Though most teachers report working more than usual, nearly two-thirds say they haven’t been able to properly do their jobs in an educational system upended by the coronavirus. A separate poll of parents with at least one child in grades K-12 finds that 6in 10 say they would be likely to pursue at-home learning options instead of sending back their children this fall. Nearly a third of parents, 30%, say they are “very likely” to do that.

Analysis: What Lasting Academic (and Economic) Effects Could Coronavirus Shutdowns Have on This Generation of Students? Some Alarming Data Points From Research on Previous Disasters

Though we can guess at the academic effects of the COVID-19 school shutdowns, the full impact of the lost learning time won’t be known for decades. Research on previous school closures may be helpful to guide our response. Those studies find negative effects on two levels. One is that school closures can disrupt educational trajectories if students use the opportunity to make different life decisions than they otherwise would have. Another: Lost learning time has the largest effects on the youngest students.

50-State Comparison: English Learner Policies

Research suggests that in their transition to English, non-native speakers fall behind academically, which can intensify the longer a student remains in an English learner program. State education leaders are mindful of this and have implemented policies to identify, serve, and reclassify English learners as they become proficient. This resource provides a national comparison of EL policies in all states.

The Condition of Education

This report is a congressionally mandated annual report that contains key indicators on the condition of education in the United States at all levels, from prekindergarten through postsecondary, as well as labor force outcomes and international comparisons. The indicators summarize important developments and trends using the latest statistics, which are updated throughout the year as new data become available. In fall 2017, some 50.7 million students were enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools (pre-K through grade 12). Total public school enrollment in pre-K through grade 12 is projected to increase to 51.1 million students (a 1% increase) by 2029, with changes across states ranging from an increase of 16% in North Dakota to a decrease of 12% in New Mexico. Florida was one ten states where the increase in total enrollment for public elementary and secondary schools increased by 15% or more from fall of 2000 to the fall of 2017. The other states were Delaware, North Carolina, Georgia, Idaho, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, Utah, and Nevada.

AIR Launches National Public Education Survey on Coronavirus Response

The coronavirus pandemic has upended public education across the U.S. To learn more about how schools have responded, AIR is surveying 2,500 school districts and 260 charter management organizations about the challenges they have faced and actions they have taken. Results begin rolling out this summer and will inform educators, policymakers, and researchers about the best approaches to serving students during this unprecedented time, and in the future.

Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities During the Coronavirus Pandemic

While distance learning has been difficult for many children during the COVID-19 quarantine, students with disabilities face additional challenges. The latest episode of the AIR Informs podcast features Allison Gandhi, AIR special education expert, who shares information and strategies for parents to help students make the most of this time.

What Will Schools Do in the Fall? Here Are 4 Possible Scenarios

As the current school year comes to a close, looking and functioning nothing like what any of us could have imagined mere months ago, another challenging school year looms ahead. Although nearly every U.S. state has begun, in varying degrees, to reopen businesses and relax lockdown restrictions, there is still little certainty—or consensus—as to what the future of education holds this fall. In a new guide released today by the Washington, D.C.-based think tank New America, the three authors—an instructional designer and two former teachers—lay out four possible scenarios for what school will look like in the 2020-21 school year, based on present understanding of the COVID-19 virus and health experts’ advice for school re-openings.

High school start times and student achievement: Looking beyond test scores

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that U.S. secondary schools begin after 8:30 a.m. to better align with the circadian rhythms of adolescents. Yet due to economic and logistic considerations, the vast majority of high schools begin the school day considerably earlier. We leverage a quasi-natural experiment in which five comprehensive high schools in one of the nation’s largest school systems moved start times forty minutes earlier to better coordinate with earlier-start high schools. Here, disruption effects should exacerbate any harmful consequences. We report on the effect of earlier start times on a broad range of outcomes, including mandatory ACT test scores, absenteeism, on-time progress in high school, and college-going. While we fail to find evidence of harmful effects on test scores, we do see a rise in absenteeism and tardiness rates, as well as higher rates of dropping out of high school. These results suggest that the harmful effects of early start times may not be well captured by considering test scores alone.

What’s Missing from House Democrats’ Latest Coronavirus Bill? A Lot…

Education advocates were looking for a heroic response from Congress to support students’ learning while schools are closed and their recovery when schools reopen. They were largely let down. In a more predictable disappointment, the Education Department released final Title IX regulations.

Lexington students teach the kids online

Students in a Lexington, Kentucky, high school stepped up to teach their school district’s younger children after schools temporarily closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A Lexington student had a “lightbulb” moment and shared her idea with several of her friends to offer fun, interactive online classes to the district’s younger students. Since these young women already had previous experience working with children, they felt prepared to take on the role of teachers. Their instruction focuses on such topics as mythology, storytelling, robotics, and science experiments. They also incorporate an exercise bootcamp. The number of elementary students participating in the lessons quickly grew, and the high school instructors have received much positive feedback from the students and their parents. Organizing this group and being able to add value to the community has been a labor of love for the high school students.

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 the economic crisis by healthy reserves and budgets.

Survey: Lower-income students struggling with remote learning

A survey of 1,500 families nationwide from ParentsTogether Action found lower-income parents are 10 times more likely to say their child is doing little or no remote learning compared to higher-income parents. The data from the organization also shows 13% of students from low-income households lack a device or internet access, compared to 1% of students from families making more than $50,000 annually. Thirty-six percent of parents from households making less than $25,000 annually say remote learning is going “poorly or very poorly,” compared to 18% of those in families making more than $100,000. The lower-income parents are also more likely to say their student’s work is mostly or entirely busy work.

High expectations for summer programs as learning gaps predicted to grow

With experts predicting and school leaders expecting significant student learning loss because of school closures, advocates, researchers, and others stepped up efforts this week to emphasize the role that out-of-school-time programs play in minimizing the damage. On Thursday, for example, the Afterschool Alliance, the Boys and Girls Clubs, and other organizations will hold an afternoon virtual town hall event to draw attention to how after-school and summer programs can be part of economic recovery and provide ongoing learning experiences for students.

Pandemic flips CTE models, but not without challenges

When schools suddenly skidded to a halt this spring due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, career and technology educators had to come up with innovative ideas fast. Much of the curriculum in districts nationwide shifted to a distance learning format, but while online videos can demonstrate proper welding techniques, for example, they are no substitute for handling a welding torch and practicing techniques in real-time. Construction, cosmetology, healthcare, and culinary arts are no different. Hands-on professions require in-person practice.

Will COVID-19 Spur Greater Use of Artificial Intelligence in K-12 Education?

The rush to adopt new technology during coronavirus-driven remote learning could lead educators to use more tools powered by advanced artificial intelligence. But that more optimistic vision for AI could be tempered by budget shortfalls resulting from the virus outbreak that “may seriously delay” school districts from making those types of investments in the near future.

Chicago will extend school into summer for students at risk of failing. But can those students log on?

Chicago students who received an incomplete in math or English will be required to take summer school this year, but school board members worry they will still face the same barriers that kept them from finishing their classes. “If summer students are in the category of non-digital today, what are we going to do to reach them and engage them to enroll?” board member Lucino Sotelo asked during Wednesday’s virtual board of education meeting.

California needs $500 million to buy enough computers, internet connections for all students

California needs at least $500 million to address the immediate need for home computers and internet access for K-12 students, as most schools are expected to continue at least some distance learning next school year, said Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond during a press conference last week. Thurmond called on companies, foundations, and individual donors to help provide the 600,000 computers and tablets, and 300,000 to 400,000 internet connections or hot spots needed for distance learning after campuses closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The department has been working with companies like T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Amazon, and others and has distributed 100,000 hot spots to students and 21,000 computers to districts.

$68 million in CARES Act funding going toward South Dakota education

Gov. Kristi Noem announced Tuesday that $68 million in federal CARES Act funding has gone toward education funding in the state. These funds are separate from the $1.25 billion the state received in funding, which Noem said will go toward health care, small business, education, and local governments. She previously asked counties and cities to keep track of any COVID-19 related expenses they incur from the pandemic. Noem said she will have a plan soon on how much of the $1.25 billion will go to cities and counties and there was no requirement from the Department of Treasury that the funding goes to municipalities.

DC Public Schools launches college-bound graduate support network

D.C. Public Schools recently launched a support network program for 2020 college-bound high school graduates, The D.C. Post reports. The program, called DCPS Persists, will offer career and college support to hundreds of students. The program gives college-bound graduates a connection to a network where they can give and receive tips and form career networking contacts. A DCPS Persists coach connects with each graduate to offer academic and financial guidance, and coaches will work with students throughout their first year of college to answer questions and keep them on track. Participants also get a pre-college orientation and receive a monthly alumni publication. The program is being funded by a $10 million donation from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation.

Specialists Struggle To Deliver Special Education Services

Counselors, physical therapists, reading specialists, and speech pathologists who support students with special needs have been getting creative as they try to do their jobs remotely. But technology has its limits. Alicia Seaver, an occupational therapist at Roxbury’s Orchard Garden’s K-8 School, when asked whether occupational therapists like herself can do their jobs through remote learning answered, “yes” and “no.”

U. South Florida to offer cybersecurity courses for K-12 districts

The University of South Florida has announced a new effort to help schools provide cybersecurity classes to K-12 students. The effort—housed within the Florida Center for Instructional Technology and Cyber Florida: The Florida Center for Cybersecurity—will develop classes and programs centered around stressing the importance of cybersecurity and demonstrating career paths in the field, according to a Thursday announcement from the university.

No cuts to Illinois education, but schools warn COVID will push up costs

While other states are drastically cutting budgets for 2020-21 in anticipation of plunging revenues, Illinois’ newly passed budget will keep school funding flat. Still, that worries school leaders who say that they face higher expenses for smaller classes, additional buses, deep cleanings, and stiffer health and safety measures. Districts are pricing out the costs of education in the era of COVID-19, and they say it will cost more no matter the scenario in the fall. But after spending a first round of federal stimulus dollars — mostly on tech devices and broadband access in districts with concentrations of low-income students — Illinois schools will have to confront additional costs using the same amount of money as last year.

What’s the best way to monitor school attendance during distance learning? No one knows

Three times a week, Beth Riedeman’s son has a live video chat with his first-grade class. About half of his classmates are “showing up” on a regular basis, she said. In the brave new world of remote learning, this is what school attendance looks like. Participation in teacher-led live video chats, signing on to online learning platforms and submitting assignments — either digitally or through printed materials sent back to schools — are a few of the ways schools across much of the country are tracking students’ “attendance,” or more importantly, their participation in learning while school buildings remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.