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Beyond Ohio


Many Arkansas Teachers Refuse In-Person Classes Amid COVID-19 Concerns

/ Beyond Ohio, HR, remote learning

NPR |

At least 166 instructors represented by Little Rock Education Association say they are concerned about COVID-19 and only willing to teach remotely. Until the district allows for remote-only instruction or increases school safety, they say they will stay home, according to a union statement.

“Our schools are NOT safe. Someone is going to get sick and someone is going to die if we continue in the current manner,” association President Teresa Knapp Gordon said in a statement. “This is not a strike,” Gordon continued. “We are completely and totally willing to work and serve our students virtually in a manner that keeps everyone safe and alive.”

The district, however, isn’t budging. Mike Poore, Little Rock School District superintendent, said in a letter that there are “no plans to close schools.” Poore also told NPR there will be disciplinary action against the no-show teachers, and they may be fired. He says the district has done an excellent job of being as safe as possible in the five weeks it has been open.

Northern Kentucky students return to class, while half their peers learn from home

WLWT and WCPO |

It appears a majority of public schools in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties are using a blended A/B model to bring students back to class, meaning students spend alternate days at their home school based on their last name.

But there are grade levels going back five days a week. It all depends on how much space a particular building has to accommodate students who want to be back in the classroom.

NKU to train teachers to teach Kentucky’s required financial literacy class

/ Beyond Ohio, curriculum

WKRC |

Starting this year, high school students in Kentucky are required to take a financial literacy class before they graduate, but the program is unfunded so many teachers don’t have the training they need.

Northern Kentucky University is offering financial literacy training for educators who will then be able to teach that course in their high schools.

Last year, 40 teachers from around the world participated in the university’s inaugural program, but next year, the focus will be on educators in Kentucky.

Kenton County school leaders use tools of the building trade to keep students connected during pandemic

/ Beyond Ohio, career-tech

WLWT |

After months of learning remotely, a dozen Kenton County high school students were grateful to be back in the setting they know best – Kenton County’s Building Maintenance, a collaborative effort with Gateway Community Technical College.

“I personally don’t like the online schooling. I like this a lot better, with hands-on and everything,” Dixie Heights High School junior T.J. Seiter said.

Jeff Bezos to open first nonprofit preschool in Washington as part of $2 billion Day One Fund

/ Beyond Ohio, early-learning

CNBC |

Jeff Bezos is launching the first location of his network of free “Montessori-inspired” preschools, the Amazon CEO announced in an Instagram post on Tuesday. The first school will be in Des Moines, Washington, and will open on Oct. 19. The schools are being launched by nonprofit organization Bezos Academy, which is overseen by Bezos’ philanthropic endeavor the Day One Fund.

N.Y.C. Schools Reopen for Limited In-Person Learning (video)

/ Beyond Ohio, re-opening schools

NY Times – Associated Press |

Thousands of children in pre-K and students with advanced disabilities returned to in-person school in the nation’s largest school district.

Senator to introduce bill that would reimburse parents for homeschooling costs

/ Beyond Ohio, finance-funding

WLWT – Associated Press |

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, of Missouri, says he plans to introduce a bill that would provide relief for families dealing with homeschooling costs during the COVID era.

According to the GOP senator’s website, Hawley’s “Helping Parents During COVID Act of 2020” would provide U.S. families $1,200 in direct cash assistance per month through June 2021 to help cover lost work shifts or wages. The bill would also create a fully-refundable tax credit of $800 per child to reimburse parents for the costs of education expenses, Hawley’s office says.

The direct cash assistance and the credit would be means-tested, the release states. Both the cash assistance and the credit begin to phase out at $75,000 for individual filers and $150,000 those for filing jointly, according to Hawley.

New Ky. School Commissioner Talks Charter Schools, Inequities, Politics

/ Beyond Ohio, leadership

WFPL |

Kentucky’s new commissioner of education Jason Glass has now officially been in office for a week. Glass comes to Kentucky from serving as superintendent for Jeffco Public Schools, a large district near Denver. He’s also served as the top education official for the state of Iowa.

Q&A based on an interview with Glass. Questions and responses have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

House adopts bill by Rep. Marcia Fudge to fight school segregation

/ Beyond Ohio, equity

Cleveland.com |

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday adopted legislation by U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge (11th District Ohio) that would establish a federal grant program to promote racial and socioeconomic diversity in public schools.

The bill passed by a 248 to 167 vote, with support from all of Ohio’s Democrats along with Republicans Anthony Gonzalez of Rocky River, Dave Joyce of Bainbridge Township and Steve Stivers of Columbus.

Even though racial segregation in public schools has been illegal in the United States for more than 66 years, Fudge said the nation’s public schools are more segregated today than at any time since the 1960s. She said the average African American or Latino student attends school with a majority of children of their own race, most of whom are low-income students forced to learn in dilapidated buildings with fewer resources.

Colorado: Douglas County superintendent, Thomas Tucker announced his resignation on Sept. 8, citing personal reasons

/ Beyond Ohio, leadership

Thomas Tucker was previously superintendent of Princeton City Schools.

Thomas Tucker, the outgoing superintendent of Douglas County School District, was placed on paid administrative leave in early September following an allegation of workplace discrimination and subsequent investigation.

Tucker joined Douglas County School District in 2018 after serving as superintendent of Princeton City Schools. He was the first Black upper-level administrator in a major central Ohio district and was the first to hold the superintendent’s chair in two Ohio districts, The Denver Post reported at the time.

Kentucky Adopts Coronavirus Reporting System For K-12 Schools

/ Beyond Ohio, coronavirus

WFPL |

Under the new system, parents and guardians are required to notify schools about students who have tested positive for COVID-19. Schools are then required to report those numbers, and how many people are in quarantine, on a public dashboard.

Beshear says the dashboard, updated each weekday, will help parents, teachers and administrators make real-time decisions.

First-Ever Report Spotlights California, New Jersey, D.C. as Best in Nation for Creating Prenatal-to-3 Policies That Set Children Up to Excel in Early Education

74 Million |

Only California, New Jersey and the District of Columbia have implemented all of the state policies that research shows contribute to young children’s health and well-being during their first three years, according to a comprehensive new “roadmap” released Tuesday.

The five state policies highlighted in the roadmap are: expanded income eligibility for health insurance, reduced barriers to applying for food stamps, paid family leave, a minimum wage of at least $10 and a refundable state earned income tax credit that is at least 10 percent of the federal one.

The report, which includes profiles of each state, also recommends six strategies to support young children’s readiness for school, including having a proven screening and referral program, supplementing federal funding for Early Head Start and having broad criteria for which children can access early intervention services. But the findings show that no state has implemented all of them.

Teachers in at least five states have died with coronavirus since fall semester started

/ Beyond Ohio, coronavirus

The Hill |

Teachers in at least five states have died from COVID-19 since the fall semester started, The Washington Post reported this past Thursday.

At least six teachers across Iowa, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma and South Carolina have died since early August as students return for the school year. It is unknown whether these teachers became infected at school, but several attempted to quarantine to avoid infecting other students and educators.

Court ruling suspends DeVos CARES funding shift

/ Beyond Ohio, finance-funding

WILX – Onondaga, Michigan |

Secretary of education Betsy DeVos diverted $16.5 million of the funds originally intended for Michigan public schools to private schools, and did the same in other states, citing unclear language in the CARES act. In response a coalition of states and schools sued DeVos, and requested a preliminary injunction ruling from Judge James Donato to halt the diversion of the funds until the case is decided.

Late Wednesday Judge Donato granted the request.

In his order Donato found that suit is likely to succeed on its merits because, contrary to Secretary DeVos’ argument that the CARES Act language is ambiguous, Congress used language that is “familiar and uncomplicated, to say the least.”  As a result, Donato wondered, “how could anyone maintain with a straight face” that the CARES Act language is unclear?

Inequality Between Rich and Poor Kentucky School Districts Grows Again Even as Districts Face New COVID Costs and Looming Revenue Losses

/ Beyond Ohio

Kentucky Center for Economic Policy |

The new KCEP research shows that wealthy districts had $2,840 more in state and local revenue per student than poor districts in the 2018/19 school year (the most recent for which data is available). The gap increased $122 in 2019 compared to the prior year, and is now just $208 shy of the pre-KERA gap in inflation-adjusted terms. 

How 3 Countries Are Educating Their Kids During The Pandemic

/ Beyond Ohio, re-opening schools

As parents, teachers and children across the globe struggle with how to return to school safely during the pandemic, we look at strategies in Mexico, South Korea and Greece.

Kentucky Child Welfare System “Pushed to the Brink”

/ Beyond Ohio

CityBeat |

Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Community Based Services, Marta Miranda-Straub, said frontline child protective services staff are working hard to keep kids safe, but noted her agency relies on teachers and childcare providers to help identify at-risk kids. With schools closed, there have been no extra sets of eyes.

(more…)

Hundreds protest new student flu vaccine mandate at Massachusetts’ State House

/ Beyond Ohio, health/wellness

Boston Herald |

Hundreds of parents and students gathered outside the Massachusetts’ State House on Sunday to protest Gov. Charlie Baker’s mandate requiring children — even those attending classes remotely — to receive the flu vaccine if they want to return to school.

Earlier this month, state health officials announced all students 6 months and older will be required to get the flu vaccine by the end of the year, unless medically or religiously exempt. Baker said the mandate came about as a means to take pressure off health-care systems as the coronavirus pandemic extends into flu season, but the requirement will stay in place even after the pandemic ends.

Florida judge strikes down order to reopen schools for in-person classes

/ Beyond Ohio, legal, re-opening schools

Tampa Bay Times |

Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson ruled in favor of Florida’s statewide teachers union Monday, saying Department of Education officials “essentially ignored the requirement of school safety” when they ordered campuses to reopen for face-to-face classes this month.

Taryn Fenske, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Education, said the state had filed its appeal before the close of business Monday.

Judge blocks Ed Department from giving increased CARES funds to Washington private schools

/ Beyond Ohio, finance-funding

Education Dive |

A federal court in Washington has ordered a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Department of Education and its secretary, Betsy DeVos, from implementing an interim final rule on distribution of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, which the judge said would cause public schools in the state “great” and “irreparable” harm.

Photo History: 15 Years After Hurricane Katrina, Revisiting the Devastation and Renewal of New Orleans Schools

/ Beyond Ohio

The 74 Million |

When the storm came ashore on Aug. 29, 2005, some neighborhoods in the city were submerged beneath 12 feet of water. The city’s school system was left in ruins. More than 100 buildings were damaged or destroyed beyond repair, and the images that emerged from those derelict structures point to the magnitude of the challenge that awaited the city.

Fifteen years after one of the worst natural disasters in American history, here’s a look back at how Hurricane Katrina forever reshaped New Orleans schools.

Tennessee Teachers Can Remain In Classrooms After Exposure To COVID, According to New Policy

Newsweek |

According to the Tennessean, several school districts across the state have deemed teachers as part of the “critical infrastructure,” the designation allows teachers to still come to work if they have either been exposed to the novel coronavirus or are living with someone that has tested positive. To come back to work, teachers must show no symptoms of the virus and are required to wear a mask.

A letter from the Tennessee Department of Health and the Department of Education, notes that “any critical infrastructure designation by a school district is not being adopted pursuant to any State-endorsed framework or authority.” The letter also states that while anyone who tests positive for the virus should self-isolate for 10 days, school districts across the state “may adopt policies and choose to exempt certain staff,” and designate them as essential employees.

Los Angeles Schools Plan To Test Students And Employees For The Coronavirus

/ Beyond Ohio, coronavirus

NPR |

The Los Angeles Unified School District announced plans for periodic coronavirus testing of students and employees to research the coronavirus and determine whether school reopenings are safe.

Boone County (Ky) Schools now switching to remote learning as county turns red

WCPO |

“The RED status simply means that ALL students, students who chose hybrid (on the A/B schedule) and students who chose virtual, will receive instruction at home, remotely, by Boone County teachers and staff until the September 28th date or whenever the district is able to transition back to a YELLOW status,” according to a letter sent out to parents from superintendent Matthew Turner.

Rural Schools Struggle With Road Ahead In Era Of Coronavirus

/ Beyond Ohio, re-opening schools

NPR |

At the Bruneau-Grandview School District in rural southern Idaho, a couple dozen teachers are crowded into the small library. They’re doing a refresher training for online teaching. In person-classes are scheduled to begin Monday, but with coronavirus cases continuing to rise in Idaho and other states, it’s an open question for how long.

In a small rural school like this, teachers like Maya Davis will be expected to work in both worlds.

“That will be a little bit challenging to navigate because teaching online itself was a full-time job, and obviously teaching in a classroom is a full-time job,” Davis said. “But we’re just making it work.”

Some Arizona schools cancel classes after teachers take part in ‘sickout’

/ Beyond Ohio, HR, re-opening schools

The Hill |

Schools in an Arizona school district had to cancel classes for this coming Monday after teachers staged a “sickout” to protest what they said were unsafe teaching conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gregory Wyman, superintendent of the J.O. Combs Unified School District, wrote in a letter to families published Friday that the district had received “an overwhelming response from staff indicating that they do not feel safe returning to classrooms with students” as well as “a high volume of staff absences for Monday citing health and safety concerns.”

Indiana: Holcomb Aims To Provide Some School Funding Certainty

Indiana Public Radio |

Gov. Eric Holcomb and Republican legislative leaders want to provide schools with more certainty about funding for at least the first half of the new school year.

Michigan: Legislature, Whitmer reach deal on return-to-school bills

/ Beyond Ohio, re-opening schools

Michigan Public Radio | THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Michigan schools that deem it safe to provide in-person classes during the coronavirus pandemic would have to prioritize the option for K-5 students under legislation that would also largely base districts’ state funding on last year’s pupil count to account for enrollment uncertainty in coming weeks.

Canada: Better ventilation, fewer cellphones called for in federal back-to-school guidelines

/ Beyond Ohio, re-opening schools

CBC |

Canada’s federal public health agency released guidelines for slowing the spread of the coronavirus among students and staff when schools reopen in September.

The guidelines for school administrators recommend:

  • students over the age of 10 wear masks
  • students and teachers stay two meters apart
  • students and teachers be grouped together to reduce the number of people they come into close contact with
  • postpone or cancel large group activities like assemblies, team sports and field trips
  • move classes outside if weather permits
  • students encouraged to leave personal belongings, like cellphones, either at home or in their lockers so that they’re not shared among students, according to the document
  • schools improve their ventilation systems and open windows whenever possible to increase air flow

Indiana Education Head On Reopening Schools: Contact Tracing Is A ‘Beast’

NPR |

For students and staff who attend in person, and their families, contact tracing is key to keeping coronavirus cases down, public health experts say.

“That contact tracing is a beast,” says Jennifer McCormick, who heads the Indiana Department of Education. “And in order to manage that and have the people to do it is really hard. And then on the other end of that, you’re making calls to families that don’t know if it’s legit and don’t really want to sometimes participate.”

How the pandemic exacerbates pressures on students experiencing homelessness

Michigan Public Radio |

Michigan already has the sixth highest rate of homeless students in the country, and many of those children rely on the consistency of walking into a physical building five days a week.

About one out of every twelve Michigan fifth graders experienced homelessness at some point during elementary school. Because of the pandemic, those kids are now cut off from their normal sources of support.

Defying Beshear, Some Kentucky Schools Move Forward With In-Person Opening

/ Beyond Ohio, re-opening schools

Kentucky Public Radio |

Catholic schools in Kentucky say they will move forward with plans to open in-person classes this month, against the recommendation of Gov. Andy Beshear to delay in-person instruction until Sept. 28.

Catholic leaders said they are “confident” they can “provide a safe environment and be ready to respond when there are positive cases of COVID-19 among our students, faculty, or staff.”

260 employees in Georgia’s largest school district test positive for COVID-19 or are exposed

USA Today |

Gwinnett County Public School teachers gathered for in-person planning Wednesday at 141 facilities across the county, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The next day about 260 employees were “excluded from work” because of the coronavirus.

Kentucky Gov. Beshear backs schools opting to start with online learning

/ Beyond Ohio, re-opening schools

WLWT Cincinnati |

On Tuesday, he said school district leaders should carefully review virus data when deciding whether to return students and teachers to classrooms.

“And if they believe it’s in their best interests — and the best interests of their kids and the best interests of their teachers — to give it a little more time, I certainly understand that,” Beshear said. “And I want to be supportive of those superintendents who make that decision that they need a few more weeks or that they’re going to start with an online platform.”

The governor recently recommended that public and private schools wait until at least the third week of August to resume in-person classes to help curb the spread of the virus.

Multiple Dearborn Co. districts head back to full-time, in-person classes Wednesday

/ Beyond Ohio, re-opening schools

WCPO |

Thousands of kids will head back to full-time, in-person classes Wednesday morning in Dearborn County, Indiana.  Desks are equipped with see-through barriers and spread apart for social distancing. Students will wear masks when they enter their classrooms for the first time since March.

Texas School Board Keeps Grooming Code That Led To Suspension Of Black Students

/ Beyond Ohio, equity

NPR |

The students — cousins Kaden Bradford and De’Andre Arnold — wear their hair in long dreadlocks. But Barbers Hill Independent School District, just east of Houston, forbids male students from keeping their hair at a length “below the top of a t-shirt collar, below the eyebrows, or below the ear lobes,” according to the district’s Student Handbook.

As COVID-19 caseload mounts, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sued by teachers over school reopening plan

USA Today |

In its lawsuit filed in Miami state circuit court, the Florida Education Association said the school reopening order violates the Florida Constitution, which requires that a “uniform, efficient, safe, secure and high quality system” of public schools exist.

Joining the FEA in the lawsuit are several teachers, along with the NAACP state chapter and its national organization. Defendants are DeSantis, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

The union says decisions about the reopening of schools — whether in-person, online or a hybrid system — should be made at the local level.

San Antonio Superintendents Had a Plan to Safely Open Schools to Kids Who Needed Them Most. The Governor Had Other Ideas

The 74 Million |

Area school officials were moving ahead to bring back homeless, special education, and students who had fallen the furthest behind — refiling schools slowly. But even as coronavirus cases have surged across Texas, Governor Greg Abbott mandated that schools reopen five days a week to any student, while also offering a 100 percent online option. Failure to do so would jeopardize schools’ state funding, which is based on attendance.

Revised guidance issued Friday gave schools up to eight weeks after their start date — which can also be moved back given that 180 days of instruction remain on the school calendar — to offer online instruction only.

Local health authorities around the state, including San Antonio’s Metropolitan Health Department, have ordered school buildings closed until after Labor Day, and may extend that order.

Online Petition Highlights Concerns From Parents, Teachers About Reopening Schools

Indiana Public Radio |

The online petition in Indiana has gained more than 10,000 signatures since last week. 

It pushes for a statewide mask requirement in schools, and calls for lawmakers and schools to provide staff members with hazard pay, offer all staff protective and sanitizing equipment, and limit class sizes. The petition also says that people who have signed it refuse to return to school until their county has reported no new COVID-19 cases for at least 14 days.

Despite harsh criticism, Detroit school board approves plan for in-person learning this fall

Michigan Radio |

DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said Detroit families wanted both options. “Online learning will work for some children and some families, and we will continue to provide that as an option,” he said. “But so is face-to-face instruction.”

“And for a lot of our children, a lot of our families, online learning is not an option, in order to be at grade level and to develop as whole children.”

But board members, who approved the plan unanimously, heard blistering criticism from teachers and parents who joined the online meeting via Zoom. Some blasted the district’s safety measures as inadequate, while others questioned whether they would be faithfully implemented. Others said that given the current state of the pandemic, it’s simply irresponsible to do in-person learning at all.

Pollio Recommends JCPS Students Begin Year With Remote Instruction

WFPL Louisville |

Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) superintendent Marty Pollio has announced he wants to begin the 2020-2021 school year in remote instruction. Under Pollio’s plan, students wouldn’t return to the classroom until at least October.

If Pollio’s plan is approved by the Jefferson County Board of Education at its meeting Tuesday, JCPS will join many other large urban school districts in foregoing in-person instruction. School systems in Nashville, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston and other large cities, have all opted for remote learning.

Los Angeles And San Diego Schools Announce Online-Only Fall

NPR |

“The skyrocketing infection rates of the past few weeks make it clear the pandemic is not under control,” a joint statement said.

How to Reopen Schools: What Science and Other Countries Teach Us

The New York Times |

The experience abroad has shown that measures such as physical distancing and wearing masks in schools can make a difference. Another important variable is how widespread the virus is in the community over all, because that will affect how many people potentially bring it into a school.

“You have to do a lot more than just waving your hands and say make it so,” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, a professor of the practice at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “First you have to control the community spread and then you have to open schools thoughtfully.”

Superintendent for one of US’s largest public school systems has a message for DeVos: ‘You can’t put every kid back in a school’

CNN |

Scott Brabrand, the superintendent of Fairfax County schools argues that they may have plenty of resources, but that doesn’t make it any more feasible to pack students into schools and still follow social-distancing guidelines.

“You would need another five Pentagons of space to be able to safely accommodate all of the students in Fairfax County Public Schools,” he said.

Michigan’s substitute teacher shortage could be worsened by COVID-19

/ Beyond Ohio, HR, re-opening schools

Michigan Radio |

Lezlie Soda is with EDUStaff, a company in Grand Rapids that trains and staffs out substitute teachers to school districts around the state. 

According to Soda, EDUStaff sent a survey out to 17,000 substitutes, to which they received 6,400 responses. Of the 6,400, 78% of those said they would return to substitute teaching in the fall. Of the 78%, 89% said they’d prefer to be physically in the classroom, and 84% said they would be willing to be trained to teach virtually.

“The best thing districts can do is to create a COVID plan that makes that substitute feel like they are part of the team and part of the building and the district, even if it’s just for that day, and to be proactive in having prepared for that substitute coming in,” Soda said.

Demonstrators Rally To Support Transgender Catholic Students, Protest Archdiocese

/ Beyond Ohio, equity, social-justice

Indiana Public Radio |

Cars circled two full blocks of downtown Indianapolis Saturday as part of protest to support transgender students. The demonstration was in response to the Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis’s new policy banning transgender students from their schools.

The guidance from the Archdiocese says if a student or parent works to “legally change the students ‘gender’ or chemically or surgically alter the student’s given biology” the student will be requested to withdraw from the school.

Kentucky Board Of Education Names Jason Glass To Lead The State’s Public Schools

/ Beyond Ohio, leadership

WFPL |

This will not be Glass’s first time leading a state school system. The Brandenburg, Ky. native served as Iowa’s chief state school officer from 2010 to 2013. During his tenure, he pushed through reforms to Iowa’s teacher career pathways, beginning what are known as “teacher career ladders.”

Analysis of State and Territory School Reopening Plans

Johns Hopkins University |

They examined each plan to understand whether it addressed any of twelve criteria: Core Academics, SARS CoV2 Protection, Before & After School Programs, School Access & Transportation, Student Health Services, Food & Nutrition, Parent Choice, Teacher & Staff Choice, Children with special needs / ESL / Gifted and Twice Exceptional, Children of poverty and systemic disadvantage, Privacy, and, Engagement and Transparency.

Plans were given credit for the category if they addressed the topic in some way, even if it wasn’t comprehensive.

States Sue Education Department Over Allocation Of Pandemic Funds To Schools

NPR |

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Michigan, Maine, New Mexico and Wisconsin have also joined.

Last month, the Education Department put out a rule saying that private schools should benefit from a representative share of the more than $13 billion in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act earmarked for public schools.

Becerra contends that is an unlawful interpretation of the CARES act, which allows private schools to get a disproportionate amount of Title I funds — traditionally reserved for low-income students.

Florida orders schools to reopen in the fall, even as virus cases soar

Washington Post |

Florida’s top school official issued a sweeping executive order Monday requiring all schools in the state to reopen their buildings for in-person instruction for the coming school year, even as coronavirus cases in the state continued to rise.

The order, states that “school districts and charter school governing boards must provide the full array of services that are required by law so that families who wish to educate their children in a brick and mortar school full time have the opportunity to do so.”

‘How the hell are we going to do this?’ The panic over reopening schools

Politico |

Overall, a combined 54 percent of American voters said they are somewhat uncomfortable or very uncomfortable with reopening K-12 schools for the beginning of the coming school year, according to the latest POLITICO/Morning Consult poll that assessed the nation’s mood about students returning to day cares and schools shut down by the pandemic.

A review of 100 districts by the Center on Reinventing Public Education found that most are in the planning process, shooting for an early July release of their reopening plans. “How well districts set clear expectations, anticipate and solve problems, and strategically deploy resources will determine whether schools allow learning gaps between students to grow wider,” researchers wrote.

A Look At Some Of Indiana’s New Education Laws Taking Effect July 1

/ Beyond Ohio, legislation

Indiana Public Radio |

Lawmakers approved several new education laws during the legislative session earlier this year, and many go into effect with the new fiscal year, July 1.

Three Finalists For Kentucky’s Top Education Official

/ Beyond Ohio, leadership

WFPL |

All three have a Kentucky connection and experience in the classroom, whether that be K-12 or in higher education.

  • Jason Glass is currently serving as superintendent of Jeffco Public Schools, near Denver, Co. 
  • Julian Vasquez Heilig is the dean of the University of Kentucky’s college of education, where he teaches educational policy.
  • Felicia Cumings Smith is Jefferson County Public Schools’ (JCPS) assistant superintendent of teaching and learning.

Michigan releases school re-opening plan for fall

Michigan Radio |

Michigan is currently in “Phase 4” of the governor’s statewide reopening plan. If students return to the classroom in the fall when the state is still in Phase 4, teachers, staff and students will be required to wear masks, and social distancing, such as keeping students six feet apart in classrooms, will be strongly recommended.

Indoor assemblies and field trips will be prohibited, and frequently touched surfaces will have to be disinfected every four hours.

The road map loosens the requirements once the state has entered Phase 5 of the governor’s statewide restart plan.

NJ Schools superintendents’ video series focuses on helping education recover and advance amid the pandemic

Bridgewater Courier News |

A dedicated group of superintendents from New Jersey has launched a series of free streaming live virtual town hall webinars devoted to rethinking, reimagining and restarting schools.

The group’s focus is on reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic and modernizing education through dialogue and action with a goal of improving the collective capacity of educators to serve students, staff and communities.

Michigan education advocates highlight Ohio’s approach to funding if education cuts must be made

/ Beyond Ohio, finance-funding

WJRT – Michigan |

Ohio can be an example for Michigan with how the governor and legislature handled budget cuts this time around according to Brian Gutman, Director of External Relations at Education Trust-Midwest. 

“One thing they did was look at the population of students in the district, and so districts with, with more students from low income families are receiving a far lower funding cut, then than school districts that are serving primarily wealthy wealthy families,” Gutman said.

Massachusetts rolls out plan for schools to reopen this fall amid coronavirus

Boston Herald |

The state’s Initial Fall School Reopening Guidance released Thursday requires students in grades two and above to wear masks or face coverings and encourages it for children in kindergarten and first-grade. The same goes for educators and staff. Masks breaks should occur throughout the day when students can safely be six feet apart — ideally outside.

(more…)

Kentucky releases #HealthyAtSchool guidance for getting kids back to school

All of Kentucky’s public school students will be required to wear masks, have their temperatures checked and keep their distance from peers in order to safely return to class this fall, according to the #HealthyatSchool guidance released by Governor Andy Beshear’s administration Wednesday.

The wearing of masks does not apply to children in kindergarten.

(more…)

Erlanger-Elsmere schools now also serving up supper for students, families

/ Beyond Ohio, food-nutrition

WKRC |

School districts across Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana are into their summer feeding program, which helps serve healthy meals to low-income areas. 

Since 67% of the Erlanger-Elsmere school district is on free-and-reduced price lunch, under Kentucky Department of Education guidelines, the entire school district is eligible for free lunch.

Now that school is out for the summer, they’re still firing up the ovens. Preparations are non-stop. Five to six nutrition workers compile breakfast, lunch and dinner, including fresh fruits and vegetables.

The district also creates frozen meals.

No Cuts To K-12 Education Funding, Despite Revenue Shortfalls Due To COVID-19

/ Beyond Ohio, finance-funding

Indiana Public Radio |

Indiana will not cut funding for K-12 schools, according to Gov. Eric Holcomb. At a press conference Wednesday, he said the state’s budget for K-12 schools approved by lawmakers in 2019 will remain on track, despite revenue shortfalls spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

State agencies are cutting their budgets by 15 percent, and colleges and universities will see funding cuts of 7 percent. But Holcomb says after asking state leaders to find cuts elsewhere, funding for K-12 schools will follow the state’s current budget.

Efforts to close digital divide top states’ plans for emergency relief funds

/ Beyond Ohio, finance-funding

EducationDive |

States will primarily use their portion of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund to plug remaining holes in students’ access to devices and reliable, high-speed internet access, according to their applications for the block grant. Many will also work to expand and improve the quality of curriculum materials used for distance learning. 

Passed as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the fund allows state leaders broad flexibility in directing the money toward either K-12 or higher education, and most plan to include both systems when distributing the money. 

Two states, however — Utah and Vermont — indicated they won’t be using the GEER funds for remote learning and provided no additional information.

What Will The Next Year Look Like For Kentucky Schools? Here’s What We Know So Far

WFPL |

The Kentucky Department of Education has released several possible plans to reduce the number of students and teachers in the building at a time. Districts can choose the model they want to use based on their specific community needs, according to KDE.

They are also telling districts to be prepared for three possible start-dates: an early one in July, a traditional start in August, and a late start in late September or early October. Districts have to submit a proposed calendar to KDE by July 31.

Michigan School districts face perfect storm in balancing budgets

/ Beyond Ohio, finance-funding

Michigan Public Radio |

Balanced budgets are due to the state by June 30. But administrators don’t know what the state’s per pupil funding will be, because the state has postponed finalizing its budget until the fall. They can’t estimate how many pupils they will have, due to pandemic uncertainty.

And the state could also cut funding for the current fiscal year, because its own revenues are so uncertain.

Activists, students, parents rally for end to L.A. school police

/ Beyond Ohio, social-justice

LA Times |

Those marching said they wanted to redirect the $70 million school police budget to mental health services, restorative justice programs, college counselors, nurses and other services that could help Black students. 

L.A. schools Supt. Austin Beutner said Monday he would propose banning the use of pepper spray and carotid holds — better known as chokeholds — by school police. Although the Board of Education will pass a budget this month, no members have voiced support for eliminating or defunding the school police for the coming year.

4 COVID deaths in Grant County, Ky linked to school bus facility

WKRC |

All four of the fatal cases of COVID-19 in Grant County have been linked to the Grant County Schools’ transportation center.

Three of the four who died worked directly for the district as either school bus drivers or monitors. The fourth was related to someone who did and contracted the disease from the relative.

Indiana’s Teachers Are Mostly White. Black Educators Say They Need To Talk About Racism

/ Beyond Ohio, equity, social-justice

Indiana Public Radio |

According to state data, white students make up just 67 percent of student enrollment in Indiana, but 93 percent of teachers are white.

Patricia Payne is the director of racial equity for Indianapolis Public Schools. She says educators have to be comfortable talking about race, especially in communities that are mostly white, because teaching people about the world and different perspectives is their job.

“Right now, we’re talking about racism. So teachers have to know the truth in order to be able to teach the truth,” she says.

Oakland County (MI) to bring nurses into schools to help curb spread of COVID-19

Michigan Public Radio |

The Oakland Together School Nurse Initiative calls for hiring 68 nurses. Each nurse would be assigned a school district to work with through December.

The plan is for the nurses to conduct health screenings, train students and teachers on how to follow safety guidelines, and help schools develop individualized plans to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The program will require a $2 million allocation of Oakland County’s federal CARES Act money to be approved by the County Board of Commissioners.

‘Defunding the Police’ — and Shifting Resources From Law Enforcement to Schools — Gains Momentum in the Wake of Protests

The 74 Million |

The most immediate effect of the current push is likely to be felt in school districts that cut ties with local law enforcement. This is especially true in Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed May 25: The city’s public schools have already voted to remove “school resource officers” — armed law enforcement agents — from campuses.

In Response To Protests, Ky. Lt. Gov. Coleman Proposes Implicit Bias Training For Teachers

WFPL |

“I feel public education was made to meet the moment,” Coleman said, who is also the secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

“My first proposal is for the Department of Education to partner with schools across Kentucky to develop and implement a very needed implicit bias training for faculties across the across our communities,” she said. Coleman noted that some districts, like Jefferson County Public Schools, have already created similar training for staff. But she said those professional development opportunities should be available in every school and district.

Survey: Michigan teachers flag health risks as chief concern for school fall re-opening

Michigan Public Radio |

The Michigan Education Association survey of its 120,000 members, conducted May 14-22 was released Thursday.

  • 87% of the 15,399 educators who answered the survey said they were concerned about health risks to students, students’ families, and fellow employees as they consider potential plans for re-opening public schools in the fall.
  • About 90% think smaller class sizes will be necessary to enforce social distancing.
  • About three-quarters want schools to take the temperatures of students and staff as they enter school buildings and to carefully track illnesses.
  • About three-quarters want schools to provide and require masks and other personal protective equipment for employees. That compares to 68.3% who want the same for students.
  • About three-in-five think current staffing and resources are insufficient for cleaning, food service, and bus runs.

Indiana Unveils Recommendations For Schools To Reopen, But Not How They’ll Afford It

Indiana Public Radio |

The guidance recommends schools screen staff and students for COVID symptoms, and that people in schools wear masks. It says schools will likely need to provide masks to staff and students and follow social distancing rules. State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box says how schools follow the guidance is a local decision.

Following the guidelines’ release, the Indiana State Teachers Association said in a statement that schools should not bear the financial burden of implementing the recommendations.

In California, Some Schools Reopen for Vulnerable Students

Edutopia |

In one county in California, alternative education and special education students are starting to return to school with new heightened health protocols.

School’s out? Teachers in England blast unsafe reopening plans

DW |

A survey of 29,000 teaching staff by NASWUT showed that 95% of teachers expressed concern and anxiety about the government’s plans for the wider re-opening of schools, 93% of teachers found the reopening plans confusing, 85% of teachers do not think it will be safe to return on June 1 and 92% of teachers believe that social distancing will not be possible to achieve or will present a major issue at schools.

Schools issue warning: Coronavirus testing and tracing are needed before campuses reopen

Los Angeles Times |

“Opening our schools will not be as easy as separating desks or placing pieces of tape on the floor,” Los Angeles Supt. Austin Beutner and San Diego Supt. Cindy Marten said in their statement. 

“A robust system of COVID-19 testing and contact tracing will need to be in place before we can consider reopening schools. Local health authorities, not school districts, have to lead the way on testing, contact tracing and a clear set of protocols on how to respond to any occurrence of the virus.”

Some U.S. Latinx students face challenges as online learning becomes the new normal

CBS News via Yahoo News |

The Hernandez brothers face challenges as they adjust to online classes in the wake of the pandemic. Miami teacher Alexandra Chace says her concerns with virtual learning extend beyond devices and connectivity. Maria Elena Salinas reports.

Too soon to decide if Michigan schools can open classrooms this fall

Michigan Public Radio |

Michigan’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Rice says Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will decide when and under what conditions Michigan schools will be allowed to reopen for in-person classes. 

“We need every child to have a device, a computer or a laptop minimally, with preloaded educational software, preferably connected to the internet,” Rice said. “We’re working on closing that digital divide with the governor, with the lieutenant governor, and others in philanthropy and in public schools.”   

“The coming year is unlikely to be anything like we’ve ever had in public education.” 

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

USA Today and Indianapolis Star |

Most Indiana districts are tracking attendance through one of four ways, said Adam Baker, spokesperson for the Indiana Department of Education: completed work, a daily attendance question online, live video sessions or personal contact with students or families, like a text message, email or phone call.

‘Kids will be kids’: Furtive hugs, complex logistics on South Korea’s first day back at school

LA Times |

Across South Korea, high school seniors resumed classes this week; other grades were scheduled to return in phases in the coming weeks. At Gyungbuk, that meant 310 restless 17- and 18-year-olds would be first to undergo the experiment that is post-pandemic school life.

Families of Special Needs Students Fear They’ll Lose School Services in Coronavirus Shutdown

/ Beyond Ohio, SpecialEd

ProPublica |

In letters to parents of special education students, some Illinois school districts are asking them to accept scaled-back remote learning plans or waive their rights to “free appropriate public education.”

After ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune obtained copies of letters from the Sangamon district and two other school districts and asked the Illinois State Board of Education about them this month, the state agency told school districts to stop using such language. The federal law that governs special education, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, guarantees students access to school and services to help them learn.

Despite the state agency’s intervention, some parents of special education students, who number about 317,500 in Illinois, remain concerned. Those families often rely on a team of experienced school workers to help their children, and they have had to advocate for the services they receive.

An online program for preschoolers expands because of coronavirus

The Hechinger Report |

A Utah-based nonprofit is expanding its online kindergarten-readiness program to families across Mississippi and eight other states in an effort to fill the gap. Last year, 700 Mississippi kids logged onto the online curriculum, Waterford Upstart, created by Waterford.org. This summer, the number will grow to 2,500 children in Mississippi, and 15,000 rising kindergarteners nationally.

What Asia can teach Ohio about reopening schools amid coronavirus

/ Beyond Ohio, coronavirus

Cleveland Plain Dealer |

Ohio’s proposal, developed by the Ohio Department of Education in consultation with education groups, incorporates some of the approaches seen in Asian and European countries, like requiring masks, reducing class sizes and requiring hand sanitizer. It leaves many of the particulars for schools to figure out, but emphasizes requirements for cleanliness.

Michigan settles suit after landmark “right to read” ruling

/ Beyond Ohio, legal, literacy

AP & Gongwer News Service |

The state of Michigan has announced a settlement in a lawsuit over poor reading skills that was filed on behalf of Detroit schoolchildren, weeks after a federal appeals court issued a groundbreaking decision recognizing a constitutional right to education and literacy.

This Week’s ESSA News: Indiana Prioritizing Connection Over Attendance During Pandemic, Oklahoma’s Push for Pre-K, DeVos’s Escalating Campaign to Promote School Choice & More

/ Beyond Ohio, ESSA

The 74 Million |

This update on the Every Student Succeeds Act and the education plans now being implemented by states and school districts is produced in partnership with ESSA Essentials, an ongoing series from the Collaborative for Student Success.

  • DeVos is continuing her push to prioritize choice with federal funds
  • During pandemic, Indiana focusing more on connection than attendance
  • Oklahoma ranks third in pre-K access
  • Brookings examines NAEP civics results

Kentucky Education Officials Warn Cuts Are Ahead Without More Aid

WFPL – Kentucky Public Broadcasting |

KDE is following orders from the governor to cut 1% of its budget, or about $3 million, before the end of this fiscal year on June 30. That’s to help make up for an expected budget shortfall of several hundred million dollars due to the pandemic. But officials are bracing for a drop in tax revenues in fiscal year 2021 as well, as the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic continue.

What Italian teachers have learned from two months of home schooling

via The Guardian |

Schools in northern Italy were the first in Europe to close. Since then, teachers, parents and kids across the country have all had to adapt to a new existence – and the results have surprised everyone.

Students have always felt fretful because of their weekly tests and the stigma of being held back a year. But now many teachers feel insecure, too: not just because education seems like the last priority of government, but because they are scared of digitalised learning and fear being replaced by screens.

Amid The Pandemic, One Kentucky Middle School Orchestra Rocks On

/ arts, Beyond Ohio, remote learning

via WFPL |

At Westport Middle School in Jefferson County, an orchestra director has figured out a way to help his students put together a full performance.

(more…)

The coronavirus crisis spotlights the inequalities in American education

Lewis Echevarria is a sophomore in Camden, New Jersey. Originally from Puerto Rico, he has to jump through multiple hoops each day to submit his work: overcome an often bad internet connection, catch up on assignments on a palm-sized screen and find the answers to questions his parents — who both speak little to no English — can’t answer.

Echevarria is one of millions of students that lack access to the basic tools they need to continue their education from home, now that schools all over the country have closed down and more than a dozen states have announced classes will remain virtual through the end of the school year.

Many don’t even have access to internet. Data from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration showed that in 2017, about 7 million school-age children were in households without home Internet service.

Online School Demands More of Teachers. Unions Are Pushing Back.

via The New York Times |

Unions in some of America’s largest school districts have called for restrictions on the number of hours and days that teachers would be required to work from home during the pandemic.

They have also pushed back against the expectation that teachers conduct lessons live at fixed times, and on the ability of principals to sit in on lessons conducted over Zoom or other video platforms.

Experts question abrupt decision by New York City to ban Zoom from use in all public schools

via Tech Republic |

The hotly debated move does little to address underlying issues many teachers and parents are having with the platform and other tools, educators say.

9 Out Of 10 Children Are Out Of School Worldwide. What Now?

via NPR |

Right now students are out of school in 185 countries. According to UNESCO, that’s roughly 9 out of 10 schoolchildren worldwide. The world has never seen a school shutdown on this scale.

(more…)

Seven states, D.C. close schools in effort to prevent spread of COVID-19

/ Beyond Ohio, coronavirus

via EdWeek and The Washington Post |

With these sweeping announcements, at least 10,600 public and private schools had been closed or were scheduled to close, affecting at least 4.9 million students, according to a tally by EdWeek. 

(more…)

New Mexico schools embrace digital learning; students will get meals

/ Beyond Ohio, coronavirus

via The Santa Fe New Mexican and Albuquerque Journal |

Schools will close for three weeks starting Monday to slow the spread of COVID-19, per an executive order from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. After that, class may restart remotely in early April.

Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart said while decisions regarding technology purchases and training are in the hands of local superintendents and school boards, his department is taking stock of laptop and tablet inventory in each district.

(more…)

Gov. Beshear Recommends Statewide School Closures

/ Beyond Ohio, coronavirus

via WFPL |

Beshear joins the governors of Ohio and Maryland in calling for statewide school closures. He said while early research on COVID-19 suggests the virus is not particularly dangerous to children, young people can still catch and transmit the virus to more vulnerable people, like the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

Interim Education Commissioner Kevin Brown said he “strongly supports” the governor’s recommendation. He encouraged districts to create Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) plans, which allow districts to get up to 10 closures counted as instructional days. NTI plans lay out how schools continue to engage students in learning during closures, through online materials or paper packets sent home.

Michigan cancels all postseason athletic events

/ Beyond Ohio, coronavirus, sports

via Michigan Public Radio |

On Thursday afternoon, the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) suspended postseason events indefinitely. This includes the ice hockey, girls gymnastics, and lower peninsula boys swimming and diving finals, which were scheduled for this weekend.

Additionally canceled are the girls and boys basketball tournaments, which were midway through early rounds of playoff progressions.

Kentucky governor advises schools be ready to close

/ Beyond Ohio, coronavirus

via Cincinnati Enquirer |

School districts have been instructed by the governor’s office to prepare to close on notice as short as 72 hours.

Of the eight confirmed COVID-19 cases in Kentucky, five of them are in Harrison County, which is immediately south of Grant County, according to the release. There are two people with COVID-19 from Fayette County and one from Jefferson County.

NKY International Festival aims to celebrate growing diversity of Northern Kentucky region

/ Beyond Ohio, equity

via WCPO |

The idea grew from a program that Boone County Schools has held to celebrate the cultural traditions of their students and families. Of the school district’s more than 20,000 students, about 1,300 of them are English language learners who speak more than 50 different languages.

Should Transgender Students Be Allowed To Compete In Women’s Athletics?

/ Beyond Ohio, equity, sports

via NPR |

Attorneys for three female high school athletes in Connecticut have filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop transgender athletes from running track events against their clients.

(more…)

Seattle School Superintendent On Her District’s Coronavirus Response

via NPR |

NPR’s Audie Cornish speaks with Denise Juneau, superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, about how schools are preparing for future potential spread of the novel coronavirus.

(more…)

Michigan bill introduced would make art and music part of required curriculum

/ arts, Beyond Ohio

via WWMT |

Senate Bill 804 would require 90 minutes of music and 90 minutes of art instruction per week for every Michigan K-5 student. It also would require districts to have a separate, dedicated budget for music and art, and the legislature to provide funding for any additional costs.

The dual education system – practical for the US?

/ Beyond Ohio, college-career

via DW and Cleveland.com |

The GACC Pre-Apprenticeship Program gives High School students the opportunity to get hands-on experience at a company (paid internship, $10/h), while getting class room training and practice labs to receive the MT1 (Manufacturing Techician Level 1) certificate from the MS Institute that is recognized by the industry. After graduation the students can accelerate into one of our four Apprenticeship Programs.

The program is available in several locations throughout the U.S. including Pittsburg and Chicago.

https://www.dw.com/en/the-dual-education-system-practical-for-the-us/av-51752313
(more…)

Survey Suggests More Kentucky Students Are Vaping and Depressed

/ Beyond Ohio, health/wellness

via WVXU |

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted last spring shows the rate of vaping increased from 15.1% in 2017, to 31.4% in 2019. High school students saw a nine percent jump in the same time period.

‘Devastating:’ Agency boosting early child education says it must exit NKY as funds dry up

/ Beyond Ohio, early-learning

via Cincinnati Enquirer |

4C for Children is being forced to end service in Northern Kentucky due to the gradual elimination of available state funds, according to the agency’s leader.

Unlike Ohio, Kentucky awards one contract for these services throughout the state. Ohio awards multiple regional contracts.

National School Breakfast Week 2020

/ Beyond Ohio, food-nutrition

NWSBW2020 runs March 2nd through March 6th.

The theme for the 2020 National School Breakfast week is “School Breakfast: Out of this World!” National School Breakfast Week is celebrated during the first full week in March. It helps to raise awareness about the importance of a healthy breakfast for children in school.

(more…)

Northern Kentucky teacher wins $25,000 National Milken Educator Award

/ Beyond Ohio

via WLWT |

Scott High School math teacher Laura Cole is the Kentucky winner of the $25,000 Milken Educator Award. The Milken Educator Awards targets early-to-mid career education professionals for their already impressive achievements and, more significantly, for the promise of what they will accomplish in the future.

Parent group pushes Democratic presidential contenders on charters, winning audience before Biden and Warren

/ Beyond Ohio, voucher

via Chalkbeat |

The Powerful Parent Network is getting meetings, but not concrete promises, from some leading Democratic candidates for president.

The meetings highlight the strides Powerful Parent Network — a group that supports school choice and drew headlines last November for confronting Warren at a campaign event — has made in getting the ear of some leading Democratic presidential candidates.

Alabama voters to decide on abolishing elected school board

/ Beyond Ohio, leadership

via WSFA |

Alabama voters will decide next week whether to do away with the elected state school board and replace it with an appointed commission tasked with coming up with an alternative to Common Core curriculum standards.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has championed the change, called Amendment 1 on Tuesday’s ballot. Supporters say it will ensure education experts are making education policy decisions. Critics call it a power grab that would strip citizens of their ability to directly vote on those in charge of education.

The current State Board of Education includes eight members who are elected from districts, plus the governor, who serves as board president.

In South Korea, coronavirus gives kids a break from school pressures, but also traps them

/ Beyond Ohio, coronavirus

via The Washington Post |

South Korea has perhaps the most high-pressure and competitive education system in the world, and many children spend several hours every evening at cram schools known as hagwon, trying to gain a crucial advantage over their peers.

South Korean schools are closed February 24th-28th.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to ask all schools to temporarily close

/ Beyond Ohio, coronavirus

via NHK World |

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for all schools in the country to close from Monday until the end of their spring holidays, taking the unprecedented move in a bid to combat further spread of the coronavirus.

The closure will apply to all elementary, junior high, senior high and special needs schools nationwide, and would keep around 13 million students across the country at home for at least a month, according to statistics from the education ministry.

Study on anti-LGBTQ policies in private voucher schools rejected by Florida lawmakers

/ Beyond Ohio, equity, voucher

via Tampa Bay Times |

Lawmakers advanced efforts to expand Florida’s private school voucher programs even as the embers of a fiery debate over anti-LGBTQ policies in some of the schools sparked renewed conflict.

This voucher was just created last year, and nearly 18,000 were handed out. The bills would increase next year’s number of vouchers to about 46,000, with an annual increase each year equal to 1% of the total Florida student population.

But superseding the typical controversy over vouchers was the debate over private schools that have policies barring gay and transgender students from attending. The issue was first reported by the Orlando Sentinel, which found that there were 83 private, religious schools accepting tax credit-funded scholarships with these policies in writing.

In Kentucky Schools, Hundreds Of Students Are Struck By Staff Each Year, and It’s Legal

/ Beyond Ohio, health/wellness

via WVXU |

Kentucky is one of 19 states where corporal punishment is legal in public schools. That means it’s legal for educators in public schools to inflict pain as a form of discipline, usually through spanking. But state lawmakers are considering legislation that would ban the practice.

Kentucky law requiring school security to carry weapons signed

/ Beyond Ohio, school safety

via WKRC |

The measure won bipartisan support in the state House and Senate. It is a follow-up to last year’s sweeping school safety law, which did not specify whether school police officers needed to carry a weapon.

Mindfulness Transforms Culture At High-Needs Elementary School

/ Beyond Ohio, health/wellness, Solutions

via NPR |

A struggling elementary school in East Nashville, Tenn., is incorporating mindfulness, but experts caution that mindfulness is not a panacea and programs should follow scientific guidelines.

Video: Meeting the Needs of Homeless Students. Lessons From One District

via EdWeek |

Project Lift-Off, a summer program for homeless middle school students in Lee County, N.C., pairs academic supports and social-emotional learning with basic necessities. It’s the brainchild of 2020 Leader To Learn From Johnnye Waller, the local school district’s homeless liaison. Waller says the program has helped bring more homeless students out of their shells, and increased their confidence and drive to succeed in high school.

China’s students will now study online because coronavirus has shut schools

/ Beyond Ohio, coronavirus, e-schools, tech

via MIT Technology Review |

China has launched a national cloud learning platform and started broadcasting primary school classes to ensure the country’s 180 million students can still keep learning even though schools are closed, according to state-run news agency Xinhua.

How corporations are forcing their way into America’s public schools

via Salon |

An apt case study of the growing corporate influence behind Career-Technical Education (CTE) is in Virginia, where many parents, teachers and local officials are worried that major corporations including Amazon, Ford and Cisco — rather than educators and local, democratic governance—are deciding what students learn in local schools.

CTE is a rebranding of what has been traditionally called vocational education or voc-ed, the practice of teaching career and workplace skills in an academic setting. While years ago, that may have included courses in woodworking, auto mechanics, or cosmetology, the new, improved version of CTE has greatly expanded course offerings to many more “high-demand” careers, especially in fields that require knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

‘No other way’: How these Denver schools include students with disabilities, and why more could follow

/ Beyond Ohio, equity, Solutions, SpecialEd

via Chalkbeat |

In June, the school board passed a resolution committing the district to becoming “a model … in the nation” for inclusive practices. The resolution was inspired by a task force of parents, educators, and advocates.

Their overarching recommendation: Stop segregating students with disabilities when research shows including them benefits all students.

What does gentrification mean for local schools? Fewer students

/ Beyond Ohio, BigPicture, equity

via Chalkbeat |

Those declines in enrollment may come because gentrification displaces some families, while new entrants don’t have children or are skeptical of neighborhood schools. Gentrification also often coincides with an expansion of alternatives to neighborhood schools, as has happened in Denver, where families can choose from a menu of district and charter school options.

The latest findings also show that gentrification is relatively rare. But where it does happen, the changes have real — and complex — consequences for students, as schools may be forced to grapple with budget cuts but neighborhoods also see declining crime rates.

Education Trust names Tennessee director as advocacy work on equity shifts to states

/ Beyond Ohio, equity

via Chalkbeat |

A national organization that works to raise the quality of schools for students of color and from low-income families has hired a champion for education equity as Tennessee’s first director.

Gini Pupo-Walker, who founded the Tennessee Educational Equity Coalition and is a school board member in Nashville, has joined The Education Trust as its first full-time staff member in Tennessee.

Pupo-Walker becomes the third state director for Ed Trust, which has directors in Massachusetts and Louisiana and regional offices in California, Michigan, and New York. Launched in 1996 with a federal focus, the organization shifted to state-level advocacy when a 2015 federal law gave states more authority on education policy.

A federal grant will allow Michigan to improve access to early childhood programs for families

/ Beyond Ohio, early-learning, grants

via Chalkbeat |

Michigan is getting a boost of federal funding to help improve preschool programs in the state.

That’s coming via a three-year, $40.2 million preschool development grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Michigan Department of Education announced the award this week.

The state, which was one of 20 states to receive the grant, will get $13.4 million in each year of the grant. The state also must provide 30% matching funds, which amounts to about $12 million over the three years. Forty-five states applied for the funding.

Did Indianapolis students do better after struggling schools were restarted?

/ Beyond Ohio, Link

via Chalkbeat |

When Indianapolis Public Schools “restarted” chronically struggling schools, students who stayed under the new management sometimes made smaller gains on tests compared to their classmates who left, a new study finds.

Over time, however, students at the restarted schools closed some of the gaps.

Wins, losses, and painful compromises: How 5 major issues in Chicago’s teacher strike were resolved

/ Beyond Ohio, finance-funding, Link

via Chalkbeat |

It’s clear that Chicago teachers are walking away with more than they had before the strike. But the city also ended the impasse having met its goal of limiting new spending to $500 million or less each year. Support staffing, class size, prep time, contract length, and pay & benefits were all negotiated.

full article available from Chalkbeat

5 things to know about school referendums in Indiana

/ Beyond Ohio, legislation, Link

via Chalkbeat |

With schools largely reliant on state money for operating expenses, and with local dollars capped and primarily covering transportation and facilities, more than 115 of the state’s nearly 300 districts have put education referendums on the ballot in the past decade.

full article available from Chalkbeat

NKU students win cybersecurity competition

/ Beyond Ohio, cybersecurity

via Fox19 Cincinnati |

Northern Kentucky University College of Informatics students have won the US Bank’s Strength in Security Capture the Flag (CTF) competition for the third straight year.

The online security competition tests participants’ expertise on software and web security, computer forensics and security coding.

read the full article at Fox19

China’s Efforts to Lead the Way in AI Start in Its Classrooms

via The Wall Street Journal |

video

The increasingly aggressive and sometimes intrusive use of high-end technology in education is pivotal to Beijing’s goal to make the AI industry a fresh driver of economic expansion. Virtually unobstructed access to a potential sample pool of around 200 million students allows Chinese scientists and researchers to amass an unrivaled database, which is indispensable to develop advanced algorithms.

Read the full article in The Wall Street Journal.

English-Only’ Laws in Education on Verge of Extinction

/ Beyond Ohio, legislation, literacy, Link

via Education Week

Just 15 years ago, bilingual education was banned in three states — Arizona, California, and Massachusetts — which altogether educated 40 percent of the nation’s English-language learners. Now, amid the national embrace of biliteracy and dual-language education, those statewide English-only laws are on the brink of extinction.

read the full article available in Education Week

California Tells Schools to Start Later, Giving Teenagers More Sleep

via New York Times

The law, signed last week by Governor Gavin Newsom, pushes back the start times at most public middle and high schools, making California the first state to order such a shift. Classes for high schools, including those operated as charter schools, will start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. under the law, and classes for middle schools will start no earlier than 8 a.m.

full article available from New York Times

E-sports recruiting players who don’t use a field or gym

/ Beyond Ohio, BigPicture, e-sports, sports

via Cincinnati Enquirer |

Nationwide, there are almost 400 e-sports programs at America’s colleges and universities. Ohio schools are among those leading the charge. Only California, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania have more such programs, according to a list provided by Next College Student Athlete.

The National Association of Collegiate esports (NACE) is a nonprofit organization that has produced $15 million in scholarships and aid for esports athletes and now which includes 130 schools and roughly 3,000 competitors.

School rating system to begin in September (Kentucky)

/ Beyond Ohio

via Kentucky Teacher

At its Aug. 7 meeting in Frankfort, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) discussed the development and implementation of Kentucky’s new 5-star school rating system, which will go live in September after the 2018-2019 K-PREP test scores are released.

The 5-star accountability system is designed to focus attention on the need to close achievement gaps. A school or district that would have been a 5- or 4-star will be reduced by 1 star if it has significant achievement gaps between the performances of groups of students.