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Posts published in “Perspective”

Opinion: COVID-19 vaccine is a shot of hope for our schools

Laura Mitchell, Opinion contributor, Cincinnati Enquirer |

Below is an excerpt…

CPS is taking the lead to educate our staff and our families about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. Earlier this week, CPS hosted an online information session for our staff to learn more about the vaccine, with Dr. O’dell Owens, chief executive officer of Interact for Health, leading the discussion and answering questions.

I urge church and business leaders, community organizers and local elected officials to do the same and organize information sessions about the vaccine with your congregation, employees or constituents. 

Together, we must build a pro-vaccine social norm throughout our city, and especially in communities of color. We must have these conversations, through formal settings and at our kitchen tables. And we must use facts.

The pandemic may not be over, but the arrival of the vaccine is a shot of hope for our schools, our students, our neighborhoods and our community.

Laura Mitchell is superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools.

Inaugural Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s history making performance

Amanda Gorman was named the nation’s First Youth Poet Laureate at 19. Now at 22, she is delivering her original composition, “The Hill We Climb” at the 59th presidential inauguration as the youngest known inaugural poet.

Gorman talks about writing a poem for this moment, her preparation for big performances and how poetry helped her overcome a speech impediment.

CBS This Morning

Read “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman

As republished by Los Angeles Magazine, Jan. 20, 2021.

“The Hill We Climb”
Amanda Gorman

When day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade? The loss we carry, a sea we must wade. We’ve braved the belly of the beast, we’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace and the norms and notions of what just is, isn’t always justice. And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it, somehow we do it, somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished.

We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president only to find herself reciting for one. And, yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect, we are striving to forge a union with purpose, to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.

So we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another, we seek harm to none and harmony for all.

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: that even as we grieved, we grew, even as we hurt, we hoped, that even as we tired, we tried, that we’ll forever be tied together victorious, not because we will never again know defeat but because we will never again sow division.

Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one should make them afraid. If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in in all of the bridges we’ve made.

That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb if only we dare it because being American is more than a pride we inherit, it’s the past we step into and how we repair it. We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it. That would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy, and this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can periodically be delayed, but it can never be permanently defeated.

In this truth, in this faith, we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us, this is the era of just redemption we feared in its inception we did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour but within it we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves, so while once we asked how can we possibly prevail over catastrophe, now we assert how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us.

We will not march back to what was but move to what shall be, a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free, we will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation, our blunders become their burden. But one thing is certain: if we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.

So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left, with every breath from my bronze, pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one, we will rise from the golden hills of the West, we will rise from the windswept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution, we will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the Midwestern states, we will rise from the sunbaked South, we will rebuild, reconcile, and recover in every known nook of our nation in every corner called our country our people diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful, when the day comes we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid, the new dawn blooms as we free it, for there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.

C-SPAN

Anything But Ordinary – Distinguishing the 59th Presidential Inauguration from years past

Katie Mott, The Leaf |

Today, President Joseph R. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn into office at an inauguration ceremony that will go down in history in more ways than one.


North College Hill students watch Biden’s inauguration: “We should be hopeful”

Alexa Helwig, WKRC |

North College Hill social studies teacher Keith Spangler thinks it’s important to show this day of tradition to his students. “Today is a hallmark of our democracy. It shows a peaceful transfer of power, which was never heard of before we had the Constitution,” Spangler said.

Student Alisay Bell took advantage of this moment to reflect on how divided the country is. “A lot of people think these past months should be hopeless, but I feel like we should be more hopeful and to empower our younger groups and people younger than me to speak out,” she said.

Bell is off to college next year to study history with hopes of becoming an attorney one day. She’s inspired by Vice President Kamala Harris. “She is what I want to be when I grow up. I’m excited to see that she’s our vice president. I think that’s beautiful,” Bell said.

Effective online teacher training grows, but in-person supports still needed

Kara Arundel, K-12 Dive |

When the pandemic hit last March and student learning suddenly moved online, there was immediate demand for online teacher supports. The field responded with numerous webinars and resources that overwhelmed some educators. The next step education leaders should take is to highlight the best virtual PD resources and add individualized coaching and proven in-person continuous career supports when it is safe to do so, say experts focused on teacher training initiatives.

I’m a high school sophomore. Here’s how schools can teach kids to solve real-world problems

Luke Harris, Fast Company |

“As we move into an increasingly robotic and digital age, solving complicated human problems becomes more important than ever. Schools need to teach more of the process of entrepreneurship and engineering, including development and research to truly understand user needs. If we want the entrepreneurs of the future to succeed, it’s important that our engineering curriculums teach them the necessary skills. During COVID-19, we gained an opportunity to rethink workplace practices and schooling techniques—let’s do the same with the way we teach engineering.”

Luke Harris

Luke Harris is a sophomore at Horace Mann in The Bronx, NY.

As we tackle school segregation, don’t forget about English Learner students

Diana Quintero and Michael Hansen, Brown Center Chalkboard – Brookings |

The Department of Education under the incoming Biden administration is expected to quickly turn the page on former Secretary Betsy DeVos’s priorities. This expected pivot entails a restoration of Obama-era priorities promoted by former Secretary John King for further racial and economic integration in public schools, among both students and staff.

Typically, research on racial segregation explores the extent to which Black and/or Hispanic students attend racially or economically segregated schools, but the extent of segregation among other student subgroups is less well known. Yet, we see this policy pivot as an opportunity to start considering other ways in which our schools may be segregated.

Specifically, little attention has been paid to the allocation of English Learners (EL), the fastest-growing group in the U.S. student body, who make up 10% of all students and about 20% of nonwhite students. 

In this piece, we explore the economic segregation of EL students nationwide and its relationship with EL students’ academic outcomes.

Diana Quintero is a Senior Research Analyst and Michael Hansen is The Herman and George R. Brown Chair and Director – Brown Center on Education Policy – The Brookings Institution

Last week was tough, teachers say. But it wasn’t the first difficult ‘day after’ they’ve faced

Emma Kate Fittes, The Hechinger Report |

Teachers reflect on five events — from 9/11 to the Capitol attack — and the ensuing classroom conversations that have shaped their careers.

Opinion: Schools still face bumpy road in return to normalcy

Julie Sellers, Opinion contributor – Cincinnati Enquirer |

“The good news is that the availability of vaccinations should allow Cincinnati Public Schools to get back to some form of “normal” in 2021. But what that “normal” looks like, when it will arrive and whether we can (to borrow from President-elect Joe Biden) build back an even better educational environment for our students will depend on how we respond to the following challenges: when will school staff get vaccines? will we remain serious about reducing COVID-19 spread? will students and teachers be allowed to focus on instruction rather than high-stakes testing? and will the Ohio General Assembly finally address school funding inequity?”

Julie Sellers

Opinion: Let parents choose in-person learning if they want

Scott and Katrina Hardy, Opinion contributors – Cincinnati Enquirer |

“As the vaccine becomes available to our teachers, we urge the district to thoughtfully promote its use. We urge you to stand behind science. We urge you to stand up to the union representation if they threaten action. Teachers are frontline workers, and we feel that frontline workers should have a strong sense of obligation to receive the vaccine. Furthermore, the vaccine provides the safety that that teachers deserve. We stand by this idea because we believe that educating our children is a top priority. Clearly, you also believe it, as you have asked for our vote of confidence in your ability to serve the district.”

“This vaccine is the gateway to normalcy for all of us. The wait is over. It is time for action.”

“Nine months later, parents are aware of you. We know your names. We follow you on social media. We send you emails. We watch your meetings. You no longer have anonymity to hide behind. None of you asked for this pandemic, but you did ask for our vote. The time has come to offer CHOICES to children and parents. If the district fails to respond appropriately, we assure you that voters will exercise more thoughtful choices this November.”

Scott and Katrina Hardy live in Mount Lookout and are parents of CPS students ages 13, 8 and 6.

Introducing the AEI Conservative Education Reform Network

American Enterprise Institute |

The network will cultivate a national community of conservative leaders in education, spanning a broad array of issue areas, positions, regions, and viewpoints. At its launch, the network boasts more than 75 members, hailing from more than half the states working in a variety of roles.

CERN will “cultivate creative solutions to vexing challenges in early childhood, K–12, and higher education and connect public officials, educators, savvy advocates, and funders in order to drive change in all manner of milieus — from the school house to the White House.”

Dear Adult Leaders: Don’t Just Try to Copy-and-Paste In-Person Instruction to Online Learning

Margarida Celestino, The 74 Million |

To promote meaningful learning during COVID-19, teachers should not try to replicate in-person instruction online. In my experience, the way to promote meaningful learning is to adapt instruction in a way that recognizes the unique circumstances that we’re in.

Margarida Celestino

Margarida Celestino is a student at Casco Bay High School – Portland, Maine.

COVID-19 sparks an overdue discussion on education reform: An optimistic vision

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Elias Blinkoff, Helen Shwe Hadani, and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Brookings |

This editorial is in response to Jal Mehta’s December 2020 op ed in the New York Times, “Make Schools More Human.”

Today, career readiness broadly requires mastery of collaboration, communication, all relevant content knowledge, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving—a reframing of education for the 21st century that is likewise backed by the majority of educators in a recent survey. At the same time, researchers supporting this shift suggest that success will require that we think of a breadth of skills  across a breadth of ages (e.g., learning to learn and lifelong learning) and a breadth of contexts (e.g., apps, informal education).

School budgets have held up better than expected in some states, but looming cuts will hurt learning long after pandemic ends

Michael Addonizio, The Conversation |

The year 2020 may prove to be pivotal in the history of U.S. public education. Many children have gone missing from school completely since March, and millions more are struggling with wholly inadequate online learning experiences. Lower-income and minority children are particularly hard-hit.

The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated deep inequities across our public schools. Merely restoring school budgets to their prepandemic levels will not be enough to address them after this long period of limited learning.

So far, most states have avoided deep education budget cuts this school year. However, they project revenue shortfalls for the 2021-22 school year. Because education is labor-intensive, budget cuts would mean layoffs and pay freezes. This would harm in-class instruction and student progress and well-being at a time when it’s most needed.

As a former state education administrator and current university professor and researcher, I have seen how state investment in public schools can boost economies long-term and strengthen civic life.

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