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Posts published in “Perspective”

Student Teaching Struggles: COVID-19 Puts A Damper On Educator Experiences

Nahla Bendefaa, WKSU |

For education majors, student teaching is the capstone, the time when they step into the classroom and immerse themselves in their subjects and their students. Only last year … many didn’t.

For our education project, Learning Curve, we report on efforts by professors, mentor teachers, college administrators, and the student teachers themselves to overcome the limits of the pandemic—and to learn to teach.

COVID-19 upended how student teachers were assigned, how they taught, and how they were evaluated. And it accelerated a change already underway: the use of technology.


Hazing transparency

Editorial Board, The Toledo Blade |

The REACH Act makes yet another attempt at creating the public awareness of the risks of hazing, but it wisely takes things a step further. Adding hazing to the annual crime report identifies hazing for what it is — a crime. And offering families better access to information about the track records of campus organizations that may be recruiting their sons and daughters is crucial.

Editorial Board, The Toledo Blade

Creating an informed electorate starts in the classroom

Eric Foster, Cleveland Plain Dealer |

Below is an excerpt from the full opinion piece:

In short, Thomas Jefferson’s answer to the question of how to achieve a well-informed electorate was simple: public schools. Jefferson believed creating well-informed voters should be an explicit objective of our educational system, not just an additional benefit. I know what you’re thinking. Creating a well-informed voter sounds like a really complicated task. Educators already have so many obligations in the classroom, this is just piling on.

The truth is, I agree with you. Creating well-informed voters is a complicated task. Educators do already have a ton of things they have to focus on. But this doesn’t have to be a problem of addition. We can also subtract things. Ask any educator: He or she will have ideas about what they believe is a waste of their instructional time.

In other words, this is a problem that can be solved. It must be solved. The sustainability of our democracy requires it. Besides, who can reasonably argue that creating citizens who “read, judge, and vote understandingly” should not be a top priority for our schools?

Eric Foster, a community member of the Plain Dealer editorial board, is a columnist for The Plain Dealer and Foster is a lawyer in private practice.

Read the full opinion at

Student Organizations File Amicus Brief in Critical Supreme Court Student Free Speech Case

Student Voice |

Student VoiceKentucky Student Voice Team (KSVT), Houston Independent School District Student Congress (HISD StuCon) and March For Our Lives, four grassroots student-led organizations working to elevate student voice at the national, state and local levels, have filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the United States in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. to defend student free speech outside of school and on social media.

Mahanoy is likely to be the most important student free speech case in more than fifty years. Since Tinker v. Des Moines (1969), students have enjoyed off-campus First Amendment protections to hold rallies, testify at school boards, and lobby on legislation without being punished by their schools. The Supreme Court could deliver a debilitating blow to student activism if it decides to roll back these rights and authorize schools to regulate any “disruptive” off-campus or social media speech. 


Read the full press release at Student Voice.

‘I felt like I wasn’t a proper adult’: How the pandemic job market left young people stuck

Ellen Hine, Cincinnati Enquirer |

For a lot of young people, the concepts of adulthood and having a job are tangled up in one another. A real job means that they’re self-sufficient, that they’re responsible for taking care of themselves and their debts. 

But the COVID-19 pandemic has kept young Americans disproportionately out of the workforce.

Roughly one-fourth of young people were unemployed during the height of the pandemic recession in late spring 2020, compared to around one-tenth of older workers.

Young Black, Hispanic, Asian American and Pacific Islander workers had higher unemployment rates than their white peers.

By halting educational and job opportunities for young people, the pandemic has created a crisis around adulthood. Between February and June 2020, nearly one in three young people was “disconnected” or not working or enrolled in school, according to an analysis of U.S. census data by the Pew Research Center.

Even as vaccines started flowing to the public and the first anniversary of the pandemic passed, there’s still no clear idea of what an end to all of this looks like. 

Meanwhile, young people across the country, unsure and unmoored, are stuck somewhere on the brink of the rest of their lives.

As schools reopen, prioritizing student mental health can prevent ‘twin-demic’

Scott Poland, K-12 Dive |

To prevent a “twin-demic” of self-harm and suicide, schools will need to be more proactive in their outreach to students and take steps to improve their students’ mental health and wellbeing. As more schools across the country begin to reopen for in-person learning, it’s critical that schools put equal focus on ensuring students are as mentally healthy as they are physically.

Scott Poland

Dr. Scott Poland is a professor at the College of Psychology and director of the Suicide and Violence Prevention Office at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Child Care in Crisis: Can Biden’s Plan Save It?

Alisha Haridasani Gupta, The New York Times |

Child-care centers improvised during the pandemic, scrambling to stay open with razor-thin budgets and little government guidance. How long will the short-term solutions last?

  • In suburban Ohio, a decades-old child-care center that was thriving before the pandemic shut its doors for the final time in August.
  • In Michigan, a child-care facility has been running at less than half its pre-pandemic capacity, bringing in less income, even as the costs of Covid-19 safety protocols continue to add up.
  • In Virginia, a child-care center for the children of essential workers found itself taking in the community’s school-age children, but without the kind of guidance from the government that schools get.
  • In California, the owner of an in-home child-care center lost 70 percent of her clients and has burned through her savings to stay open, leaving her about two months away from having to close permanently.

These stories, from four different parts of the United States, aren’t isolated pockets of struggle. They are emblematic of a larger problem with child care. Read their stories of loss, hustle, double duty, and anxiety at The New York Times.

Why mentoring matters: A conversation with Carlos Lejnieks

McKinsey Accelerate |

“It’s those moments,” says Carlos Lejnieks. “Those moments when a person opens up that door and it is up to you whether you want to walk through it. They didn’t have to consider the possibility, but they did.”

The subject is mentoring, something Lejnieks knows firsthand. In the 1990s, after he’d dropped out of high school and was working baseball-memorabilia shows to support his single mother, mentors helped steer him on a journey that ultimately took him to Brown University, Goldman Sachs, and the London School of Economics.

Now, in his 13th year leading the Newark, New Jersey−based chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBS), Lejnieks oversees a mentoring organization whose staff and volunteers* support 1,100 school-aged children. Nearly all of them live below the poverty line, and a third were referred to BBBS from the state social-welfare system. In this conversation with McKinsey’s Bill Javetski and Dana Sand, edited for style and brevity, Lejnieks explored the range of roles that mentors play—from caring for disadvantaged children to meeting the modern corporation’s talent needs.

A leader of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Carlos Lejnieks talks about how successful mentors help others see qualities in themselves that they might not otherwise see.

The Lost Year: What the Pandemic Cost Teenagers

Alec MacGillis, ProPublica |

Everything looks the same on either side of the Texas-New Mexico border in the great oil patch of the Permian Basin. There are the pump jacks scattered across the plains, nodding up and down with metronomic regularity. There are the brown highway signs alerting travelers to historical markers tucked away in the nearby scrub. There are the frequent memorials of another sort, to the victims of vehicle accidents. And there are the astonishingly deluxe high school football stadiums. This is, after all, the region that produced “Friday Night Lights.”

‘Roblox’ isn’t just a gaming company. It’s also the future of education

Roblox hosts more students every month than all school-going children in the U.S., U.K., and Canada combined. 

Hamza Mudassir, Fast Company |

Roblox, which recently made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange, has quickly become one of the most valuable video game companies in the world.  As I write this article, Roblox has effortlessly overtaken household video game names such as Take-Two (maker of Grand Theft Auto) and Electronic Arts (EA) (maker of Battlefield and FIFA) in terms of market cap, while only making a fraction of the incumbents’ revenues and none of their profits.

Opinion: Listening to parent voices key to closing achievement gap

Bruce Jeffrey, Opinion contributor – Cincinnati Enquirer |

When the pandemic swept across the United States a year ago, it laid bare the inequities and systems that prevent Black students from succeeding in the classroom. When a crisis hits, we know the drill; there is no shortage of nonprofit organizations and well-intentioned stakeholders who quickly jump in to help solve the most pressing problems. The good news is that Cincinnati is a resource-rich community; but it is also systems-poor.

So here we are staring at a widening achievement gap with our Black students, trying to solve decades-old problems with decades-old solutions. The challenges we face are bigger than any individual organization, sector, or institution can solve alone. We have a collective responsibility for the success of all Black students in our community, and we have must adopt a coordinated response.

So, where do we start?

Bruce Jeffrey is executive director of Cradle to Career Cincinnati/ YMCA Greater Cincinnati.

Read Bruce Jeffrey’s full opinion piece at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Opinion: Declare an emergency on epidemic of childhood trauma

Ronald Hummons, Opinion contributor – Cincinnati Enquirer |

Most children with the highest instances of childhood trauma are Black and brown. Do our lawmakers fail to see the benefit of providing a solution to a demographic that they cannot relate with? Do our lawmakers not want to help those of lower socioeconomic status? Children that have untreated childhood trauma are more likely to end up in prison. Are we funding prisons, the big business in Ohio, rather than allocating the funds to resources that can provide a solution to reduce the likelihood of childhood trauma? Is this a systematic issue that reaps rewards for our trauma?

I am a survivor of childhood trauma. As I think back to my own childhood, I see that the system was broken even when I was a child. Having experienced firsthand what childhood trauma can do to a person, I have the solution. 

Declaring a state of emergency on childhood trauma is in the best interest for all in the state of Ohio.

Ronald Hummons is an author and mental health activist who lives in Reading. His son, TrePierre Hummons, was shot and killed by police in 2015 after TrePierre killed Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim. Hummons runs a campaign to raise awareness and funds for undiagnosed mental illness in his son’s name.

Read Ronald Hummons’ full opinion piece at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

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