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Perspective


Less training makes arming teachers more dangerous

Cincinnati Enquirer – Sara DeMuch |

“It’s unrealistic to expect a teacher in a high stress situation to not only protect their class and their students but also be responsible for taking out a school shooter. The majority of shooters have a connection to the school, so not only are you asking a teacher to shoot someone, you’re also asking them to possibly shoot a former or current student…. As a teacher who spends hours collecting data, checking facts and figures, and planning instruction using research-based methods, I’m tired of my students and I being held to a higher standard than our representatives.”

Sara DeMuch

Sara DeMuch is a high school teacher in an Ohio public school, mother of two children who attend Ohio public schools, and a volunteer lead with the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action.

Read the full opinion piece at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Blended learning actually isn’t much learning

Cincinnati Enquirer – Nikki Pierson Mayhew |

“I do not believe the general public understands what blended learning will look like for our kids. I was not aware that our kids would not have instruction five days a week under this plan. They will only have lessons on the days they are physically in school. I learned this during the Sept. 14 school board meeting when the concern was brought up by one board member. Since, I have further investigated what this will look like with teacher friends, and am outlining some major concerns…”

Nikki Pierson Mayhew

Nikki Pierson Mayhew lives in Westwood. Her husband is Enquirer reporter Chris Mayhew.

Teachers need to talk about Breonna Taylor

The Hechinger Report – Andre Perry |

“Teachers must help their students (and themselves) find the words to reclaim the humanity a racist society wants to deny them and find the words to create a path towards structural change. Language arts and history teachers often resort to the “Great Books” to help students navigate their lives. But sometimes teaching a Shakespearean tragedy simply won’t do when you’re confronted with real ones every day.”

Andre Perry

Dr. Andre Perry, a contributing writer, is a David M. Rubenstein Fellow at The Brookings Institution.

Teachers anxious to get back to work, safely

Cincinnati Enquirer – Julie Sellers |

“Since the pandemic began, communities with the highest concentration of Black residents – like Cincinnati – have had the highest COVID-19 death rates. That may explain why many CPS parents have expressed little enthusiasm for returning their children to classrooms as long as COVID-19 threatens us… CPS will be hard pressed to follow CDC guidelines calling for masks and social distancing in older and crowded school buildings. We can’t do that with all children back. Yet the proposed “blended learning” model will leave many children without live teacher instruction on days when they are not in school.”

Julie Sellers

Julie Sellers is president of the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers.

‘They should have shot them’: What a silly thing to say

Cincinnati Enquirer – Byron McCauley |

“Many of us have fired off communication that we instantly wished we could take back. At the very least, it can be hurtful or embarrassing. At worst, it could instigate violence or get you fired. That which we once may have thought of as water-cooler talk can now become a wrecking ball.”

Byron McCauley

Catholic schools not the enemy of public schools

Cincinnati Enquirer – Catholic Superintendents of Ohio |

“Catholic schools and public schools are not competitors, but partners. Parents deserve to choose freely from many exceptional school options, representing the best learning environment for their children. The Catholic schools in Ohio are grateful to the state of Ohio for leading the nation in supporting the parental right to choose the educational option that best matches their family values.”

Catholic Superintendents of Ohio

Catholic Superintendents of Ohio: Matt Daniels (Diocese of Toledo), Adam Dufault (Diocese of Columbus), Mary Fiala (Diocese of Youngstown), Susan Gibbons (Archdiocese of Cincinnati), Frank O’Linn (Diocese of Cleveland), and Deacon Paul Ward (Diocese of Steubenville).

The response to a Cincinnati Enquirer article was originally issued on Aug 28th through the Ohio Catholic Conference. It was published as an Opinion piece on Sept 18th in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

USDA makes right move to mitigate food insecurity with lunch program extension

Education Dive – Betsy Huber |

“Eliminating food insecurity in the U.S. will improve the health of millions of Americans but will only be possible if we support all the links in the food supply chain, from our farms to our children’s lunch bags… Child hunger is a very real challenge, one that is particularly acute as the nation wrestles with COVID-19 and its economic ripple effect. Providing universal free meals is just one step in combating the challenge. While the logistics of offering free meals may seem daunting, the success of previous programs has proven that it can be done, even on a large scale.”

Betsy Huber

Betsy Huber is president of National Grange, a nonprofit focused on strengthening individuals, families and communities through grassroots action, service, education, advocacy and agriculture awareness.

There is critically important work laid off DPS teachers, nurses and staff should be doing to help kid during pandemic, union president says

Dayton Daily News – David A. Romick |

“All school districts felt the burden of adapting to online education last spring when schools were closed due to the pandemic and we had to switch on a dime to serving our stakeholders – DPS was not unique in that. As such, the question which must be asked is why are we unique in this online curriculum that results in job loss, however temporary the district keeps saying it may be? No other district we are aware of is or has laid off staff due to their online curriculum.”

David A. Romick

David A. Romick is president of the Dayton Education Association. 

‘This is temporary. It is also painful,’

Journal-News – Mohamed Al Hamdani and Elizabeth Lolli |

Unfortunately, this late-breaking change to online education required the district to temporarily reduce staff in areas such as transportation, administration, school nurses, counselors, and art, music, and physical education teachers. How we educate students is temporarily changing, and so did our personnel needs.

Mohamed Al Hamdani and Elizabeth Lolli
(more…)

Trained, armed teachers ready to defend kids

The Enquirer – Hank Meiners |

“It is obvious to me that many people simply do not understand the concept behind armed teachers in the classroom. I am one of those teachers who has been trained to be armed in the classroom, and I can assure you that training is long, detailed and extensive.”

Hank Meiners

Hank Meiners is a retired aerospace engineer and a retired part-time school teacher with both the Hamilton and Clermont County Educational Service Centers.

Keeping a Focus on Equity as Schools Reopen During the Pandemic

Wallace Foundation |

Hal Smith, senior vice president of education, youth development & health at the National Urban League, talks about how districts and state departments of education can address inequities as they move into a new school year and face the unprecedented challenge of educating students while keeping schools safe during a pandemic.

He sees pitfalls and educational opportunities—including more student-led inquiry as the new year begins.

Kid Superintendent – Grace over Grief

Reading School District – Reading, Pennsylvania |

“I think we all need a pep talk …” 2020 RSD Opening Day staff video, inspired by Kid President/SoulPancake.

Jermaine Edwards is a 9 year-old student in the Reading School District in Pennsylvania.

Students Share Insights and Advice for School Leaders, Policymakers for Coronavirus Reopening in Virtual Town Hall

The 74 Million |

Hundreds from across the country gathered in a virtual town hall on Aug. 26 to partake in a student discussion of reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing movement for racial justice.

Questions addressed included:

  • What are young people thinking and feeling about starting the year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic after a spring of disrupted learning?
  • How have the pandemic and school closures exacerbated racial tensions and created greater urgency for addressing racism in school?
  • What advice can young people share with school leaders in this unprecedented moment?
(more…)

3 building blocks to succeed in the coming school year

District Administration – Tom Burton |

Taking steps to meet students’ basic needs, ensuring connectivity, and advancing innovation will be key to success this year… Now, more than ever, is the time for education leaders to step up to support students. I always say there is a big difference between commitment and compliance, and at our district, we are truly committed to doing everything possible to provide this support. This was true before the pandemic and continues to be our focus now and as we look ahead to the future.

Tom Burton

Tom Burton is Superintendent of Princeton City Schools.

Remembering Sir Ken Robinson

In February 2006, author and educator Sir Ken Robinson stepped on to the TED stage and posed a provocative question: “Do schools kill creativity?“ What followed was a masterclass in public speaking.

In 2009, he was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal by the Royal Society of Arts in London. Accepting the award, he gave a talk on the Changing Paradigms in Education.

(more…)

Drive-Thru Meet-the-Teacher, Netflix Intermissions and Lots of Troubleshooting Emails: What the First Day of (Remote) School Looked Like in One Texas District

The 74 Million |

The bumps were bumpier. The glitches were glitchier.

The San Antonio ISD technology help desk responded to 1,400 calls on day one — more than 10 times the number of daily calls they received when students went to school in person, and well above the daily average for distance learning in the spring. With schools online for at least three weeks and most likely longer, parents and teachers will have some time to get it right.

The Science Is Simple, So Why Is Opening Schools So Complicated?

NPR | Short Wave

NPR health correspondent Allison Aubrey and education correspondent Cory Turner join Geoff Brumfiel to discuss what the science says about kids and COVID-19, what schools are doing to try to keep students and teachers safe and why there are so many differing approaches in school districts around the U.S.

CPS needs your help to get students back in school

Cincinnati Enquirer | Laura Mitchell

“We need your help. Wear masks. Avoid large gatherings. Stay home when sick. Social distance. Practice hand hygiene. These choices make a significant difference when multiplied across the estimated 300,000 people in the city of Cincinnati and half-million Hamilton County residents.”

Laura Mitchell

Laura Mitchell is superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools.

The ‘Broken Windows’ Approach to Teaching Is Breaking Our Schools

Independent Media Institute | Victoria Theisen-Homer

“We need to reimagine education and recruit a more racially diverse teaching force, such that all students have access to the kinds of meaningful, reciprocal, and empowering relationships with teachers that allow them the agency to create their own knowledge and use their voices. The kinds of relationships that can help students learn to build a society where both windows and people remain unbroken.”

Victoria Theisen-Homer

Victoria Theisen-Homer is an education scholar and author of Learning to Connect: Relationships, Race, and Teacher Education.

https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/the-broken-windows-approach-to-teaching-is-breaking-our-schools/

How Gender Disparities Affect Classroom Learning

ASCD Express | Kieran Chidi Nduagbo

“Schools are influential agents of socialization. They play vital roles in how we make meaning of the world around us, significantly affecting how we perceive ourselves and others, as well as differences across race, languages, disabilities, and gender. Because of this, schools have the responsibility to model, teach, and create conditions in which each child’s gender diversity is accepted and nourished.”

Kieran Chidi Nduagbo

Kieran Chidi Nduagbo is an assistant professor of education at Adams State University in Alamosa, Colo.

Remote learning creates ‘a lose-lose situation’ for some working parents in Cincinnati

WCPO |

“I feel almost, like, despair,” said Constance Mara, who has an 8-year-old son entering third grade. “We’re in a rock and a hard place, and I understand this pandemic is happening, but it’s such a lose-lose situation.”

Parents like Mara shepherded their children through mostly digital spring semesters at the beginning of the pandemic, scrambling to find time for each of their now-prescribed roles: Worker, parent, homeschool teacher.

None of it’s gotten easier.

Resuming K-12 in-person learning a needless risk for Ohio’s children, families, educators

Cleveland.com | Eric Foster

Outbreaks among major league baseball players have put their season in jeopardy. NBA players play games in a $150 million “bubble.” We released people from jail and prison to avoid them unnecessarily contracting the virus. Our children are just as important as all of these people. The people that work with our children are equally as important. At least, that is what we tell them. Now, we must act like it.

Eric Foster

Eric Foster, a community member of the editorial board, is a columnist for The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com.

COVID-19 and school openings are a dangerous mix. Don’t force us students to risk it.

NBC News Think | Sadie Bograd

The inability of our policymakers to grasp a concept that a fifth grader could understand is highlighting something students have known all along: Our voices matter. As the direct recipients of education, we deserve to be included in decisions that impact our everyday lives. The public officials determining what school will look like during a pandemic need to listen more to public health experts — but also to students, who spend over 30 hours a week experiencing firsthand the impacts of their policies.

Sadie Bograd

Sadie Bograd is a high school senior in Kentucky and a reporter for the Press Corps at Student Voice.

In a Time of Crisis, What Can We Learn About Learning Time?

ASCD | Chris Gabrieli and Colleen Beaudoin

No one could have wished for this pandemic—and silver linings only come with storm clouds. But educators can respond constructively by rethinking, in light of what we’ve learned since February, how school time might be better used. We can re-evaluate archaic structures and approaches and move boldly toward mastery-based approaches that leverage both online tools and the unique human touch of teachers across expanded schedules and forms for learning.

Chris Gabrieli and Colleen Beaudoin

Chris Gabrieli is chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, the CEO of Empower Schools, and a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

Colleen Beaudoin, a former teacher and school administrator, is co-executive director of the Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Kids’ school schedules have never matched parents’ work obligations and the pandemic is making things worse

The Conversation | Taryn Morrissey

While children attend K-12 public schools for an average of 1,195 hours per year, a full-time working parent averages twice as much time, about 2,450 hours per year, working and commuting. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed parents’ delicate, very difficult and unsustainable balancing act.

This complex crisis offers a time of reckoning. Americans have an opportunity to re-imagine how the government can support family life – to make raising children less expensive, less stressful, more socially just and simply better for everyone.

Taryn Morrissey is Associate Professor of Public Administration and Policy, American University School of Public Affairs.

Until teachers feel safe, widespread in-person K-12 schooling may prove impossible in US

The Conversation | Michael Addonizio

Pressure from teachers has contributed to decisions to refrain from holding classes in person everywhere from Southern California to Northern Virginia. Based on my research regarding educational leadership and school policies, I believe that those moves reflect how teachers are insisting that schools only be reopened once staff and student safety can be more assured.

Should school systems not heed teacher safety concerns, there’s a risk that large numbers of educators might retire early or quit until conditions are safer. In my view, the educational costs of losing scores of veteran teachers over personal health concerns would be incalculable.

Michael Addonizio is a professor of educational leadership and policy studies, at Wayne State University.

Back to School: Working Parents Will Need Help from Employers

RAND | Charlene A Wong and Laura J. Faherty

As employers start expecting their employees to come back to work, having a place to send their children will be essential for working parents—but unpredictable quarantines will be severely disruptive. With schools closed, parents across the country were mostly in the same difficult boat as they juggled parenting with other personal and professional responsibilities. This will not be the case in the fall as states and school districts take different approaches to reopening, and individual children and classrooms are unexpectedly quarantined.

Dr. Charlene Wong and Dr. Laura Faherty

Dr. Charlene Wong, a pediatrician and health policy researcher at Duke University, serves as the executive director of the North Carolina Integrated Care for Kids Model. Dr. Laura Faherty is a pediatrician and health services researcher at the RAND Corporation.

3 Keys to a Better 2020–21

Edutopia | Jonathan Eckert

Leaders from 112 schools met in virtual communities in May, June, and July to identify what is most important in education, regardless of delivery method.

In general, we decided that the three most fundamental emphases should be on well-being, engagement, and feedback. We imagined a pyramid in which well-being is the largest section, at the pyramid’s base; engagement is the middle layer; and feedback is at the pyramid’s peak.

Jonathan Eckert

Dr. Jon Eckert serves as Professor and Copple Chair of Christian School Leadership at Baylor University and was a Teaching Ambassador Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education during the Bush and Obama administrations on teaching quality issues.

Remembering John Lewis – note to self

Georgia Congressman John Lewis was born and raised on a cotton farm outside Troy, Alabama. He later became one of the most prominent leaders of the civil rights movement. In CBS’s ongoing series, Note to Self, Lewis recalls getting into what he famously calls “good trouble.”

The Georgia lawmaker died Friday night. He had been suffering from Stage IV pancreatic cancer since December. He was 80.

After Years of Underfunding, Now Public School Teachers Are Supposed to Save the Nation’s Economy?

Naked Capitalism | Yves Smith

It’s understandable that business owners and employees want to go back to work, and it’s more than fair for parents to ask schools to reopen so they can return to some semblance of normalcy…. But during all the years of teachers and schools being harmed by underfunding and “school choice” schemes, where were these folks? And will they step up now and demand the government fund our public schools?

Yves Smith

Yves Smith is the pen name of Susan Webber, a Principal of Aurora Advisors, Inc. Yves Smith’s blog, Naked Capitalism, is a website focusing on the economy and finance.

Read the full opinion piece at NakedCapitalism.com.

Reimagine schools? We must widen our starting points

The Hechinger Report | Eric Shieh

As a classroom teacher, I am worried that in the push to reopen, we are losing sight of what or whom it is that we are opening for anymore. I can’t help but feel that there is much more at stake than opening safely, or kickstarting the economy.

Eric Shieh

Eric Shieh is a middle-school music teacher at Q167, the Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School, in Queens.

Is There A Way To Safely Reopen Schools In The Fall?

NPR | Emily Oster

NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly speaks with Brown University economist Emily Oster about the consequences of not opening schools for the fall semester.

Teacher Diversity Starts with Belonging

ASCD | John Coburn

“We need to continue to build informal and formal networks of support for teachers of color, to cultivate a sense of belonging in the programs that prepare them and in the schools where they serve. When people have a sense of belonging, they give their very best and make significant contributions to their communities.”

John Coburn is a school improvement consultant at Hamilton County Educational Service Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Want Schools Open In The Fall? Then Pay For It.

Forbes | Peter Greene

“Teachers are pointing out and pointing out and pointing out the many ways that school in a Covid-19 world faces some real problems. At the same time, all sorts of folks (most of whom don’t actually work in schools) are declaring that schools need to open.

But if officials really want US schools fully open and operational—and also reasonably safe—in the fall, they will need to put money where their mouths are.”

Inclusive schools build inclusive societies

Brookings Institution | Christopher J. Thomas

“Exclusion remains all too real for many children in the U.S. and around the world.  More than 250 million young people are not in school. Disproportionate among them are children with disabilities, children living in deep poverty, girls, ethnic and linguistic minorities, LGBTQ youth, refugees, and migrants. The personal and societal consequences are enormous.

One has to ask why so many children are out of school 70 years after education was recognized as a universal human right. Moreover, why are so many out-of-school children from groups that are also marginalized in the workplace, before the law, in housing, or in social and cultural life? What will it take to make our schools and societies more inclusive? Here are three ideas.”

Christopher J. Thomas is Social Entrepreneur in Residence at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education and Advisor to the Education Global Practice at the World Bank.

Why I Wrote ‘Thinking Like a Lawyer’: Because Teaching Critical Thinking to All Students Paves a Path to Racial Justice

The 74 Million | Colin Seale

This was not about teaching a generation of students to be attorneys. It was about revolutionizing education by obsessing over the practical. The “Thinking Like a Lawyer” framework was a powerful “how” resource for my math class. My first question on an exam on probability was once, “If you were a gambler in Las Vegas, would you prefer to know your probability of success in a table game or the odds? What if you were the casino?” Students are motivated by issues of fairness and justice. And it turns out that getting students to analyze challenging questions from different perspectives has a very different kind of energy when they start to realize that this “street smart” label they are so often given is actually just “smart.”

Colin Seale

Colin Seale is a critical thinking expert, achievement-gap-closing educator and attorney who founded thinkLaw – a program that helps educators teach critical thinking to all students using real-life legal cases and other Socratic and powerful inquiry strategies.

Constitutional Right to a Basic Minimum Education

Ennis Britton |

While the Gary B. case is settled with the underlying decision vacated, the issue of the existence of a Constitutional right to basic minimum education is not. We expect this issue to be raised in future litigation with reliance upon the reasoning from the 2-1, albeit vacated, decision.

Covid-19 Underlines Equity Gaps, Not Just In Health—but In Education & Work

Forbes | Allison Salisbury

People of color are being hit disproportionately by the COVID-19 pandemic when it comes to their jobs and their education plans. About a quarter of Latinx and Black Americans have been laid off — and while they are more likely than white Americans to see education as a path to new employment, they are also far more likely to have seen their education plans disrupted.

(more…)

Where does school cybersecurity stand in a year disrupted by coronavirus?

Education Dive |

In a Thursday afternoon webinar hosted by K-12 cloud security firm Managed Methods, moderated by Jake Kasowski and Katie Fritchen, district IT professionals discussed the state of K-12 cybersecurity and student data privacy in a school year disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

3 superintendents share remote learning, back-to-school prep strategies

Education Dive | Susan Enfield, Tom Leonard, Michael Muñoz

Three superintendents discuss the role of technology in supporting students’ — and staff members’ — mental well-being during at-home learning.

Susan Enfield is the superintendent of Highline Public Schools in Washington, Tom Leonard is superintendent of Eanes Independent School District in Texas, and Michael Muñoz is superintendent of Rochester Public Schools in Minnesota.

Congress needs to deliver for students affected by pandemic

Cincinnati.com | Marlon Styles

“One parent had to spend her last few dollars on food instead of paying her internet bill. Another parent said she was struggling to get a braille reader for her visually impaired daughter. One student being raised by his grandmother couldn’t submit assignments for two weeks because they were waiting for internet connectivity at home.

“Our country’s equity gap existed long before this pandemic, but school closures have shined a much brighter light on the contrast between “logged on” and “logged off” students in the 6,300-student school district I lead in Middletown, Ohio.”

Marlon Styles

Marlon Styles is the Superintendent of the Middletown (Ohio) City School District.

Interview: In a Galaxy of Ed Tech, How to Figure Out What Distance Learning Materials Really Work

The 74 Million | Bart Epstein

art Epstein is president and CEO of the Jefferson Education Exchange, a nonprofit dedicated to helping educators and educational leaders make better decisions about educational technology.

Epstein talks about ed tech products, the role of schools, what he’s doing for his kids and ideas parents can use this summer. Epstein also discussed the ed tech sector more generally, what’s needed to improve overall quality.

Supreme Court’s DACA decision is a victory for education

Hechinger Report |

“Bilingual teachers like myself can reach more students and teach monolingual students a new language. We also offer new perspectives and teach students how to relate to a broader range of people and points of view. Whether my students eventually pursue business, medicine, the arts or something else entirely, being able to communicate and engage with a diverse client base will help them navigate life and advance their careers with greater ease.”

Osvaldo Sandoval-Leon

Osvaldo Sandoval-Leon is an assistant professor of Spanish at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.

What Anti-racist Teachers Do Differently

The Atlantic |

“Anti-racist teachers take black students seriously. They create a curriculum with black students in mind, and they carefully read students’ work to understand what they are expressing. This might sound fairly standard, but making black students feel valued goes beyond general good teaching.”

Pirette McKamey

Pirette McKamey is the first black principal of Mission High School in San Francisco and has taught high-school English and history for 26 years. From 2005 to 2016, she co-founded and co-led the anti-racist teaching committee at Mission High.

Time for white people to have ‘the talk’ with their kids

Hechinger Report |

“Every black parent has numerous, ongoing talks about racism with their kids. Nothing will change until white parents start talking to their kids about racism all the time, too.”

Andre Perry

Dr. Andre Perry, a contributing writer, is a David M. Rubenstein Fellow at The Brookings Institution.

Why K-12 remote learning might actually be worse this fall

The Dispatch via American Enterprise Institute |

As school leaders plan for the fall, it won’t be enough to boost connectivity and curricula. Schools need to focus on the human dimension. Most importantly, those who seek to minimize the costs of closure by touting the promise of improved remote learning need to be straight about what students will be missing—and how schools plan to address it

Frederick M. Hess and Nat Malkus

Frederick M. Hess is the director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Nat Malkus is the deputy director of education policy studies at AEI.

The banality of racism in education

Brown Center Chalkboard – Brookings Institution |

A study from 2015 looked at how Americans think about test score gaps in education. In a nationally representative sample of adults, the main finding was that Americans are far more concerned about, and willing to address, wealth-based gaps than race- and ethnicity-based gaps.

Most notable to the researchers, though, came from a question concerning how people explain the gaps that exist today. They asked, “How much of the difference in test scores between white students and Black students can be explained by discrimination against Blacks or injustices in society?” Nearly half (44%) of respondents chose “None.” Only 10% chose “A great deal.”

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Of course technology perpetuates racism. It was designed that way.

MIT Technology Review – Charlton McIlwain |

If we don’t want our technology to be used to perpetuate racism, then we must make sure that we don’t conflate social problems like crime or violence or disease with black and brown people. When we do that, we risk turning those people into the problems that we deploy our technology to solve, the threat we design it to eradicate.

Charlton McIlwain

Charlton McIlwain is a professor of media, culture, and communication at New York University.

Confronting Inequity / The Trauma We Don’t See

ASCD – Dena Simmons |

“It is only in the past decade that I have come to realize that I still carry with me the trauma of having grown up in an unsafe neighborhood terrorized by the violence of poverty and racist policies. For years, I had convinced myself that because I performed well in school and have continued to experience success in work and in life, I was fine. However, the traumas of a childhood burdened by fear, bigotry, and family suffering have not left me unscathed. To the outside world, I may look as if I am thriving—winning awards, speaking nationally, and writing a book—but underneath it all, I am still on my healing journey, still putting myself back together.”

Dean Simmons

Dena Simmons is an educator, and activist who supports schools throughout the United States in implementing social and emotional learning and culturally responsive and equitable practices.

Open Letter to the Mason City Schools Community

Jonathan Cooper, Superintendent Mason City Schools |

“I’m a white male living in a world of privilege. I’ll never fully understand the deep pain, anger, fear, frustration & exhaustion of my black colleagues, friends, & family.”

Jonathan Coopeer

‘The future of public education is at stake’: An open letter to Joe Biden from 215 school advocates

The Washington Post |

Public education advocates say they are looking for Biden to do more to help public education if he is elected. Read the letter signed by 215 public school advocates with the agenda they are asking him to adopt.

(more…)

For Schools, the List of Obstacles Grows and Grows

The Atlantic |

“One of the biggest challenges ahead is managing expectations and creating a shared culture of duty and sacrifice among everyone with a stake in schooling… American schools have recovered from other calamities—including two world wars and an epidemic of childhood polio that spread terror in mid-20th-century communities. Children show remarkable resilience when adults express interest and compassion. America’s challenge will be to reach deeply into its reserves—financial, emotional, and otherwise—to give children the education they are owed.”

Erika Christakis, Early childhood educator

‘Unschooling’ Isn’t The Answer To Education Woes—It’s The Problem

Forbes |

“The involuntary unschooling that’s going on across the country now could work for a minority of kids, but it will only further disadvantage those who are most vulnerable. It’s past time to let go of an appealing but ultimately dangerous myth that has deprived untold numbers of children of the opportunity to develop to their full potential.”

Natalie Wexler, Senior Contributor

The Complex Question of Reopening Schools

The New Yorker |

“In making reopening decisions, politicians and school officials need to listen to all parties involved. That includes teachers but also families; school readiness may mean parents teaching children to wear masks. Above all, perhaps, the process should involve students. Their perspective deserves respect in sorting out what aspects of school culture are most valuable, and how they might safely be sustained.”

Amy Davidson Sorkin, Staff Writer

Community learning centers will help school districts cope with COVID-19 disruption

Ohio Capital Journal |

Our schools will need to leverage all resources that are available to them — from within their district, from local, state, and federal government, and from community partners — to meet the needs of our students and effectively do more with less. There is already a proven model for doing this: Community Learning Centers.

Melissa Cropper, President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers

New Teacher Survey Shows That Digital Materials Were Not Optimal Before the Pandemic. Now That They Are Front and Center, How Should They Be Used?

RAND Corporation |

Katie Tosh is a policy analyst at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation.

Before the crisis, digital instructional resources typically played only a supplementary role in students’ education, as evidenced by our new analysis of teacher surveys collected by the RAND American Educator Panels. As of spring 2019, nearly 90 percent of English language arts, math, and science teachers reported using digital materials for their instruction. But most teachers also reported using those materials for much less of their classroom time compared to their main curriculum. Now teachers likely find themselves having to flip that formula. For many, digital materials have or will become the main materials for their lessons. This is problematic for several reasons.

Katie Tosh

The outbreak didn’t need to be this hard on students — we can do better next time by rethinking how and when learning takes place

The Hechinger Report

Teachers have said for decades that inflexibility on teaching, testing and innovation keep them from adapting to student needs. We should’ve listened.

Phyllis Lockett

Phyllis Lockett is the founder and CEO of LEAP Innovations. The founding president and CEO of New Schools for Chicago, she previously served as executive director of the Civic Consulting Alliance.

The Clock Is Ticking on a Plan to Safely Reopen Schools

Barron’s

We must face the fact that a focus only on remote learning has stalled education for huge numbers of students. While online learning is essential and must continue and be improved, it is supplemental, not a substitute for safe, quality, in-person learning.

Stanley Litow

Stanley Litow was recently appointed to the NYC Mayor’s Education Sector Advisory Council. He is a professor at Duke and Columbia Universities, and serves as innovator-in-residence at Duke. He is a trustee and chair of the Academic Affairs Committee at the State University of New York. He previously served as deputy chancellor of schools for New York and as president of the IBM Foundation.

‘I lose sleep at night’ about the ‘logged out’ kids whose top priority is ‘survival’ — not remote learning

The Washington Post |

Marlon Styles Jr. is superintendent of Middletown City School District in Ohio. He gave a virtual presentation on Thursday to members of the House Committee on Education and Labor about the challenges students face during the covid-19 pandemic.

Demonstrating the best in people

Harry Snyder, President and CEO Great Oaks Career Campuses

For all of this, 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic will be lasting memories. Our lives have changed. As we mourn those lost and care for those who are still ill, we’re grateful for all who have shown the best in people.

Harry Snyder

Opinion: The economy can’t reopen without schools

via CNN |

School is how we teach our children facts and figures. It’s also how we take care of them in the middle of the day. Parents can’t easily pick up and go back to work if they have no place to put their children.

The reality is that nobody — not governors or the White House — can completely reopen the economy if the schools are still shut.

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Ohio State University Michael Drake On Learning Amid Coronavirus

via WOSU |

Schools should consider keeping kids in the same grade this fall

via The Washington Post |

Michael J. Petrilli is president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and a visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

To be sure, holding back most students would present challenges. For one, schools would have two kindergarten cohorts, so principals would have to quickly staff up to find qualified teachers for the extra classrooms and extra funding to pay for them. (In future years, some of the “first-year” kindergarteners would move ahead, but others might benefit from additional time, especially if the school is again hit by long closures.)

Michael J. Petrilli

Should We Just Hold Students Back Next Year?

via Forbes |

Still, the current situation is a mess, and while teachers are struggling mightily to salvage what they can, this pandemic pause cannot help but exacerbate the educational gaps between the haves and have nots. Under even the best of circumstances, the fall of 2020 will not be a quick return to normalcy in US schools.

Peter Greene is a Senior Contributor to Forbes

Confronting Inequity / Who Has the Privilege to Be Empowered?

Dena Simmons is a lifelong learner, educator, and activist who supports schools throughout the nation in implementing social and emotional learning and culturally responsive and equitable practices.

Disrupting inequity also means having conversations with and teaching students about race and other forms of oppression. Too often, we shy away from difficult conversations about difference and conflict, fearing that our students are too young and incapable to engage meaningfully. But our students are desperate to make sense of their ever-more complex worlds, and we cannot develop empowered students by hiding from them what is happening around them—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Dena Simmons

In her debut column for ASCD, educator and activist Dena Simmons writes that no instructional paradigm, pedagogical practice, or policy will lift student agency if schools don’t dismantle systems and cultural patterns that perpetuate racial inequities and a legacy of race-based exclusion.

Opinion: Investment in kindergarten readiness paying dividends

Steve Shifman is president and CEO of Blue Ash-based Michelman Co. and board chair of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati.

As president and CEO of a locally-based, worldwide manufacturing firm, I am constantly faced with the challenge of hiring skilled talent. My peers in this and other industries are faced with similar issues. However, in my role as board chair of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, I am pleased that we recognized more than 15 years ago, the need to support the growth and development of a highly effective step in creating our talent pipeline: kindergarten readiness.

Steve Shifman

The OpEd references a study conducted by United Way, Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) and Innovations (the community research arm of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital) that evaluated kindergarten readiness rates.

Read the entire opinion piece on Cincinnati.com.

Editorial: The Great Voucher Research Conundrum

Mike McShane is a Forbes’ contributor who studies K-12 education, including entrepreneurship and school choice.

There has been a mountain of research conducted on private school choice programs. At our last count, more than 140 studies attempt to in some way measure the impact that these programs have on students.

In the popular perception (well, as popular as parsing the research literature on school choice can be) there is a conundrum at the heart of the research: students who participate in these programs are not helped by them, while students who don’t participate are.

How could this be? How could private school choice programs be more beneficial to the students who are left behind in public schools than those that use them to attend private schools?

Mike McShane

Opinion: Are vouchers a constitutional entitlement?

William L. Phillis is Executive Director of Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding

Vouchers do not fit the mold of any constitutional provision for public education. There is absolutely no constitutional authority for vouchers. It is disheartening that the voucher fiasco looms large while the common school system has been unconstitutional for nearly a quarter century. The Ohio Constitution does not entitle anyone to a school voucher.

William L. Phillis

Editorial: Voucher puzzle – direct payments, based on income, would be fairer

This editorial represents the opinion of The Columbus Dispatch editorial board, which includes the publisher, editor, editorial page editor and editorial writers.

Direct payments by the state would be fairer and more honest. Regarding eligibility, if a hybrid program — some vouchers based on school performance and some based on income — can resolve the House/Senate impasse, it’s worth considering. But the income threshold should be lower than 300% of the poverty level, which is part of the Senate bill. Lawmakers gave themselves extra time to solve this puzzle by delaying the voucher application period from Feb. 1 to April 1. They shouldn’t delay further; Ohio families and school districts need to make plans for next year.

Columbus Dispatch Editorial Board

Opinion: Private interests are wrongly shaping education policies in Ohio

Joel Malin and Kathleen Knight-Abowitz are faculty members in the College of Education, Health and Society at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Also contributing to this op-ed was Duane Moore, a veteran social studies teacher at Hamilton High School in Hamilton, Ohio.

Public schools are governed by both state and local representatives who are supposed to consider all important stakeholders. Currently, the perspectives of communities, parents, students, and teachers are being given short shrift when educational policy is being crafted.

Joel Malin, Kathleen Knight-Abowitz, and Duane Moore

Opinion: Trauma-Informed Practice Is a Powerful Tool. But It’s Also Incomplete.

Simona Goldin is the director of instructional design for seminars and special programs at the University of Michigan’s School of Education. Debi Khasnabis teaches courses in multicultural and multilingual education in elementary teacher education and is the chair of elementary teacher education at the University of Michigan School of Education.

We must expand trauma-informed practice to include work supported by the scholarship on systemic inequality and racism and the ways these injustices harm children. Research on ACEs demonstrates that trauma is pervasive across all demographics, but this information has landed in an inherently racist and unequal society. Thus, when children of color experience trauma, they are often read differently than White children by teachers and educators.

Simona Goldin & Debi Khasnabis

Opinion: How To Teach Artificial Intelligence

Tom Vander Ark writes about the future of learning, work, and human development for Forbes.

It’s a good time to consider what young people need to know about AI and information technology. First, everyone needs to be able to recognize AI and its influence on people and systems, and be proactive as a user and citizen. Second, everyone should have the opportunity to use AI and big data to solve problems. And third, young people interested in computer science as a career should have a pathway for building AI. 

Tom Vander Ark

Opinion: School choice, and the vouchers that help make it possible, are for the public

Frank O’Linn is the superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.

School choice is not the enemy of public schools; rather, it is a component of “public education,” the ideal in the State Board of Education’s vision that all Ohioans “graduate from the PK-12 education system with the knowledge, skills and behaviors necessary” for continued education or the workforce. District schools are one delivery system, but they are not the exclusive solution. Ohio is strongest when parents are empowered with choices: traditional public; magnet; and charter schools; as well as nonpublic, especially Catholic schools, which are indispensable to the future of Ohio.

Frank O’Linn

Opinion: Ohio House offers the winning arguments in debate over tuition voucher programs

Thomas Suddes is a member of the editorial board for cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer.

Parents should have a range of choices for schooling. But Ohio’s current choice programs seem like a mishmash drafted on the back of an envelope. What the House wants is school choice that targets the one factor – poverty – that almost everyone agrees can hold back a young Ohioan. Equally important, the House’s plan is substantive as well as cross-party, the only kind of legislation that means anything amid our country’s hyper-partisan frenzy.

Thomas Suddes

Opinion: Ohio’s EdChoice is school deform

Justin Jeffre lives in Clifton Heights and was a member 98 Degrees.

Ohio should not expand its school voucher program, but if it must, let’s finally hold these private schools accountable to their new funds, too.

Justin Jeffre

Opinion: Tax dollars belong to Catholic schools, too

Rev. Jan Schmidt is Director of Pastoral Life, Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Bias against Catholics and their church is at the heart of state laws that prevent Catholic schools from receiving public funding.

Rev. Jan Schmidt

Opinion: U.S. Supreme Court tax-credit decision won’t change much in terms of public-school spending requirements

Jonathan Butcher is a senior policy analyst in the Center for Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation.

Regardless of how the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Espinoza v. Montana Dept. of Revenue, public-school spending requirements won’t change, one expert says.

Jonathan Butcher

Online school accountability requires strong engagement policies

Marie Hanna is the superintendent of Ohio Connections Academy, a public online charter school that serves K-12 students from across the state.

The purpose of this commentary isn’t to dispute our school’s performance but rather to talk about recent legislation that has placed the responsibility of studying online school funding in the hands of the Ohio Department of Education. 

Marie Hanna

Read the full opinion at https://www.dispatch.com/opinion/20200124/column-online-school-accountability-requires-strong-engagement-policies.

Roundup of 2020 education predictions and trends

Edweek, Forbes, Larry Ferlazzo, and others give their take on what is coming for 2020 in education across the nation.

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Great Oaks provides a career path

Harry Snyder is CEO of Great Oaks Career Campuses

“Will I need to know this?” It’s a question that students often ask about school subjects and assignment. They want to know the practical use of the knowledge they’re gaining. At Great Oaks and other career campuses, much of what students do during their career labs has an immediate real-world application.

Harry Snyder

Does AI, as a tool, deliver student feedback more effectively than the ballpoint pen?

Robert Comeau teaches senior English at Another Course to College, a college-preparatory high school in the Boston Public Schools network.

At the moment, assisted writing platforms are getting better at seeing what’s wrong with the surface of a student’s writing, but not what a student is doing well on that surface, or anything below. Students need teachers to see what strengths they bring, new insights they offer and the deep understandings they forge of complex texts. Students also need time to write without judgment, to tell their own stories and express their thoughts and feelings, with a focus on the whole student, not the surface of their texts.

Robert Comeau

Read the full opinion piece at The Hechinger Report.

To Curb The Teacher Shortage, We Need To Think Bigger About The Problem

Phyllis Lockett is founder and CEO of LEAP Innovations, an organization headquartered in Chicago.

As we consider how we attract and retain the talents of educators, we will need to think bigger than debates over class size, salary and school support staff. Fundamental transformation of the entire one-size-fits-all model is what will be required to develop a more powerful, satisfied profession—one in which educators are enabled as design thinkers. 

Phyllis Lockett

Read Lockett’s full opinion piece at Forbes.com.

Vote for schools: Give our kids the best opportunities to succeed

Byron McCauley is an Enquirer columnist writing about the intersection between, race, social justice, politics and free enterprise.

I generally always support school levies.

Maybe it’s because I have talked to too many teachers who purchase their own school supplies to do their jobs well. Or because I see kids, especially in under-served schools, not fulfilling their God-given potential because it’s too hot or too cold in their classrooms, or because they are not getting the kind of instruction they need to succeed. Or maybe it’s because of how hard I saw my mother work as a teacher in substandard conditions.

Byron McCauley

Read Byron’s full opinion piece in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

What we can learn from the state of our nation’s education

Arne Duncan, a managing partner of the Emerson Collective, was U.S. Education secretary from 2009 to 2015.

The one thing the United States cannot do is use these results as an excuse to go backward to the days when standards and expectations were low. We cannot return to a time when achievement gaps around race and poverty were hidden. We cannot pretend that talent strategies will happen on their own without intentional efforts to recruit, support, retain and hold accountable educators.

Arne Duncan

Read the full opinion piece at The Washington Post.

To Reverse The Decline In Reading Scores, We Need To Build Knowledge

Natalie Wexler is the author of The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System—and How to Fix It

Scores on standardized tests given across the country have declined, and the gap between high- and low-achievers has widened. There’s plenty of hand-wringing, but commentators continue to overlook an obvious explanation: we’re not giving vulnerable students access to the kind of knowledge that could help them succeed.

Natalie Wexler

Read the full opinion piece at Forbes.

Opinion: CPS renewal levy won’t raise taxes but will grow district

Laura Mitchell is Superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools

There are thousands of reasons why voters should support Issue 12, Cincinnati Public Schools’ 10-year renewal levy this fall. Justin Jackson is one of them. The 2019 Dater High School graduate is already employed with DHL Logistics, after successfully completing a year-long paid co-op program.

Laura Mitchell

read the full article in the Cincinnati Enquirer

Opinion: Let’s change outcomes for a generation

Shannon Starkey-Taylor is CEO of Learning Grove and former CEO of Children, Inc. Patti Gleason is COO of Learning Grove and former president and CEO of Cincinnati Early Learning Centers, Inc.

We believe by joining as a single organization, Learning Grove will heighten the impact CELC and CI has in the region by serving more children, supporting more families, investing in our workforce and advocating for the success of every child. A crucial step is creating a system that can meet the need on a large scale while maintaining the highest standards.

Shannon Starkey-Taylor

Read their full article at https://www.cincinnati.com/story/opinion/2019/08/28/opinion-lets-change-outcomes-generation/2124018001/ 

Removing unruly students doesn’t fix their behavior

John Banchy is the president and CEO of The Children’s Home.

Ryan constantly exhibits unruly behavior while his teacher tries to maintain an environment conducive to learning in a class of 20 young students.

Susan is typically defiant every Monday morning in math class.

Eric constantly annoys his teacher until he is removed from the classroom.

But it’s only part of the story.

It turns out Ryan has an undiagnosed mental health condition. He consistently engages in bad behavior to avoid the coursework that frustrates him.

Susan is in a single-parent home and she watches both of her young siblings all day and night, every weekend, while her mom is working two jobs. She returns to school on Monday beyond fatigued.

Eric is embarrassed that he can’t understand his school work and feels relieved when separated from the class.

These are real scenarios for some of our kids at The Children’s Home. They are three stories out of the 11,000 children and families we help every year.

In the American public school system, the current model for students exhibiting behaviors like these is to suspend the child from the classroom for days or even weeks.

This model needs to change.

John Banchy

Read John Blanchy’s full opinion in the Cincinnati Enquirer.