The Weekly Connect 6/22/20

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

Racial inequities harm American schoolchildren.

Bullying fades now that schools are online.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s DACA decision protects undocumented students.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

4 Ways Racial Inequity Harms American Schoolchildren
NPR: The police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., have sparked a national conversation about racial justice. But the country’s racial justice problems aren’t limited to policing — American schools have long struggled with racial inequity. Four things to know about how racial inequities affect schools are: Black students are more likely to be arrested at school than White or Hispanic students; Black students are more likely to be suspended compared to White or Hispanic students; implicit bias happens in preschool classrooms; and school districts serving mostly White students, on average, receive more funding than districts that mostly serve students of color. See related article: The Modesto Bee “‘A Threat to Our Children.’ How Racism Can Affect a Child’s Mental and Physical Health.”

Teens are Growing Depressed and Disconnected from School, Student Survey Finds
Ed Week Rules for Engagement Blog: As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, feelings of depression, unhappiness, and disconnection are rising among America’s youth. While a majority of students have been provided with some social-emotional support from their schools, 40 percent of students say they have not been offered any social or emotional support by an adult from their school. This finding comes from a survey of 3,300 teenagers conducted by America’s Promise Alliance to gauge teens’ experiences since schools closed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. According to Americas Promise, the survey results show that as students try to navigate mass disconnection, they need far more social and emotional support. See related article: Education Week “Police Violence and COVID-19 Have Been Traumatizing. Here are Tools That Can Help Schools.”

Just 1 in 3 Districts Required Teachers to Deliver Instruction This Spring. They Mustn’t Be Left on Their Own Again in the Fall
The 74 Million: Researchers at the Center on Reinventing Public Education recently released an analysis of a statistically representative sample of 477 school districts’ responses to COVID-19 closures. The result: t just 1 in 3 districts has been expecting all teachers to deliver instruction — and rural and small-town districts were far less likely than urban and suburban districts to communicate that expectation. Districts with the most affluent students were twice as likely as the districts with the highest concentrations of low-income students to require at least some teachers to provide live, real-time instruction. Less than half of all districts communicated an expectation that teachers should take attendance or check in with students regularly. See related article: EdSurge “COVID-19 Has Widened the ‘Homework Gap’ Into a Full-Fledged Learning Gap.”

Policy

Supreme Court DACA Decision Protects Thousands of Educators, Students
Education Dive: The U.S. Supreme Court announced in a 5-4 decision that the Trump administration cannot end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama-era initiative that allows individuals who came to the U.S. as children to receive two-year temporary protection from deportation, subject to renewal, and to become eligible for a work permit. The majority opinion held that the Trump administration’s rescission of the program was “arbitrary and capricious” and failed to provide adequate reasoning to end the program. However, the majority opinion stated that Trump’s decision did not violate the Fifth Amendment’s equal protection clause, which would have more fully protected the program from future termination attempts.

This Survey Data Indicates How Schools Plan to Use Federal COVID-19 Aid
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: Building internet capacity, distributing more online devices, and cleaning schools are some of the top priorities in school administrators’ plans for using federal COVID-19 relief. That’s according to a survey of members of the National Association of Federal Education Program Administrators done with the support of Whiteboard Advisors, a research and consulting firm. The results might indicate that many schools are preparing for the possibility of using a hybrid approach to learning in the fall, with some students learning remotely while their peers attend in-person classes. Some respondents also said CARES money will be put to use on things like school meals and social emotional learning. See related article: Education Dive “Efforts to Close Digital Divide Top States’ Plans for Emergency Relief Funds.”

Around the Nation

With Online Learning, Class Bullies Fade to the Background
CNN Health: After millions of children suddenly transferred to cyber school, some are finding a surprising upside: Complicated social dynamics have gotten simpler, or even evaporated, now that school is online. These virtual education settings may have less of what psychologists call “digital drama,” which happens when exclusive and unkind behaviors transfer to the cyber world. This can include things like posting pictures on Instagram of parties, making those who weren’t invited feel left out. It’s not cyber bullying, in which a child is targeted for a sustained period of time, but it is behavior that can cause a child to feel excluded, bruised, sad, and confused. Such behavior may be in decline simply because kids aren’t in the same spaces, creating in-person drama that they then upload to the virtual world.

5 Radical Schools Ideas for an Uncertain Fall and Beyond
NPR: When the giant, uncontrolled experiment of the pandemic rolled across the country, certain innovative approaches proved their mettle in new ways. And while there is no one answer for what the coming school year will look like, it won’t resemble the fall of 2019. Here are some ideas that could shape school landscapes next fall and in future school years: support families so they can help teach children; give teens one-on-one support; use online systems to assess, remediate and individualize learning; form microschools and home-school co-ops; and take education outdoors.

We Opened Up Our Mental Health Services to All Our Students, Families, and Teachers During the Pandemic
The 74 Million: Achievement Preparatory Academy, an elementary and middle school in Southeast Washington D.C., has expanded its counseling services so that more families can have access during the pandemic. School leaders see it as their duty to help, not only with educational support but also with emotional support and general assistance. To this end, the school has provided families with wellness packages that include face masks, laundry detergent, toilet paper, deodorant, toothpaste and soap. Families have also been given grocery gift cards as well as the phone numbers of all the school’s leaders.

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