The Weekly Connect 11/16/20

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

African American girls face racial and gender bias in schools.

Oregon is building a universal preschool program.

Physical education teachers work to keep students moving during the pandemic.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

6 Trauma-Informed Strategies for Helping Students Succeed Amid COVID-19
T.H.E. Journal: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound and wide-reaching effect on students, from the quality and nature of the instruction they have received to their social and emotional well-being. Experiencing sickness or deaths of loved ones, hearing frightening information on the news, or even just the anxiety of not knowing what the future may bring, can result in strong emotional responses, which can lead to difficulties focusing on schoolwork. Recommendations based on guidance from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network that schools might consider include: establishing clear routines, giving students opportunities for control, focus on building relationships, creating a sense of security and hope, building intrinsic self-regulation skills, and watching for students who may need professional help. See related article: EdSurge “Child Abuse is Harder to Spot During the Pandemic. What Can Educators Do?

 In Schools, Black Girls Confront Both Racial and Gender Bias. What the Research Shows, and What’s Being Done to Stop It
The 74 Million: An analysis of national U.S. Department of Education 2015-16 civil rights data by the National Women’s Law Center and The Education Trust found that Black girls are five times more likely than white girls to be suspended at least once and four times as likely as white girls to be arrested at school. The New York Times reported in a recent story that Black boys are more likely to be suspended than Black girls, but the racial disparities are often greater for girls. And girls experience an additional layer of bias based on their gender. To combat this, some schools have altered discipline policies and others are planning anti-racist trainings or implementing programs aimed at addressing teachers’ unconscious biases.

Policy

With DeVos Out, Biden Plans Series of Reversals on Education
The Washington Post: President Trump tried to bully schools into opening their buildings, a hard-edge pandemic tactic that succeeded in places and backfired elsewhere. President-elect Joe Biden is hoping to pry them open with money for increased coronavirus expenses and clear guidance on how in-person schooling can resume safely, a shift that signals a new era for education policy in the United States. Biden has promised to increase spending for high poverty schools, school infrastructure, and special education. He has said he would double the number of psychologists, counselors, nurses, and social workers in schools. He also wants to fund universal prekindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-old children. See related article: Education Dive “Biden is President-Elect: What Could it Mean for K-12?

 How an Oregon Measure for Universal Preschool Could Be a National Model
The New York Times: Multnomah County in Oregon recently passed one of the most progressive universal preschool policies in the nation. The measure, to be paid for by a large tax on high earners, will provide free preschool for all children ages 3 and 4, in public schools and in existing and new private preschools and home-based child care centers. It will also significantly raise teachers’ wages so they are equivalent to kindergarten teachers. It seeks to overcome the central problem in early child education: It is unaffordable for many families, yet teachers are underpaid. The solution, Multnomah County voters decided, is to finance preschool with public funding instead of private tuition, and to pay teachers much more. Early childhood researchers say the policy could serve as a blueprint for the rest of the country. See related article: The 74 Million “PreK 4 SA, San Antonio’s Popular City-Run Pre-K Program, Wins Another 8 Years.”

Around the Nation

Rubric for Recovery: Low-Income Students of Color at Edge of Widening Opportunity Gap
Education Dive: The long-term effects of the coronavirus on academic progress for low-income students of color are still unknown. Experts have looked at the impacts of the Great Recession, calling its fallout the “lost decade” in student achievement, with cuts in education spending strongly linked to lags in learning, especially for low-income students. The financial fallout from COVID-19 is predicted to be much worse than the Great Recession, with academic achievement gaps for students of color and low-income learners following at its heels. Educators and researchers are advocating for meaningful assessments and accessible data to identify gaps, intervene, and adjust instruction based on interim results. But used and interpreted the wrong way, these assessments could funnel already marginalized students into remedial programs that disadvantage them. See related article: EdSurge “Students Are Learning Outside of School. Why Don’t They Earn Credit for it? 

How P.E. Teachers are Trying to get Students off the Couch During the Pandemic
EdSource: Imagine trying to work out in a crowded living room with no exercise equipment. For many students in California, that’s what physical education class looks like these days. Since campuses closed in March, P.E. teachers are scrambling for creative ways to keep students physically active with no gymnasiums, sports fields, or playgrounds at a time when experts say students’ physical and mental health is paramount. This is especially challenging when some students don’t have safe outdoor spaces where they can move around. P.E. teachers have been designing workouts that can be done safely indoors using common household items, such as water bottles and soup cans. Wherever possible, teachers are also urging students to go outside for bike rides or walks, logging their distance and time.

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