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Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:
Pre-K enrollment drops because of the pandemic.
Children’s cabinets break down government silos to meet children’s needs.
Enrollment falls in schools that operated virtually during the pandemic.
To read more, click on the following links.
Research & Practice
Pandemic to Blame for First Pre-K Enrollment Drop in 20 Years
K-12 Dive: The pandemic eliminated a decade of enrollment progress in state-funded preschool programs with a 5.5% enrollment loss — of 229,384 4-year-olds — between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years, according to The State of Preschool Report 2021. Additionally, state spending on pre-K programs fell in 2020-21 for the first time since 2014. Nearly $9 billion was spent on pre-K programs, an inflation-adjusted decrease of $254 million from the 2019-20 school year. But federal relief funding helped make up for the deficit, and some states even used emergency money to grow spending levels over the year before. See related article: US News & World Report “How the Pandemic Devastated State-Run Early Education.”
High-Impact Tutoring FAQs for School Districts
SmartBrief: The US government has directed millions of dollars to K–12 education with the specific goal of getting students back on grade level after the instructional time lost during the pandemic. High-impact tutoring would be an effective use of that money. In April 2021, for example, a coalition of organizations at Johns Hopkins University urged the US Education Department to support states and districts in implementing effective, evidence-based interventions that would accelerate learning. Specifically, they advised that states set rigorous standards for high-impact tutoring programs that are research- and evidence-based and target students most affected by the pandemic to accelerate student learning toward academic growth.
3 Counterintuitive Findings About Motivation That Teachers Can Use
Education Week: Motivating students can be difficult, but educators say it’s never been more important to get students engaged in their learning after years of disruptions. At the annual American Educational Research Association conference, global and national motivation experts from education, business, and other fields discussed what instructional approaches and student characteristics make the biggest difference in academic drive. Experts debunked three common myths about motivation. For example, contrary to popular belief, a student who needs a bit of a push on homework is not likely to be motivated by advice from their teacher. Instead, students are more motivated by giving advice to other students.
How Children’s Cabinets Can Meet the Needs of Families and Youth
EdNote: In the wake of the devastation caused by COVID-19, there is now an opportunity for state leaders to take holistic and coherent approaches to meet the needs of children and families. Responsibility for child well-being is divided across many separate public agencies that often operate in silos. Children’s cabinets, sustained coordinating structures composed of agency leaders working together to advance more effective, equitable, and efficient services for children and families, represent a potential solution. The cabinets invite shared vision-setting and implementation-planning, enabling the whole to be greater than the sum of the parts and creating accountability across government agencies that ensure children and families get the support they need to thrive.
NCES: Schools Scale Back Significantly on Quarantines, Masking
K-12 Dive: A little less than a third of public schools — 31% — needed to quarantine one or more students in March because of COVID-19, according to survey results released by the National Center for Education Statistics. That’s a 58% decline from February, when 74% of public schools had to quarantine any students, and a 67% decrease since January, when 94% of schools quarantined at least one student due to COVID-19, according to the survey results. Schools reporting quarantines for staff members also fell 74% from February to March, with only 8% of public schools reporting the need to quarantine staff in March, down from 32% the month before.
Around the Nation
‘It’s Life or Death’: The Mental Health Crisis Among US Teens
New York Times: The mental health crisis among adolescents is often attributed to the rise of social media, but solid data on the issue is limited, the findings are nuanced and often contradictory and some adolescents appear to be more vulnerable than others to the effects of screen time. Federal research shows that teenagers as a group are also getting less sleep and exercise and spending less in-person time with friends — all crucial for healthy development — at a period in life when it is typical to test boundaries and explore one’s identity. The combined result for some adolescents is a kind of cognitive implosion: anxiety, depression, compulsive behaviors, self-harm, and even suicide.
Enrollment Fell and Fell Again in Schools That Operated Virtually
Washington Post: Public schools suffered significant enrollment declines as the pandemic set in, but some districts bounced back and others didn’t. New data suggests the difference can be explained in part by how much in-person school was offered. Districts that operated in person last school year were far more likely to rebound in enrollment this year than those that continued to operate virtually, according to data recently released by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a right-leaning think tank. That might be because families in those remote districts were unhappy with their options, and kept their children at home or enrolled them elsewhere. It’s also possible that families who were nervous about attending any in-person school were more likely to be enrolled to start within these slow-to-return districts.
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