Virtual School Meanderings

September 25, 2020

Think Twice Review: Brief lacks guidance on supporting special education services during COVID-19 pandemic

Note this think tank report review from the NEPC.

Inside Look

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Sept. 24, 2020READ IN BROWSER
Hello, Great Lakes Center subscriber:

A brief published in June by ExcelinEd gives recommendations on providing special education services amid school closures caused by COVID-19. The brief offers “best practices” for education leaders on how to provide special education services. However, the brief offers minimal guidance for policymakers on how to remove barriers for students with disabilities.

Read on to learn more.

Dr. Gretchen Dziadosz
Executive Director
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice

REPORT REVIEWED

Think Twice Reviewer Elizabeth Kozleski, a professor at Stanford University, reviewed “Special Education and Distance Learning: Supporting Students Through the Pandemic,” which provides recommendations to policymakers for providing special education services through virtual learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

WHAT THE REVIEWER FOUND

Kozleski found the brief offers inadequate guidance for policymakers on how to support research that would remove barriers to virtual learning for students with disabilities.

The author of the brief discusses a statement made by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, in which she said the core features of implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Act must remain in place, with no allowable waivers for the delivery of special education services.

The author also noted families and advocates for people with special needs are concerned about the loss of learning because of COVID-19.

The brief makes recommendations for “best practices” that are not cited with research. It also does not acknowledge the stark differences and inadequacy of services provided to students with disabilities across school districts and states. Little is said to connect districts, schools and teachers to their responsibilities under the law during periods of virtual learning.

Kozleski says the recommendations are inadequate partly because they assume the knowledge of school professionals is sufficient to make the technological transition in special education. She says the knowledge and capacity for making a transition to virtual learning is “barely emerging.” The recommendations also do not address the unequal distribution of well-prepared teachers and service personnel who are qualified to teach students with disabilities from a distance.

Kozleski concludes the brief does not offer enough information for policymakers or educators striving to make remote special education work during the pandemic. She concludes we need educators “engaged with families in rapid design and innovation cycles, collecting data, sharing what they are learning and improving opportunities.”

Read the full review on the Great Lakes Center website or on the National Education Policy Center website.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

Although the brief is relevant to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on education, it does little to spark policy innovation or guide decision-makers on what is needed to advance teaching and learning for students with disabilities. The brief should not be utilized by policymakers in determining how to provide adequate resources for special education services to students during the pandemic.

SOCIAL SHARES

Want to share this Think Twice Review with your social networks? We drafted some sample social media posts for your use.
A new brief published by ExcelinEd offers little guidance on how to remove virtual learning barriers for students with disabilities during the #COVID19 pandemic. A new brief published by ExcelinEd offers little guidance on how to remove virtual learning barriers for students with disabilities during the #COVID19 pandemic.
A new review by @NEPCtweet found an ExcelinEd brief lacks useful recommendations for offering special education services during a suspension of face-to-face learning. A new review by @NEPCtweet found an ExcelinEd brief lacks useful recommendations for offering special education services during a suspension of face-to-face learning.
A new review by @NEPCtweet found a brief on supporting special education services during the pandemic offers little guidance for how to do so. A new review by @NEPCtweet found a brief on supporting special education services during the pandemic offers little guidance for how to do so.
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Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Copyright © 2019 Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice, All rights reserved.
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Our mailing address is:
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PO Box 1263
East Lansing, MI 48826-1263

September 22, 2020

Students with Disabilities Facing Remote Learning During COVID-19 Need Help, But the Recommendations in a Recent Brief Fall Short

Another notice of the National Education Policy Center item from yesterday.

September 17, 2020

Contact:
William J. Mathis: (802) 383-0058, wmathis@sover.net
Elizabeth B. Kozleski: (303) 884-8482, kozleski@stanford.edu

Students with Disabilities Facing Remote Learning During COVID-19 Need Help, But the Recommendations in a Recent Brief Fall Short

An NEPC Review funded by the Great Lakes Center

Key Takeaway: Brief lacks the policy guidance necessary to address inequality and complex issues of curriculum and instruction for students with disabilities.

EAST LANSING, MI (September 17, 2020) – A brief published earlier this summer by ExcelinEd provides recommendations to education policy leaders for the delivery of special education services during the COVID-19 school closures.

Professor Elizabeth Kozleski of the Stanford University reviewed Special Education and Distance Learning: Supporting Students Through the Pandemic. She concludes that it offers only minimal support for policymakers in funding the research and development work that lies ahead as remove education continues for students with disabilities.

The brief notes Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ statement that the core features of implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Act must remain in place and that no waivers for the delivery of special education services are allowable. It also notes that families and advocates are deeply worried about learning progress and loss of learning because of the national pandemic. In response, the brief provides four sets of what it labels “best practices” for school and district leadership.

Professor Kozleski explains that these recommendations come up short, in part because they assume that current knowledge among school professionals is sufficient to make the desired special education and technological leaps. In fact, the necessary knowledge and capacity are barely emerging. Further, the recommendations do little to address the unequal distribution of resources in schools, which include access to well-prepared teachers and related services personnel qualified to teach students with disabilities, particularly using distance learning approaches.

Given these concerns, coupled with the lack of research anchoring its recommendations, the brief offers little to policymakers or practitioners currently struggling to make distance learning work during the pandemic.

Find the review, by Elizabeth B. Kozleski, at:
http://greatlakescenter.org/

Find Special Education and Distance Learning: Supporting Students Through the Pandemic, written by Patricia Levesque and published by ExcelinEd, at:
https://www.excelined.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/ExcelinEd.COVID19.SpecialEducationDistanceLearning.June2020.pdf

NEPC Reviews (http://thinktankreview.org) provide the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC Reviews are made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice: http://www.greatlakescenter.org

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: http://nepc.colorado.edu/

About The Great Lakes Center
The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform. Visit the Great Lakes Center Web Site at: https://www.greatlakescenter.org. Follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/greatlakescent. Find us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/GreatLakesCenter.

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The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at https://www.greatlakescenter.org/

August 24, 2020

Inside Look: What We KNOW About Reopening Schools

An item from the folks at the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice.

Inside Look

Great Lakes Center’s exclusive subscriber email featuring key points, information and social media content about reviews and research

August 20, 2020READ IN BROWSER
Hello, Great Lakes Center subscriber:

Reopening schools has become a huge political morass. Parents, educators and policymakers have to constantly assess the safety of students, staff and educators, as well as come up with new and innovative ways to teach students from a distance. While there’s a lot we don’t know about how to safely send kids back to school, data show some factors that contribute to a more successful reopening of schools.

Read on to learn more.

Dr. Gretchen Dziadosz
Executive Director
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice

THE ISSUE

Everyone has an opinion about how to successfully reopen schools. Given we still do not fully understand COVID-19, and our nation’s response has become heavily politicized, it is hard for parents, educators and administrators to know what decisions are best. While there is much we still don’t know, we have some evidence of what’s working so far.

WHAT WE KNOW

Lower case rates. Countries that reopened had far lower case rates than the United States. In an important new report, the Kaiser Family Foundation concluded, “Most countries that have reopened schools have not experienced outbreaks, but almost all have had significantly lower rates of community transmission than the U.S. and higher testing and contact tracing capacity.” In fact, while the United States recently had a daily rate of 198 cases per 1 million people, the 13 countries reviewed by Kaiser had case rates anywhere from zero to a high of 25.1 cases per 1 million people. As of this writing, Florida and Georgia are averaging 280 new cases per 1 million people, while Vermont shows 11 cases per 1 million people (Vermont does not actually have a 1 million people; this is statistical extrapolation).

Some, but certainly not all, countries have had outbreaks since reopening. While Canada, Chile and France all had problems, Israel was especially hard-hit. Taiwan, Nicaragua and Sweden never closed their schools.

What’s an Ro? One indicator to consider is the Ro. According to a recent Brookings Institute report the Ro is the average number of other people an infected person could potentially infect. Any number above 1 implies the disease continues to spread rapidly, while a number below 1 implies the disease is contained (and will eventually disappear). This site reports Ro numbers continuously. Obviously, a state or county should have a Ro of less than 1 before reopening schools.

The spread among children. While children do seem to suffer from the virus at lower rates, there is much we do not know. Because they tend to be tested at lower rates, the spread among children may be higher than we think. The National Academies of Medicine report 90% of children who test positive exhibit no or mild symptoms. Of course, asymptomatic people do spread the virus. Recent reports indicate the number of American children testing positive for COVID-19 is rising.

Masks. The Academy of Sciences, among other scientific organizations, recommends all staff and students wear face masks based on evidence they reduce the spread of COVID-19. The CDC does not recommend face shields, as evidence of their effectiveness does not exist.

Many educators are in ‘at risk’ categoriesThe Kaiser Foundation estimates 1.5 million educators (1 in 4) are in at-risk health categories.

The existing teacher shortage may be exacerbated as many teachers choose to leave the profession due to reopening. In an Education Week survey, only 54% said nothing COVID-19-related would cause them to consider leaving their job; the rest may consider leaving.

Many school buildings are in need of new HVAC systems. The Government Accounting Office reported about half of districts needed to update or replace multiple systems like heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) or plumbing, and an estimated one-third of schools needed HVAC system updates.

Schools need more money to make the appropriate modifications to open safely, including necessary sanitation, smaller class sizes, improving HVAC, providing masks and closing the digital divide. Additional funding is also needed to rework lunch, bus and hallway passing strategies, and for more effective virtual learning solutions. So far, Washington, D.C., has not provided supplementary funds for schools, other than the initial $30.7 billion in the CARES Act. Some estimates of the costs of opening school safely are tens times more than the initial allocation.

Parents are not ready. A recent Kaiser Foundation survey found 60% of parents with children in school say it is better to open schools later to minimize infection risk, even if students miss out on academics and social services and some parents will not be able to work. Parents of color (76%) were even more likely to feel that way.

HELPFUL RESOURCES

SOCIAL SHARES

Want to share this Think Twice Review with your social networks? We drafted some sample social media posts for your use.
#Reopeningschools has become a political issue in the U.S. We don't know all the answers, but there are resources to help guide decision making. #Reopeningschools has become a political issue in the U.S. We don’t know all the answers, but there are resources to help guide decision making.
Everyone has an opinion about how to successfully reopen schools. Given we still do not fully understand #COVID-19, and our nation's response has become heavily politicized, it is hard for parents, educators and administrators to know what decisions are best. Everyone has an opinion about how to successfully reopen schools. Given we still do not fully understand #COVID-19, and our nation’s response has become heavily politicized, it is hard for parents, educators and administrators to know what decisions are best.
Other countries have had far lower case rates when they reopened schools. Many educators are at-risk of #COVID-19 infection.  Many parents are not ready. There's much to consider when deciding if schools in the U.S. should reopen. Other countries have had far lower case rates when they reopened schools. Many educators are at-risk of #COVID-19 infection. Many parents are not ready. There’s much to consider when deciding if schools in the U.S. should reopen.
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Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Copyright © 2019 Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.

Our mailing address is:
Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice
PO Box 1263
East Lansing, MI 48826-1263

August 12, 2020

Policy Memo: Racial Inequities In Times Of Crisis

An item from the folks at the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice.

Inside Look

Great Lakes Center’s exclusive subscriber email featuring key points, information and social media content about reviews and research

Aug. 11, 2020READ IN BROWSER
Dear Great Lakes Center subscriber:It may seem everyone is at equal risk of becoming infected by COVID-19 simply because everyone is susceptible. Racial inequities make this untrue. A new policy memo from the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) analyzes how racial inequities following Hurricane Katrina match those of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The memo determined racial disparities in New Orleans after the disastrous hurricane are being repeated nationwide due to the federal government’s response to the pandemic. Read on to learn more.

Dr. Gretchen Dziadosz
Executive Director
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice

SUMMARY

Kristin Buras, a professor at Georgia State University, authored the report released by the NEPC titled “From Katrina to COVID-19: How Disaster, Federal Neglect and the Market Compound Racial Inequities.†Buras analyzes how communities of color were disproportionately affected during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and similarly found communities of color continue to be disproportionally impacted by the pandemic.

In the memo, Buras argues government neglect and public policy driven by the economy during Hurricane Katrina created worse effects for communities of color than other communities. Despite projections the hurricane could kill tens of thousands of people, governments at all levels did little to protect the most geographically vulnerable neighborhoods or evacuate people without cars. Those vulnerable neighborhoods were comprised of primarily African American people who disproportionately suffered during Hurricane Katrina compared to other groups.

The disproportionate impact of the hurricane on communities of color did not stop after the natural disaster. Afterward, policies were adopted that privatized assets in African American neighborhoods, including public schools.

The federal government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in January, mirrors its response to Hurricane Katrina.

Despite warnings the virus would infect many and have a devastating impact on the U.S. economy, the federal government continuously flouted recommendations from scientists and underplayed the dangers posed by COVID-19. As a result, communities of color have again suffered at a higher rate than white communities. They also make up a larger percentage of COVID-19-related deaths. The federal government has left COVID-19 response mostly up to individual states, including getting Personal Protective Equipment to protect front-line workers.

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act â€“ a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill â€“ has not been used to assist vulnerable communities as intended, the memo found.

Buras argues government inaction combined with systemic racism is most responsible for the disproportionate impacts of both Hurricane Katrina and the pandemic on communities of color. As with Hurricane Katrina, COVID-19 has led to concerns about profiteering and who has a role in rebuilding communities most impacted in times of crisis.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Buras makes recommendations focused on equity in health, education, housing, labor and governance. She recommends:

  • Universal paid sick leave and health care, with access to healthy food through subsidized neighborhood gardens and other local sources.
  • Data on testing for COVID-19 by race and economic status should be publicly available.
  • Neighborhood public schools in communities of color should be reopened or rebuilt, staffed with teachers from the community and overseen by boards made up of local residents.
  • All schools should be required to report to local and state boards on what they are doing to support learning while schools are closed, and the digital lessons should be publicly available.
  • A moratorium on eviction proceedings and utility shutoffs should be put in place, and rent should be suspended or covered for low- and moderate-income families.
  • The minimum wage should be raised to a living wage.

Read the full review on the Great Lakes Center website or on the National Education Policy Center website.

Read the brief →

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

Global crises do not impact everyone equally. Governments must change how they adopt new policy amid crises for a more equitable future, and to hold accountable those who have compounded harm for communities of color.

TALKING POINTS TO REMEMBER

  1. A new policy memo from the National Education Policy Center analyzes how the response following Hurricane Katrina mirrors today’s response to COVID-19 regarding racial inequities.
  1. As with Hurricane Katrina, government neglect and public policy driven by economics during COVID-19 have compounded impacts of the virus on communities of color.
  1. There are multiple ways to combat these racial inequalities, including investing in health, education, housing and labor.

SOCIAL SHARES

Want to share this Think Twice Review with your social networks? We drafted some sample social media posts for your use.
A new policy memo published by @NEPCtweet examines racial inequities that played out after Hurricane Katrina, which are again present in the response to #COVID19. A new policy memo published by @NEPCtweet examines racial inequities that played out after Hurricane Katrina, which are again present in the response to #COVID19.
The #COVID19 pandemic has not affected everyone equally. A new policy memo from @NEPCtweet points out the racial inequities in the government’s response to the virus. The #COVID19 pandemic has not affected everyone equally. A new policy memo from @NEPCtweet points out the racial inequities in the government’s response to the virus.
We learned from Hurricane Katrina there are multiple ways to combat racial inequity during crises such as #COVID19. A new policy memo from @NEPCtweet explains how. We learned from Hurricane Katrina there are multiple ways to combat racial inequity during crises such as #COVID19. A new policy memo from @NEPCtweet explains how.
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Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Copyright © 2019 Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.Our mailing address is:
Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice
PO Box 1263
East Lansing, MI 48826-1263

August 7, 2020

How Do We Eliminate Inequities?

Another item from the folks at the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice.

Inside Look

Great Lakes Center’s exclusive subscriber email featuring key points, information and social media content about reviews and research

August 6, 2020READ IN BROWSER
Hello, Great Lakes Center subscriber:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most American students have had their school lives dramatically affected. As schools work to reopen, and the gap between rich and poor has never been greater, it is critical we discuss educational inequities in America.
Dr. Gretchen Dziadosz
Executive Director
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice

THE ISSUE

The dual national traumas of COVID-19 and the killing of George Floyd have exposed the racial fault lines in America. These disparities permeate American society — in our economy, in our health care, in our policing, and in our education system. Polls show 76% of Americans now believe racism and discrimination is a big problem.

In education, the so-called “achievement gap” (which some rightfully argue should be called the opportunity gap) has persisted for decades despite many well-meaning attempts to eliminate it.

Systems produce the outcomes they are designed to produce, whether those outcomes are consciously intended or not. Many believe the time has come for a massive realignment of the American education system to change the results.

WHAT WE KNOW

The achievement gap can be closed, but it takes serious structural changes. Here are some significant research-based takeaways:

  1. Students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, who are disproportionately black and Latinx, require more financial and systemic support to succeed. Yet, most school financing is still based on antiquated laws that allow students in high socioeconomic homes to experience the best resourced schools. The simple truth is students from disadvantaged economic backgrounds need more support, not less. While states vary in their funding levels and approaches, overall school funding remains hugely problematic.
  2. Decades of research support the conclusion that access to high-quality preschool programs makes a big difference in the future success of a child. Yet preschool programs often remain unavailable or underfunded. Preschool teachers are rarely paid as much as their K-12 counterparts. Universal access to free pre-K programs can make a tremendous dent in the achievement gap.
  3. Teachers of color matter. Many studies have shown students of color achieve more when they have experienced teachers of color. Recruiting and retaining teachers of color is critical, but is not enough as a recent analysis from Philip and Brown describes.
  4. Many argue charters are the answer. But the research shows two decades of charters have increased racial segregation in schools and student achievement is no different than in traditional public schools.
  5. The community schools model is experiencing success. Community schools are public schools that partner with families and community organizations to provide well-rounded educational opportunities and supports for students’ school success. The Rand Corporation studied the New York City Community Schools program and found significant positive results.

HELPFUL RESOURCES

  1. report of the experiences of teachers of color — and how to retain them.
  2. The Learning Policy Institute report on How to Recruit and Retain Teachers of Color summarizes much of what we know.
  3. Just as the American income inequality gap increasing, so is the gap between rich and poor schools as this report summarizes. While harming all lower income students, it disproportionately impacts children of color.
  4. The Community Schools Playbook provides the information needed to create them in your community.
  5. guide on how to sustain community schools.
  6. Communities in Schools operates in 25 states, partnering with school districts to assess and assist in mobilizing local resources.

SOCIAL SHARES

Want to share this Think Twice Review with your social networks? We drafted some sample social media posts for your use.
As schools plan to reopen and the gap between rich and poor has never been greater, it's critical we discuss educational inequities in America. As schools plan to reopen and the gap between rich and poor has never been greater, it’s critical we discuss educational inequities in America.
The achievement gap in education has persisted for decades despite many well-meaning attempts to eliminate it. The achievement gap in education has persisted for decades despite many well-meaning attempts to eliminate it.
Many believe it's time for a massive realignment of the U.S. education system to address inequalities. Education research provides options for improvement. Many believe it’s time for a massive realignment of the U.S. education system to address inequalities. Education research provides options for improvement.
Follow Us
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Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Copyright © 2019 Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.

Our mailing address is:
Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice
PO Box 1263
East Lansing, MI 48826-1263

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