Virtual School Meanderings

April 7, 2021

Forbes Commentary: Accelerating Learning As We Build Back Better

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 7:03 pm
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Note the remote learning items described below.

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Commentary: Accelerating Learning As We Build Back Better
Web Tool: Redesign Schools for Stronger Relationships

Accelerating Learning As We Build
Back Better

After a year of struggling with distance learning and hybrid models, parents, teachers, and policymakers across the country are concerned about student learning and how to recover from the educational effects of the pandemic. While many of us resist the deficit orientation of “learning loss” language, concerns about students’ academic progress are certainly legitimate: As the crisis began, millions of children, particularly those in low-income communities, lacked access to the computers and connectivity that would make remote learning possible, creating even greater equity gaps than those that already existed.

In addition, many low-income communities and communities of color have been especially hard hit by COVID-19, with higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and death, as well as greater rates of unemployment and housing and food insecurity. These traumatic events, coupled with the ongoing instances of police shootings of unarmed civilians, have led to a growing and ever more visible divide between the haves and the have-nots, with many students encountering barriers to keeping up in school and others disengaging from school altogether.

As we move forward, we must move past remediation and, instead, turn to the research on how people learn. It is critically important to aim for reinvention, write Linda Darling-Hammond and Adam Edgerton in a new Forbes commentary. We must reinvent school in ways that center relationships and are grounded in the science of learning and development.

Beginning this summer and continuing into the next academic year, we should restructure schooling to build trust within supportive classrooms that do not ignore the trauma of the pandemic. We can create time to build capacity among trauma-informed educators, and we can make decisions based on multiple measures of student learning and well-being. If students feel attached and affirmed, and if they receive enriching experiences with targeted supports, they will learn in ways that far exceed the “old normal” and set the norm for a new age in education that builds on how students really learn, rather than working against it.

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Click to tweet: To reopen schools safely & effectively, we must move past remediation and use principles applying brain science & research on how people learn. At the center of this reinvention are relationships & #SEL. @Forbes commentary via @LDH_ed @AdamKirkEdge https://bit.ly/2PIHLTz

Redesign Schools for Stronger Relationships

School closures, social isolation, health concerns, and food and housing insecurity brought about by the pandemic increased trauma for many students and destabilized their support systems. As schools begin to reopen—whether virtually, in person, or in a hybrid model—educators will need to address a wide range of needs, social and emotional as well as academic, and these needs will remain in a future where additional disruptions to schooling are likely.

This section of LPI’s Restarting and Reinventing School web tool examines school designs that promote supportive, responsive relationships with caring adults. These relationships provide the foundation for healthy development and learning and can mitigate the effects of adversity. Authors share guidance focused on relationship-centered cohort designs and discuss what policymakers and educators can do to create the conditions in which students are well known and educators are more able to effectively care for and support students.

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Copyright © 2021 Learning Policy Institute, All rights reserved.

The Learning Policy Institute conducts and communicates independent, high-quality research to improve education policy and practice. Working with policymakers, researchers, educators, community groups, and others, the Institute seeks to advance evidence-based policies that support empowering and equitable learning for each and every child. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, the Institute connects policymakers and stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels with the evidence, ideas, and actions needed to strengthen the education system from preschool through college and career readiness.

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April 5, 2021

Federal COVID Relief: How Can It Be Used for Safe and Sustainable School Reopening

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 4:06 pm
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These resources may be of use to some readers.

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Federal COVID Relief: How Can It Be Used for Safe and Sustainable School Reopening

The month of March has seen a dramatic increase in federal support for schools and districts struggling through the pandemic. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provides just over $170.3 billion to education, and on March 24, $81 billion was made immediately available to support safe and sustainable school reopening efforts. President Biden’s infrastructure plan may also provide funds to help repair crumbling classrooms, build new public school buildings, expand broadband, and upgrade educational infrastructure.

With this significant new funding, local and state education leaders have a “once-in-a-generation chance to refashion our public schools to ensure that they help all students achieve their full potential,” writes LPI Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst Michael Griffith (see blog, below).

To support districts as they decide how to use these forthcoming federal resources, LPI has developed a suite of research and tools including a curated hub of health and safety resources (research, data, news articles, case studies, etc.) that is regularly updated to share critical information for school leaders, early learning communities, and policymakers. Resource highlights include:

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Click to tweet: New federal COVID relief funds present a once-in-a-generation chance to refashion public schools for equity & quality. To support districts to develop safe & equitable short & long-term plans @LPI_learning has produced a suite of resources. See some here: https://bit.ly/2N6OfdX
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Copyright © 2021 Learning Policy Institute, All rights reserved.

The Learning Policy Institute conducts and communicates independent, high-quality research to improve education policy and practice. Working with policymakers, researchers, educators, community groups, and others, the Institute seeks to advance evidence-based policies that support empowering and equitable learning for each and every child. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, the Institute connects policymakers and stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels with the evidence, ideas, and actions needed to strengthen the education system from preschool through college and career readiness.

Information you provide to us is used exclusively by LPI to communicate our news to you. We never share your information with third parties.

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March 8, 2021

New Report: COVID-19 Is Worsening Already Critical Teacher Shortages, Potentially Jeopardizing School Reopenings

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 2:07 pm
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This item may be of interest to some readers.

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COVID-19 Worsening Already Critical Teacher Shortages, Potentially Jeopardizing School Reopenings

One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers’ attention is increasingly focused on efforts to safely reopen schools for in-person instruction and address lost instructional time for students. However, critical teaching shortages may jeopardize schools’ ability to safely reopen or stay open.

Longstanding shortages, which are often most acute in high-need fields and high-need schools, appear to be growing more severe due to a range of pandemic-related factors, including rising early retirements and resignations and a reduced pipeline of incoming teachers, according to a new LPI report. In California and across the country, many districts are meeting hiring needs with teachers who have substandard credentials and permits or increasingly relying on substitute teachers, who are also in short supply.

The failure to recruit and retain well-prepared teachers undermines student achievement, with the most severe impacts on students from low-income families and students of color. It also jeopardizes school reopening because in-person learning may require a greater number of teachers to accommodate physical distancing or provide intensive tutoring.

The new report, California Teachers and COVID-19: How the Pandemic Is Impacting the Teacher Workforce, investigates the impact of the pandemic on key aspects of teacher supply and demand, including increasing resignations, retirements, turnover, and vacancies, and the number of new teachers joining the profession. Researchers interviewed leaders from eight of the largest California districts, which collectively serve nearly one in six California students. In addition, researchers interviewed leaders from nine small, rural districts since these are also frequently subject to shortages. They share five findings from interviews and provide six policy recommendations to address shortages. Among them: building high-retention pathways into the profession and providing financial supports to make entering the profession affordable. While the report focuses on California, the challenges highlighted will be familiar to education leaders across the U.S. The report is authored by LPI researchers Desiree Carver-Thomas, Melanie Leung, and Dion Burns.

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Click to tweet: A year into #COVID19, as policymakers look to safely reopen schools, critical #teachershortages may jeopardize these efforts. New @LPI_Learning report sheds light on sustainable strategies for CA including high-retention pathways and financial supports. https://bit.ly/3qfjOzo
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Copyright © 2021 Learning Policy Institute, All rights reserved.

The Learning Policy Institute conducts and communicates independent, high-quality research to improve education policy and practice. Working with policymakers, researchers, educators, community groups, and others, the Institute seeks to advance evidence-based policies that support empowering and equitable learning for each and every child. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, the Institute connects policymakers and stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels with the evidence, ideas, and actions needed to strengthen the education system from preschool through college and career readiness.

Information you provide to us is used exclusively by LPI to communicate our news to you. We never share your information with third parties.

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Learning Policy Institute

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February 14, 2021

Eroding Opportunity: COVID-19’s Toll on Student Access to Well-Prepared and Diverse Teachers

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 4:07 pm
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This item may be of interest to some readers.

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COVID-19’s Toll on Student Access to Well-Prepared and Diverse Teachers
LPI is Hiring

Eroding Opportunity: COVID-19’s Toll on Student Access to Well-Prepared and Diverse Teachers

For decades, U.S. schools have struggled to provide all students with access to well-prepared and experienced teachers who reflect the rich ethnic and racial diversity of the country. Reports have repeatedly documented that students of color and other historically underserved students are disproportionately taught by new, underprepared, and inexperienced teachers—an inequity that is substantially responsible for persistent achievement gaps between students of color and their white peers.

COVID-19 has only served to worsen these pre-pandemic conditions, writes LPI’s Deputy Director of Federal Policy Michael DiNapoli, Jr., in the latest in the COVID-19 blog series. According to U.S. Department of Education data for the 2020–21 school year, to date 43 states are reporting shortages in math teachers, 42 in science teachers, and 44 in special education teachers.

In addition to expected reductions in those entering the profession, this academic year there are signs of increased turnover as stressful working conditions and health concerns are prompting some to seek early retirement and others to leave the profession. At the same time, school communities are grappling with layoffs that are destabilizing their educator workforce and local and state policymakers are bracing themselves for future budget cuts—and the layoffs that go along with them. In this blog, DeNapoli discusses opportunities that can be key levers to strengthening the pipeline into the profession.

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Click to tweet: Well before the pandemic, districts were grappling with ongoing teacher shortages, and #COVID19 has worsened these conditions. In this @LPI_learning blog, @m_dinapoli_jr discusses opportunities to strengthen the teacher pipeline. http://bit.ly/3tQNp5u

LPI Is Hiring

Join LPI’s team of research, policy, and communication experts working to advance evidence-based education policies and practices that support empowering and equitable learning for each and every student.

LPI is currently recruiting for full-time and half-time positions, as well as short-term positions for college students and recent graduates. LPI has offices in Palo Alto, CA, and Washington, DC. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, work is currently being conducted virtually at LPI.

We are currently seeking to fill the following positions:

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Copyright © 2021 Learning Policy Institute, All rights reserved.

The Learning Policy Institute conducts and communicates independent, high-quality research to improve education policy and practice. Working with policymakers, researchers, educators, community groups, and others, the Institute seeks to advance evidence-based policies that support empowering and equitable learning for each and every child. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, the Institute connects policymakers and stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels with the evidence, ideas, and actions needed to strengthen the education system from preschool through college and career readiness.

Information you provide to us is used exclusively by LPI to communicate our news to you. We never share your information with third parties.

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Learning Policy Institute

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January 24, 2021

COVID-19 Blog: The Importance of Getting Tutoring Right

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 3:31 pm
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An item from a California think tank.

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The Importance of Getting Tutoring Right

As we near the pandemic’s one-year mark in the United States, the majority of U.S. students may have gone a full calendar year with limited in-person schooling. Prior to COVID-19, according to a 2018 analysis, nearly 17 million students did not have the necessary connectivity and devices to access virtual learning. Despite substantial investments, many households still lack the reliable high-speed internet that is essential to closing the digital divide. The lost learning time and its impact on children’s development is profound—particularly for students of color, students from low-income families, and other underserved students.

As we prepare for a post-pandemic world, policymakers are in search of solutions to provide more instructional time for students and more instructional support for teachers. One strategy receiving attention is tutoring, with some looking to England as inspiration for a national tutoring program.

Can large-scale tutoring support students and teachers in addressing lost instructional time? The short answer is yes, but only if leaders pay close attention to the details of implementation to avoid the mistakes of the past, writes LPI Senior Research Adam K. Edgerton in the latest addition to the Learning in the Time of COVID-19 blog series. New policy proposals can draw upon the most up-to-date education research to design tutoring programs that are effective in meeting student needs.

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Click to tweet: Could a large-scale tutoring program help students who have lost instructional time due to #COVID19? Yes, says @AdamKirkEdge in a new @LPI_Learning blog. https://bit.ly/3bWdw4t
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Copyright © 2021 Learning Policy Institute, All rights reserved.

The Learning Policy Institute conducts and communicates independent, high-quality research to improve education policy and practice. Working with policymakers, researchers, educators, community groups, and others, the Institute seeks to advance evidence-based policies that support empowering and equitable learning for each and every child. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, the Institute connects policymakers and stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels with the evidence, ideas, and actions needed to strengthen the education system from preschool through college and career readiness.

Information you provide to us is used exclusively by LPI to communicate our news to you. We never share your information with third parties.

Did someone forward this email to you? Subscribe here.

Our mailing address is:

Learning Policy Institute

1530 Page Mill Rd Ste 250

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