Virtual School Meanderings

September 30, 2020

School and Society in the Age of Trump

An item from the National Education Policy Center.

School and Society in the Age of Trump

Tuesday, September 29, 2020


School and Society in the Age of Trump


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With the presidential election still a few weeks away, it remains to be seen whether the age of Trump is a four-year anomaly or longer era that will extend through 2024. But already National Education Policy Center Fellow John Rogers of UCLA has taken stock of how schools have been impacted by broad social issues that have risen to prominence during this administration’s reign.

In School and Society in the Age of Trump, Rogers and his co-authors Michael Ishimoto, Alexander Kwako, Anthony Berryman, and Claudia Diera draw upon the results of a nationally representative survey of 500 high school principals to explore how schools have been impacted by a set of five broad, societal issues that have become more prominent during the presidency of Donald Trump. Because the survey plus 40 follow-up interviews were conducted in 2018, those issues do not include the coronavirus pandemic. However, the issues that were examined remain relevant to this day. They include: political division and hostility; disputes over truth, facts, and the reliability of sources; opioid addiction; the threat of immigration enforcement; and threats of gun violence on school campuses. Combined, they present a major challenge to educators trying to shape the futures of the young people and our society. The following statistics and information are drawn from the study.

  • 89 percent: The share of principals who report that incivility and contentiousness in the broader political environment has considerably affected their school community. Impacts have included contentious behavior in classrooms, hostile exchanges outside of class, and disagreements among community and staff that negatively impact the school. The environment takes a toll. Principals report that they spend an average of 90 minutes a week addressing these issues. For example, a principal at a large, racially diverse high school in North Carolina described an incident in which a group of white male students chanted “Trump, Trump, Trump” as they descended a school staircase, getting louder and louder in response to a challenge from an African American classmate with an anti-Trump message handwritten on his t-shirt. The encounter was heading toward a disruptive confrontation that had to be headed off by multiple members of the school’s staff.
  • 92 percent: The share of principals who say cyberbullying is occurring at their schools. “Social media is destroying school safety and climate,” an Ohio principal said.
  • 74 percent of principals have talked with individual students regarding those students’ concerns about their well-being or the well-being of their families due to opioid addiction of family members. In interviews, principals described keeping the overdose treatment drug Naloxone on hand, using their own money to pay the utility bill of a student with an opioid-addicted parent, hiring a support staff employee to treat addicted students, and responding to the weekend overdose death of a student. Many lacked the knowledge or resources for a comprehensive response—the most common approach described was a whole-school assembly with guest speakers and a motivational and scared-straight narrative.
  • 68 percent of principals say federal immigration enforcement policies and the political rhetoric around the issue have harmed student well being and learning and have undermined the work of their schools in general. Study authors note that the impact of this enforcement may be even more widespread, particularly in politically conservative communities, since students and families may hide the fact that they are undocumented. Principals who are aware of undocumented families in their communities report taking the following types of actions: finding temporary housing so a student whose parents were being deported could finish out the school year, connecting an undocumented parent with medical professionals who could help treat her cancer, knocking on doors to reassure parents that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are not permitted on campus, and writing letters to the court on behalf of parents facing deportation. “We have a very high population [of undocumented students],” a Nevada principal said. “We [always] understood they were here and they were our students. But . . . the country wasn’t seeing them that way, and it was really affecting the way kids and families felt in our own community” until more recently.
  • 72 percent of principals report that students have experienced difficulty focusing on class lessons or missed school due to stress created by the threat of gun violence. Anxieties about gun violence increased throughout the nation after the February 2018 shootings at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. “My school did not experience any incidents of gun violence … [but] we were all very much affected by gun violence,” a Kentucky principal said. While focus has temporarily shifted away from the issue as the news is consumed with the pandemic and many students are learning at home, the anxieties are almost certain to return the next time a school shooting occurs.

The study’s authors conclude with a set of four recommendations for states and others to consider, all designed to address the challenges related to the five issues they explore:

  1. Establish and communicate school climate standards emphasizing care, connectedness, and civility, and then create practices that enable educational systems to document and report on conditions associated with these standards.
  2. Build professional capacity within educational systems to address the holistic needs of students and communities. Extend this capacity by supporting connections between school-based educators and other governmental agencies and community-based organizations serving young people and their families.
  3. Develop integrated systems of health, mental health, and social welfare support for students and their families.
  4. Create and support networks of educators committed to fostering care, connectedness, and strong civility in their public education systems.

This newsletter is made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice:

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:

Copyright 2020 National Education Policy Center. All rights reserved.

Jered Borup – new articles

Another item from one of my open scholarship networks.

[PDF] Comunidades Académicas con Compromiso: un lente que se expande y permite examinar las estructuras de apoyo para el aprendizaje en modalidades combinada y …

J Borup, CR Graham, RE West, L Archambault…
En este artículo compartimos el marco de Comunidades Académicas con
Compromiso (CAC por sus siglas en español), que describe la capacidad de un
estudiante para comprometerse de manera afectiva, conductual y cognitiva en un …
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Wayne Journell – new articles

An item from one of my open scholarship networks.

[PDF] Q & A with Wayne Journell on “Controversial Decisions Within Teaching Controversial Issues”

W Journell – Annals of Social Studies Education Research for …, 2020
I am Professor and Associate Chair of the Teacher Education and Higher Education
department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I am also the current
editor of Theory & Research in Social Education, which is the premier research …
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September 29, 2020

Michael, You Have A New Citation

An item from one of my open scholarship networks.

Michael, we found more citations of your work last week
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The new citation was from:

  • August 2020
  • In book: Teaching, Technology, and Teacher Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Stories from the Field
  • Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)
  • Lab: Susan Poyo’s Lab
  • Susan Poyo
  • George Ash
Abstract: This chapter describes the pragmatic actions and processes taken both proactively and reactively by one Educator Preparation Program (EPP) associated with the professional development of preservice teachers relative to instruction in both blended and online learning environments. Actions taken include programmatic curricular changes and collaborative partnerships with virtual learning school partners. Completion rate for Clinicals or student teaching was one hundred percent due to quick response and actions designed for success in the online classroom. Teacher preparation must include design and execution of instruction in online learning to address student learning needs and ensure classes continue without interruption.

Congratulations Michael, you achieved top stats last week

An item from one of my open scholarship networks.

You have a new achievement
View achievement
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The actual achievement was:

Great work, Michael!
With 751 new reads, your contributions were the most read contributions from your institution
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