It is week 78 of our new reality and across the country school leaders find themselves struggling to help their students recover from the crises of the past while trying to deal with the crises of the present.
While the risks of hospitalization or death remain low among children, CBS News reported that “children accounted for 22.4% of reported weekly Covid-19 cases” with “more than 200,000 the past week.”
This growth of Covid cases–combined with schools’ rules around positive tests–forced 90,000 students into quarantine in August, a number that’s likely to be much higher in September. Parents’ frustration is growing. As 50CAN National Voices Fellow, Isis Spann, told The New York Times, “If I had an option and I could keep them at home and keep the lights on and feed them, it would be a no-brainer. But it just doesn’t work out for our family dynamic that way.”
Last time in the New Reality Roundup, we looked at what it will take to keep the focus on the needs of children and spoke with Keri Rodrigues, president of the National Parents Union.
This week, we focus on how to keep teaching going in another year of disruption and the importance of great instruction to make the time with students count.
FROM THE FIELD
“Albuquerque Public Schools wants the state to stop building more charter schools but at Wednesday night’s school board meeting, there was plenty of pushback on the idea,” reports KQRE. “Almost four hours into APS’ school board meeting, board members decided to not consider the idea at that board meeting. Before that, nearly two dozen students, parents, and teachers made it clear they don’t want a moratorium on new charter schools.” This strong pushback was organized by a coalition of groups including NewMexicoKidsCAN. “Every single minute was filled with coordinated testimony opposing the moratorium including parents, teachers, business leaders and Public Education Commissioners,” Executive Director Amanda Aragon shared. “We suspect the fight will continue but today we’re celebrating a victory!”
“The interest in homeschool has doubled on our parent surveys,” HawaiiKidsCAN’s David Miyashiro told KITV News on air, noting that over 15,000 students have left district schools over the past several years.
In Connecticut, ConnCAN Executive Director Subira Gordon responded to the annual state testing results that showed massive gaps for students from high-need backgrounds, who are performing 40% lower than their peers in reading and math. The numbers are the latest sign of the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on low-income students of color and ELLs. “We can’t let this be normal going forward,” Subira said in a press release.
TennesseCAN’s Victor Evans appeared on WREG News to issue a call for transparency, explaining that parents have a right to know how federal stimulus dollars are being spent. “Thank you for sounding the alarm,” the anchors told him, “It’s a lot of money so it’s important to spend it wisely.”
National Voices fellow Nancy Poon Lue participated in a podcast with Gerard Robinson on STEM Access and Equity.
Moment of Resilience
As the remnants of Hurricane Ida brought immense flooding throughout New York City, Miguel Ramos, the senior facilities manager at Partnership Schools worked with teachers and staff at St. Athanasius to swab out the flooded cafeteria. It was only one stop on Mr. Ramos’ multiple-school journey that he made by car, where it was possible, and otherwise went by boat.