Weekly News Roundup: Coronavirus, Education, and Equity

 In Last Week's Best Articles

As schools across the country shut down, parents, students, and teachers are left with uncertainty and questions about what the future holds. As advocates for a high-quality education for ALL students, we’ll work to keep you up to date on the education world’s response to this crisis. As we’ve seen time and time again, many of our nation’s students are particularly vulnerable during times like this. We need to remain vigilant, stay informed of how the response is affecting ALL of God’s children, and advocate for our students’ protection and well-being.

The News

Coronavirus Closes Schools for Half of All Kids In the U.S., Now What? via US News and World Report

“Whenever schools are closed and education comes to a halt, low-income students suffer disproportionately,” Richard Kahlenberg, director of K-12 equity at The Century Foundation, says. “They may go hungry if they are cut off from school meals, and they may be endangered if their parents have to work and they are left alone.”

“Their learning also suffers more than that of other students,” he says, underscoring how a long line of research has found that during summers off, the reading skills of middle-class kids typically continue to develop, while low-income students, on average, suffer a setback.

What It Means for Schools, Students, and Parents

How K-12 Schools Should Prepare for Coronavirus via Center for American Progress

Initial priorities for school leaders should include consulting with local health officials on their recommendations for operations.

The next priority should be focused on key equity issues in the event that it becomes necessary to close schools. These include plans for providing meals to children from families with low incomes, critical services to students with disabilities, and supports for other vulnerable students such as those experiencing homelessness.

Coronavirus is poised to inflame inequality in schools via The Hechinger Report

Many teachers have been practicing blended and online learning for years. But they’re not yet the norm in U.S. schools. And that’s what has Beth Holland, digital equity and rural project director at the Consortium for School Networking, most concerned about what mass school closures may mean for learning.

“I have a huge concern for that massive number of districts that don’t even know how to start having that conversation because the infrastructure doesn’t exist in schools, the infrastructure isn’t there outside of schools, the culture isn’t there for online learning,” she said.

Schools that go ‘remote’ for coronavirus must keep serving students with disabilities. Can any really do it? via Chalkbeat

“Sure, it could work for some kids, I just have my reservations on saying it’s going to work for all kids,” said Jen Cole, who provides assistance to parents of students with disabilities through a Washington-based nonprofit. “It’s hard to imagine that one way of delivering remote learning can meet those varied needs, including students who are deaf or hard of hearing, students who have visual impairments, students who have multiple disabilities.”

Special education advocates are advising parents of students with disabilities to start talking with their children’s teachers or schools about a contingency plan as soon as possible, though they say that districts and state education agencies need to be proactive, too.


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