Weekly News Roundup: 50 Million Kids Can’t Attend School. What Happens to Them?


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.

Here are the stories that we’ve been focused on this week.

Millions of public school students will suffer from school closures, education leaders have concluded via The Washington Post

Whenever schools return, researchers say, the likely result is a generation of students forced to play catch-up, perhaps for years to come. Most vulnerable are those who are always the most vulnerable: homeless children, those living in deep poverty and students with disabilities. While some students are adapting to distance learning, others are struggling to find quiet spaces to study, lack reliable Internet access or must care for younger siblings during the day, among other barriers.

2 Ways COVID-19 is Creating Even Greater Inequities in Early Childhood Education (ECE) via Education Trust

The federal and state governments should enact policies now that make sure all young children are safe and nurtured during this pandemic — and they should see this as a wakeup call to finally, sufficiently fund an equitable ECE system that guarantees universal, accessible, and high-quality ECE for all families of children ages zero to five after the pandemic. Federal and state policymakers should pay attention to the deluge of advice coming their way to address the many nuances and complexities of the problem: ECE advocates are calling for economic relief for the childcare sector and safety measures and financial support for providers and families. Our government must support an equitable, reliable system that should have existed decades ago.

50 Million Kids Can’t Attend School. What Happens to Them? via The New York Times

The country may be stuck with virtual schooling because of the pandemic, but the data clearly show that the method is far from desirable. That makes it even more important that educators sort out how to best catch students up when in-school instruction begins again.

State education officials and policymakers ought to acknowledge that no amount of hard work from dedicated teachers will avert the learning loss crisis. The states should be working right now, in concert with parents groups, on a menu of solutions.

One thing to read this weekend

The Pandemic Is a Crisis for Students With Special Needs via The Atlantic

For students with special needs—roughly 7 million in the U.S. ages 3 to 21—the coronavirus pandemic, and its attendant school closures, can be especially scary. At school, they get individualized attention from professionals who are trained in, and deeply familiar with, their unique ways of thinking, perceiving, and processing. But no amount of love and care at home can turn the average parent into a special-education teacher overnight. Nor can it enable them to practice occupational, speech, or physical therapy—services that are provided in many schools, but aren’t always covered by insurance and can therefore be otherwise out of reach. 

“A lot of students have had one-on-one professionals with them in the classroom, along with general-education and special-education teachers supporting them,” Elizabeth Barker, an accessibility researcher with the Northwest Evaluation Association, told me. “Now we’re asking parents to step into all of these roles.”

Did any of these articles particularly speak to you? We would like to hear your thoughts. Let us know in the comments below:

April 19, 2020
The Expectations Project

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