‘Return to Learn’ Tracker: 42 Percent of U.S. School Districts Are Providing Full In-Person Instruction

About 42% of more than 8,500 public school districts in the country have returned to full in-person instruction, according to a “Return to Learn” tracker developed by the American Enterprise Institute and the College Crisis Initiative of Davidson College.

Iowa and Florida, which are fully reopened, are the only two states in which 100% of their school districts are providing in-person educational instruction, the analysis found. While Texas is also fully reopened, only 73% of its districts are providing full in-person instruction. Districts in states still under lockdown restrictions, like the District of Columbia and Hawaii, have no schools providing full in-person instruction, the analysis found.

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Poll: Support for School Choice Increases After COVID Shutdowns

Classroom full of kids, that are being read a book

After states shut down schools and forced families into virtual learning, parents and families found new ways to provide K-12 education to their children. While doing so, support for school choice options soared, a new poll from Real Clear Opinion Research found.

Among those surveyed, 71% said they support school choice, which is defined as giving parents the option to use the tax dollars designated for their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school that best serves their needs. Across all racial and ethnic demographics, an overwhelming majority expressed support for school choice: Blacks (66%), Hispanic (68%), and Asian (66 percent).

These results “were the highest level of support ever recorded from major AFC national polling with a sample size above 800 voters,” the survey states.

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Commentary: Will Students Returning to the Classroom Remember How to Learn?

by Larry Sand   According to the Burbio school tracker, 53 percent of schools nationwide are now fully open for business. With the new Centers for Disease Control guidelines having determined that three-feet is a safe distance for students, one would think the other 47 percent would embrace the chance to…

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Commentary: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear is the Poster Child for School Choice Hypocrisy

Last week, Kentucky was the first state legislature to pass a new program to fund students instead of systems this year. The proposal, House Bill 563, would allow eligible students to access scholarships to use at approved private education providers of their families’ choosing. But the Bluegrass State’s Democratic governor, Andy Beshear, blocked educational opportunities for thousands of children by vetoing the bill on Wednesday.

Kentucky requires a constitutional majority in both the House and Senate to override Beshear’s veto, and that vote is expected to happen Monday.

During his press conference announcing the decision, Beshear said that the bill “would greatly harm public education in Kentucky by taking money away from public schools and sending it to unaccountable private organizations with little oversight.”

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CDC Updates School Classroom Social-Distance Guidelines – from Six Feet to Three Feet

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that it is updating its physical distancing guidelines for children in schools by reducing the space between them from 6 feet to 3 feet.

The agency said the update was made in response to new data and recommended 3 feet with some qualification – including that each student is wearing a mask, according to CNN.

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Minnesota Gov. Walz Announces Plan for All Schools to Offer Some In-Person Learning by March 8

On Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz updated Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan to allow more middle school and high school students to return to the classroom for hybrid or in-person learning as early as Monday.

Walz expects all schools to offer their students some form of in-person learning by March 8, but said he won’t force them to comply.

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Data Proves That Most Newly-Reopened Schools Are Safe from Coronavirus

The latest data from health experts seems to be proving that reopening schools is not nearly as dangerous as some fearmongers warned, and that newly-reopened schools are not nearly as likely to experience surges in the coronavirus, as reported by the Washington Examiner.

The data comes from the National COVID-19 School Response Data Dashboard, which is run by researchers at Brown University. Their research showed that in the period from August 31st to September 13th, there were only about 230 new coronavirus cases for every 100,000 students, and about 490 new cases for every 100,000 staff members. The study sample consisted of over 550 schools, with 300 of them featuring in-person classes.

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Commentary: The Practice of Schools Using Empty Classes for Expensive Day Care, and Charging Parents Twice Needs to End

Normally when a business shuts its doors, it doesn’t still get to charge its customers for a product they can no longer access. It certainly doesn’t get to charge its customers twice for the privilege.

Yet, that’s exactly what we’re seeing from some public school districts. They refuse to open their doors for in-person learning—citing safety risks—but they are able to open these same school buildings to charge overworked and tired parents for day care. 

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Commentary: In-Person Schooling Would Be One of the Safest Activities to Reopen

Most students around the country haven’t been to school since March, when large parts of the country began to lock down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the data increasingly suggests that reopening schools entails the least risks and should be a goal of every level of government.

The early hope was that the closures would be temporary, such as Michigan’s school-closure order that was originally meant to end in April—but that was extended for the rest of the school year.

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GOP Bill Would Withhold Funding from Schools That Don’t Reopen by September

Republican lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday meant to incentivize schools to reopen from coronavirus closures by September 5.

Republican Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin introduced the Reopen Our Schools Act Thursday, which would withhold federal funding from schools that don’t open in the fall for in-person learning.

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Commentary: The CDC’s Guidelines for Back-to-School Under COVID Sound Traumatizing

When schools reopen in the US amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they will be even more restrictive than they already were. Schools have long controlled students’ movements and imposed constraints on where they can go, when, and with whom. With virus concerns, those controls will increase in quantity and intensity.

NPR recently proclaimed that “disruption from the pandemic constitutes an ‘adverse childhood experience’ for every American child.” While many children are sad to be away from their friends and activities, being home with their family members for a prolonged period of time is hardly an “adverse childhood experience” for most American children. Returning to schools with extreme virus control and social distancing measures, however, could very well be traumatic for many kids.

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Commentary: Our Schools and the Sexualization of the Young

In “Sexualization, Pornography, and Grooming in the Schools,” Amy Contrada reports on the introduction of “comprehensive sex education (CSE) into our schools. After reading her article and following some of the links, which contain graphic content, the word that first came to mind was YUCK! (Other words popped into the brain pan as well, but it’s best to not mention them.)

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Commentary: The Self-Indulgent Ignorance of Today’s Education Establishment Prospers at the Expense of America’s Children

classroom

The 2020 elections will afford us the chance to pass judgment on the immediate threat to our democracy posed by the intelligence agencies, the Democratic party, and the media in their grab for power through a bastardized impeachment process. But no such opportunity exists for us to deal with the most serious, most fundamental threat to our way of life, namely our thoroughly rotten educational establishment.

The problem has been festering for decades, and keeps getting worse.

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St. Paul School District to Pay $4 Million Penalty for Health Plan Change

The St. Paul Federation of Educators (SPFE) is switching to the Public Employees Insurance Plan (PEIP), a health plan that would lower SPFE premiums by five percent but hike HealthPartner premiums by up to 22 percent.

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Commentary: The ADHD Over-Diagnosis Epidemic Is a Schooling Problem, Not a Child One

by Kerry MacDonald   Childhood exuberance is now a liability. Behaviors that were once accepted as normal, even if mildly irritating to adults, are increasingly viewed as unacceptable and cause for medical intervention. High energy, lack of impulse control, inability to sit still and listen, lack of organizational skills, fidgeting,…

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Handwriting Helps Kids with Learning Disabilities Read Better

by Faiza Elmasry   As recently as a half-century ago, young American students would spend many lessons writing curved loops and diagonal lines, as they learned how to write in cursive. Over the years, though, computer keyboards and voice to text programs have replaced pens and pencils, and made handwriting –…

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Commentary: Finally Some Schools Are Freeing Students from the Bonds of Mediocrity

by Annie Holmquist   By now, many parents know there is something seriously wrong with the average American school. Time and again, children go into the school system as bright bundles of energy, curious about the surrounding world, and time and again, they stagger through the system frustrated and losing their…

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Commentary: Parents, Smart Government Requires Teaching Children Civics

by Brad Johnson   In the fall of 2012, I excitedly began my senior year government class. I was about to sit through a course on our system of government while also watching it play out right before my eyes on its biggest stage during the 2012 election. Much to…

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