Important Questions to Ask about Education Research
There's a great deal of information - from peer-reviewed research papers to news articles to shared posts on social media sites - about teaching and learning available to educators. While every teacher wants to provide their students with the very best instruction, the sheer amount of information (and the reality that the information is sometimes conflicting) can make it overwhelming to make decisions about classroom strategies. Dr. Timothy Shanahan, Dr. Jan Hasbrouck, and Dr. Doug Fisher created this guide to help educators navigate the complex task of bridging research and practice.
LAUSD strikes deal with teachers union
Los Angeles USD has reached a tentative agreement with United Teachers Los Angeles to provide live online instruction to students quarantining at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, following weeks of negotiations over that issue and other COVID-19-related health-and-safety measures. The deal, which still needs to be ratified by the school board and United Teachers Los Angeles, would also require all students and staff to continue undergoing COVID-19 tests weekly, regardless of vaccination status, through the remainder of this semester. It also increases educator pay by 5%, and provides a $2,500 one-time stipend. School nurses will receive a $5,000/three-year retention incentive. "First and foremost, the agreement recognizes that COVID-19 is still very much with us," UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said in a statement. "The agreement meets our critical goal of extending multi-layered COVID safety measures -- including regular testing, masking and air filtration - - to keep our schools safe and open, and we secured a new quarantine checklist that will bring clarity and consistency across the district to how LAUSD responds to COVID cases. "Health and safety must come first to protect everyone who walks through the doors of our classrooms and work spaces."
The Daily Breeze
Los Angeles Times
Oakland school board 1st in Northern California to require vaccination for students
Oakland USD will require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the school board decided Wednesday night, making it the first in Northern California to impose a student mandate. The measure, passed 5-1, with one abstention, mandates all students 12 and older be fully vaccinated, with exemptions for medical and “personal belief” reasons. It does not set a timeline for enforcement. Oakland’s board took up the issue after Los Angeles USD recently set a similar student requirement. The resolution introduced by Benjamin “Sam” Davis, board vice president, also calls on the district superintendent to “establish vaccination thresholds and incentives for each school” to try and reward students when their schools reach “a certain percentage of vaccination.” It’s unclear what the incentives would be.
San Francisco Chronicle
Escondido adds six electric buses to fleet
The Escondido Union High School District yesterday unveiled six electric buses it has added to its fleet, intended to replace diesel-powered buses in service. The new electric buses are billed as traveling up to 160 miles on one charge. Construction on a new charging station for the district will break ground in October. In the interim, the buses are using temporary chargers.
Times of San Diego
HEALTH & WELLBEING
Across U.S., teacher vaccine rules slow to reach classrooms
Despite a rise in schools and states declaring vaccines mandatory, America’s schools have been slow to actually impose such requirements on staff. In some cases, negotiations are ongoing. In others, a testing opt-out provides a significant loophole. Many aren’t imposing vaccine rules whatsoever. Even in the strictest districts, the timeline allows teachers to be in the classroom for a month or two before being fully vaccinated. Few districts have started enforcing the mandates yet, either, and as districts struggle with staffing shortages, it remains to be seen whether they will. Several states bar schools from mandating vaccines at all. But among 100 large U.S. school districts, about a third have staff vaccine rules of some sort, according to a tracker kept by the Center on Reinventing Public Education, and more are moving in that direction. Meanwhile, vaccine antidiscrimination laws, which bar policies that treat those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 differently from those who have not in school, work, or other areas, are making contact tracing, quarantines, and other mitigation efforts challenging for education leaders coping with a Delta-driven surge of COVID cases in their schools and communities. While Montana was the first to pass such a strict vaccine antidiscrimination law, nine other states including Ohio, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Tennessee have bills pending with similar language.
Harvard, Stanford, MIT take top rankings in WSJ/Times college rankings
Harvard University has taken the top spot in the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings for the fifth straight year. It was followed by Stanford, MUT, Yale and Duke. The WSJ/THE rankings are based on 15 factors across four main categories: Forty percent of each school’s overall score comes from student outcomes, including graduates’ salaries and debt; 30% comes from academic resources, including how much the college spends on teaching; 20% from student engagement, including whether students feel prepared to use their education in the real world, and 10% from the learning environment, including the diversity of the student body and academic staff.
Wall Street Journal
How schools can keep students safe amid uptick in gun violence
As students return to in-person learning amid rising violent crime rates in many cities, school leaders face increasing challenges in keeping students safe. Last year, gun violence rose to its highest point in nearly two decades. “Everything that is beginning to shape out in regard to gun violence in schools was absolutely predictable. If folks look at the history of gun violence and public schools, it is not somebody deciding at random to shoot up a school. It is the bright, sick minds that are involved in the incident,” said Joe Erardi, retired superintendent of Newtown Public Schools in Connecticut, where the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting occurred. With the pandemic, Mr. Erardi said, that issue has been exacerbated. Solutions are also no longer limited to simply hardening the building as experts have recognized the importance of taking into consideration community conversations with parents, staff, and elected and appointed officers, as well as the social-emotional needs of students. As superintendents take on rapidly changing, ever-growing responsibilities and challenges, the position requires knowing when to delegate. “If they delegate school safety and security post-tragedy, they have done a disservice to the community,” Mr. Erardi said. “You have to own it, stand in front of, explain and move forward as harsh corrective.”
School bus fleets report success in push for propane
As people and companies across the country are looking at ways to lower their carbon footprint, coupled with the federal government pushing for lower emissions, the school bus industry is quickly adopting alternative fuels including propane in this new environment. The move to alternative fuels like propane - which has a carbon intensity of 19%, five times better than diesel and gasoline - brings many benefits for fleets, including reduced maintenance, increased cost savings, and renewability. In Indiana, Carmel Clay Schools (CCS) started running propane buses in 2014, with 30 Blue Bird buses running currently. “We have been purchasing new propane buses when older diesel buses were due for trade,” explains Ron Farrand Jr., recently retired director of facilities and transportation at CCS. “These buses have been focused on our special-needs student transportation in response to a student group that may have compromised health issues. The use of propane-powered buses reduces emissions in proximity to student loading areas.” Jarrod Adams, chief operations officer for Washington County Schools in Tennessee, said the district is seeing fuel costs about equal to diesel, with diesel at $2.56 a gallon and propane at $1.89 a gallon — or 36 cents per mile for diesel and 45 cents per mile for propane, although factoring in maintenance brings diesel to around 70 cents per mile and propane to around 47 cents per mile.
School Bus Fleet
Education Dept, announces 2021 National Blue Ribbon schools
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona has announced that 325 schools have recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021. The award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools. "This year's cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish," said Secretary Cardona. "I commend this school and all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children. Blue Ribbon Schools have so much to offer and can serve as a model for other schools and communities so that we can truly build back better."
US Department of Education