Ohio’s Largest School System Scraps Plan to Return to in-Person Learning

A day after the teachers’ union in Ohio’s largest school district questioned health and safety preparation, the Columbus City Schools announced students would not return to in-person learning until January.

Some students were expected back for orientation this week and in-person classes were expected to begin this month. But, in a letter to parents, Superintendent Talisa Dixon said the overwhelming majority of students will continue remote learning until Jan. 15.

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Whitmer Relents, Signs New Executive Order Re-Opening More Gathering Places

Michigan movie theaters and performance venues will soon be allowed to reopen, according to an executive order signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The order, which also amends coronavirus safety mandates in schools, will allow a variety of previously closed entertainment venues, including indoor theaters, cinemas, performance venues, arcades, bingo halls, bowling centers, indoor climbing facilities and trampoline parks, to reopen statewide on October 9.

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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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DeVos Tells Michigan Schools Not to Expect Federal Testing Waivers

Michigan schools should not anticipate waivers to allow schools to skip statewide testing for the upcoming school year, according to a letter sent by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to State Superintendent Michael Rice.

Rice and State Board of Education President Casandra Ulbrich had, in light of the continuing coronavirus pandemic, requested waivers from DeVos that would allow Michigan schools to skip student assessments typically required federally.

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Michigan to Publish Which Schools Have Coronavirus Outbreaks

Michigan will begin identifying K-12 schools that have coronavirus outbreaks beginning on September 14, a state spokesperson told BridgeMI on Tuesday.

Up to this point, the state has been confirming the regions in which the outbreaks are occurring, but have not provided more specific information, such as the specific school districts in which the outbreaks are located.

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86 Percent of Michigan Schools to Offer In-Person Learning

Eighty-six percent of school districts in Michigan will offer some or all in-person instruction at the beginning of the school year, according to a study conducted by Michigan State University (MSU).

The study, released Friday, showed that 59 percent of Michigan school districts will be offering in-person schooling five days a week and 27 percent will be offering it at least two to three days a week.

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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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Private Schools Offer In-Person Solution to Public Schools’ Online-Only Problem

While many public schools across Virginia will keep their doors closed in lieu of virtual classrooms this fall, a private school may be the in-person educational option parents and students are looking for.

Fork Union Military Academy (FUMA) (7-12, male-only) is one such option. The boarding military school is known for its “One Subject Plan.” Students are enrolled in one subject at a time, allowing them to focus on one specific area of study for 7 weeks at a time. FUMA will offer in-person classes and athletics programs during the fall while taking necessary precautions for the health of its students and staff.

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More Than $37 Million in Grant Funding Available to Close Technology Gap, Provide Mental Health Support in Schools

School districts seeking additional funding to help offset the coronavirus pandemic can now apply for a grant from the Education Equity Fund.

The fund, created by the Michigan Department of Education, is aimed at helping to close the technology gap and provide mental health services for students and staff.

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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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Michigan Schools Will Hold In-Person Classes in Fall, Whitmer Announces

Michigan schools will be allowed to reopen and hold in-person classes in the fall, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Wednesday.

Schools will be required to follow strict safety measures. Whitmer said she plans to release an executive order and a “Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap” on June 30 that will contain the requirements and recommendations for schools. It is currently unclear what those requirements may be.

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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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Lamar Alexander Lays Out Ways for Students to Return to School After COVID-19

Senate Health and Education Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) said students safely going back to public and private schools in the fall “will help our country take its surest step toward normalcy.”

Alexander said this on Wednesday during the Senate Health and Education Committee hearing — “COVID-19: Going Back to School Safely.” The hearing featured witnesses from across the country who are on the ground working to help students go back to school in the fall safely.

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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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Court Rules Tennessee Can’t Process School-Voucher Applications During Appeal

A judge has blocked Tennessee from processing applications for a school-voucher program while the state appeals a ruling that said the program is unconstitutional.

Davidson County Chancellor Anne Martin ruled the state cannot remit funds for the program or engage with parents or schools about the program. The court also ordered the Tennessee Department of Education to post the current status of the lawsuit and encourage parents to have a backup plan in a statement on the program’s website in case the appeal fails.

“Whatever happens on appeal will happen, but the current status is the program is not going forward and parents need to be told and to have a Plan B,” Martin said Thursday in her ruling from the bench. “The court is going to deny the relief requested.”

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Ohio Schools To Remain Closed Through End of School Year, Governor Announces

Ohio schools will stay closed through the rest of the school year, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Monday.

DeWine originally closed the schools starting at the end of March 16. He then extended the order, which was originally slated to end on April 3, to May 1. On Monday, he announced that schools would stay closed through the end of the school year.

“We’ve flattened the curve, but the virus remains. Also, to go back to school now with a relatively small amount of time left — many educators have expressed to me that this wouldn’t be a good idea even if the health situation was resolved,” DeWine said on Twitter. “We have to think about the risk to teachers, students, and our communities.”

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Denmark Reopens Schools After a Month of Closures

Denmark reopened its kindergarten and elementary schools on Wednesday after it closed all schools on March 12, according to the BBC.

The only students that went back to class are kids that are eleven years old or younger, the BBC reported. In Denmark, kids are only required to go to school between the ages of 5 and 16.

Denmark has established certain conditions for students when they returned. For instance, children are not allowed to bring toys from home, and they must have washed their hands before coming to school, the local.dk reported.

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Ohio Extends School Closures Until May 1

The Ohio Department of Health is extending its order to keep schools closed through the end of April, Gov. Mike DeWine announced.

The previous order was to expire on April 3, but the new directive extends the closure through May 1.

The decision is the latest action to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Ohio, where there are 1,933 confirmed cases and 39 deaths.

“There is the real possibility that our schools could stay closed longer than this, but we want to give parents and teachers as much notice and flexibility as we can,” DeWine said in a news release. “Schools should continue to do what they’re doing now – providing the best remote learning that they can, serving meals to students in new ways, and planning for what the rest of the year may look like.”

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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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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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Taxpayer-Funded TSBA Has $5.3 Million in Assets, Paid Top Two Execs $499k Annually, Offers Special Access to Business Affiliates

The taxpayer-funded Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) had $5.3 million in assets at the end of 2017 and paid its top two executives $499,000 annually in 2016, according to audited financial statements and IRS Form 990 reports. The TSBA filed those reports, which The Tennessee Star obtained copies of this…

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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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February 13th: Concerned Parents and Grassroots Organization Call for School Choice in Response To Failing Public Schools in Ohio

On February 13th, the Citizens for Community Values will join with a group of concerned parents to hold a press conference, imploring the Ohio legislature to expand access to EDChoice Scholarships. Since 2005, EdChoice scholarships have existed been a statewide initiative that gives students the opportunity to receive scholarships to attend private…

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Ohio School Voucher Program Doubles as More Public Schools Fail to Make The Grade

After a staggering number of Ohio public schools failed to make the grade, the state’s voucher and charter school system is poised for tremendous expansion. In Ohio, if the public school test scores of a student’s home district fall below a certain level, calculated by the Ohio Department of Education, a…

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Professional Educators of Tennessee’s Teacher Survey Reveals Widespread Reliance on Unarmed Student Resource Officers

School safety - armed versus unarmed protection

Professional Educators of Tennessee (ProED Tennessee) recently surveyed over 1400 Tennessee educators about school safety and potential ways to improve security at our schools. The statewide survey questions (conducted February 27-March 12) are available here. While an overwhelming number of respondents, 88%, felt either safe or somewhat safe at their schools,…

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Oklahoma City Votes Unanimously To Rename Three Schools Named After Confederates At Cost of $40,000

An Oklahoma school board voted unanimously Monday to rename three Confederate schools, an action which will cost the district $40,000. The Oklahoma City, Okla. school board voted 7-0 to rename schools named after Gens. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Isaac Stand Watie, reported Fox25 News. “As the district…

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