Reopening Resilient Schools


A consensus keeps growing among nutritionists that American schools, almost all which closed their doors this March, will be able to reopen within the fall. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in early June that \”the concept of keeping schools closed in the fall because of safety concerns for children may be 'a bit of a reach.'\”

That's good news: the earlier kids get back to school, the earlier K -12 educators can start to deal with the student-learning losses that have surely resulted from the closures. Reopening the schools is also fundamental to reopening businesses as part of the economic recovery. But the prospect of restarting is likely a resource of tension for educators, because of the amount of decisions they need to make as well as their concerns concerning the safety and health of students, school employees, and also the extended community. Fauci's counterpart in the Centers for Disease Control, Robert Redfield, warns that we all need to be ready for a resurgence of the virus next winter that may \”actually be even more complicated compared to one we just went through\” and force a second round of closures.

The school-reopening guidance offered by the CDC naturally concentrates on public-health considerations, leaving it to educators to plan how to keep students and staff safe while also meeting students' educational needs. Even if public officials deem it safe for schools to reopen, as seems likely, some parents will still hesitate to transmit their kids back to school, and some educators-those whose age or health problems place them at risk-may 't be capable of return. What's more, school leaders may be working with tighter budgets because of the economic shutdowns in addition to increased costs associated with accommodating the CDC measures.

These challenges and disruptions are forcing school leaders and communities to review every facet of education-including the inequities that have stubbornly persisted in the system but happen to be exposed during Covid-19. The May 25 killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis has triggered an enormous public response and prompted a minute of reckoning. This moment poses uncomfortable questions for an education system where only 19 percent of black students are proficient in reading and 16 percent are proficient in math. In Minneapolis, 43 percent of black students never finish high school. From this backdrop, early indications are that the students who have been hurt probably the most academically through the closing of schools are black and low-income students. If black lives matter, then surely black students' education matters, too. Too many of these young people were already struggling in a system which was not serving them well. Sending these students to \”school as normal\” means returning to continually failing them.

The rethinking of schooling that was forced through the pandemic can serve as an opportunity to introduce some long-overdue reforms and improvements to higher serve students, particularly students of color. The task ahead of us isn't reopening schools normally but building an education system that's more resilient and equitable.

This central real question is difficult to answer definitively, because scientists are still attempting to know how the virus transmits, whether it's seasonal, and if reinfection is possible. Some youngsters are asymptomatic even when testing positive for the virus. Schools will have to begin their preparations in line with the best current knowledge of herpes after which modify their plans as new knowledge comes to light.

There are four primary medical questions highly relevant to schools' planning efforts, the solutions to which will originate from medical studies as well as the experiences of schools that reopened abroad in May:

The Irish Health Service Executive

There are a few researchers who disagree. One study conducted by German scientists suggested that youngsters may indeed be as infectious as adults. Several countries also experienced isolated spikes of Covid-19 cases in certain areas after schools started up again.

Sorely needed additional research is forthcoming. In the usa, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is area of the National Institutes of Health, is studying 6,000 people, both children and their families, from 11 cities during the period of 6 months to better understand how Covid-19 spreads among adults and children. These findings, and results from others enjoy it, will help inform better decisionmaking going forward.

The model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington aims to exhibit where disease curves are within a state and to project where they could be moving in coming weeks, to assist determine the most effective measures for manipulating the spread of the coronavirus.

Carnegie Mellon's COVIDcast displays real-time information on symptoms, doctor visits, tests, surveys administered through Facebook, and Internet searches from Google associated with Covid-19, including estimated disease activity at the county level. The key and lagging indicators made by this model may help forecast additional waves from the virus.

The CDC is trying to develop better estimates using 13 different models to build up a consensus forecast. The resulting chart looks like the \”spaghetti\” models used in forecasting hurricane paths. All of these research initiatives will lead to more nuanced and localized actions in the fall instead of the blunt statewide actions previously imposed.

School leaders and policymakers don't have the posh of waiting for better research and forecasts to begin their planning. Instead, they'll need to create plans that may change over time and develop the organizational capabilities to quickly evaluate new guidance and translate it into practice. It is this capability to adapt that creates the resiliency needed when confronting uncertainty and changing circumstances.

In May, the American Enterprise Institute created a bipartisan group of 21 former federal officials (spanning the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama administrations), state school chiefs, charter-school leaders, and superintendents with experience leading through moments of crisis. Their charge ended up being to think through broad areas that school leaders and policymakers will have to consider before they could reopen schools safely and responsibly. The end result would be a \”blueprint\” touching on several issues, including: school operations; supports for the entire child; protecting school personnel; addressing academic challenges; and improving learning online. It also stresses the significance of communication with parents, educators, and community members.

Above everything else, the fluidity of the crisis requires close collaboration among state policymakers, school leaders, public-health officials, and community leaders. Schools can open only when local and state health officials express it is protected to do so. The same public-health officials, in coordination with governors, mayors, and college leaders, should be the ones who determine if closures are essential within the coming school year in reaction to a local outbreak. Communicating with parents is also paramount, and families should know who will make decisions, and how.

Schools will have to use state and local health officials in developing plans for contact tracing along with other disease surveillance, almost as much ast they've during flu season when student absenteeism and sickness are reported. This reporting is particularly essential for public-health data, because the information could reactivate social-distancing measures within a community.

It's important too for educators to talk with parents through channels beyond their school websites. Based on a May 2021 survey conducted by Learning Heroes, 80 percent of oldsters say texting is easily the most effective form of communication for them, but only 28 percent say teachers use it. Teachers and administrators may use a two-way messaging service for example Remind to communicate with each parent or students or perhaps a specific group, such as students who haven't completed an assignment. Schools can also use such platforms to conduct parent surveys and have families check in all year round.

State policymakers can find methods to make the most of policy tools that are offered within their state. States that provide education savings accounts, such as Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts or Floridas Gardiner Scholarship Program, which which permit parents to receive public money for private-school tuition and other options, could extend that help to families who decide to not send their child to school. States taking part in the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program could give extra dollars to low-income families through an atm card they could use at supermarkets to supplement school meals. States offering Course Access programs, which allow individual students to take online courses from the variety of providers, could leverage these catalogs to expand offerings for students continuing in remote learning. This may be an opportunity for states to develop reciprocity agreements that allow students in a single state to take courses approved in another state.


CDC assuring guidelines will necessitate new health and safety measures in schools, among them: procuring masks for faculty and extra cleaning supplies; determining the most efficient method of doing temperature screenings of students before they enter the school; building in additional time to accommodate handwashing and extra cleaning of classrooms; having students eat within their classrooms rather than within the cafeteria; and renovating bathrooms to install CDC-recommended physical barriers between sinks and urinals.

Precautionary measures must also extend to school activities. The Texas Education Agency guidance recommends suspending certain student activities that may accelerate multiplication of Covid-19, such as choir, wind ensembles, and indoor sports. The Sports Medicine Advisory Committee from the National Federation of State High School Associations issued new guidelines for high-school athletics, including categorizing sports by degree of risk, depending on how much physical contact each entails. Football and wrestling, for instance, are higher-risk sports, basketball and baseball involve moderate risk, and running and swimming pose lower risk.

Some of the new technology deployed for learning or safety will present privacy and ethical questions for college leaders. For example, district leaders will have to review online services and digital tools for compliance with state and federal privacy laws. Additional issues emerge with assorted contact-tracing technologies. Schools in New Albany, Ohio, are considering a contact-tracing program which has students wearing bluetooth-enabled bracelets that track their locations throughout the day, where they sit in classrooms, and whom they encounter. This technology could provide some preventive-health benefits, it poses a number of ethical questions, including who will be necessary to seek and supply consent, and at what age children themselves is going to be inspired to consent. What happens if a child or caregiver will not comply with surveillance programs? By engaging parents and advocates early in the process, school leaders can prepare themselves to address such thorny issues.

School leaders will have to think about the social and emotional needs of students because they return to school. The RAND Corporation and also the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning both have guides to help schools with choosing the right social-emotional assessments for their students. Numerous state reopening plans, for example those from Ohio, Maryland, and Louisiana, provide detailed guidance and resources to aid social and emotional health.

In lower-income districts, leaders might consider adopting a program such as Communities In Schools, which helps schools serve as a hub for that coordination of various social services offered in their neighborhoods. Active in 2,300 schools, this national program provides students and their families with a anchorman of contact in school to coordinate screening and referrals for services such as healthcare, food and clothing, tutoring, and mental health, using the aim of \”surrounding students with a community of support, empowering them to remain in school.\”

Offering robust counseling services in school might help students deal with the trauma that results from the deaths of family and friends, economic hardship from a parent losing his or her job, or abuse, violence, or neglect in your own home. The isolation caused by social distancing can also exacerbate children's depression and anxiety. A May 2021 survey by Echelon Insights revealed that nearly 30 % of parents believed their kids experienced higher anxiety and much more mental health challenges, including depression, because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Telemedicine offers the opportunity to supplement school nurses and counselors through virtual clinics. Hazel Health, for instance, partners with schools to allow students to receive immediate care through telemedicine by connecting and among the service's network doctors. Manatee offers online mental-health options for students and their families. Through telemedicine, schools can scale up services quickly while also continuing to offer them in times of remote learning.

Data collection on Covid-19 shows that older populations are disproportionately vulnerable to disease severity. The CDC found that individuals over 55 take into account a lot more than 92 percent of all Covid-19 deaths in the usa. Another CDC analysis found that those over 65 composed 45 percent of hospitalizations and 53 percent of admissions to intensive care related to Covid-19.

The CDC recommends that older people-as well as individuals with preexisting health conditions-remain sheltered in place even as social distancing measures are relaxed. These tips poses a substantial challenge for schools, considering that as much as 646,000 private and public school teachers may be unable to return to the classroom due to their risk profile (see Figure 1). The number is likely higher if one counts other school personnel, for example school bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, and other support staff.



A USA Today/IPSOS poll conducted in May reported that certain in five teachers appear at first sight unlikely to return to school if their classrooms reopen within the fall, because of health concerns. The Connecticut Education Association surveyed its members and reported in June 2021 that the staggering 43 percent of them are at higher risk for certain illness from Covid-19 because of age or underlying health problems.

Schools will need to find new roles of these teachers, perhaps as online instructors or tutors. When school closures shut down high-school AP instruction, the College Board created AP online classes and review sessions taught by AP teachers from around the country. States could take a similar approach by using their at-home teachers to develop videos, create online content, or serve as online mentors and tutors. Utah is exploring \”shared delivery\” of instruction, pairing an instructor who is adept at digital teaching with one that performs better in the classroom. Other teachers could find new roles through technology platforms for example Outschool, Weekdays, and BetterLesson, which help match available teaching talent to offline and online opportunities.

Administrators may also wish to offer early-retirement incentives for teachers who are uncomfortable with teaching online or are nearing retirement. State policymakers should consider certification reforms to learn effectively for schools to recruit out-of-state substitutes and teachers.

Finally, given all of the ways teaching will have to change in the coming year, district leaders and teachers unions will have to work together to review their labor agreements. As part of California's reaction to Covid-19 school closures, Governor Gavin Newsom's office facilitated a contract among teachers unions, classified employees, school boards, superintendents, and principals to utilize a specific framework to \”work together on matters at work and management to reduce any impact to students-including direction on implementation and delivery of distance education, special education, and meals through the end from the school year.\” Similar work could help accelerate the reopening of faculties in other states.

The disruption of the school year clearly interrupted student learning, particularly for those who were most vulnerable beforehand. A growing body of research suggests many students will start the brand new school year far behind where they'd normally be.

Four surveys of oldsters conducted between April 27 and May 20 consistently found that parents believe their kids are spending less time on their schoolwork (40 percent of oldsters) and are learning less (46 percent of parents) than they would. McKinsey estimates the instructional disruptions caused by Covid-19 led to nearly 7 months of lost learning on average, with black students losing 10 months and low-income students losing as much as a year.

New research from Opportunity Insights concurs. Researchers analyzed data on 800,000 students who use the online math program Zearn. Comparing usage patterns pre and post school closures, they found that by late April, student participation had fallen by about 48 percent among students from low-income zipcodes and by about 25 percent among students from middle-income zip codes, while participation had increased by about 10 % among those from high-income zip codes (see Figure 2). In specific states and locations, however, low-income students do just as much math as higher-income students, suggesting that school culture and expectations are important in shaping student outcomes. And the overall quantity of appointments with the Zearn platform rose sharply this spring (see Figure 3).




Summer school offers one method to help students catch up. The Center on Reinventing Public Education reports that, by June 3, 61 school districts from a nonrepresentative sample of 100 planned to offer summer school to a minimum of some grade levels, 5 weren't offering summer school, and 34 had yet to announce their plans. In South Carolina, the state department of education plans to offer four-week academic recovery camps providing 25,000 kindergarten-to-3rd-grade students with literacy and math instruction, together with support in social-emotional learning. Rather than summer school, Miami-Dade County Schools plans to start school a month earlier for college students who struggled the most with internet learning.

In initiating the health measures recommended through the CDC, schools will have to think creatively about class schedules to supply the physical distancing required for buses and classrooms. A current plan authored by the American Federation of Teachers recommended that schools consider a \”split schedule\” that alternates days of a few days or times of your day students attend school. Michael Petrilli from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a professional editor of Education Next, has suggested this might lead to high schools looking a lot more like colleges. Some students may have an every-other-day schedule, where they attend class in person on some days and work at home or participate in apprenticeships on other days. In the case of younger children, though, unconventional school schedules could wreak havoc with parents' work lives.

Several states are starting to think with the other ways an altered schedule usually takes shape. For example, Maryland's reopening plan offers five options for school districts to think about, including various one- or two-day rotations of in-school learning alternating with learning online.

Educators may use diagnostic assessments to better understand where students stand academically and inform strategies to enable them to catch up. State assessments might be repurposed into optional diagnostic tools. Texas, for example, offered a diagnostic assessment using questions in the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness. Louisiana has additionally designed a selection of diagnostic assessments open to its schools.

If another wave of Covid-19 sweeps through communities, schools may once again have to close and go back to remote learning. It will likely be imperative that schools develop better plans for students with special needs and English-language learners. One approach used in Israel ended up being to open schools for special-needs students while other students took part in remote learning. Concerning were fewer students within the building, students with special needs could more easily follow social-distancing rules and get the individualized support and therapies they needed.

Over summer time, school leaders have the opportunity to collect feedback from parents, teachers, and students to understand what worked and just what didn't in the spring to help inform their plans for the fall. While it might have worked for some, remote learning seems to have fallen lacking fully satisfying most students, parents, and teachers. Around the 2021 Education Next survey, the mother and father of only 28 percent of scholars said they were \”very satisfied\” with the instruction supplied by their child's school during the shutdown.

What's more, the majority of the distance learning might not have involved live instruction from teachers. The Census Household Pulse Survey conducted the first week of June found that only 3.4 hours from seven days were allocated to live virtual contact between students as well as their teachers. There are massive variations between states, with parents in New Jersey reporting nearly 6.8 hours while parents in West Virginia reported just one single hour. According to Echelon Insights, only 46 percent of parents reported their child's receiving live instruction. Socioeconomic differences were apparent, with 52 percent of high-income parents reporting their children were having live lessons, when compared with just 38 percent of parents in families making less than $50,000.

The key to improving distance learning is focusing on the basic principles. Eva Moskowitz of Success Academy Charter Schools advised, \”This is really a time for simplicity and fostering to not toss in a lot of bells and whistles.\” The charter network centered on maintaining its core principles because it switched to a remote setting. The most effective lecturers over the network delivered live instruction, along with other teachers providing small-group discussions. This latter group of teachers also monitored student progress on assignments and offered tutoring sessions for all those falling behind.

Some schools might consider transitioning to some blended-learning model, which mixes the most useful online technology most abundant in effective in-classroom activities. Thomas Arnett from the Christensen Institute recommends two models that combine in-person and remote learning. Within an \”enriched virtual\” model, students complete the majority of coursework online at home and arrived at school several times each week to participate in group discussions and exercises managed by a teacher. In a \”flipped classroom\” arrangement, students watch lectures and complete online coursework both at home and then arrived at school for teacher-guided practice or projects.

Of course, all of the remote-learning models rely on students being connected. Home Internet connectivity and learning devices have become digital school buses that take students to their classes and instructors. Education Superhighway has produced a series of guides, budgeting tools, and resources to assist school districts assuring policymakers with bridging the home-connectivity gap. It will be imperative, though, that federal policymakers provide the funding that can ensure all students, specially those from low-income families or living in rural areas, have the devices and connectivity they have to access learning.


The most difficult hurdle to reopening schools may be earning parents' trust. Early experiences in the united kingdom and France show that lots of parents are unwilling to send their kids back to school, even when governments express it is protected.

The situation may not be better in the United States. A USA Today/Ipsos survey conducted in May 2021 discovered that if schools reopened within the fall, over fifty percent of parents with a school-aged child could be likely to change to at-home learning. Echelon Insights had similar findings in June, when only 27 % of parents said they would feel comfortable sending the youngster to school in August or September. A lot more than 25 percent of nonwhite parents said the spring is the earliest they'd feel comfortable. When Miami-Dade County Schools surveyed their parents, they found that merely a third were ready to obtain their kids return, a third felt major hesitation, and the other third were open to the possibility but wanted to know more about the safety precautions being taken.

The reality is that even when schools adhere to everything the CDC recommends, some parents will still feel it is too risky to send the youngster back. Earning parents' trust only works by actively engaging them in the planning process so that they will feel invested in the resulting decisions.

According to a June 2021 survey from AEI, parents are three times more prone to trust the CDC than school boards and superintendents with information related to the and safety of reopening schools. They're a lot more than six times more prone to trust state nutritionists than their school principal. Because of this, a health official ought to always be part of developing and communicating reopening plans. The Indiana State Department of Health is assigning a liaison to work directly with schools and also the Department of Education with their reopening plans. Miami-Dade County Public Schools is creating a new Chief Health Officer position to coordinate efforts with local and state health officials as well as oversee the implementation across all schools in their system.

But even then, some parents will not feel safe until there's a vaccine, something likely still months away. Schools will need to plan for remote-learning choices for these students. Parma City Schools in Ohio conducted a districtwide survey and located 110 from 1,700 parents said they would not get their children return to school until a vaccine was available. The district is creating a virtual academy as an alternative of these students. Alabama is planning to give parents an option between sending their children back to school or keeping them home, where they would receive online instruction.

Education leaders face immense challenges because they race to put together plans simultaneously as they are likely to face budget cuts. We ought to all acknowledge this and approach the reopening of faculties with a way of measuring grace. It will be messy and imperfect.

The National Institute for Excellence in Teaching has produced a set of resources that provide guiding questions around different scenarios, including all students while attending college personally, some students attending personally while some learn remotely, and all students learning remotely. The questions help tease out not only pragmatic responses, but the equity issues presented under each scenario.

And perhaps that's the real opportunity. In planning to reopen, schools will be instructed to question long-standing assumptions and develop strategies that can result in building a better education system. The process will help separate the superfluous and also the essential and make from those fundamentals.

Beyond everything else, the moment challenges us with renewed urgency to invest in creating a system that serves a lot of students. The scholars who'll need the most help are the ones who have been systemically underserved for generations. Organizations rarely possess the permission to rethink all of their assumptions, structures, and systems. The Covid-19 crisis gives that permission to school systems to think differently and introduce long-needed changes and improvements. The actual question is not can schools do this, but rather, the way schools rise to the challenge of the moment? Students are counting on us, and we must not fail them.

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Homeschool Happens Everywhere


Homeschooled students are isolated and at urgent chance of harm from maltreatment, under-education, and parental abuse. That's the case Harvard School professor Elizabeth Bartholet made in her recent call to ban the practice, that has been legal in all 50 U.S. states for more than a quarter-century. Ironically, Bartholet's article within the Arizona Law Review appeared just as millions of parents were instructed to turn to homeschooling temporarily, under stay-at-home orders that closed schools across the nation.

It can be challenging to know precisely what, when, and just how the country's homeschooled students are learning. In the end, privacy and the freedom to understand more about education as families see fit, with limited government oversight, is a defining feature. But the best evidence we've suggests that homeschooled students are far from isolated.

By looking at a recent national survey of yankee households conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, I discovered that homeschooled students may take part in cultural and family activities than their public-school peers. They seem to invest less time on formal instruction in humanities subjects, but more time visiting libraries and museums and attending community events. If public exposure protects children and cultural knowledge is really a major goal for education, concerns that homeschooled students have been in danger appear, at the very least, overblown.

Homeschooling is both an increasing and changing practice. The number of families reporting they homeschool their kids grew to 1.7 million by 2021, representing 3.3 % of all U.S. students aged 5-17, based on the National Household Education Survey (see Figure 1). On that survey, a nationally representative sample of households also answered a variety of questions about their demographics and amounts of education. Responses were collected from 14,075 families in all, including 552 homeschool families across the Usa.

Overall, homeschool parents may be white or Hispanic and therefore are not as likely to carry college degrees (see Figure 2). Some 55 percent of homeschool families are white compared to 49 percent of public-school families, and 29 percent of homeschool people are Hispanic when compared with 22 percent in public places schools. Homeschool people are also more likely to have 3 or more children than families in public or private schools. Some 32 percent of homeschool households include an adult with a minumum of one college degree, when compared with 36 percent of public-school families and 64 percent of families whose children attend private schools.

The 2021 National Household Education Survey also asked homeschool families questions regarding formal instruction and participation in enrichment activities, pointing to some of the ways where the practice has changed. Thanks to the Internet, homeschool families have more resources and share larger communities compared to decades past. Online clearinghouses, blogs, and social-media groups for families who follow particular educational philosophies are readily available. Casual parent groups pool resources, formal homeschooling cooperatives bring students together for hands-on science experiments and dance classes, and homeschool sports leagues give students the opportunity to play on a team. Around the survey, some 30 percent of homeschool families reported children received some instruction through a homeschool organization or cooperative.

In addition, with ever-expanding access to online content and academic technology, the term \”hybrid homeschooling\” has emerged to explain families who combine home education with part-time attendance in a virtual or brick-and-mortar school. According to the Education Commission of the States, 26 states allow homeschoolers to participate in enrichment activities at a local public school, and states like Vermont and Nevada have allowed homeschoolers to enroll in classes at public schools to augment their studies. And that doesn't include the sorts of virtual learning programs that are presently commonplace during the Covid-19 pandemic: live group enrichment classes like Outschool, online community-college courses, video teaching tools like Khan Academy, and individual tutoring via text and video chats.

One be worried about homeschooling rests around the idea of \”cultural capital,\” the valuable constellation of cultural knowledge, behaviors, tastes, and physical markers of status that help adults navigate their communities and grow their probability of success. When French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu introduced this idea within the late 1970s, he described cultural capital like a having top of the class, arguing that affluent individuals naturally transmit cultural capital one to the other through rituals, practices, and values. Institutions, theoretically, reward those who possess upper-class cultural capital, associating it with individual ability. Empirical research, however, shows that cultural capital is not necessarily limited to the affluent.

In thinking about how you can measure this intangible force, scholars have looked at exposure to various activities that may enable the purchase of cultural capital, for example visiting a skill gallery or museum, experiencing a live artistic performance, and visiting a zoo, aquarium, athletic event, or historical site. In looking specifically at children, scholars also have considered activities like visiting a bookstore or library and shared reading, in addition to parent-child interactions like discussing books, music, or art.

Many traditional school experiences may impart cultural capital, for example participation in music and art classes, involvement in student clubs, and focus of foreign-language and classical literature. Therefore the concern for homeschooled students is they lack use of these experiences at home. Supplies present in art rooms, books obtainable in school libraries, and instruments accessible in music class could be cost-prohibitive for individual families to offer. A sole parent-teacher could struggle to be a multi-subject content expert in these many arenas. The most popular trope from the poorly socialized homeschooled student who knows little about the rest of the world is rooted in these assumptions.

However, what if this isn't the case? The evolving nature of homeschooling could instead offer expanded opportunities for students to gain cultural capital. There will be a growing variety of online education resources and part-time enrollment programs at postsecondary institutions. Homeschool days are common at child-friendly museums, much like references to homeschooling cooperatives. One-to-one instruction could progress more quickly than traditional group classes, freeing up more time for excursions and extracurricular activities (see \”The Educational Value of Field Trips,\” research, Winter 2021). Now you ask ,, how can homeschool families spend their time, and also to what extent are they creating opportunities for college students to obtain cultural capital?

The 2021 National Household Educational Survey offers a rich group of data to examine that question, though it has some limitations. First, the outcomes come from self-reports, and respondents may overestimate their children's participation in cultural and family activities. Given their unconventional decision to educate their children outside of formal education systems, homeschool families might be particularly prone to this social-desirability bias. Alternatively, the absence of regard for convention may make them worry less by what others think.

The activities covered by the survey also may not range from the ways that families could provide different experiences for their children. For instance, many otherwise most homeschool people are from conservative Christian households who report religious and moral instruction as key influences. This background is going to influence the types of cultural excursions they value.

Finally, the data laptop computer provides is relatively basic. For example, reports of formal instruction derive from a yes/no format and don't include the frequency or rigor of activities. Reports of family activities like arts and crafts or playing sports should capture the main activities of homeschooling instead of something above and beyond what students are doing for \”school.\”

Families who reported educating their children at home were asked a variety of questions regarding their homeschooling practices, including which adult primarily leads learning, how many days per week they homeschool, which subjects are taught, and whether their child receives instruction from the cooperative or school. All surveyed families answered questions about cultural and family activities. I compared reported participation in those ideas by homeschool families by families whose children attend private and public schools.

In terms of formal learning, 29 percent of homeschool families reported teaching all four main humanities subjects: art, music, language, and literature. Another 29 percent reported teaching three of these, and 42 percent reported teaching two or less. This means that formal instructional opportunities for cultural-capital acquisition might be lacking for many homeschooled students. Even though only homeschool households report on the teaching of these subjects around the survey, other national data has established that students attending public schools have a tendency to receive instruction in arts, music, literature, and language at higher rates.

Homeschool organizations or cooperatives seem to boost the breadth of happy to which homeschooled children receive exposure. Nearly three-quarters of households whose children receive group instruction report formal study in a minimum of three humanities subjects. In comparison, among families whose children don't participate in homeschool groups, approximately half report formal instruction in 3 to 4 of the humanities subjects.

However, my analysis shows that homeschooled students may participate in activities outside the home that can contribute to cultural capital (see Figure 3). In comparing survey responses for homeschool and public-school families, I find homeschool families are 17 percentage points more likely to visit an art gallery or museum, 22 percentage points more likely to go to a library, and 17 percentage points more likely to attend an event sponsored with a community, religious, or ethnic group. They're also 8 percentage points more prone to visit a zoo or aquarium, and seven percentage points more likely to go to a bookstore. These patterns appear to indicate that homeschooled students may gain exposure to cultural capital through excursions, alongside or perhaps in lieu of formal instruction.

I then investigate probability of homeschooled students participating in family activities which may be related to cultural capital and discover similar results (see Figure 4). When compared with their public-school peers, homeschooled students are 17 percentage points more prone to do crafts and arts and 13 percentage points more prone to focus on projects that entail building, making, or fixing an item with family. Additionally, homeschool households are 9 percentage points more likely more likely to report playing sports or doing physical activities together.

In general, families where a minumum of one parent has a degree report greater participation in many activities, particularly culturally rich excursions like visiting museums and galleries, going to bookstores and libraries, and attending live artistic performances. However, this well-documented association between parents' education level and cultural activities is less evident for homeschool households. Homeschool families are minimal likely to report having a parent or guardian having a degree but they are the most likely to indicate participation in cultural and family activities. Interestingly, less-educated homeschool families report more cultural and family activities than public- or private-school families where a minumum of one parent includes a college degree.

While the concept of homeschooling appears to be having a transformation, the debate and criticisms raised by Bartholet remain dominated by conventional assumptions and timeworn concerns. Worries about deprivation for homeschooled children do not appear substantiated by the survey findings I examine.

Homeschool families report higher rates of participation in cultural and family activities, suggesting that students have possibilities to acquire cultural capital beyond formal instructional time. Indeed, increased opportunities for hands-on learning can be a fundamental reason some families choose to homeschool. Participation during these kinds of activities also may play a compensatory role, possibly offsetting what may be forfeited by not attending a traditional brick-and-mortar school. And it may offer a glimpse of the possibility unique benefits to homeschooling, for example more frequent contact with museums and galleries along with other community-based possibilities to engage with high culture.

This initial foray in to the relationship between cultural capital and homeschooling underscores lines of inquiry for future research. Little is known about how homeschool parents attempt to teach art, music, and other languages. Furthermore, it remains uncertain whether deficiencies in instruction in humanities subjects among homeschool households signifies a rejection of conventional types of instruction or is due to unobserved barriers these families face.

These findings cannot fully answer the concerns raised by Bartholet about child safety and homeschooling. Child neglect and abuse are urgent problems in some share of all families, and it is true that some children find refuge and access social-service supports through their schools. However, national survey data doesn't indicate this is an issue for most. Critiques that homeschooled children develop in cultural and social isolation might be overstated and mischaracterize the practice.

A richer knowledge of homeschooling is especially relevant as families over the United States contemplate an uncertain return to full-time formal instruction in class buildings in the fall of 2021. Taking the activities of homeschool families as a guide, reduced classroom time or continued closures may potentially release additional time for different sorts of educational activities that parents and children can pursue at home. Even when museums and libraries remain closed, they've created rich online tours and academic programs in the wake from the pandemic, like those offered by the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Louvre, NASA's Langley Research Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Is the knowledge students profit from these kinds of activities equal to the things they develop through experiences at school? What may be the benefits, as well as the limitations, of exploring education in this manner on a broad scale? Within the pandemic age, we might actually cover to find out.

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The New Accountability Assignment


The spring of 2021 will forever be referred to as season when millions of American families took an accident course in homeschooling. Eventually we'll learn whether this mass experiment in \”remote learning\” results in durable changes in the U.S. education system, for example more students a little of their courses online or opting out altogether from soccer practice as we know it. In the meantime, the massive digital footprint this experiment has established can provide fresh insights into how students spend their days. Here's one project we could launch immediately: Let's move on collecting information about the assignments schools are asking pupils to accomplish and employ that information, along with test scores and survey results, to evaluate educational quality.

It's no secret that for years now, policymakers, researchers, and educators have been trying to find additional school-quality measures to accompany standardized test scores. The quest for valid and reliable indicators has included a range of options, such as chronic absenteeism rates and use of challenging coursework. A number of this really is wrongheaded and simply an attempt to prevent public oversight. This could be an effort to go back to the times when schools were judged through the size of their budgets or credentials of their teachers, rather than the outcomes of their students. As my colleague Chester E. Finn, Jr. has argued, tests may be the messengers, but accountability is the content that a lot of in education really want to shoot.

Regardless, it is certainly the case that data from large-scale tests are not even close to perfect, and that supplementing it with other strong performance measures could do a large amount of good. For just one, it could counteract some of the perverse incentives included in our current approach, especially the narrow concentrate on English language arts and math instruction. And also the added metrics might get nearer to the kinds of information that folks say they value. For example, some states and scholars have embraced school climate surveys, probably the most comprehensive of which poll parents, teachers, and students about their experiences, academic and otherwise. Several instruments have shown promise and can reliably identify which schools are nailing it with student engagement.

That's all well and good, but surveys include their own limitations, particularly if fed into high-stakes accountability systems. Surveys are subjective. They provide impressions of the learning environment, however they don't provide hard data about the learning process itself. It's not necessary to be a conspiracy theorist to consider that school personnel might take their thumb on the scale if they think it will make the difference between, say, being handed a b – rating versus a D. Furthermore, surveys can are afflicted by \”reference bias.\” For example, parents who themselves attended horrible schools may be thrilled with their kids' mediocre schools, while more privileged parents could be aghast with the same institution. It's hard to control for your.

So let's supplement the tests and surveys with something more concrete: the work that students are required to accomplish.

We know from studies by TNTP, the Education Trust, yet others the quality and rigor of assignments vary widely by school, adding to achievement and expectations gaps rather than narrowing them. For example, TNTP's influential 2021 report The Opportunity Myth contrasts eighth-grade English language arts assignments from two different schools. In a single school, students were asked to read a book-length memoir (A Mighty Long distance, by one of the Little Rock Nine), and write an essay analyzing the role the press took part in portraying and influencing the events surrounding desegregation. In the other school, students were assigned a short informational text written in a fifth-grade level. The scholars only at that second school then were given the job of answering several multiple-choice questions and filling in the vowels in related vocabulary words.

Surely we would like educators to emulate the very first school and not the 2nd. It would be fair to evaluate schools a minimum of partly around the quality and challenge of the work they assign to their students.

In the wake from the pandemic, these student assignments have become exponentially more transparent to us parents because of the learn-at-home experiment, with our kids completing the work they do within our own living rooms. After all, what \”remote learning\” fundamentally did ended up being to put distance between what teachers do and what their students do, given that they can not be in the same physical location. And while the teacher side of that equation has got much attention from reformers and the research community in recent decades, there's a stronger case that what kids do (or don't) all day long is what really matters.

That was doubly the situation during the spring 2021 school shutdowns. In many districts, according the Center for Reinventing Public Education and the American Enterprise Institute, real-time live instruction over platforms like Zoom was more the exception than the rule. Remove classrooms and classroom instruction, and what remains are the assignments provided to students-paper packets to accomplish in some instances, to-do lists posted online in other people.

As the daddy of third-grade and sixth-grade boys, I was capable of seeing myself all of the work they were being asked to do. I had glimpsed bits of this before, particularly the homework parts, but a lot of the things they were doing while at school would be a blur. Surely that's true for many other parents. It had been enlightening, to say the least. For my middle-schooler especially, it was easy to understand which teachers were asking him to struggle with deep intellectual questions and that have been just assigning busy work.

I would love to understand how their assignments compare to those given at other schools. Exist some schools where kids are being inspired to read high-quality literature and interesting nonfiction, instead of the drivel that usually passes for \”reading passages\” in a lot of ELA curricula? What kinds of essays, research papers, along with other writing assignments are students elsewhere inspired to complete? How challenging are the problem sets in math? What kinds of interdisciplinary projects must they tackle?

What's great is that all of this has become knowable. With remote learning, teachers had no choice but to post assignments on the internet Classroom and similar sites. Imagine if states published school report cards that included types of the books assigned every student, math problems children are likely to solve, and a sample of writing prompts by grade. This would get us much closer to what we all have in mind when we conjure \”academic quality.\” And when states aren't prepared to do it, maybe a nonprofit for example GreatSchools could collect the data from parents, and publish the data itself.

No, it isn't everything. It does not provide information about extracurricular activities or whether schools help their students feel thought about or motivated. And without collecting graded student work, we couldn't be 100 % sure which schools are in fact holding students to higher standards

But like a way of measuring school quality, tracking the work assigned to students would nudge educators with the right incentives and provide parents with valuable information. And there is the remote chance that it would result in better assignments and fewer pablum-a nice outcome of our remote learning experiment indeed.

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The Title IX Spotlight Shifts from the Campus to the Schoolhouse


Already at a loss for the Covid-19 challenge, public elementary and secondary schools have another problem to address: sexual harassment. In February, the U.S. Department of Education announced a brand new enforcement initiative made to \”combat the troubling rise of sexual assault in K- -12 public schools.\” During the Obama administration, the department's Office for Civil Rights, or OCR, focused mainly on sexual assault on college campuses. Three factors led the department to shift gears and pay more attention to elementary and secondary education: new federal legislation that prohibits schools from passing along with other districts employees who have involved in sexual misconduct with students; a study of Chicago schools that uncovered pervasive sexual misconduct by teachers and students; and evidence in the department's Civil Rights Data Collection that nearly 10,000 students in elementary or secondary schools were the victim of assault, rape, or attempted rape throughout the 2021 -16 school year.

In early May, the department released its long-awaited regulations spelling out schools' responsibilities for addressing sexual harassment under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This was the very first full administrative rulemaking process the department has ever conducted about them and it is most substantial effort to describe the differences between your rules that apply to K -12 schools and those that affect colleges and universities. The department's explanation of their new regulations runs to more than 2,000 pages. Since elementary and secondary schools will soon come under greater scrutiny than ever before, school attorneys and Title IX officers will be poring over that gargantuan document to determine which school districts should do to adhere to federal law.

Title IX says nothing about sexual harassment or sexual assault; it really prohibits educational institutions that receive federal funds from discriminating based on sex. In the 1990s, however, federal courts started to hold school districts accountable for sex-based harassment serious enough to deny students equal access to education. In 1992, the final Court ruled that a school district might be sued for monetary damages for failing to prevent serious, ongoing abuse of a student with a teacher. Then, in 1998 and 1999, our prime court issued two additional decisions that established the legal framework for evaluating schools' liability for sexual misconduct: a college is likely under Title IX only when it has \”actual notice\” of harassment \”that is so severe, persistent, and objectively offensive it effectively bars the victim's access to an educational opportunity or benefit,\” and responds to such misconduct with \”deliberate indifference.\” All three of these cases, it bears noting, involved elementary and secondary schools.

The Supreme Court's standard was more lenient compared to standard OCR had announced a couple of years earlier inside a guidance document. On the day prior to the inauguration of George W. Bush, the outgoing Clinton administration explained it would not stick to the court's lead. The court's standard, it insisted, applied simply to suits for monetary damages, not to the guidelines schools must follow to qualify for federal funding. OCR doubled down on its previous position, establishing more demanding procedures for reporting, investigating, and responding to harassment complaints. For over a decade, those 2001 guidelines remained in legal limbo, neither enforced nor repudiated through the Bush administration.

In 2010, the Obama administration began a multiagency campaign to deal with an issue the president claimed \”threatens our families\” and \”tears in the fabric of our communities\”: sexual violence on college campuses. The important thing component of that effort was a 2011 \”Dear Colleague” letter created by the top of OCR. It explained at length what all schools that receive federal funds-not just colleges-must do to adhere to Title IX. The new guidelines went well past those previously announced in specifying the procedures schools are required to follow in disciplinary proceedings and also the remedial steps they have to take for both individual victims as well as for \”the broader student population.\” The letter required schools to use the \”preponderance of the evidence\” standard (sometimes referred to as \”50 percent plus a feather\”) when adjudicating complaints of misconduct as opposed to the \”clear and convincing evidence\” standard used by some colleges. The agency strongly encouraged schools to dispense with hearings altogether by instituting the so-called \”single-investigator model.\” This gives a single person appointed through the school's Title IX coordinator authority not only to investigate the alleged misconduct, but also to find out guilt or innocence-with limited chance of appeal. The letter also established a broad definition of sexual harassment, one which swept in many forms of speech as well as conduct.

OCR then conducted hundreds of lengthy investigations of colleges and universities, many of which culminated in detailed compliance agreements. Underlying this effort was the contention that \”one in five college women is sexually assaulted in college\” as a result of the campus \”rape culture.\” Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali explained that OCR's \”new paradigm\” for sexual-harassment regulation is built to \”change the culture on the college campuses, and that's hugely important as to cure the epidemic of sexual violence.\”

These regulatory policies were attacked by civil libertarians who claimed that OCR's rules had eviscerated students' due-process and free-speech rights, by many college and law-school professors who resented OCR's intrusion into academic affairs, and by conservatives who charged that OCR had exceeded its legal authority. That the Trump administration would withdraw the Obama administration's guidance and revise its investigation strategy would be a foregone conclusion. Less clear was what would replace them. Praoclaiming that \”the era of rule by letters\” was over, within the fall of 2021, Secretary DeVos promised to use the rulemaking procedure mandated by the Administrative Procedure Act to determine new rules rather than announce them unilaterally through \”Dear Colleague\” letters. It took the department over 2 yrs to accomplish this rulemaking process. Its initial proposal, released in November 2021, received over 124,000 comments. The department responded to the majority of those comments in its May 2021 announcement.

The central feature from the Trump administration's approach is really a go back to the framework established by the Supreme Court in 1998 and 1999. No longer would schools have broad responsibility to \”change the culture,\” to \”end any harassment,\” and to address the results of \”rape culture\” on the entire student population. The focus was on schools' responsibility to address particular cases of serious sexual misconduct. Simultaneously, the new rules go beyond the court's bare-bones framework to describe what constitutes harassment, what schools should do to identify and adjudicate installments of misconduct, and the remedies they have to provide to victims of such misconduct.

In its 2021 proposal, the department also asked for comments on \”whether there are areas of the proposed rule that'll be unworkable in the elementary and secondary level, if there are additional areas of the proposed rule where the Department should direct recipients to take into account the age and developmental level of the parties. . . and whether there are other unique facets of addressing sexual harassment in the elementary and school level the Department should consider.\” Although judges and administrators had previously acknowledged important differences between K -12 students and those in postsecondary institutions, it was the first time regulators had addressed the problem directly.

The most controversial component of the proposal and the final rule was the requirement that colleges and universities hold live hearings with cross-examination in sexual harassment disciplinary proceedings. Media coverage of the issue has focused heavily around the implications of the new rules for colleges, paying little attention to the truth that this requirement does not apply to elementary and secondary schools. It was among the two major differences between the rules that now affect K -12 schools and those that apply to higher education. The other concerned school employees' responsibility for reporting sexual-misconduct allegations. Here the new regulations established stricter rules for elementary and secondary schools.

These stricter rules address what's long been probably the most common-and most serious-criticism of the Supreme Court's framework: If schools have the effect of addressing sexual harassment only when they have \”actual knowledge\” of misconduct, what's to prevent them from \”sticking their scalp within the sand\” (as you law review article put it) to prevent liability? What must students and staff do in order to result in the school conscious of possible misconduct? The new rules require universites and colleges to really make it easy for those subject to harassment-and other people that has witnessed or learned about such harassment-to file a study using the institution's Title IX coordinator or with every other official \”who has authority to institute corrective measures.\”

Once the institution has received such reports, staff from its Title IX office must talk with the \”complainants\” (the term accustomed to describe the targets from the alleged misconduct), offer them various \”supportive measures,\” explain to them how to initiate a full investigation by filing a proper complaint, and provide them informal resolution options. The department emphasized that university students are mature enough to determine for themselves how to proceed. It claimed that research demonstrates \”that respecting an alleged victim's autonomy, giving alleged victims control over how official systems react to an alleged victim, and offering clear options to alleged victims are critical aspects of helping an alleged victim recover from sexual harassment.\” Although the Title IX coordinator retains authority to produce a full investigation with no consent from the complainant, it will usually be a challenge to prove misconduct without testimony from the key witness. Postsecondary institutions can require teachers and other employees to report harassment they witness or hear about, however the regulations do not require these to achieve this.

K -12 schools, in comparison, must consider teachers and all sorts of other school employees \”mandatory reporters.\” That means that when any employee learns of possible misconduct they have to report it to their school district's Title IX coordinator, and also the district must investigate the matter. This reflects a change in the department's 2021 proposal, which had included only teachers as \”mandatory reporters.\” The department offered this explanation of why it extended this responsibility to any or all employees:

The Department is persuaded by commenters who asserted that students in elementary and secondary schools often discuss sexual harassment experiences with someone other than their teacher, which is unreasonable to anticipate students to differentiate among employees for the purpose of which employees' knowledge triggers the school's response obligations and that do not. Elementary and secondary schools generally operate under the doctrine of in loco parentis. . . Further, employees at elementary and secondary schools typically are mandatory reporters of child abuse under State laws for purposes of child protective services. The Department is persuaded that employees at elementary and secondary schools stand it a unique position with respect to students and that a school district should be held accountable for responding to sexual harassment under Title IX when the school district's employees have notice of sexual harassment or sexual harassment allegations.

Consequently, probably the most important steps schools must take to comply with Title IX would be to make it clear to any or all employees that they must immediately report alleged misconduct towards the district's Title IX coordinator. Perhaps the most egregious failing of the Chicago school system uncovered by OCR's investigation was to allow thousands of known incidents of significant misconduct go unreported and grow unaddressed.

Under the new Title IX rules, the grievance procedures established by K -12 \”may, but do not need to, offer a hearing.\” Nonetheless, schools must provide to each party-and their parents-a description from the allegation along with a copy of the investigative set of the incident. They must also \”afford all parties the chance to submit written, relevant questions that the party wants asked associated with a party or witness, provide each party with the answers, and allow for additional, limited follow-up questions from all parties.\” Some who commented around the draft proposal objected that such a procedure \”exposes students to hostile proceedings, unnecessarily limits the discretion of local school officials, or obligates school districts to expend resources within an unwarranted manner.\” But the department held that \”written submission of questions prior to adjudication\” constitutes an essential element of due process and \”a method that benefits the truth-seeking purpose\” from the grievance procedure.

The final rules also require that every party have an equal opportunity to present evidence and appeal the first decision. The alleged perpetrator must be assumed innocent until proven guilty: the responsibility rests around the school to show that he or she has engaged in inappropriate conduct. The regulations warn against gender bias and sex stereotyping, may it be of the \”boys will be boys\” or \”girls also . about sexual assault\” variety.

The new rules also aim to clarify whether and when schools are responsible for misconduct that can take place outside school grounds. Title IX covers all the \”educational programs or activities\” provided by an institution receiving federal funds. For elementary and secondary schools this includes \”locations, events, or circumstances that the recipient exercised substantial treatments for both respondent and the context where the harassment occurs.\” Schools thus have responsibility for addressing conduct that takes put on school buses, on field trips, or at athletic events. But how about students walking home from soccer practice? Internet messages or videos sent at home computers but read at school? On these difficult matters the guidelines are silent. Complicating these boundary issues is the fact that some forms of harassment are covered by state criminal law and therefore susceptible to police investigation. Consequently, public schools need to reach agreements with local police how they'll divide surveillance duties, communicate with one another, and cooperate with investigations.

As school officials well know, federal civil-rights regulations place conflicting pressures on public schools. They're expected to protect their students not only from sexual harassment, but from many other types of bullying. At the same time, they must respect their students' basic due-process rights-including those explained within the new regulations. Throughout the Obama administration, OCR issued yet another \”Dear Colleague\” letter, this one warning against disciplinary procedures that have a \”disparate impact\” on racial minorities. That letter strongly discouraged schools from suspending or expelling students for violating school rules. Such out-of-school punishments, OCR maintained, are a key component from the \”school-to-prison pipeline.\” Even though the Trump administration withdrew this guidance, many schools have placed stricter limits on out-of-school punishments. But when an institution allows a student in prison for sexual misconduct to stay in class, it could expose many other students to further sexual harassment-and the school itself to liability.

The main reason schools should establish clear, well-publicized conduct rules and reporting procedures, and take prompt action to investigate allegations, punish transgressors, and supply remedies to victims, would be to reduce risk to students. But school officials should be concerned about their legal liability. Frequently, they will be told that failure to follow federal regulations can lead to the revocation of federal funds, though which will seldom happen. Over the past half-century, the number of times the us government has terminated funding to fail to adhere to Title IX is precisely zero. Instead, schools need to be worried about three other kinds of sanctions: private suits for damages through the victims of misconduct; investigations by OCR; and investigations by state and local police force.

The Supreme Court's 1992 decision in Franklin v. Gwinnett County Public Schools held that a student put through serious and repeated abuse by a teacher can seek monetary damages in the school district whether it could be shown that school officials knew concerning the abuse and did nothing to prevent it. The court's later Title IX decisions established a little bit more clearly the liability rules that apply in these cases, and also the new Department of Education rules show in much greater detail the way it will apply that framework. Consequently, schools that in good faith follow those regulations are unlikely to be assessed damages under Title IX. Conversely, failure to follow along with the regulations will substantially increase this risk. Since parts of the new rules are specially designed for K -12 schools, judges will be more inclined to punish people who ignore them.

Despite all the attention devoted to sexual harassment during the Obama years, up to now, OCR devoted few resources to investigating complaints in elementary and secondary schools. From 2021, OCR turned every complaint lodged against a university or university right into a full-scale investigation from the entire institution. Previously, the agency had publicized investigations only at their conclusion; now, it might announce with great fanfare which schools it planned to research. These changes were important elements of the enforcement strategy that proved remarkably good at convincing schools to change their policies. Since OCR could not rely on the courts to enforce the requirements in the 2011 \”Dear Colleague\” letter and since it might never pull the trigger to terminate federal funds, it essentially made the investigative process the punishment. For colleges, these investigations-some which lasted for years-proved costly not just financially, but in relation to their reputation. Almost all eventually agreed to OCR's demands.

These investigations were costly for OCR, too. With fewer than 600 staff members and about 10,000 individual complaints to investigate every year, the brilliant concentrate on sexual harassment on college campuses left OCR with few resources to investigate other things. In 2021, the Trump administration reverted to OCR's previous policy of turning investigations of person complaints into institution-wide compliance reviews only when it found evidence of systemic violations. This made more enforcement resources available for the K -12 initiative announced by Secretary DeVos this February.

OCR had received complaints about sexual misconduct in Chicago Public Schools in 2021 and 2021 but began its systemwide investigation once the Chicago Tribune published an expose on pervasive and serious misconduct by students and employees in lots of Chicago schools. OCR's extensive investigation revealed that, on the four-year period, Chicago schools had received 2,800 student-on-student complaints and 280 teacher-on-student complaints. Yet, for 2 decades-from 1999 to 2021-the district did not even have a Title IX coordinator, the foremost and easiest step a district must take to comply with federal rules. OCR's investigation culminated inside a 40-page \”resolution letter\” as well as an 11-page compliance agreement using the school system. The latter included not just detailed guidelines on the structure of its Title IX office and procedures to handle of complaints, but additionally 13 separate reporting requirements.

The 2021 resolution letter offered disturbing details on the extent of sexual harassment in Chicago's troubled school system. Here are just two paragraphs from that letter:

Many complaints alleged ongoing physical sexual harassment of District students, including that students were repeatedly groped, grabbed, or fondled by their peers, who were often repeat offenders with a history of sexually harassing other students. These complaints documented reports of unwelcome touching over and under clothing, on the breasts, buttocks, and groin throughout the school day and at all locations in school buildings, including in school bathrooms, around the staircase as well as in hallways, while lining up in the fountain, during recess around the playground in front of their peers, within the school parking area, on school buses on a trip for school-sponsored field trips, to extra-curricular activities, and to/from their houses to school.

OCR observed that many of the complaints described students exposing their genitals in school to as well as in front of peers-in the classroom, around the playground, within the school bathroom-and during field trips and extracurricular activities. Schools reported a significant number of complaints of verbal threats and harassment, with students disclosing that their classmates and peers made comments for example \”I'm going to rape you in the bathroom\”. . . Some students threatened more violence if their peers reported the conduct. . . The complaints suggested that some students were coaxed and pressured by their peers to send sexually explicit images and videos of themselves, which classmates then distributed widely within the school without the student's consent. In some cases, students who involved in consensual activities were filmed by their peers participating in the conduct without their knowledge and consent, and fellow students then widely shared the pictures among the student's peers who discussed, viewed, and shared the images throughout the school day. In lots of of these cases, students reported suicidal ideation or threatened self-harm.

The Tribune documented multiple cases of sexual assault and statutory rape by school employees, including teachers, security officers, and coaches. Equally disturbing was the school system's failure to deal with these problems when they were called for their attention by students as well as their parents.

To what extent is Chicago an outlier? We will have a better handle on this question once OCR begins its investigation of other school systems. Meanwhile, public schools are on observe that the federal spotlight now shines on them. Adhering to Title IX regulation has become more important than ever before.

Because most elementary and secondary school students are minors, misconduct in K -12 schools is more likely to violate state criminal law compared to type of misconduct common on college campuses. One implication of the is that private schools not subject to Title IX (because they receive no federal funding) must still recognize their responsibilities under state regulations. Recently, some of the worst abuses have been located at private boarding schools. For example, an investigation from the prestigious St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, through the New Hampshire Attorney General uncovered many cases of serious misconduct by both students and staff. It culminated in a settlement agreement establishing an \”Independent Compliance Overseer\” who would be \”embedded on the St. Paul's School campus and given the job of reporting a minimum of biannually towards the Attorney General’s Office regarding St. Paul's School's compliance with all of the terms of the Agreement.\” Private schools, too, could be wise to adhere to Title IX rules to prevent liability under state tort law.

When federal administrators and judges first used Title IX to address the problem of sexual harassment, their focus was on elementary and secondary schools. From 2010, the emphasis now use college campuses. To the credit, the Department of Education has, the very first time, explained how Title IX applies during these very different contexts. Because the department steps up its investigation of K -12 schools, the brand new rules on due process and mandatory reporting become particularly significant.

Will these new rules lessen the incidence of sexual misconduct in public schools, or can they make it easier for schools to look another way? Or will schools simply substitute one type of procedural compliance for another? The truth is that we do not know much about the effectiveness of Title IX rules. As vice president, Joe Biden was one of the most vigorous advocates of the administration's efforts to lessen sexual assault on campus. But six years after that campaign began, Biden wrote instructions to college presidents claiming that little had changed: \”Twenty-two years back, approximately one in every five women attending college experienced rape or sexual assault. Today time is the same.\” The tough the fact is that we don't have a good handle on either the frequency of sexual assault on campus or the effectiveness of various policy responses.

What we all do know is that young women who don't attend college are more likely to function as the victims of sexual assault than those that do. As Professor Callie Marie Rennison from the University of Colorado has stated, \”while people have been bombarded using the notion that colleges and universities are hotbeds of sexual violence,\” the rate of sexual victimization of women with no high-school education is \”more than 400 percent more than those with a bachelor's degree or even more.\” Or, to place it differently, female students attending Chicago public schools tend to be more likely to face sexual harassment that seriously limits their use of education than those attending Yale, Berkeley, or even Michigan State. This does not mean we ought to do less to address sexual misconduct at the college level, however it does suggest that federal regulators are to pay more attention to the issue in certain in our largest school systems. Let's hope that the new rules specifically designed for elementary and secondary schools will aid that effort.

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School Districts' Remote-Learning Plans May Widen Student Achievement Gap


The rapid pace of Covid-19 -related school closures forced districts to switch to remote-learning plans under incredible time pressure. This urgent instructional retooling resulted in wide variation in program quality across a number of factors-including when remote instruction actually began. Even though many districts responded quickly and started providing instruction almost immediately after school buildings were shuttered, others didn't provide remote learning until weeks after closures began.

Timing only agreed to be one small piece of the remote-learning puzzle districts had to solve, however. The Covid-19 Educational Response Longitudinal Survey, or C-ERLS, that we lead, has attempted to gauge the full spectrum of school districts' efforts, including those related to technological supports and instructional platforms, over six waves of nationally representative data collected in 3 months. Over time of swift change through March and April, the data on remote-learning offerings stabilized in May, giving the opportunity to clearly compare variations between districts. Although the sample size is small, its statistical power can nonetheless detect substantial differences-many of which give cause for concern.

Only about one in five schools has a remote-learning program that meets the standard we understood to be \”rigorous.\” Remote-learning programs are less rigorous in additional schools in historically higher-poverty and low-achieving districts compared to wealthier, higher-achieving districts. These district-level differences in remote-instruction offerings through the pandemic may exacerbate existing achievement gaps.

C-ERLS was created in the past of pandemic closures to become rapid, reliable, representative, and repetitive. The first round of data, which assessed districts' early responses in the immediate wake of creating closures, was collected on March 27. Anticipating many changes because the school year progressed, American Enterprise Institute researchers collected data in waves from late March to the end of May. The data used in this short article range from sixth collection wave from May 27 to 29, 2021. Although some districts were already closed by then, these data reflect districts' most recent offerings by the last round of collection where schools were open.

Information was gathered from school-district websites, instead of district personnel, because websites are centralized communication hubs and supply an assuredly high response rate. It is possible that schools offered a lot more than was reflected on district websites, but districts' directives to varsities are the best indicators offered at this initial phase. It is also entirely possible that individual schools or classes didn't stick to the directives on district websites. This data interpretation captures district intent, which may not necessarily result in instructional behavior.

Data comes from a nationally representative sample of 250 regular school districts that reflect the offerings of districts across the nation. I drew the sample to ensure that larger districts-those having a greater quantity of schools-had a proportionately higher chance of being included. Although the data was collected in the district level, those districts' offerings were put on all schools within the district, and answers are reported as percentages of schools, because schools are the level where services are delivered. A lot of the sample, six waves of C-ERLS, along with a more detailed forthcoming report, is available at the C-ERLS webpage.

I used additional data sources to compare schools in districts with higher and lower percentages of minority students and students eligible for free and reduced-priced meals. Measures of minority student composition and poverty, as determined by districts' student free and reduced-priced -meal eligibility, originated from the nation's Center for Education Statistics' Common Core of Data. I defined high-minority and high-poverty districts as those where more than 60 percent of scholars are non-white and entitled to free and reduced-price meals, respectively. To divide districts by student achievement, I made use of data in the Educational Opportunity Project in the Stanford Education Data Archive, which offer comparable measures of student math and reading achievement based on state tests from soccer practice years 2009 to 2021. Though somewhat dated, these scores are comparable across states and adequate to categorize districts based on their historical achievement.

Remote-learning efforts differ across districts, as detailed further below, but no single aspect captures the entire package of remote-instruction education. A combination of data points, however, can offer a far more holistic assessment of potential instructional quality. We placed districts in one of three categories depending on how instructional offerings might, or may not, approximate the classroom instruction students receive when school buildings are open.

Overall, 40 percent of schools were in districts with perfunctory programs, and 40 percent were in districts with moderate programs. One in five schools, or 20 percent, were in districts whose websites described rigorous programs of remote instruction.



Figure 1 shows stark differences in remote-instruction offerings by levels of poverty and academic achievement. 1 / 2 of schools in higher-poverty and lower-academic achievement districts had perfunctory instructional programs, when compared with about a third of wealthier and higher-achieving districts. The share of schools with rigorous remote instructional programs in high-poverty and low-achieving districts was about half the share in low-poverty and high-achieving districts.

In contrast, there was little difference in the percentages of schools offering rigorous, moderate, or perfunctory performance by district minority-student composition. This contrast, which persists through most of the other instructional offerings reviewed in the following paragraphs, suggest that districts' pandemic responses might have had dynamics different from those often found in education research, where minority and poverty influences in many cases are interrelated.

Remote instructional platforms make reference to the techniques districts used to deliver happy to students. C-ERLS captured three platforms: instructional packets, which provide students static material to work on within a week or weeks; asynchronous platforms, like Google Classroom, that permit teachers to supply and collect materials online throughout the school day or week; and synchronous platforms, like Zoom or Google Hangouts, which allow entire classes or groups of students to participate in live video instruction at the same time. Figure 2 displays the percentages of schools that offered, and trusted, these platforms during remote instruction.


Poverty Achievement Minority
High Low High Low High Low
Platforms offered
Instructional packets 92% 79% * 79% 88% + 91% 80% *
Asynchronous 77% 89% * 90% 81% + 91% 83% +
Synchronous 33% 49% * 52% 36% * 39% 46%
Platforms primarily relied on
Instructional packets 29% 17% * 16% 26% + 15% 23% +
Both packets and platforms 21% 17% 14% 23% + 23% 16%
Online platforms 50% 66% * 70% 51% * 63% 60%



Instructional packets can be finished with little interaction between teachers and students and permit for a lower quality of instruction, typically, than online platforms might. A bigger percentage of schools in high-poverty or low-achieving districts offered these packets than in low-poverty or high-achieving ones. A lower number of schools in high-poverty districts offered online platforms of any sort, whether synchronous or asynchronous. High-minority districts offered both packets and asynchronous platforms in additional schools than low-minority districts. Many districts offered several option, usually when districts used asynchronous platforms his or her first platform but provided paper packets as backups for students with insufficient use of technology.

To go beyond what districts offered and capture which platform districts relied on primarily for remote instruction, the C-ERLS team categorized districts by whether their instructional program relied mainly on online platforms, primarily on instructional packets, or equally on.

The only improvement in platforms trusted by high- and low-minority districts was for instructional packets, that have been more often relied on by schools in low-minority districts. The pattern of differences by poverty and achievement was more pronounced. Compared to lower-poverty and higher-performing districts, more schools in high-poverty and low-performing districts offered and relied on instructional packets. Both asynchronous and synchronous instruction was more prevalent in more-advantaged and higher-achieving districts.

Certainly, instructional packets have their place being an emergency remote-instructional platform throughout a pandemic and may emulate homework that students receive in normal times. Typically, though, packets alone are likely much further from typical instruction than online platforms. These differences persisted and are evident eight weeks after most school closures started, beyond the initial chaos. The fact that districts with more-disadvantaged students offered the least-ambitious platforms after so much time had elapsed suggests more students in those districts received lower-quality remote instruction than students in other districts.

With the shift to online instruction, access to the internet and devices became a precursor to learning in many districts. Most schools were in districts that offered technology help students. Help with internet access was similar across districts by poverty level, but device loans were more common in low-poverty districts.

A smaller share of schools in high-poverty and low-achieving districts had explicit expectations for one-on-one contacts between teachers and students. High-poverty districts also have lower percentages of students getting grades for remote work, driven through the lower percentage of schools grading work according to performance.


Poverty Achievement Minority
High Low High Low High Low
Technology Assistance
Internet 68% 70% 72% 67% 87% 62% *
Devices 57% 70% + 70% 61% 72% 63%
One-on-one Contact 64% 79% * 79% 70% + 77% 73%
Participation 56% 66% 66% 59% 63% 63%
Attendance 21% 35% * 36% 25% + 24% 34%
Grading work
Any grading 63% 69% 68% 66% 72% 65%
For performance 25% 34% 31% 32% 32% 31%
For completion 37% 34% 37% 34% 40% 33%



Technology assistance was available in more schools in districts with higher percentages of minority students. These districts offered more help with internet access (87 percent of high-minority districts versus 62 percent of districts with lower percentages of minority students). There were no measurable differences in districts' expectations for one-on-one contact, student participation, attendance, or grading policies between high- and low-minority districts.

The Covid-19 pandemic could well be the largest disruption America's K -12 education system has ever faced. For students, this disruption-and the variations in districts' response to it-will harm academic achievement and certain exacerbate longstanding achievement gaps.

School and district leaders will have their hands full next school year, not just negotiating the continued uncertainty of coronavirus, but additionally assessing the progress students make, or otherwise made, since mid-March. They will soon have to implement sustainable instructional programs to create up lost ground.

Schools will also have to take practical measures to re-open, potentially forcing some to start the year with remote instruction. Adding insult to injury, districts face this continued challenge with significant projected revenue shortfalls and budget tightening.

C-ERLS data darken a previously bleak picture. The academic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, it appears, will be a long one. Should schools and districts not rise towards the task ahead, students will be the ones to deal with the heaviest load, particularly those in low-achieving, higher-poverty districts.

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Toward Reopening: What Will School Look Like this Fall?


With the pandemic-impacted spring semester wrapped up across the country, the main focus is now on the fall, when districts will need to translate public health guidance from organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control into local implementation to reopen schools.

Many states are actually issuing in-depth guidance to districts about how to approach reopening.

This article highlights key areas in reopening plans being provided by selected states (Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington) to districts. These states are selected because they reflect different parts of the country, student populations, and experiences with managing Covid-19. Many of these guidance documents are comprehensive, complicated, dense, and take a long time to read or understand. As one example, Tennessee Department of Education has issued over 20 reopening toolkits on topics which range from transportation to postsecondary transitions. Readers looking for in-depth information are encouraged to exceed the overview here and read available state guidance directly.

The key areas discussed in this article range from the priority populations for in-person instruction, class size and college scheduling, health screenings and masks, transportation, diagnostic assessment, technology, staffing, and finance. These are areas which have significant consequences for that reopening experience for staff, students, and families.



State Covid-19 Cases per 100K People
as of 6/26; CDC)
Total Student Population 2021
Guidance Release Date Guidance Link
Arizona 878.9 1,112,600 6/1/20
California 494.4 6,269,700 6/8/20
Florida 524.5 2,865,200 6/11/20
Massachusetts 1,562.4 960,800 6/25/20
Tennessee 561.8 999,000 6/15/20
Virginia 711.1 1,293,900 6/9/20


Washington 403 1,127,800 6/11/20


Key Areas

Some states, including California, Massachusetts, and Virginia, are specifying that certain populations ought to be prioritized for in-person instruction because of concerns regarding their learning loss. These student groups include:

  • Students with disabilities, specially those who receive summer services as a provision of their Individualized Teaching programs. One caveat with this particular emphasis is that states recognize some students with disabilities might be more at-risk for Covid-19.
  • English learner students who are less proficient with English or newcomers towards the country.
  • Students who was simply off track or only intermittently engaged just before and/or throughout school closures.
  • Vulnerable students who might be in danger socially or emotionally because of the school closures.

Florida further offers that school reopening should be done using the moral purpose of closing achievement gaps and has emphasized in its reopening plans a focus on addressing literacy development affected by school closure.

Maryland has also emphasized an emphasis on early childcare to permit parents and guardians revisit work.

States are selling guidance about how exactly all students can be in classrooms and also at what points during the week. Most states are relying on the three to six feet apart metric because the driving factor based on how many students can safely maintain an area in classroom and college capacity. Virginia has currently issued a maximum class size of 10 in the guidance.

Within these class size constraints, states are broadly exploring instructional choices for four possible scenarios:

  • All students start the college year while attending college in person
  • Some students start the school year attending in person although some are using distance learning
  • All students are distance learning from the beginning of the season, with the option of going back to in-person when appropriate
  • Students are intermittently in-person and distance education throughout the year

States commonly are not mandating a specific scenario for districts but are requiring districts to submit plans for just one or multiple scenarios for pre-approval. Massachusetts has in-person learning because the goal, but also suggested districts think about using an A/B cohort model that isolates two distinct categories of students who attend school in-person on different weeks, days, or half-days.

California provides more detailed examples about school scheduling for districts to consider:

  • Two-Day Rotation Blended Learning Model: Students report to school on two designated days based on grade level for in-person instruction (example: Monday/Wednesday for grade levels K -3, Tuesday/Thursday for grade levels 4 -6).
  • A/B Week Blended Learning Model: Half of a student population attends in-person learning opportunities four full days per week while the other half is engaged in distance learning opportunities. The students would alternate every week.
  • Looping Structure: For schools serving grade levels -8, students to stay with similar teacher in cohorts for multiple grade levels.
  • Early/Late Staggered Schedules: Grade level bands might have staggered start and dismissal times, for example morning or afternoon rotations (for instance, K -2, 3 -5, 6 -8, 9 -10,11 -12). The bell schedule would accommodate multiple recesses and lunch periods and multiple meal distribution points, along with here we are at students to take part in handwashing before entering classrooms. Students might be inside a homeroom with teachers rotating to lower student congregation in hallways.

States are considering how you can minimize Covid-19 spread in schools. States are highlighting that families have first responsibility for screening students for symptoms. Some states like Arizona and California are encouraging districts to implement health screenings for students on buses and college entrances. States are further suggesting districts provide space in schools to isolate students who exhibit Covid-19 symptoms.

States are recommending, otherwise requiring, masks to be worn by staff and students. Massachusetts has some nuance for students as students in second grade or older have to wear a mask or face covering, as time passes built-in for mask breaks throughout the day. Kindergarten and first grade students should wear a mask or face shield. Massachusetts also provides that face shields may be an option for students and staff not able to wear masks because of health conditions, disability impact or any other health or safety factors.

States are evaluating appropriate transportation configurations. States are usually applying the CDC guidance for 6 feet apart, a treadmill student per seat, which will necessitate fewer students per bus on average. Virginia has further specified a maximum of 10 people per bus. Tennessee has developed a reopening toolkit focused on additional transportation considerations like training drivers and planning for driver shortages.

Ultimately, bus transportation will probably be attached to the school schedule model implemented by a district where a staggered schedule requires increasing bus routes while an A/B schedule requires the same bus routes with fewer students each day. Transportation cost considerations can be a driving factor from the school schedule decision.

Massachusetts also acknowledges that students who depend on public transit to get at school may need special attention depending on the status of public transportation when school resumes.

States are determining how to assess students' academic and social-emotional skills when they go back to school. California and Washington are recommending universal screening of social-emotional, academic, and family needs. These states suggest districts consider screening tests and 1:1 diagnostics permitting focused time to identify needed supports and wish districts to make sure is a result of diagnostics or screeners are acted upon to satisfy student needs. Washington further suggests affirming that increased needs aren't an expression of a student's capacity but a direct result barriers to gain access to amplified during the pandemic.

States are asking districts to assess students' and staff's at-home technology access and arrange for additional device and connectivity access in case remote learning must persist.

Arizona has suggested some additional considerations:

  • Districts should consider that some students have been in a home with multiple children who need use of just one computing device to complete schoolwork.
  • Districts should consider leveraging community resources, working with non-profits, city/county/state/tribal governments or consortiums, and business and industry partners to secure computer devices/connectivity for college students and teachers.
  • To the extent possible, districts ought to provide students with individual computers or tablets with accessories sufficient to participate in video classrooms and each household using the hardware and Wi-Fi access (such as hotspots) essential to provide consistent internet with adequate speeds.
  • To the extent possible, districts should make budget adjustments, develop a operating plan, or leverage federal funding related to Covid-19, to buy computer devices and address internet connectivity issues.
  • To the extent possible, districts should provide uniform platforms according to common standards essential for virtual work, teaching and learning and communication for teachers, staff, parents, and students.

CDC guidance suggests flexibility in work arrangements for staff vulnerable to Covid-19. Arizona and Tennessee allow us specific guidance for teachers and staffing. This guidance encourages districts to determine work hours and expectations well in advance of the school year beginning. These states encourage districts to consider what they is going to do for staff who're unable to go back to in-person work because of health problems.

States are determining how to support districts during growing concerns regarding district budget stability due to declining state revenues and potential shifts in student enrollment and attendance.

In the short term, Massachusetts has indicated schools qualify to get up to $225 per student for eligible costs incurred due to the Covid-19 public health emergency, such as practicing school staff, supplemental social and academic services, reconfiguration of school spaces, leasing of temporary facilities, and acquisition of health insurance and hygiene supplies. Their state is also exploring the utilization of other funds for schools. Arizona and Florida are similarly making applications available to districts to apply for funds. Florida has emphasized the priority spending will focus on earlier grades, because they think about the educational risk for college students and also the return on early supports are both at their greatest. Florida further specifies using other grant funding that is being invested in support programs like reading coaches and curriculum development.

Arizona provides the following guidance to stem longer-term budgetary issues:

  • Limiting budgets from decreasing a lot more than 2 % (2%)
  • Allowing for college students who take part in person or remotely inside the first 10 days of faculty to count as enrolled for that first day of the school calendar
  • The ability to mark a student's absence as excused when associated with issues of coronavirus concerns
  • Accommodate ale districts or schools to offer flexible and adaptable instructional models by linking funding calculations to those models in the same way just like regular instruction.

Washington has discussed it's exploring the implications of use of the advantages of 180-days of instruction and 1,027 annual average hours of instruction for the 2021 -21 school year and will use legislators to determine if day and hour waivers will be available to districts. Washington will still tie district funding to attendance.

States are actively working to provide guidance to districts concerning how to reopen schools within the constraints of public health guidance. Analyzing the guidance and highlighting key areas of the chosen plans to date might help illuminate how school might look this fall in the absence of major improvements towards the public health situation.

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Public-School Attendance Zones Violate a Civil Rights Law


The Covid-19 pandemic has drawn renewed focus on inequality in K-12 education in the United States. Some schools and systems have quickly transitioned to high-quality distance learning, while some have struggled to supply students with effective learning experiences.

While the context is totally new, these inequalities predate the pandemic. Despite decades of increases in per-pupil spending and ongoing waves of reform, you will find huge disparities in the quality of public schools, even those inside the same district and merely blocks away from one another. And accessibility best public schools is often restricted based on where you live.

Take two schools, for instance, that serve that old Town neighborhood of Chicago. Lincoln Elementary is one of the crown jewels from the Chicago Public Schools, with 80% from the students proficient in reading. Approximately a mile south is Manierre Elementary, where not really a single graduating eighth grader tested experienced in reading in 2021.

What keeps the two schools separate? An attendance zone boundary. Children who live north of North Avenue sign up for elite Lincoln Elementary. Children south of North Avenue are not allowed to enroll in Lincoln and are assigned to failing Manierre. For a child in Old Town, your fate turns on whether you live somewhere of the street or another.

This is definitely an American phenomenon. In nearly every city the pattern is the same: State regulations allows (or even requires) the district to draw attendance zones showing who gets to attend which schools. Districts use the lines to find out who can enroll in these elite, high-performing public schools. Young families respond to the policies by cramming in to the coveted zone, driving up home prices. Other parents lie about their address to achieve access. The divide between the two schools, often just blocks apart, grows with time.

The Top court ended overt segregation of the public schools using its 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. Conventional wisdom states that school districts, according to Brown, can assign children to varsities in any way they want, as long as they don't discriminate based on race.

But the usual understanding has forgotten about the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974.

In March 1972, President Nixon was feeling boxed in through the issue of desegregation. Many federal courts had signed off on busing plans that will force the integration of public schools in districts which had previously engaged in overt segregation. But members of both parties-including Joe Biden-opposed federal-court-ordered busing.

Nixon opposed busing, but he also desired to express sympathy for children caught in failing schools which were divided along racial lines. So, on March 17, he delivered an address to the American people, offering an agreement. He proposed a moratorium on federally mandated busing but also a \”companion measure\” known as the Equal Educational Opportunities Act, which may increase funding for inner-city schools, particularly those attended by minorities.

That law, the EEOA, would not be signed for another two years. Presidents Nixon and Ford would need to negotiate with lawmakers to get it through the Democratic Congress. The resulting law is really a strange mixture of high-minded goals and status-quo-ism. It's all there in the first sentence of the law:

The Congress declares so that it is the policy of the us that-(1) all children enrolled in public schools are entitled to equal educational opportunity without regard to race, color, sex, or national origin; and (2) the neighborhood may be the appropriate basis for determining public school assignments.

On the main one hand, it promises equal opportunity.

On another hand, it endorses neighborhood-based schools and district-drawn attendance zones. Given the information on racially segregated neighborhoods, neighborhood-based schools would, by default, mean schools divided along racial lines. The EEOA also implicitly endorses the assignment of students to schools by the district or even the state, rather than a more open system by which parents would play a far more active role in determining which public school the youngster attends.

However, here's what Section 1703 from the EEOA says concerning the assignment of minority children to public schools:

No State shall deny equal educational chance to an individual due to his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, by . . . a job by an academic agency of a student to a school, other than the main one closest to their place of residence within the school district in which she or he resides, if the assignment produces a better segregation of students on the basis of race, color, sex, or national origin-

The full implications of this language have not yet been widely understood. For minority children, federal law defines the neighborhood school as \”the one closest to their place of residence inside the school district by which he or she resides.\” And Congress prohibits the district from assigning a minority child to a different school, whether it will result in \”a better segregation.\”

What is this peculiar, misshapen thing that we call an attendance zone? This is an administrative service area. Government bureaucrats carve up the map and see who gets preferred enrollment at what school. There are no elected officials in the attendance-zone level-and no political representation. The residents of a school zone aren't susceptible to special taxes that go towards the local school. An attendance zone is another license to discriminate. If the school is full (most of the best schools are), then the attendance zone offers the school with the ability to exclude families who live inside the district's jurisdictional boundaries but outside of the arbitrary zone for that school as drawn by district staff.

Note here that i am not referring to the boundaries between school districts, which are political subdivisions. Those lines are jurisdictional. As governmental entities, school districts are typically overseen by elected or appointed board members. School districts usually have the legal authority to evaluate taxes on their own constituents or issue bonds in order to fund the district's activities. That's not true in the attendance zone level.

Most attendance zones are irregular in shape, which means that there are lots of pockets where families whose closest school is highly coveted (and performing) are allotted to another school that may be struggling or perhaps failing. The presence of these pockets appears to be in violation of the EEOA.

Figure 1 shows the attendance zone for Mount Washington Elementary in La and the seven elementary schools that encircle it. At highly coveted Mount Washington, 75% from the students were experienced in reading in 2021, as the surrounding schools have reading proficiency rates between 16% and 54%. As a result, families pay a premium of $200,000 or even more for any house that falls around the right side of the Mount Washington attendance zone boundary.


Source: California Department of Education and Los Angeles Unified School District.


For families who live in the striped areas of the map, Mount Washington is the closest school. Because Mount Washington is so much \”whiter\” compared to surrounding schools, L.A. Unified School District is developing a \”greater degree of segregation\” by assigning minority students residing in those striped areas with other, more distant schools. Any minority student living in those areas-black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American-could file a claim in the federal courts, asking the courts to make Mount Washington Elementary to permit them an equal opportunity to enroll.

Similar maps might be made for any number of public schools in American cities. P.S. 8 in Brooklyn. John Hay Elementary in Seattle. Lakewood Elementary in Dallas. Mary Lin Elementary in Atlanta. Lincoln Elementary in Chicago. Ivanhoe Elementary in Los Angeles. Chesterton Elementary in San Diego. Penn Alexander Elementary in Philadelphia. All these schools is a coveted public school showing above-average student performance, and every is encompassed by underperforming schools with high concentrations of poor, minority students.

Other parts of the law provide more clarity about exactly what is permitted and what is illegal. Section 1704 explicitly states that districts do not have to keep things in balance \”on the foundation of race, color, sex, or national origin.\” Racially imbalanced schools are not in violation of what the law states, so long as minority students have not been allotted to schools farther from their house.

Also, it's perfectly legal under the EEOA for the district to assign a minority child to a school that is not the nearest to their residence, if it does not exacerbate segregation. Take a Hispanic child whose closest school is Aragon Avenue Elementary, which has only 3% white students and only 16% overall proficiency in reading. The district is free to assign that child to go to Mount Washington Elementary, because this kind of assignment would alleviate segregation, instead of exacerbate it. And minority students can choose a school that isn't nearest for their homes, no matter its impact on segregation, since the district has not assigned them there.

Section 1705 says that \”assignment on neighborhood basis [is] not really a denial of equal educational opportunity.\” At first glance, this appears to provide legal cover for attendance zones. But Congress, perhaps anticipating that districts could play games with the concept of the word neighborhood, reiterates once again a really specific meaning of a neighborhood school: It is \”the school nearest [the student's] host to residence.\”

There is surprisingly little case law highly relevant to the EEOA. The major cases all cope with other provisions of the law, such as its requirement that states and districts take \”appropriate action\” to beat obstacles to education that arise from language barriers. I've been unable to find any case law that interprets and applies the clause from the EEOA that governs student assignment.


The harder you look at attendance zones, the more they appear to violate fundamental principles. Isn't public education said to be \”the Great Equalizer\” providing equal chance of all children, no matter race or income level? Aren't we all supposed to be treated equally underneath the law?

In the landmark ruling of Brown v. Board of Education, Chief Justice Warren wrote:

In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be anticipated to succeed in life if he's denied the chance of instruction. Such an opportunity, in which the state has undertaken to supply it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.

Sixty-six years after the Brown ruling, public education continues to be not \”available to any or all on equal terms.\” In 1951, they used Linda Brown's race to help keep her from Sumner Elementary School. In 2021, they use a meandering line drawn with the neighborhood to keep many local children from Mount Washington Elementary.

After studying this problem for several years, I've come to the final outcome that attendance zones are-and should be-vulnerable to legal challenge. This vulnerability extends beyond an EEOA challenge to the form of a particular zone.

Look first at the state constitutions. There are seven states where the state constitution requires the legislature to determine schools that are \”open to all\”: Alaska, Arizona, Indiana, Boise state broncos, North Dakota, Sc, and South dakota. This is actually the question for all those state courts: If a school can decline to enroll a child solely based on his or her residential address inside the district, is that school truly \”open to all\” the residents from the district? I do not believe that it is.

Similarly, five states promise \”equality of educational opportunity.\” Louisiana, Montana, and New york mention this phrase (or something like that very similar) in their state constitution. The Supreme Courts of New Jersey and Tennessee have inferred that a similar constitutional right exists in those states. When a school-district official draws a geographic attendance-zone boundary assigning one child to a great school and denying enrollment to another child on the opposite side of the street, the district fails to provide the \”equality of opportunity\” that is promised by those five states.



But those aren't the only real states where attendance-zone boundaries might be vulnerable. In 13 states (including three that also have an \”open to all\” requirement), the courts have previously declared education to be a \”fundamental right.\” In these states, the courts have to apply \”strict scrutiny\” to the classifications that create unequal use of public schools. What's important about strict scrutiny is it transfers the burden of proof towards the government, requiring these to reveal that the discrimination was necessary to further a \”compelling governmental interest\” and that the policy was \”narrowly tailored\” to accomplish this interest.

Enrollment exclusions based on geography are hardly \”narrowly tailored.\” Indeed, in most states, charter schools are forbidden from establishing geographic attendance zones. Defenders of geographic zoning would be forced to reason that the government includes a \”compelling interest\” in establishing exclusionary boundaries for some public schools, while forbidding them for others.

An a great deal larger real question is whether attendance zones are susceptible to challenge within the federal courts underneath the 14th Amendment's promise of Equal Protection. Don't these exclusionary zones violate Justice Warren's commitment to the idea that a public education must be \”available to any or all on equal terms\”?

On the top, it is an easy idea to dismiss. The government courts only apply strict scrutiny to government actions whenever a \”fundamental right\” is restricted or perhaps a \”suspect classification\” is employed. But education is not a \”fundamental right\” under the U.S. Constitution, and classifications according to where you reside don't create a suspect class as based on the courts. Without strict scrutiny, such policies would face little risk of being overturned.

However, the final Court's original definition of Equal Protection, outlined in early 1900s, seems to be at odds with the geographical enrollment preferences and attendance-zone boundaries that emerged within the mid-1900s and then be used today. In one of the first key cases that applied the idea of equal protection inside a case that didn't involve race (Royster Guano Company v. Virginia, 1920), a legal court said the following:

The classification should be reasonable, not arbitrary, and must rest upon some ground of difference using a fair and substantial relation to the item of the legislation, so that all persons similarly circumstanced shall be treated alike.

It seems clear that two children, living across the street in one another and inside the jurisdictional boundaries of the same school district, are \”similarly circumstanced\” relative to the laws that establish the academic system. Are the ones two children \”treated alike\” when one is allotted to a top-notch public school and the other turned away due to where she lives?

No, they are not.

A case within the federal courts would concentrate on asking the judges to use \”intermediate scrutiny\” to these discriminatory laws and policies, because they did in other high-stakes cases involving equal access to public institutions of education. In Plyler v. Doe (1982), the Court overturned a Texas law that authorized school districts to deny enrollment to children who have been undocumented immigrants. A legal court applied the standard in Brown that education \”must be made open to all on equal terms.\” In US v. Virginia (1996), a legal court struck down the male-only admissions policy in the Virginia Military Institute since the State had didn't provide a \”substantially comparable\” alternative to ladies who have been averted. No court could fairly deem Manierre Elementary to be \”substantially comparable\” to Lincoln Elementary.

Some will argue that it is very unlikely the courts will use the Equal Protection clause to strike down an insurance policy that has such a long history in our country and that is so widespread. Could be. But we ought to be troubled that attendance zones appear, at the minimum, to violate the spirit of equal protection.

One Supreme Court justice, writing in 1992, saw the wisdom in focusing on equal access in the public schools. Justice Antonin Scalia argued that we should open up the public schools to any or all comers, imagining an academic system \”in which parents can disregard neighborhood-school assignment, and also to send their kids (with transportation paid) to whichever school they choose.\”

In a concurring opinion in the Freeman v. Pitts desegregation case, Justice Scalia argued that the Court could have taken another approach in the years following the Brown decision. By overseeing complicated desegregation plans, the Court had waded deeper and deeper in to the operations of school districts, prescribing a variety of bureaucratic remedies that may theoretically transform a \”segregated\” district right into a \”unitary\” one.

Instead, Justice Scalia proposed that the court could have simply focused on school access:

An observer not really acquainted with the history surrounding this issue might suggest that we steer clear of the problem by requiring only that the school authorities establish a regime in which parents can disregard neighborhood-school assignment, and to send their kids (with transportation paid) to whichever school they choose. As long as there's free choice, he would say, there is no reason to require the schools be produced identical. The constitutional right is equal racial use of schools, not access to racially equal schools.

To Scalia, equal access would be a more justiciable question-a question appropriate for that courts to weigh in on-than the question of what actions might be taken to transform a \”segregated\” district right into a \”unitary\” one.

In the same opinion, Scalia predicted the Court's longstanding method of desegregation was determined to result in the courts irrelevant, as districts removed all remnants of overt (or de jure) segregation. And his prediction was right: Today almost all school districts are judged to become \”unitary,\” despite stark ongoing divisions of race and sophistication, since they are far enough taken off any overt policies that segregated the schools by race.

Focusing on access, as Scalia suggested, would restore the courts' rightful role like a guardian of equal opportunity in the schools. It would not mean that a child includes a to attend a specific school. Good public schools are scarce, specially in the inner cities. Great public schools are even harder to locate. Not everybody will be able to attend the very best school in the district. But all district residents must have an equal opportunity to enroll in the very best schools within the district. Inside a public school lottery, for instance, you will find winners and losers. The outcomes might seem frustrating or even tragic. But a lottery gives every district family a good chance-an equal opportunity-to enroll the youngster in a coveted school that could dramatically change their life trajectory.

We may go through sympathy for those who may be harmed by rulings that will open these elite schools to all residents of a district. Take a family who has paid $250,000 more for a house due to its guaranteed access to an elite public school. Those parents desired to secure the best education for his or her children, and that's laudable. But that doesn't mean we ought to still block open use of these public schools.

In some methods, these people are such as the taxi companies in New York City. Taxi companies paid millions of dollars for \”medallions\” allowing them to operate taxis within the city. For years, these medallion owners fought off efforts to issue more medallions-and improve taxi service for countless New Yorkers-because they thought about being protected from competition. With the emergence of ride-sharing services such as Uber, the medallions lost much of their value. And taxi companies have attempted to use their political clout to bar such services and retain their protected position.

But the courts have said no. Buying a taxi medallion does not mean that you are protected from disruptive competition 'till the end of time. Likewise, buying a house that provides you preferential access to a public school does not mean that you'll be able to keep other families out forever.

If the courts turn to open up the general public schools, perhaps the most suitable ruling will be a narrow one that simply forbade school districts by using a homeowner child's address to find out their eligibility for any school inside the district. Rather than being forced to implement a particular court-endorsed remedy, districts would be liberated to experiment with different allocation techniques that don't depend on geography.

Some districts would create a system of school-site lotteries, like most charter schools use. Others would implement a centralized lottery such as the ones utilized in New Orleans, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. You could even imagine districts trying a system according to \”first-come-first-serve,\” as La did for many years with highly coveted dual-language immersion programs. Each of these approaches has shortcomings and the possibility of abuse. But, unlike the current system, they are with different principle of equal opportunity.

Local school officials shouldn't, and do not, have unlimited power to determine who gets access to what schools. They're constrained by civil rights laws passed by Congress, and they are constrained through the founding documents of our democracy, both the state constitutions and the U.S. Constitution. Those constraints have to be enforced to visit a world in which a child's home address doesn't play this type of critical role in determining their destiny.

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\”We're likely to face another wave from the virus\”


School closures have emerged like a centerpiece of efforts to slow the spread from the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19. Education Next editor-in-chief Martin West recently interviewed John Bailey about when schools should reopen and just what school leaders can do meanwhile. Bailey is definitely an adviser towards the Walton Family Foundation along with a visiting fellow in the American Enterprise Institute. He previously served in the White House, U.S. Department of Commerce, and U.S. Department of Education. His article, \”Covid-19 Closed Schools. When Should They Reopen?\” can be obtained at

Schools will probably be closed throughout the educational year, given current projections. We're likely to see schools back open for next year, but we're also likely to face a rebound, another wave of the virus. Consequently, we may see targeted closures, and therefore when cases start reaching a particular threshold with local hospitals, schools could be closed for two to a month in an area or entire state, depending on how widespread the outbreak is.

There are questions around many of the data variables which go into those models. The faster we are able to get tests available, and the faster we are able to acquire some of that data in to these models, the clearer the picture will be, and we can generate strategies for how long these closures should last and when we can open schools.

Their recommendations reflect the disagreement within the scientific community in those days. We all know little about this particular virus, and that has complicated our previous assumptions. Normally, having a pandemic influenza, you close schools to slow the spread also to protect children, who tend to be vulnerable. With Covid-19, though, children seem largely up against the most severe symptoms but may still be carriers. The data possess a lot of question marks, so officials are falling along the side of not overreacting but rather purchasing a bit more time prior to making your final decision around the schools. Even those who were skeptical at first have since supported not just school closures but also the more aggressive social distancing measures we had used in March and April.

Schools have heroically but hastily thrown
together remote learning plans in addition to distribution sites to assist get meals to students. Now there is a bit of time for you to start reflecting on what's working, what's not, what are the gaps, and just how do we patch together a method to assist serve kids, teachers, and families through out the college year.

We need to use the summer to organize for the next school year. The break will give districts and policymakers an opportunity to develop better remote learning plans and do professional development with teachers.

Schools are typically in what is known as medical surveillance, and therefore as children show up with various symptoms, that information feeds to local nutritionists, and then up to state officials, that data will likely help trigger some closures and other social distancing measures. Schools is going to be around the front line of surveillance. And they will be around the front line of helping make sure that kids are getting the education along with other supports they need to continue their learning.

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In Pandemic, Private Schools Face Peril


The Institute of Notre Dame, a 170-year-old Catholic girls' school in Baltimore whose graduates included Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senator Barbara Mikulski, announced in May it would close.

\”Sad news,\” Pelosi tweeted. Mikulski named it a \”treasured institution.\”

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the amount of urban Catholic and other private schools which are closing amid financial pressure and dwindling enrollment. Unlike popular understanding, many private school students are from middle- and low-income families, and many private schools are expressly dedicated to serving them (see Figure 1). By July 9, a Cato Institute tracker listed 97 private schools that had announced permanent closures attributed at least partially towards the pandemic.

Such closures are an important part of the story of how the pandemic has affected private schools. But the tale isn't entirely certainly one of weakness. Other schools have used their autonomy, flexibility, and powerful family and community relationships to deliver robust distance education.

The right policy choices can now help ensure that private schools remain viable alternatives for families, even while all schools enter a period of newly constrained resources.


As the landscape rapidly shifted this spring, the middle on Reinventing Public Education and the American Enterprise Institute were fast out of the gate with data collection and analysis. CRPE began publishing data on school-district response plans in mid-March. AEI began conducting longitudinal surveys of districts not much later. EdChoice, Echelon Insights, Education Week, Pew Research, yet others have also tracked student, teacher, and parent perspectives and experiences.

Several of these efforts provide insight into private schools. Morning Consult and EdChoice surveyed teachers across private, charter, and district schools. Hanover Research and EdChoice surveyed private school employees across the nation. The Association of Christian Schools International surveyed their members in the usa. Recently, the Education Next survey gathered data from parents across district, charter, and schools, and the National Center for Research on Education Access and selection published an analysis of three,500 district, charter, and private school websites.

The data paint an incomplete picture of methods private schools have fared within the crisis to date, but they do suggest considerable variation. Each morning Consult/EdChoice survey, 48 percent of non-public school teachers indicated they were providing e-learning, 32 percent said these were providing at-home assignments, and 16 percent said they weren't providing either. The Hanover Research/EdChoice survey (that about 3 in 10 responses came from private schools in Florida) also shows variation among private schools. Overall, 88 percent of non-public school employees reported their schools had shifted to online learning with formal curricula, including 92 percent of Catholic private schools and 65 percent of nonreligious private schools. Schools answering the survey through the Association of Christian Schools International reported variations in distance education, too. A majority of schools reported providing three to five hours each day of distance learning, though high schools often provided many elementary schools often provided less.

Anecdotal accounts make sure private-school responses towards the crisis run the gamut. On one end of the spectrum are schools that have been not able to sustain operations past the current school year. Numerous media accounts have noted private schools that have closed not only for the school year, but permanently. In addition to the Institute of Notre Dame in Baltimore, included in this are All Saints Catholic School in Wilmington, Delaware; four schools within the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston; at least 10 schools in Nj; and 20 schools within the Archdiocese of recent York, among others. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston described how the pandemic influenced its decision to shut schools: \”In recent weeks, the reality of our budget challenges, drastically and negatively compounded through the Covid-19 protocols, forced a reassessment of those schools' viability. . . . These dire circumstances have forced our hand.\”

On another end of the spectrum are private schools that entered the pandemic in positions of relative strength. Partnership Schools, a network of nine Catholic schools in Nyc and Cleveland serving predominantly low-income students, found itself at the epicenter from the outbreak. Superintendent Kathleen Porter-Magee recalls the week of March 9 like a sprint to anticipate and adapt to conditions that changed by the hour. The network's response pivoted quickly from procuring supplies and sanitizing buildings on Monday to, by Wednesday, planning to close their buildings for that near future. \”We had war room meetings every morning and sent email communications every afternoon,\” Porter-Magee said, \”and sometimes that still didn't feel like it was fast enough.\”

In a procedure that involved pivoting on the daily and hourly basis and ascertaining families' needs for devices and Internet access, in addition to a few all-nighters, Partnership Schools could send students home on March 13 having a week's price of pencil-and-paper material. The week after, the schools presented a remote-learning plan they continued to iterate and tweak with the end of the school year.

The majority of private schools likely lie approximately these two extremes, muddling through as well as they can during an unprecedented disruption. Within the words of Frank O'Linn, superintendent of faculties for that Diocese of Cleveland, \”Like a lot of crises, it's a test. It's revealed lots of strong schools and some phenomenal stories . . . but not all are phenomenal.\”

What factors influence whether a school fails or flourishes under extreme duress? Common sense, along with the literature on crisis management, suggests that a school's ability to respond and adapt in the midst of a crisis likely depends upon three broad
factors: autonomy and adaptability, family and community relationships, and financial resources.

Some have been quick to posit that private schools (and charter schools) happen to be nimblest within their response to the shutdown. There are some data consistent with this claim. On the 2021 Education Next survey, parents of nearly 70 percent of private school students said their children met virtually with their school or teachers as well as their classmates several times per week. Parents of just 43 percent of district students said exactly the same. Private school students were also more likely to receive instruction that included new content, as opposed to all review material.

Other data complicate this narrative, however. The analysis from the National Center for Research on Education Access and Choice suggests that charter and district schools did more to support some facets of learning, such as \”personalization and engagement outside of class.\” Ultimately, assessing the potency of school responses will need further research not only how schools responded but how much students learned (or didn't learn) consequently.

In the meantime, it's useful to explore how the autonomy and flexibility of private schools may have affected remarkable ability to reply effectively. Leaders of non-public schools typically have direct oversight and authority over not just curriculum and instruction, but additionally human resources, operations, and finances. Many non-Catholic Christian and nonsectarian schools operate independently from the larger system. Even Catholic schools, which operate under the purview of the Church, benefit from a powerful adherence to \”subsidiarity\”-the principle that matters are best handled at most decentralized level possible.

However, autonomy and adaptability may also leave the leaders of person schools adrift and isolated whenever a crisis hits. Frankie Jones of the University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education Academies and Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program has witnessed \”a lot of principals searching for help and guidance\” and efforts in the Church to keep school-leader autonomy while providing support. To assist school-level leaders and staff, for example, some dioceses have created virtual spaces to talk about ideas and challenges, trained teachers to make use of virtual-learning platforms, or provided assistance with how schools should prioritize family and student needs. Church policies impose relatively few regulatory burdens and governance structures on schools, thereby pushing decisions to the local level. But intentional efforts to inform, guide, and support local decisionmakers are necessary for this degree of flexibility to work.

When you are looking at family and community relationships, private schools could also possess a leg up. The religious orientation of numerous private schools often ties these to local churches or synagogues and includes theological principles that prioritize family engagement and repair to the community. Family relationships really are a central element of Catholic schools, for instance, because church doctrine establishes parents as children's primary educators. Kathleen Porter-Magee describes Partnership Schools' approach to the crisis: \”We ramped up our academics, but we led first and foremost by connecting with families to determine the way they [were doing]. . . . That community-first approach is really what paved the way in which to keep learning going.\”

Private schools also provide a motivation to build strong relationships with families and also the community because a lot of their revenue depends on families deciding to enroll their children and also to contribute even modest sums to tuition. Mary Menacho, the interim executive director from the California Association of Independent Schools, said that the 2008 recession helped prepare private schools for today's crisis. Since 2008, she said, \”independent schools have had to look at what their value-add is, hone their mission, and clarify what sets them apart. That has been the basis for strong relationships with their families-clarity on which schools are providing and what means they are distinct.\” It makes sense that private schools that have invested in building relationships and communicating their distinct value proposition to people are positioned to partner with families to support students learning from home.

While private schools might benefit from autonomy, flexibility, and strong family and community relationships, however, they mostly lack access to taxpayer funds and frequently work on shoestring budgets. Even the nimblest schools using the strongest family and community relationships will find on their own the ropes if they don't have cash on hand to purchase cleaning supplies, buy and distribute devices, print learning materials, or procure virtual-learning platforms. A highly effective response requires money, and lots of private schools-especially those dedicated to serving middle- and low-income families-were already on shaky financial footing leading into the coronavirus crisis.

In the Hanover/EdChoice survey, about 4 in 10 private-school respondents were \”extremely or very worried\” about collecting tuition for the remainder of the college year or about drops in philanthropic support, and roughly half were \”extremely or very worried\” about losing enrollment (see Figure 2). For some private schools, the financial effects have previously begun. Laptop computer conducted through the Association of Christian Schools International indicates that about one in five of the member schools provides tuition discounts or refunds, and more than a quarter have furloughed staff. About one-third of schools have re-enrollment rates less than those simultaneously last year, and most half report a decline in new student inquiries-an ill omen for that fall.

All told, the financial outlook web hosting schools is shaping as a severe challenge. Economic turmoil may make even modest contributions to school tuition untenable for a lot of middle- and low-income families (see Figure 3). Schools that depend on subsidies from churches receive less support when weekly in-person church services are canceled and offerings decline. Companies facing losses may cut corporate donations to tax-credit scholarship programs. Foundation assets are bound to take a hit, too, with implications for philanthropic support for schools and scholarships. Finally, as states resize their budgets, the chances are funding for education is going to be cut-with potential implications for voucher programs assuring education savings accounts.

Superintendent O'Linn of Cleveland put a fine point on the problem: \”When there is a system highly dependent on good will and philanthropy, and you've got not only the medical crisis but the economic crisis. . . . We're very worried about it.\” Many predict the task will be greatest for schools that are already small or underenrolled. Laura Colangelo of the Texas Private Schools Association said she sees underenrolled Catholic schools and small Christian schools as the most vulnerable. But, she said, \”independent schools and much more elite private schools are very cautious, too.\”

As the economic picture for that country worsens, the challenges of financial viability could easily outweigh the benefits of autonomy and family relationships. These issues are connected. Said O'Linn, \”We need the government to help with the funding. But when we don't supply the value proposition and also the family atmosphere, families won't choose us.\”

For all of the uncertainty wrought by the crisis, it's clear that lots of private schools serving middle- and low-income students will require financial support to survive. Financial support that maximizes autonomy and flexibility and leverages schools' family and community relationships is better still.

The federal government has taken steps to support private schools and students with the crisis. First and foremost, private schools can usually benefit from several facets of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act, such as the $660 billion Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program. As of late April, many private schools-including 72 percent of faculties that taken care of immediately laptop computer conducted through the Association of Christian Schools International-were likely to participate. It's unclear the number of private schools have actually accessed Sba loans. Some private schools were reluctant to participate due to concern that accepting federal aid would require them to demonstrate compliance having a host of federal regulations.

Private schools may also get relief from the CARES Act's $31 billion Education Stabilization Fund, including $3 billion for the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund and $13.5 billion for that Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. Under both programs, districts will get funding to supply support to schools, including mental health services, technology, or cleaning supplies. Private schools can access these supports in the local school district but don't receive any funding themselves.

The distribution of money from the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund depends upon the priorities of governors, but states have less discretion within the distribution of cash from the Elementary and School Emergency Relief Fund. On June 25, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued a binding rule based on how school districts must share this funding with non-public schools. The rule gives districts two options. The very first bases private-school support on the total number of all private school students residing in an area, as opposed to the quantity of low-income private school students. That approach contrasts using the way districts typically provide federally funded services to private schools, based on a Title I formula directing money to low-income students. This primary option in the DeVos rule would end up directing a lot more aid to private schools, but districts have another choice: they can share the money in line with the quantity of low-income students in private schools, as long as the district consequently directs its area of the funding exclusively to low-income students. This second option, however, would limit districts' flexibility in using the cash. Several state attorneys general, led by California's, have sued over the new rule.

Neither of these two funding programs is especially smartly designed to fit the particular strengths and challenges of non-public schools. First, while school districts are required to consult with private schools, private schools haven't much treatments for how the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund cash is used. This approach does not take advantage of private schools' autonomy and adaptability. Second, the rule around the distribution of funds to private schools may provide disproportionate aid to private schools, however it doesn't target help to the non-public schools most in need of that aid-those serving middle- and low-income families. Later on relief legislation, federal policymakers can perform more to ensure that funding is directed to high-need student populations, while also allowing the maximum flexibility for school-level leaders.

Alongside federal efforts to stabilize the education system, state policymakers also have an important role. Financial support for schools will likely be an issue of great debate in the next round of state budget negotiations. State policymakers will certainly work to preserve just as much funding as possible for public schools, but they should also consider the needs of middle- and low-income families enrolled in private-school choice programs.

Vouchers, tax-credit scholarship grant programs, and state education savings accounts are products of state regulations. 70 % of students who participate are in means-tested school-choice programs, available only to those with household incomes below a particular threshold. Many more participating students have been in programs that are only accessible to students with special needs or circumstances, such as learners with exceptionalities or in foster care. State policymakers eager to direct support to middle- and low-income families can start by preserving funding of these programs.

In doing this, they'll also help preserve institutions that, if lost, would send students flooding back to the public system-just as that system is navigating ongoing disruption and uncertainty. Following a Great Recession, student enrollment in private schools dropped by around 40 percent within the hardest-hit metropolitan areas. If even 10 % of non-public school students returned to the public system, states' education-funding liabilities would increase by $3.3 billion, EdChoice estimates. In the midst of an economic crisis, policymakers should resist efforts to lessen programs that generally produce higher amounts of student proficiency, stronger educational attainment, and positive competitive impact on other schools in their vicinity-especially when they achieve those results with a smaller amount per-pupil public funding.

Policymakers could even be advised to consider raising funding caps on private-school choice programs to support increased demand. Owing to declining household incomes, an increasing number of families is going to be permitted to participate in these programs. Demand for private schools can also increase because parents have varying perspectives on how so when students should go back to school. A USA Today/Ipsos poll in late May discovered that less than half of parents support students going back to school in the fall even without the a vaccine. Meanwhile, 58 percent of parents indicated they'd support a hybrid in-person and distance-learning approach, and 59 percent said they would consider at-home learning options like online education or home schooling. A poll through the National Parents Union/Echelon Insights found that parents also differ how schools should help students make up for lost learning time: 53 percent of parents support extending the school day, while 63 percent support extending the college year. Increasing use of private-school choice would allow middle- and low-income parents more options when deciding on a college whose approach to reopening aligns using their own preferences.

In the approaching months and years, schools across all sectors will need to assess and address learning gaps, support social-emotional needs, and protect public health. If state funding indeed declines and private-school enrollment drops, public schools will probably have to provide more services to more students with fewer resources. Public education systems will most likely struggle to maintain student outcomes under these circumstances, and lots of students will backslide.

The long-term consequences of this decline aren't difficult to predict. As public schools struggle to meet student needs, dissatisfied families will appear for alternatives. If more private schools serving middle- and low-income students close, those alternatives will narrow. And, if funding for private-school choice programs is cut, access to those alternatives will once again be limited by families' financial means. Unless policymakers think about the needs of private schools alongside those of public schools, the sector could lose enormous ground in providing families with equitable use of choice.

To make sure, resources are finite, and the diversity and depth of needs are profound. But while protecting private-school choice will certainly force tough choices for policymakers today, it'll preserve better selections for students and families in the future.

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If A lot more Private Schools Close, All Schools Are affected


America's private schools are not safe from the risks resulting from Covid-19. In fact, without prompt the aid of The government, they may be among the institutions at greatest risk of succumbing towards the virus.

More than 100 private schools have announced that they will be closing their doors permanently, at least partly because of the pandemic. That number is sure to climb as families hard hit by the crisis make enrollment decisions for that fall, as schools face the prospect of reopening below capacity due to safety concerns, and as fears from the coronavirus still depress church attendance and therefore the regular contributions from parishioners that help sustain parochial schools.

It isn't the well-endowed private schools serving the one percent that face risk. Perhaps that's the reason the national media has paid so little focus on this crisis. Based on the CATO Institute, which is tracking private-school closures nationally, the average annual tuition charged at the schools which have announced that they will close is under $7,000-less than 1 / 2 of the typical per-pupil paying for public schools nationwide.

Widespread private-school closures pose problems not just for that students who attend them, but in addition for public-school budgets nationwide. Whatever one thinks of using government funds to grow school choice, there isn't any denying the nation's 5.7 million students who now attend private schools save money for taxpayers, who otherwise would need to pay to teach these children in public schools. The pro-school-choice American Federation for kids pegs the annual savings to convey and local governments at $75 billion.

Nearly Half a century ago, fears concerning the budget implications of private-school closures sparked a series of bipartisan efforts in Congress to provide relief with this sector. One such proposal-a tax credit for K -12 and higher-education tuition expenses-even passed home of Representatives in 1978. The measure's champion within the Senate was Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Democrat from Ny. The heterodox coalition that backed the idea in a series of votes that August included former Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater of Arizona and Joe Biden, then Delaware's junior senator along with a product of Catholic schools.

The 1978 bill ultimately foundered in the Senate, owing partly to doubts concerning the constitutionality of utilizing federal funds to support families attending religious schools. The U.S. Supreme Court has long since laid that concern to rest. Its 2002 Zelman decision upheld state-funded vouchers for religious private schools, which term the court even ruled that state constitutions cannot be used to bar religious schools from participating in school-choice programs (see \”In Supreme Court Case, a Far-Reaching Win for Religious-School Parents,\” legal beat).

What's also changed because the 1970s may be the alignment of support for policies to sustain private-school choice. Like so many issues in American politics, that one has polarized sharply along party lines. Yes, current survey data reveal that school-choice proposals garner high amounts of support from Black and Hispanic voters-core Democratic constituencies. Today, however, it is hard to make a prominent Democrat like Moynihan leading a charge to supply help to private schools, even just in times of economic distress, or perhaps a Democratic backbench senator joining that cause. The truth that the Trump administration has made a federal tax credit to aid private-school scholarships its top education priority makes deviations from the party line all the more unlikely.

This political reality doesn't change the fact that private schools need relief now-and that failing to provide that relief would only aggravate the financial challenges facing all schools. As Kirabo Jackson and colleagues demonstrate within this issue (see \”The Costs of Cutting School Spending,\” research), policymakers and advocates possess a strong case for a new round of federal aid to support state and local education budgets. Cuts to school spending within the wake from the Great Recession helped cause the first nationwide decline in student test scores inside a half-century, in addition to a stop by the amount of new college students. As the virus is constantly on the spread, the extra expenses schools face in getting ready to reopen, whether in person or virtually, only strengthen that case.

Yet private schools face those self same expenses, and failing to support them is only going to heighten the challenges for public schools. A bill introduced on July 22 by Senators Tim Scott and Lamar Alexander provides a one-time appropriation of funds to state-based organizations that offer private-school scholarships. It might also produce a permanent federal tax credit for donations to those organizations. The second proposal appears like a heavy lift now, given the politics of the issue. But Republicans in the Senate may yet be able to use their leverage to make sure that America's private schools do not become another vulnerable population left exposed.

Martin West

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