It’s the summer, sunshine

If the Biden administration’s COVID-19 relief package passes with funding for K-12 summer school, we’ll see a great deal of things more clearly as a result. How much are parents worried about the academics their children have missed, as opposed to all the other roles of schools? How much have teachers been stressed to the point of quitting/disengaging when they can? How much can schools operate in-person smoothly if the staff are vaccinated but the students aren’t?

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What ed policy wonks might want to know about the CDC school advice, February 2021

Three and a half weeks into the new administration, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a new set of guidelines for K-12 schools. The general features of the guidelines have been well-covered in the press (with some minor mistakes–it’s complicated!), and some public-health researchers have started to weigh in as well (also with some mistakes–it’s complicated!).1 To me, the key operative expression is three and a half weeks into the new administration; the timing reflects both political needs of the Biden administration as it pushes through its COVID relief package,2 and also professional needs of the public-health community to return to ordinary public-health politics after the sheer awfulness of the Trump administration response to the pandemic.

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  1. At least one op-ed criticized the guidelines for requiring testing for screening purposes, which the guidelines don’t require. []
  2. See the White House statement released yesterday in response to the CDC guidance, and how the statement connects the CDC guidance with COVID relief. []

Single studies are good; literature is amazing

We can learn quite a bit from the surge of amateur epidemiology: It’s hard to be a good reader of a single study, and you don’t have to do that to learn from research. For almost half a year, I’ve repeatedly seen many well-educated, well-read people try to learn The Secret of Covid from individual studies in fields they have no training in.

This is understandable, but not generally a good use of someone’s time. Nor is it necessary.

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Will the cultural script of “school” change?

A colleague asked me over the weekend if there is any guidance from the history of education on what may change permanently in elementary and secondary schools as a result of the pandemic. There is now a little industry devoted to hot-takes about how this is the “end of ____ as we know it,” and there are plenty of entries in education as well as in other areas of life, from Steven Mintz and Bonnie Kristian in higher education to Conor Williams, David Mansouri, and Diane Ravitch for K-12. So I was not surprised by the question.

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More candidate education platforming

I have some thoughts about the K-12 policy position released by Elizabeth Warren’s campaign on Monday. The big story told in most reporting is about the quadrupling of federal aid to local schools under Title I, but I have some other observations:

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