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Coronavirus is poised to inflame inequality in schools

The threat of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, is forcing educators across the country to think about what they’ll do if they have to close their schools for weeks or even months at a time. State and federal agencies have advised schools to create online learning plans to minimize the disruption to student learning. For some schools, that’s a small leap. Their students have internet connections at home, laptops they can work from, teachers who know how to design online lessons and a strong foundation of in-school blended learning experience.

But the fact is, these schools are rare. Most schools are completely unprepared – or, at best, woefully underprepared – for coronavirus and virtual learning.  Unequal internet access is just the tip of the iceberg of a massive equity crisis facing U.S. schools should coronavirus force education online.

English-Learners May Be Left Behind as Remote Learning Becomes 'New Normal'

As the nation shifts to online learning during the novel coronavirus outbreak, language and access barriers may shut many of the nation's nearly English-learner students out of the learning process. A December 2019 report from the U.S. Department of Education found that few teachers reported assigning English-learners to use digital learning resources outside of class, in part because of concerns about students' lack of access to technology at home.

Schools Should Prepare for Coronavirus Outbreaks, CDC Officials Warn

Schools need to prepare for a nationwide surge in cases of the coronavirus that's currently wreaking global havoc and could disrupt daily life in some communities, federal officials warned Tuesday. "You should ask your children's schools about their plans for school dismissals or school closures," Nancy Messonnier, a director at the Centers for Disease Control, said during a press briefing on Tuesday. "Ask about plans for teleschool."

A Superintendent's Commitment to Getting Students 'Future Ready'

If Bryan Johnson wanted to illustrate quickly why he built a new system of career pathways in his school district, he could just point to Waltkia Clay. Waltkia is a 10th grade student in the health sciences "Future Ready Institute" at The Howard School in Chattanooga, Tenn., one of 28 career-oriented "school-within-a-school" programs that the Hamilton County district launched in high schools nearly two years ago. She studies core subjects through a healthcare lens, and gets real-world opportunities to practice what she's learning.

Leaders to Learn From: Opening the Books on How a School District Spends Money

During budget cuts, a chief financial officer's matter-of-fact, jargon-laced presentations to school boards often strike anxious teachers and parents as dismissive and emotionally detached from the lives their decisions will upend. Enter Nolberto Delgadillo, the CFO of the Tulsa school district. Knowing early this school year that he’d have to cut more than $20 million from next year’s $325 million budget, Delgadillo went on the road, explaining in layman’s terms why the district expected a budget shortfall despite an increase in state aid. And then, he did something school administrators rarely, if ever, do: He invited thousands of community members to dig into the budget with him and figure out what to keep and what to cut.

Katherine Johnson, 'hidden figure' at NASA during 1960s space race, dies at 101

When Katherine Johnson began working at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in 1953, she was classified as "subprofessional," not far outranking a secretary or janitor. Hers was a labor not of scheduling or cleaning but rather of mathematics: using a slide rule or mechanical calculator in complex calculations to check the work of her superiors — engineers who, unlike her, were white and male. Her title, poached by the technology that would soon make the services of many of her colleagues obsolete, was "computer." Mrs. Johnson, who died Feb. 24 at 101, went on to develop equations that helped the NACA and its successor, NASA, send astronauts into orbit and, later, to the moon. In 26 signed reports for the space agency, and in many more papers that bore others' signatures on her work, she codified mathematical principles that remain at the core of human space travel.

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