Weekly NewsBrief 9/7/20 - 9/13/20

News Clip


Gov. Jared Polis launches $32.7 million fund to incubate ideas to improve student learning during the pandemic – By Jason Gonzales, Chalkbeat Colorado

To continue the battle against fallout from COVID-19, Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday launched a $32.7 million grant program that seeks to create innovations that help the state’s most disadvantaged students.

In an interview with Chalkbeat, Polis said he hopes the Response, Innovation, and Student Equity Education Fund, known as RISE, will plant ideas that will leave Colorado in a better place during and after the pandemic.

The state describes the competitive grant fund, which uses federal stimulus money from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, as an incubator of ideas that advance student learning, especially among those who have suffered deeply the economic, social, and health effects of the crisis.

Polis also hopes RISE will foster new models of learning, ideas to better the educational experience of college students, and ways to strengthen the connections between high school, college, and careers.


Affluent Parents Are Pulling Their Kids Out Of Public Schools – By Rebecca Klein and Emily Peck, Huff Post

This summer, Amy Blackburn had a choice. She and her husband could keep their 6-year-old daughter in public school and take a hit to their careers, or they could put her in private school, shell out thousands of dollars and be able to do their work.

Her daughter’s public school was using a hybrid schedule, where kids went in person part-time. The nearby private school allowed kids to attend five days a week. Blackburn and her husband decided the cost was worth it. If her daughter couldn’t be at school full-time, Blackburn feared she’d end up sacrificing even more money to stay home and shepherd her daughter through remote learning.

“It made sense for us to pay for it, so my husband and I could continue our own professional goals,” said Blackburn, who lives in Oklahoma City and works in marketing for the state. “In order for her to progress in her education and for us to maintain our lifestyle, this was the best option.”

Anecdotal evidence suggests that an increasing number of affluent parents are giving up on public schools in the COVID-19 era, sending their kids to private schools in pursuit of in-person learning. The aim, as with the advent of “learning pods,” is to insulate their children from the downsides of remote schooling and the confusion around hybrid school. Many also want to get back to a normal workday.

The flight of wealthy families away from public schools is just one more way the coronavirus is widening existing inequalities in the U.S., and a sign of how well-off Americans can buy their way out of at least some of the side effects of this pandemic. What this means for the public education system is worrying. Richer families pulling out of schools could worsen the disparities between well-resourced children and their less advantaged peers.


'Children Are Going Hungry': Why Schools Are Struggling To Feed Students – By Cory Turner, NPR

Six months into schools' pandemic-driven experiment in distance learning, much has been said (and debated) about whether children are learning. But the more urgent question, for the more than 30 million kids who depend on U.S. schools for free or reduced-price meals, is this:

Are they eating?

The answer, based on recent data and interviews with school nutrition leaders and anti-hunger advocates across the country, is alarming.

Among low-income households with children who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, only about 15% have been getting those meals, said Lauren Bauer, a researcher at the Brookings Institution. She's been poring over the results of the U.S. Census Bureau's weekly Household Pulse Survey.

Anecdotally, school nutrition directors across the country tell a similar story.

"Every day I worry about them. Every day," said Alyssia Wright, executive director of Fulton County Schools' nutrition program in Fulton County, Ga. "We come up with ways every week to find a new way to get meals to our kids."