‘No one taught us how to do this’

When kindergarten teacher Tabitha Brown received her class list for this fall, there were 27 names on it. But then her school, Global Village Academy, a charter north of Denver, announced it would start the year virtually. The list dropped to 18.

Six weeks later, enrollment inched upward as the school reopened, only to fall again in a month when it closed due to rising COVID-19 cases. Brown’s class is just one example of the disruption affecting classrooms as students fall off the radar...

New study shows positive trends in Chicago computer science education

As this year’s Computer Science Education Week draws to a close, the events of 2020 and a shift to a virtual learning environment has shone a spotlight on the importance of access to CS learning opportunities for all students.

In 2013, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) led the nation in the expansion of CS education with the CS for All (CS4ALL) initiative, a CME Group Foundation grantee, and later made computer science a graduation requirement...

The empty gradebook

When Ana Barros drew up a list of students who were about to fail her class this fall, it was longer than she expected: 22 students out of 86.

What most distressed Barros, who teaches sixth-grade social studies at a charter school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was that her list included students who didn’t seem like they were struggling — students who had been participating in virtual class, but hadn’t turned in assignment after assignment...

From Pasco to St. Paul, how to target kids for success, not crime

A recent Tampa Bay Times investigation reported that the Pasco Sheriff’s Office “keeps a secret list of kids it thinks could ‘fall into a life of crime.’” Triangulating data from multiple public agencies, like histories of abuse from child welfare and academic failure from the school system, the office generated a prediction of more than 400 students who may become criminals. One can only imagine how a list like this could be used.

Chicago’s steep enrollment losses hit high-poverty schools hardest

This fall’s enrollment drop in Chicago’s public schools — the sharpest in two decades — hit Bret Harte Elementary particularly hard.

The school, near the wealthy University of Chicago but serving primarily low-income South Side students, lost about 50 students. For a small school, with enrollment hovering at about 330 students in recent years, it was a painful 15% drop. Right before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Harte had revived its fundraising group to help hire a music teacher and plug other program holes. Now, the school could face a fresh financial setback...

Resolving the pre-k paradox

A series of policy changes begun seven years ago to help create more equitable enrollment in Chicago Public Schools’ pre-K programs has worked, according to education researchers at three Chicago organizations. Enrollment tripled among Black students and children from the city’s lowest-income neighborhoods, they found.

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