Monthly Archives June 2021

New York Summer School Enrollment Grows Over 200,000

Enrollment in New York City’s Expanded In-Person Summer Enrichment Program for Kindergarten to Grade 12 students has exceeded the previous estimate of 200,000 students, Mayor Bill of Blasio, as schools prepare to focus less on learning gaps and more. on the transition to in-person learning.

The expanded $ 120 million summer camp-style recreational program announced in April is available to all students this year, a break from the traditional practice of requiring summer courses primarily for those who have to retake a failed course. or who need a summer course to graduate or be promoted to the next grade. The program, free for students, should be planned around the fun rather than the loss of learning that occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the teachers’ union.

The city’s education ministry said on Monday there was no capacity limit and encouraged more families to enroll in the program, which will launch on July 6.

“It is a response to the consequences of the pandemic,” said de Blasio, “but it is something that we also intend to do in the future.”

The in-person summer program is a prelude to the fall term when New York City ends distance learning, and approximately 582,000 students who have not been inside school buildings since March 2020 will have to return. But the head of the city’s teachers’ union said the summer session will not be used as a forum to prepare for the fall by identifying and addressing the degree of learning loss that the near a million students in the country’s largest school system have experienced during their absence. their classrooms.

Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Teachers’ Federation, which represents approximately 120,000 DOE employees, said the DOE informed the union that the district will focus primarily on social and emotional learning during the summer session, and not on the success gaps.

“We could have done a bit of both, but they are the ones who make the policies,” he said.

Last year, approximately 177,000 students enrolled in DOE’s distance learning program. Of this total, approximately 102,000 were to participate and 27,000 were to participate in 12-month special education programs. The department also recommended that another 48,000 students who were not at risk of repeating a year but needed extra help attend, the agency said.

A year after the start of the coronavirus pandemic, many schools are only partially open for fear of fueling the spread of the virus. Experts explain what the real risks of the spread of Covid-19 are in schools and how proper checks can change that equation. Illustration: Preston Jessee for The Wall Street Journal

The agency has yet to reveal how many attendees for this year’s summer session are expected to or will participate in special education programs. The DOE does not intend this year to recommend summer courses for students who need additional support, or to reveal how many students may have been invited by their teachers to enroll.

The recommended category was unique to last year, the agency said, because the program was entirely virtual.

“Schools have been in contact with families about student progress throughout this year and are having conversations with parents if they think a student would benefit from participating,” the agency said.

Write to Lee Hawkins at lee.hawkins@wsj.com

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Appeared in the print edition of June 29, 2021 under the title “Increase in summer school enrollment exceeds 200,000”.


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Public school enrollment continues to decline in New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (AP) – Home schooling nearly doubled in New Mexico last year as thousands of parents pulled out of virtual learning programs offered in public schools. The unprecedented defection from the public school system is straining school budgets, which are rooted in student enrollment.

Parents who have the time and patience to attend homeschool said they liked the flexibility of homeschooling and learned to give their children a more suitable education. “We had no interest in doing a virtual apprenticeship at a public or charter school,” said Jennifer Fischer, 43, who moved with her partner and two sons from Los Angeles to Albuquerque during the pandemic in August.

Raised by teachers and experienced in teaching media, the filmmaker couple weren’t intimidated by the prospect of teaching their boys in fourth and fifth grades.

For others, there was a learning curve. “At first it was a little difficult trying to cut down on the schedule and the routine,” said Albuquerque housewife Cynthia Sanchez, who home-schooled her four children, ages kindergarten to preschool. the seventh year.

Both parents joined the Homeschool Homies Facebook group last summer to see what other homeschool families were doing. They weren’t alone. “I went from, you know, maybe 10 requests a week to maybe 25-30 requests a day,” said Sarah Candelaria, 35, who ran Homeschool Homies and a few other school-based groups. -House.

She repeatedly answered the same questions: “Which program should we use?” Do we have to register with the State? The number of children registered with the state as homeschooled has nearly doubled from around 8,800 before the pandemic to around 15,400 this past school year, according to data from the Department of Public Education. Kindergarten to Grade 12 enrollment was already declining by about 1.1% each year after a decade of declining births and more people of reproductive age leaving the state than settling there.

Home schooling data validates a census survey that found home schooling has doubled in New Mexico and the United States

Since federal and state education funding is tied to student enrollment, a withdrawal from public school systems will affect budgets. In Albuquerque public schools, authorities are predicting a loss of up to $ 53 million due to declining enrollment.

Home schooling has increased in all New Mexico school districts except the smallest, according to additional home schooling data obtained by The Associated Press in a public registration application.

Statewide, the increase in the number of home students accounts for more than half of the 4% drop in public school enrollment in New Mexico last year, according to an analysis by the AP. Thousands of students have left the system by transferring to a private school. An unknown number came out of the state.

Federal pandemic aid increases school budgets for the next two years. But in the long run, registrations are down.

Candelaria, the administrator of the Facebook group, said many parents will stick to home schooling even if the pandemic subsides. Sanchez is one of them. She said her children learned more at home than in public school. “They didn’t have time to deal with them to make sure they understood the material before moving forward,” Sanchez said. “I had time to devote to the children.

Her two daughters have asked to go back to school this year so they can be surrounded by friends. She made a compromise with them by allowing them to practice group sports.

Fischer, the filmmaker, said her family was ready to send the children back to public school this year “assuming there are no variations or an increase in the number.”

But she hopes school districts draw on lessons from the pandemic to offer more student-friendly learning, and more programs where students attend three days a week and homeschool the other two days, Fischer said. . “We can expand and say that even a public system needs to be more customizable and meet the needs of different learners,” she said.


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Whiteville City Schools See Increase in Summer School Enrollment


WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) —Schools in the town of Whiteville give a positive idea of ​​the number of students attending summer school.

Over a third of students in Whiteville City schools attend summer school, which represents more than 670 students.

The superintendent says that despite the increase in enrollment, the district has not experienced as many academic shortages as it had anticipated. Distance learning during the pandemic created challenges for many students.

“Our learning losses, from what we’ve seen, we’re not as big as we expected we might have seen. So overall the learning losses weren’t as big for us, and I have a feeling that could also be due to our size, ”said Dr Marc Whichard, Head of Schools of the town of Whiteville.

There are three summer school options available to students who read to pass, a new test and remediation, and a new option that increases summer school attendance.

“The most recent option, which is probably the least familiar to individuals, is what we call, in essence, the legislative summer school opportunity for families who have struggled during the pandemic, during the regular school year, “said Dr Marc Whichard.

With the option of leading to increased enrollment, the district believes it will greatly benefit students and their families.

“It’s basically 24 days that we work with the students, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each day, providing meals, offering fun activities for the students, but also intensive remediation to help give these students a good start in the field. next academic year, ”said Whichard.

To help with classroom instruction for the next school year, schools in the city of Whiteville are using federal stimulus funds to hire more teachers. The district says this change will help reduce class sizes and create a more individualized learning experience for students.

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Summer school enrollments increase in Fresno, California after COVID-19

Summer school enrollments have increased for Fresno Unified Schools after a difficult year of distance learning caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

About 17,000 FUSD students attended the first day of summer school on Monday, the highest number in at least four years, district officials confirmed. Many parents who spoke with The Bee’s Education Lab said they were concerned that their students were falling behind academically while learning at home.

But what is called “learning loss” or “unfinished learning” is difficult to measure. Fresno Unified officials say they’re still working on a program that they believe will help determine where students are academically compared to where they should be by grade-level standards.

According to a recent survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, about 83% of parents said children fell behind academically during the pandemic, 64% said students were “seriously behind.”

Summer student Keyera Dickson said it’s easier to stay motivated with in-person learning.

“If you’re home alone you won’t get the help you need,” she said.

Dickson said that during the pandemic she usually kept her camera off because she had many distractions in her house. With the summer camp in person, she said she could get help from her teachers and fellow students.

“We were just laughing there, having a good time, but if I was online I wouldn’t even know anyone and I wouldn’t even want to turn on my camera,” Dickson said.

But parents and teachers are also trying to balance learning concerns about grades and graduation credits with the mental health needs of their students, many of whom have been traumatized after living in fear for longer. one year.

The pandemic, coupled with months of nationwide social unrest and, in California, months of wildfires that have driven people from their homes, has rekindled fears about how young people are coping. . These last months, school and health officials have issued warnings about increasing drug use and reports of self-harm among students.

Such worries led Katie Jerkovich to give her daughter a learning break by skipping summer school altogether.

“After the hell they’ve been through this year because of our advice, they 100% need a break and go back to school as usual in the fall. I will not make them suffer any more, ”said Jerkovich.

Other parents, like Erika Ireland, remain concerned about coronavirus infections even as cases continue to slow amid rising vaccination rates. She wants her son to continue learning online for now.

“I am not ready for my child to go to school in person until there is a vaccine for the children,” Ireland said. “I’m not so worried that he will get COVID as I am about the aftermath.”

But for many parents who urge their children to catch up on schoolwork, frustrations grow over FUSD summer school options, which parents say are too limited in terms of classroom space and academic opportunities.

Academies and summer camp

Distance learning remains an option for many FUSD students this summer, but district leaders have encouraged parents to enroll students in the traditional summer school.

“We are confident that the more students we can bring back to campus, the more successful they will be,” said Jeremy Ward, assistant superintendent of college and career preparation at the Education Lab. “Whether it’s filling learning gaps or getting the credits you need to graduate, it all works best in person. “

After only two days of summer camp, teachers and students reported feeling the benefits of in-person learning.

Krishnna Reyes, a Roosevelt high school teacher in vocational technical education, is working with professors from Reedley College and New Vision Aviation to teach FUSD students about aviation and engineering this summer.

Reyes said the aviation summer camp teaches children the practical application of math and the fundamentals of physics.

“You get more perspective in the math of building a rocket. I didn’t figure it out until the teacher broke the math. I couldn’t write 1/4 on a ruler. It gave me a different perspective on learning math, ”said student Zamaury Dickson.

In addition to hands-on learning, Reyes said the students bonded.

“They don’t all come from the same school. You have several high schools here and different grades, so they come out of their homes all year round. From what I see, they love it. They didn’t even know each other, but now they’re bonding, and I think that socio-emotional piece is what was missing, ”Reyes said.

Many parents remain frustrated despite more summer school options

But as Fresno Unified bolstered summer school enrollment, many parents, such as those whose children are learning English, said they remained frustrated with what they described as too few options. and poor communication from schools.

Ireland wanted her son to take bilingual immersion online classes during the summer to help him learn Spanish. But that was not an option for her because, she said, her son is getting good grades, and most of the FUSD summer courses are aimed at helping students who need to fill their learning gaps. or catch up on their graduation credits.

“Teachers need to recommend children who need summer schooling,” Ireland said.

Ireland eventually made a deal with schools to allow her son to use an online Spanish academic program, but said she remained concerned about limited space for students learning English.

“There is only one teacher teaching for the DI program,” Ireland said. “You really only have a small amount of student places available. This is the part that, as a parent, frustrates me. “

Parents like Alis Aleman have said that Fresno’s EL students have traditionally lagged behind other students in the city in terms of test scores and graduation rates, and, like many parents, she feared the pandemic do not widen this gap further. Aleman wants his daughter to attend EL summer school, but said that was not an option as the limited class size was reserved for lower performing students who need help accumulating credits.

Students classified as English learners make up 18% of the entire Fresno Unified student body, according to the Californian school dashboard.

Communication failure

Communicating with the more than 73,000 families in the district has been a huge challenge since the early days of the pandemic and remains difficult despite improvements over time, FUSD officials acknowledged.

Although the district has sent out phone messages, emails and social media posts, “communicating with students who are not in school is a challenge,” Ward said.

“It’s complicated,” he added.

But these complications compound the frustrations of at least some parents who said they tried to be proactive about summer school enrollment but struggled to get information from schools.

Parent Esmeralda Diaz said she received a call from the district informing her that her daughter was enrolled in summer school, but, said Diaz, the FUSD employee who called couldn’t tell which ones classes or even what school her child was supposed to attend.

“Even now, no one has given me concrete information,” Diaz told Ed Lab in an interview last week.

Parent Francisca Damaso said she had a similar experience trying to figure out how many days a week and exactly when her child should show up for class.

But even after those issues were resolved, Diaz said she remained unhappy with the options available to students learning English. Summer English courses would be a big help and a good place to start, she said, instead of just a few weeks.

“Because we all know the student reclassification exams take place in September and October,” Diaz said.

Damaso is also not happy with the summer academies, but believes that they are still necessary for her daughter to be successful.

Bridging academic gaps

Fresno Unified students have two options for summer school locally.

FUSD’s summer academies serve as a more study-oriented summer school that helps students recoup their graduation credits and fill certain learning gaps.

Elementary and high school students have chosen between online and in-person summer school, while all high school summer courses will be taught in person. High school students who wish to recover their credits online can do so through the JE Young program.

But as school leaders across the country scramble to help students catch up, after a year of stress and trauma, FUSD officials say their summer courses are more about helping students. to feel supported and less to get grades.

Kindergarten to Grade 8 students will not receive grades for their summer schoolwork. The goal of summer academies for these students is to help the child reach the math or reading levels at which they should be based on their grade level.

Students can enroll in summer camps and summer academies simultaneously, combining both study and fun, Ward said.

“It’s more like seeing where they are at with some really important skills and supporting those skills. “

The Education Lab is a local journalism initiative that highlights educational issues critical to the advancement of the San Joaquin Valley. It is funded by donors. Learn more about The Bee’s Education Lab on our website.

Stories related to Fresno Bee

Isabel Sophia Dieppa is the Engagement Reporter at Fresno Bee’s Education Lab. Dieppa moved to Fresno after leaving Chicago, where she worked as a freelance reporter and social media manager since graduating from Indiana University. Prior to joining The Bee, Dieppa received a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to report on property rights in Puerto Rico. Dieppa’s writings have appeared in Remezcla, Centro de Periodismo Investigativo de Puerto Rico, Marie Claire, Bust, Bustle, Latino Rebels and PRI. Dieppa grew up in Puerto Rico and has lived in various parts of the United States. Before becoming a journalist, Dieppa was a theater artist in the city of Chicago.


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Online University Courses – Benefits and Benefits of Online Training

There are lots of reasons to consider taking online school programs. By far the best benefit of taking an online course is convenience. You will be able to take an online course from any location with an Internet connection.

online training, online school course, web school diploma

There are lots of reasons to consider taking online school programs. By far the best benefit of taking an online course is convenience. You will be able to take an online course from any location with an Internet connection. Lately, with many Wi-Fi laptops, you can connect to the Internet from almost anywhere, making online class taking much more accessible. No extra sitting in the courtyards or being locked inside. You will be able to access your online school course wherever you are.

A lot of people don’t think that they will find the time to get an academic qualification with their various commitments. Taking an online school course can be the answer to this inconvenience. You don’t have the same set schedule for taking classes while you take an online school course. You can study at your own pace and at a time that is convenient for you. It doesn’t matter whether you want to do all your schoolwork in the evenings or on the weekends, with an online school course you can do exactly what you need to do.

Most of the institutes that offer an online course do not set any deadline for you to complete the course. This implies that you can take as long as you want. When you find out that you can’t study for a few days, weeks, and even months, it’s okay if you find yourself learning your course online. You just start learning all over again whenever you are ready.

Another good thing about taking an online school course is that many of them wouldn’t have a proper exam which is important to take at the end. Most programs are awarded primarily on the basis of grades obtained in assignments throughout the course. Nonetheless, if the course you just want to take requires you to simply pass a supervised exam to qualify, then you can give yourself a time and place to get yourself swimsuit.

There is no age limit for people who need to take an online school course. This is ideal for more mature students who don’t like the idea of ​​going back to college and being surrounded by students who are half their age. So if you’re 18 or 80, you can take an online course and get the degree you’ve always wanted. You are assigned a private tutor who is accessible who will help you with questions and allow you to work through your homework and can mark your school course online or by posting whenever you want. Some programs even offer services for college students to talk to others taking the course online to alternate concepts and provide assistance.


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Local Summer School Enrollment Rises As Districts Strive To Fill Gaps Driven By Pandemic | Education

Bryan has increased his summer school offerings from previous years, according to Leslie Holtkamp, ​​Director of Program and Education at Bryan ISD. High school students now have the option to go ahead in the summer by getting first-time credit, which is separate from credit recovery, whereby students can get credit for a class they don’t. were not initially successful.

Holtkamp estimated that Bryan’s summer school enrollment has “more than doubled” from 2019, with more than 5,000 students participating. Bryan ISD had over 15,800 students enrolled for the 2020-21 school year.

“The teachers provided virtual learning, and our parents partnered with us to help as much as they could – but we heard from parents that we want our students to be there this summer to fill in the gaps that could have been caused by the pandemic. “said Holtkamp.

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Early Wednesday afternoon, the bilingual pre-K students at Henderson Elementary School in Bryan alternated between a lively physical education session – with the ever-popular parachute game – and color identification and corresponding elements in classrooms.

Margaret DeJesus, who works as a bilingual facilitator at Bryan’s Summer School, said summer provides time and space for students to make up for lost time, hone particular skills or develop their skills. strong points.

“We see that there have been interruptions in schooling, but we are all working very hard to make up for this time by offering many programs that children and families can participate in wherever they want,” said DeJesus.


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Students choose to take college courses during the summer – Scot Scoop News

Summer college courses have many benefits, but they can be very rigorous. Undaunted by difficult courses, many students choose to take these courses to explore their interests and begin their college journey.

“I always think it’s good to broaden your horizons. So classes are a good way to do it, ”said Anna Feng, a student who took summer school in high school.

These summer courses are also called simultaneous registration. During the summer, students can choose to take concurrent enrollment courses at local community colleges.

This program offers many courses, some of which are not offered at Carlmont. The expansion of courses gives students the opportunity to learn concepts outside of those offered by their high school and to extend their education outside of the typical school year.

“I wanted to learn more about topics that I didn’t know much about and that seemed really interesting. So I took classes to explore other topics and figure out what career I wanted to get into. It’s also a good way to understand the college environment, ”said Ryan Ng, a Carlmont junior.

These courses are great ways to explore one’s interests and they persist throughout each student’s academic career. This can be a good thing because colleges can view these courses as indicators of maturity. However, failing one of these classes has repercussions. A unsuccessful student will have to start university with the grade he obtained from taking these courses.

“You have to understand that if you take a course in college, the grade you get will stay on your transcript,” said Mayra Arellano, director of high school transition and dual enrollment.

Many students take these courses to earn college credit. College credits can be useful at the next level, and some students may even skip a course. However, they are only useful in certain situations. If you don’t know what your specialty is, it might not be worth taking courses for that reason alone.

“The human biology course I took actually didn’t count for nothing,” Feng said. an idea of ​​what you want to study. Check if this college course will satisfy him or not.

Some students take these courses to skip a class. For some secondary school subjects, the prerequisite requires attendance in previous classes. Students can try to work around this problem by taking the previous course over the summer and entering the next level. However, you have to be wary as summer courses only last six weeks and they may not have enough time to process all the information.

“This is one of the concerns we always raise when students decide to take this route. Basically, you condense a one-year course into six weeks. When this happens, their summer instructors can skip a unit or chapter, ”said Matthew Ledesma, Carlmont school counselor.

Due to the shortened schedule, these lessons are very difficult. They are taught as university courses as opposed to high school ones. It is essential to understand the difficulty that accompanies these courses.

“The calendar is not like [high] school. You only go to class a few times a week, and those are very long hours. It’s weird because you’re more in a college environment, and no matter how old you are, they treat you like an adult. So you are personally responsible for much of your work, ”said Ng.

With increased responsibility comes challenges, but it also prepares students for college. During these courses, students will be expected to acclimatize to a college environment and teaching style. They may have to attend long conferences or large projects such as writing a thesis.

“The first day, when I walked in, I had no idea that the classes were going to last three hours. On paper it doesn’t look so bad, but in person it feels a lot longer than it actually is, ”Feng said. “I was in first grade at the time, so I was really overwhelmed.

Being overwhelmed and not being prepared for the course material is a stressor that many students may face when attempting the course. To some, these drawbacks seem great. However, colleges offering these courses understand the challenge and can provide students with the resources they need to enrich their minds while enjoying a relaxing summer.

“We give a lot of support to College Canada. We really want to help our high school students understand and explore what they want to specialize in, what interests them, ”said Arellano.


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Emails: Some Kansas University Courses on Critical Race Theory

University officials told the Kansas Board of Regents that few courses offer explicit instruction in Critical Race Theory (CRT), but some professors include elements of it in discussions of race and fairness. emails obtained Wednesday by The Star show.

Board of Regents CEO Blake Flanders asked last week that the state’s six public universities – including the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, and Wichita State University – provide the information in response to a question about Critical Race Theory of Senator Brenda Dietrich, a Republican from Topeka.

Critical Race Theory is a decades-old academic concept that researchers say seeks to provide a lens for examining the impact of race and inequality on criminal justice, law, health care, housing and other essential American institutions.

Dietrch’s question came as Republicans across the country grasped critical race theory as a threat to mainstream understanding of American history. Some educational groups and professors have condemned the request, saying it could hamper academic freedom.

Legislatures across the country have pursued bills to limit the teaching of CRT in public education. While the Kansas legislature has not addressed the issue this year, lawmakers in Missouri have pushed for legislation to ban programs seen by Republicans as CRT. Dietrich said she had no problem with CRT in Kansas schools, but wanted more information to give to voters.

Responses emailed to the Board of Regents show that most schools interpreted the request narrowly. They reported little or no course with descriptions including critical breed theory or gave general answers with little detail.

“I don’t think we have classes specifically on critical race theory,” wrote Charles Taber, Dean and Executive Vice President of Kansas State University.

Taber CRT.PNG
In an email, Kansas State University rector Charles Taber wrote that the university does not have a critical race theory course.

University of Kansas assistant vice-president for academic affairs Jean Redeker named only one course, Contemporary Japanese Cinema. Redeker pointed out in his response that the course examines how critical race theory influences filmmaking and film criticism as opposed to US-focused theory teaching.

Wichita State University executive vice president and acting provost Shirley Lefever said students can take courses “that introduce them to a myriad of concepts surrounding race and discrimination, including critical theory of race to help them learn more about the world around us ”.

Pittsburg State University has gone further than other schools and provided unattributed quotes from faculty describing how elements of critical race theory are incorporated into teaching.

“We teach diversity issues in all of our classes. It’s infused into the curriculum, ”a response said before listing examples such as the discussion of redlining, discrimination, and medical experiments performed on black Americans.

“I don’t officially teach the concept of critical race theory; However, I am discussing the role played by societal structures, class and race in maintaining the social hierarchy, ”said another response.

Pittsburg, who forwarded the request directly to faculty members, identified 11 courses that included “a critical element of race theory.”

Antonio Byrd, an English professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City who focuses on black literature, said it would be difficult to get a full account of where and how the CRT is taught in any college.

“How exactly do you define the teaching of critical race theory?” Byrd said. “Is it an entire class for 16 weeks or is it a unit where a professor, say in sociology, teaches race and racism for three weeks?” “

Byrd said CRT can manifest itself in a number of ways, from full law school courses to less formal instructions and discussions about the impact of race in particular areas.

How well those conversations should permeate the classroom, Byrd said, remains the subject of debate in universities.

“Even in higher education, it can be difficult to start conversations about race and racism,” he said. “There is a bit of disagreement if there is even a recognition that we have to teach racing in different disciplines.”

When the request became public last week, Board of Regents spokesman Matt Keith said the council frequently received requests for information from lawmakers on a wide range of topics.

E-mails show that Flanders on June 1 asked Daniel Archer, vice-president of academic affairs at the Council of Regents, to “probe the provosts” and “ask what offers expose students to this theory”.

When Archer emailed the provosts 30 minutes later, he placed the request in the context of legislative action on critical race theory, noting that several states have passed or introduced bills banning the teaching of critical race theory in public schools and colleges.

“Although there has been no bill in Kansas on this subject this year, we have received a legislative inquiry into whether this is taught at public universities,” Archer wrote. “Can you tell me if this is taught on your campus?” “

Archer CRT.PNG
Excerpt from an email from Daniel Archer of the Kansas Board of Regents to university presidents requesting information on teaching critical breed theory.

Some faculty advocates say the question was inappropriate.

“We are seeing a widespread movement this year to suppress teaching about oppression and race,” Gwendolyn Bradley, spokesperson for the American Association for University Presidents, said in an email Friday.

Chase Billingham, associate professor of sociology at Wichita State University, posted on Facebook a letter he said he wrote to university administrators. He called the request a “flagrant violation of the fundamental principles of academic freedom”.

In an interview on Wednesday, Billingham said he was pleased with the response from the administrators of the regent institutions.

“Curriculum decisions about what to include in university courses should be made by the faculty members who create and teach those courses and I hope (the university’s responses) will settle the matter. question once and for all, ”Billingham said.

“My main concern would be whether this was a stepping stone to this more aggressive action and I really hope it isn’t.”

This story was originally published June 9, 2021 at 12:32 pm.

Kansas City Star Related Stories

Katie Bernard covers the Kansas Legislature and State Government for the Kansas City Star. She joined The Star as a late-breaking journalist in May 2019 before joining the political team in December 2020. Katie studied journalism and political science at the University of Kansas.


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Springfield Diocese Says Parish School Enrollment Increased 5%, Expects Continued Growth

SPRINGFIELD – Enrollment at parish schools in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield increased 5% after a school year where these schools offered on-site learning as education was disrupted in public schools by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The once difficult school enrollment has grown to around 2,500 K-12 students.

Superintendent Daniel Baillargeon expects this increase in enrollment to continue over the next school year, even with annual tuition fees exceeding $ 4,000 per year and as most Commonwealth public schools revert to learning on the spot.

“We initially thought that when the public schools reopened, we would lose a number of our families who came to see us because they came for in-person instruction, but what we noticed was that they were very satisfied with the program. ” said Baillargeon.

“We are losing very few families for this coming year and even with the increase in the size of our classes, we have waiting lists in some of our classes that we did not have in the past. It seems that demand is on the rise because people trust our decisions to open were made correctly and overall they saw that our system did a good job of handling this really tough year.

Baillargeon said the system includes 13 parish and diocesan elementary schools in Hampden and Berkshire counties and one high school, St. Mary’s, in Westfield. It is a system that has seen closures in recent years due to declining enrollment, and does not include the Pope Francis Preparatory School, formed in 2018 by the merger of Holyoke Catholic and Cathedral High, as it operates as an independent Catholic high school within the diocese. .

Baillargeon said schools in the system can “probably accommodate over 3,000 students” and some have already received calls for new enrollments in the fall.

“We were smaller in some of our schools due to social distancing requirements,” Baillargeon said of the schools’ ability to increase enrollment in September. “We’re going back to the state-permitted standard distance and even if we had to do a four-and-a-half-foot spacing, we could fill our classrooms in an educationally appropriate manner. We don’t want to take 40 students into a classroom because that is not good teaching practice.

Governor Charlie Baker temporarily closed schools last spring as COVID-19 cases increased in the state. The diocese announced in July that his schools had sufficient space to support emergency public health security measures required during the pandemic and that they would reopen for on-site learning for the 2020-2021 academic year. Learning patterns varied in public schools with much larger enrollments throughout the year depending on rates of COVID-19 transmission.

Baillargeon said he felt the diocese had proven over the year that it could safely operate its schools and allow them to do “what we do well, which is to teach” and that the approach helped retain and increase student numbers even when public elementary and secondary schools returned. on-site apprenticeship in April.

He said “the biggest challenge” for the system to offer on-site learning came “at the start of the uncertainty of how we would handle” the cases of COVID-19 when they did occur.

“But once we had a few cases of COVID-19 and worked closely with our local public health departments and local environmental experts, we realized that it was safe to continue to learn on the spot.” , said Baillargeon. “Much of that uncertainty fizzled out and we had to do what we do well, which is to teach.”

He added: “There was nervousness at the start of the year, but our teachers, principals and families all trusted each other and that was a huge factor in being able to open up.”

“Once we were able to deal with some of the cases that came up successfully and we didn’t have any spread in our schools, it was a check that, yes, we could and we had to. do it, ”Baillargeon said.

He said that elementary school tuition costs range from $ 4,000 to just over $ 5,000 “and are” less than $ 10,000 “per year at St. Mary’s High.

Baillargeon added that state and federal government money has helped fund some of the infection control measures in schools and that some schools are requesting state funds available to private schools during the l ‘coming year to facilitate access to services designed to’ protect against learning loss. due to the pandemic. “

He said there would be no registration requirement for children to receive a COVID vaccine. There is no state mandate for this and currently vaccination is only available for children 12 years of age and older. He said parents in the fall “will have the freedom to choose whether or not their children should wear masks in our schools.”

Baillargeon, a father of eight aged 3 to a new high school student, said all Catholic schools would close for the summer by June 17 and that he had gone around telling students that “when this are vacations, take vacations. “

“We haven’t had any learning loss because we’ve been in person the entire time,” Baillargeon said. “Some schools for transfer students are going to have summer sessions to catch up with them. We are rolling out progressive testing next year that can identify where students learn wisely when they come to us and tailor our program specifically to their needs. We’re going to do a bit of professional development with our teachers and staff to be ready to use this instrument, but at this point we’ve been working all year and the students need a well-deserved break.

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Berkshire Community College Offers Free College Courses to Local High School Students | Local News

PITTSFIELD – Berkshire Community College will be offering free university classes to local juniors and seniors this summer and fall.

Classes will be available to students who live in Berkshire County, according to a press release from BCC. They include theater, dance, music, mathematics, conservation and ecology, computer programming, cooking and baking, accounting, history and philosophy.

Accepted students can earn up to six credits in the summer and up to 15 credits in the fall, and all tuition fees will be waived. Juniors and seniors can enroll in college-level classes with a GPA of 2.7 or higher in high school, or take the BCC Accuplacer placement exam.

Students who choose to take Pre-Calculus, Calculus, or higher will be required to take the Accuplacer Math course. Students who have an individualized education program or a 504 plan can contact Pamela Farron at pfarron@berkshirecc.edu.

“The Early College program allows students to challenge themselves by experiencing the rigor of a college course. As an added bonus, they experience what it is like to be in a college classroom at no cost to their family, ”Elizabeth Lapierre, Enrollment Services Coordinator at BCC, said in the statement.

For more information on the courses and to complete a registration form, visit berkshirecc.edu/early-college. Registrants must receive approval from their high school guidance counselors.


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