Murphy signs EO to end routine COVID-19 testing for school districts, state workers

Effective Aug. 15, New Jersey school districts and child care settings no longer need to maintain a policy that requires their unvaccinated workers undergo routine COVID-19 testing, per an executive order from Gov. Phil Murphy.

“Today’s executive order follows guidance from public health officials at the CDC regarding responsible steps states can take as we continue to adjust to the endemic reality of COVID-19,” Gov.…

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Mastery learning can accelerate learning recovery, teacher survey says

Nearly 85 percent of teachers “believe mastery learning can help address learning loss from the pandemic,” according to a new nationally representative survey from Khan Academy, a nonprofit providing free education resources.

“Mastery can play a critical role in recovery,” says Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy. “It allows teachers to personalize learning so that each student can progress through their grade level while also addressing the areas where they may need extra help.”…

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Black, special ed students received ‘exclusionary discipline’ during pandemic, study shows

With most students in virtual classroom during the 2020-21 school year, suspensions declined, “yet African American students and students with disabilities disproportionately received exclusionary discipline,” writes New York University’s Dr. Richard O. Welsh in a recently released study.

“In 2021–22, suspensions seem to be on the rise as educators grapple with stress accompanying the return to in-person learning,” adds Dr.…

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NPSS will expand tutoring and mentoring

On July 5, the Biden administration, the U.S. Department of Education and others launched the National Partnership for Student Success to provide students with more tutors and mentors, according to a White House press release.

“America’s students are on average two to four months behind in reading and math because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the White House said July 5.…

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Poll: K-12, higher ed are the industries with highest burnout rate

At 44 percent and 35 percent, respectively, K-12 education and college or university are the top two industries where employees feel most burned out at work, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February.

“K-12 workers have consistently been among the more burned out workers nationally, but the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing challenges — and introduced new ones to a profession already struggling,” write Stephanie Marken and Sangeeta Agrawal for Gallup.…

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New U.S. DOE council connects families, schools to meet students’ needs

The U.S. Department of Education on June 14 launched the National Parents and Families Engagement Council.

“Parents are a child’s first teachers, and there’s no one better equipped to work with schools and educators to identify what students need to recover,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel A. Cardona in a press release. “The National Parents and Families Engagement Council will serve as an important link between families and caregivers, education advocates and their school communities.…

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GAO report looks at teachers’ efforts to mitigate pandemic learning loss

During the 2020-21 school year, about 60 percent of K-12 teachers in a virtual environment “had students who had more difficulty understanding lessons than in a typical year, compared to 37 percent of teachers in an in-person environment,” according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Here are other key findings in the GAO’s report, which was released May 10:

  • 85 percent of in-person teachers said live instruction, fully or partially in-person, helped students
  • Fewer than 40 percent of all teachers thought asynchronous learning, in which students work independently, helped the majority of their students

To view the full report, click here.…

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Local 1940 AFT members have their say at Middlesex County board meeting

On April 21, about 70 members of Middlesex College’s full-time faculty, along with some current students, attended the Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners meeting in New Brunswick to support Local 1940 AFT as it continues its efforts for a new contract.

Sheema Majiduddin, a counselor at Middlesex College, was the first in a long line of speakers, and she addressed the overall atmosphere at the school. “The…

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Cardona provides road map for conquering educational challenges

While acknowledging that the collective effort to address educational disparities throughout the pandemic “has been nothing short of inspiring,” U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel A. Cardona realizes more work needs to done and that “this next chapter in our country’s education history must dwarf those efforts.”

In a recent column for EdSurge, Dr. Cardona takes what he calls “a deeper dive” into the values and priorities of the U.S.…

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Virtual conference on school safety begins April 22

The Harvard Kennedy School’s Taubman Center for State and Local Government will present “A Safe Place to Learn: A Virtual Conference Series on School Safety” from April 22 through June 3.

“As students have returned to in-person learning following the COVID-19 pandemic, school staff are now reporting dramatic spikes in physical assaults and mental health issues,” Harvard Kennedy School writes online.…

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Marten, Ingram salute ARP’s mark on education in joint Newark visit

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten and AFT Secretary-Treasurer Fedrick Ingram visited Newark’s Oliver Street School on March 29 to highlight how American Rescue Plan funds have been implemented in the city’s public schools.

“Right here in your school district, you’ve used these ARP funds to provide extra tutoring to students, and that’s accelerating learning, and that’s accelerating recovery,” Marten said.…

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Carr: NAEP scores likely to drop

Peggy Carr, the commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, is anticipating a drop in National Assessment of Educational Progress scores as fourth- and eighth-grade students take national math and reading tests for the first time in the COVID-19 pandemic era.

“The likelihood that the scores would be anything but down is pretty small,” Carr said in a story by The 74’s Linda Jacobson.…

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Report: Mental health is big concern for 2022-23 K-12 school year

Recent research by Rave Mobile Safety has found that student, faculty and staff mental health is a major concern heading into the 2022-23 K-12 school year.

Based on the responses of more than 800 K-12 and higher education professionals, other issues for 2022-23 include staff retention, bullying/cyberbullying and crime.

“Though COVID-19 will have a lesser direct influence over K–12 schools in the 2022-2023 school year, there are still major challenges ahead,” write the report’s authors.…

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‘New normal’ can mean making better versions of ourselves

By Robert Barbier

The HPAE-AFT “Moving Forward. Getting Stronger.” workshop series, designed to meet the mental health needs of our members and conducted by the presentation faculty of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey, began this month.

One of its coping-resiliency sessions was held March 16, and the opening question posed by workshop host Dana Rahmel was, “Is this the new normal?”…

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Cardona aims to ‘bring people together around education’

The work ahead for the U.S. Department of Education “is going to get different,” said Education Secretary Dr. Miguel A. Cardona in a recent interview with K-12 Dive.

By that, Dr. Cardona means a shift from educators’ “heroic work” during the pandemic “to transformative change, to innovation, to really boldly addressing inequities.”

“And the challenges now are different than they were three years ago,” he added.…

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