| Brown Center Chalkboard - The Brookings Institution
Substitute teachers are an important (yet oft-ignored) group of educators in the U.S. school system. The reason is simple: Substitute teachers spend substantial time with K-12 students. Like other professionals, teachers are absent from work for various reasons, such as sickness, professional development, or personal issues. Based on one estimate drawn from a sample of large U.S. metropolitan districts, teachers miss an average of about 11 days out of a 186-day school year. This means that students spend, on average, approximately two-thirds of a school year with substitute teachers during the entirety of their K-12 schooling—not a trivial amount of time.
| The 74
New public opinion research indicates that COVID-19 and the hurried transition to remote learning presented teachers with an array of challenges that seriously damaged their sense of self-efficacy. The quality of school working conditions, including fair expectations and clear communication, was found to be critical in sustaining the educators’ perceptions of professional success.
While over half of the teachers surveyed by academics at Brown University and the City University of New York experienced a decline in their sense of success, those who reported better working conditions were somewhat shielded from the effects, said co-author Matthew Kraft, a professor of education and economics at Brown. He added that lessons could be taken from schools that offered strong instructional leadership and opportunities for collaboration.
- | The 74
COVID-19 has increased the need for schools to communicate with families while reducing opportunities for face-to-face interactions. As a result, families have received an onslaught of emails, text messages and detailed websites. Many of these are dense. Too often, the best families can do is quickly skim — if they read these at all.
While more information needs to be shared in writing than ever before, more communication is not necessarily better. The goal is not to just send information out, but for recipients to understand the information they receive. We all struggle with long emails that arrive in our inboxes while we are racing around doing a million other things. Or with multiple emails from the same sender that accumulate, unread. When we finally do open a message to figure out what we need to know, we get distracted before reaching the main point. So how can schools rise above the seemingly never-ending barrage of information to ensure successful outreach to families?
| Zoom CaresUp to 1.6 billion children around the world have been impacted by school closures during the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic has exposed inequities in education - from access to computers and technology for remote learning, to the support teachers need to provide quality education during this challenging time.
Please join us in supporting schools and teachers here in the US and globally as they ensure our world’s children continue to learn and thrive through this pandemic.
- | Results for America
Today, Results for America and the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University released three new EdResearch for Recovery briefs that highlight what the evidence tells us about some of the toughest questions facing policymakers, educators and families, including:
- What changes in central office systems are likely to support principals in leading for equitable, high-quality teaching and learning?
- How can schools create contexts that foster safety and prosocial behaviors in the wake of COVID-19 and the ongoing state of increased unrest over racial justice?
- How can schools and districts support families in their diverse contexts and build practical trust to support student learning?
| AP News“When you look at the distance learning research, very little has been carried out on young students, even below middle school,” said Brown University’s Schwartz, who is a member of the committee that wrote the report and is also running a project that provides research to school leaders who are trying to make decisions during the pandemic. “Few people were even considering that it could be considered with kids this young.”
With teachers suddenly thrust into remote learning last spring, what impact did that have on their sense of success and their students’ engagement? Researchers Matthew Kraft of Brown University and FutureEd, Nicole Simon of CUNY, and Melissa Arnold Lyon of Brown University explored the work-from-home conditions during COVID-19 in a new working paper, Sustaining a Sense of Success: The Importance of Teacher Working Conditions During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
| Principal Matters - William D. Parker
| Albert Shanker InstituteTeachers are used to playing many different roles, but this year they are facing the most complex challenges of their careers. They are being asked to be public health experts. Tech support specialists. Social workers to families reeling from the effects of layoffs and illness. Masters of distance learning and trauma-responsive educational practices. And they are being asked to take on these new responsibilities against a backdrop of rising COVID-19 cases in many parts of the country, looming budget cuts for many school districts, and a hyper-polarized political debate over the return to school.
| Education Week
In the current pandemic reality, educators can improve learning, we believe, by finding better ways to use and structure students' work time. That's true whether learning is fully remote via computers, phones, or packets or whether it includes in-person instruction.
When in-person schooling ended abruptly this spring, the learning opportunities then available to students varied enormously. Some students received no distance instruction, and others got a hodgepodge of a synchronous virtual classroom, asynchronous online activities, and worksheets and packets. Educators scrambled to keep a semblance of school going till normal returned.