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November 2020
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Public Schools are Making Connections, Commitments to Students and Staff 

Schools are a place for nurture, love and learning. Like the rest of our nation, public schools are dealing with massive challenges, with no right answers. We cannot predict what the future will hold. But we are committed to learning and growing. Public schools are making connections each day with their students, families and broader communities.

Public schools are facing the challenges and emphasizing new goals:

  • Keep children healthy by creating new educational practices, including cleaning, maintaining social distance, and screening those who need to be treated;
  • Feed millions of students outside of school;
  • Expand internet connectivity of students;
  • Teach more effectively online by adapting existing curriculums; and,
  • Increase awareness of racial justice and mental health and seek ways to connect to students who are grieving or traumatized.

Public schools are looking beyond these significant goals to build a better, more responsive system to meet every family’s needs. At Learning First Alliance, we've been working with our members and partners to support millions of educators across the country. We launched www.publicschoolproud.org to help tell their stories and celebrate our commitment to every child—regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, income, family background, or ability.

We will celebrate Public Schools Week from Feb. 22-26, 2021 with events that mark the unprecedented journey educators have taken this year. Start thinking of ways you can share your stories with your community: A virtual tour, commentaries and blogs, social media posts. Download our new 11x18" 2021 #PublicSchoolProud poster to display in your school, classroom or office. A list of ideas and sample graphics are available at www.publicschoolproud.org

Podcast: Power, Agency and Public Education Teachers

LFA Executive Director Richard M. Long interviews Diana D’Amico Pawlewicz, a professor and a historian of education and social policy, on her new book, Blaming Teachers: Professionalization Policies and the Failure of Reform in American History, which explores the history of the public school workforce and the creation and maintenance of racialized ideas, policies, and practices.

Long also interviewed Joshua Starr, CEO of PDK International, on PDK's 52nd annual PDK Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools and its findings on parents' and the public's views on issues such as the federal role in K-12 education and teacher quality. 

Education and the Election
This week the National Education Association's Donna Harris-Aikens was one of several prominent panelists brought together by the American Enterprise Institute to weigh in on,"What will the election results mean for education?"
Covid-19 and Schools
LFA recently released a report, "Managing Covid-19 in Public School Buildings," with candid recommendations from a group of school nurses on how schools must manage Covid-19 outbreaks and suspected cases in buildings. Keep track of Covid-19 news and other resources from LFA members and other entities here.

Mental Health in a Pandemic
The American Psychiatric Association Foundation published a blog, "Mental Health Needs in a Pandemic: Resources for Our Students," by LFA Executive Director Richard M. Long and L. Earl Franks, executive director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
 

Exemplary Public School Models
LFA's board of directors meets regularly to discuss issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic, and recently traded stories on how school districts were handling the pandemic. Many districts are shifting to new, more accessible, streamlined learning platforms, getting devices to all students, getting hotspots to all students who needed them, and finding ways to better communicate with families and students, the board members reported.
 
The American Federation of Teachers' Share My Lesson has built a new online community for educators, school support staff, and parents to share ideas, lesson plans, and resources, including a section for special education teachers and families supporting students with disabilities.
 
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