‘It’s impossible not to be moved by the pain that these young people and their families share’


Good morning! 

We start this week by spotlighting an urgent and important new documentary set to premiere nationally tonight via PBS. Produced by Ken Burns and directed by brothers Erik and Christopher Loren Ewers, Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness is a two-part event that shares raw and revealing accounts from nearly two dozen young people, all struggling through excruciating experiences. We begin our lineup today with Mark Keierleber’s interview with the directors and his overview of a must-see film for anyone who wants to better understand the state of the nation’s youth in 2022.

Student Well-Being

New Ken Burns-Produced Documentary Offers Raw Look at Youth Mental Health Crisis


When brothers Erik Ewers and Christopher Loren Ewers set out to film a documentary about the mental health struggles of American youth, they didn’t realize they’d come to learn lessons about themselves. Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness, a two-part documentary, was screened at the White House last Thursday and premieres tonight on PBS. It presents the raw accounts of nearly two dozen young people from diverse backgrounds who open up about their excruciating life experiences. Through varied stories that touch on issues like abuse, addiction and discrimination, the Ewers hope their film will give their audience an understanding that they came to themselves: Everybody, no matter their backgrounds, is affected by America’s mental health crisis in one way or another. The film, executive produced by renowned documentarian Ken Burns, can be seen at 9 p.m. ET on Monday and Tuesday. The 74’s Mark Keierleber talks to the filmmakers.


Lessons in Los Angeles for Confronting COVID Learning Loss 


Amid the end of the school year, a reckoning is on the horizon: How to ensure COVID-era students bounce back next fall, recovering lost learning and narrowing gaping disparities in achievement? Inventive principals and teachers may reject antiquated practices and marshal the will to innovate. But where can they find potent initiatives that better motivate kids and teachers alike? Contributor Bruce Fuller offers an unlikely place to start: Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest district.


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Class of 2022

‘They’ve Been Through the Worst’: NYC Ukrainian School Grads Celebrate & Ache

Between proms and college visits, St. George Academy’s graduating class of 13 made harrowing phone calls to loved ones in Ukraine, attended assemblies about the war and welcomed students who recently escaped the country — all while adjusting to spells of disrupted learning from COVID. “We survived COVID, political unrest. Now we are praying and hoping Ukraine will survive war with Russia," the class salutatorian, Vitalina Voitenko said in her speech, “That’s a lot in four years of high school.” The 74’s Meghan Gallagher reports.
  • March Flashback: A tiny, ‘shell shocked’ Ukrainian school in NYC struggles with war in homeland (Read our full feature)

Teacher's View

‘We Are Out of Compartments to Fill’

When contributor Kris Sanchez saw the images coming out of Uvalde, Texas, his mind raced to, “What would I do if an active shooter entered the school?” Where could he hide 30 kindergartners? That fear of gun violence has only added to the anxiety and feelings of powerlessness caused by the pandemic, the workload, low pay and college loan debt. Writes Sanchez, "I know teachers are expected to compartmentalize, but we are out of compartments to fill." Here, he describes the stresses of being an educator in 2022 — and what can be done to help.


Classroom Road Trip — When Quality Curriculum Is Not Enough 

In the third and final piece highlighting Delaware school districts’ implementation of high-quality math curricula, the Knowledge Matters Campaign heads to Brandywine School District in Wilmington, Delaware, where middle schools are four years into their adoption of Illustrative Mathematics. In this piece, Michelle Hawley, Brandywine School District’s supervisor of mathematics, science and gifted education services, explains why implementing quality curriculum is only the first step in a much longer journey, and how ongoing professional learning is the key to effective implementation of high-quality instructional materials. Read the full case study


Proposed Title IX Rule Expands Protections to Transgender Students

The Biden administration is pursuing sweeping new changes to federal Title IX law to restore “crucial protections” for victims of sexual harassment, assault, and sex-based discrimination that it maintains they lost during the Trump administration. Coming 50 years after the law was signed, the proposed changes also would effectively add transgender students as a protected class. But as Greg Toppo reports, the proposal sidesteps the question of transgender athletes’ rights to compete in girls’ sports, an explosive issue administration officials said will get its own set of regulations at a later date. Read our full report.

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