Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: August 15 – August 21, 2020

A six-hour school day with more live instruction: Chicago releases final fall plan

By Mila Koumpilova for Chalkbeat Chicago

“Students will learn by live video during much of their school day, receive letter grades for assignments and classes, and have their attendance tracked daily under the newly released all-virtual fall plan for Chicago’s public schools. For most students, the district is prescribing a combination of live instruction and more independent activities that will add up to six hours of learning a day, with teachers expected to be available to students and families during the entire school day.”

Despite protests, most Chicago schools voted to keep police. What’s next?

By Yana Kunichoff for Chalkbeat Chicago

“As protests over police brutality and systemic racism rippled across the country this summer, long-time Chicago education activists saw their chance to win a battle they’d been waging for years: kicking police out of school buildings. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and district leadership, refusing to remove police wholesale, punted the decision to each school’s governing council. Now, after weeks of often heated debate and a messy process, the vast majority of the 70-plus schools with police officers voted to keep them — including the majority of schools where the student body is majority Black.”

CPS schools that voted to oust officers tend to be whiter. One critic said that reflects a ‘racist … belief that Black students deserve to be policed.’

By Hannah Leone for The Chicago Tribune

“After Northside College Prep’s Local School Council became the first in Chicago Public Schools to vote police officers off campus, student representative Luna Johnston was excited and hopeful more schools would do the same. In the end, of the 72 CPS high schools that had police last year, 17 voted to remove. ‘That feels like a huge accomplishment to me,’ Johnston said.”

3 of 4 people arrested at CPS are Black even as arrests plummet

By Nader Issa for The Chicago Sun-Times

“About three of every four people arrested at a Chicago Public Schools property over the past nine years have been Black, even as arrests have plummeted in that time to only a fraction of what they were in the 2011-2012 school year, new data released Friday by the district shows. There were 1,000 daytime arrests on public school grounds in the last full academic year, 2018-19. That’s down significantly from 2012, when 3,485 arrests were made. Almost 500 arrests were made the past school year, which was shortened due to coronavirus closures.”

Can little kids really social distance? Lessons from child care centers that have stayed open during the pandemic, and why it might not work in schools

By Claire Hao for The Chicago Tribune

“Earlier this summer, when Chicago Public Schools still planned to reopen in September, Chicago’s top public health official said even elementary-age children are capable of following measures to fight the spread of COVID-19, such as social distancing and wearing face masks. ‘I have nieces and nephews this age, and when you model this behavior for children and set it as an expectation, they actually do very well with it in my experience,’ Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the city’s Public Health Department, said at a July news conference. Some parents and teachers — otherwise the biggest believers in their kids and students — were less optimistic. They said social distancing goes against the very nature of very young children.”