I Have No Memory of this Plan

Because it hasn’t been shared with any teacher, not yet. With Opening Day less than a month away, no teacher knows what will be in place, what their classes will look like, and how they will provide quality instruction under the circumstances they will face.

Parents, we know you would like your children to return to the school buildings, but if it boils down to teachers babysitting bored children while they figure things out on the fly, is that what you really want? It’s a recipe for disaster.

I have no memory of this place." - Imgur
The mines of Moria: which way? Teachers are mentally at this place, but not smoking. We know tobacco consumption causes cancer.

Teachers have more questions than Wikipedia can answer. And we warn students against using Wikipedia as a source when writing research papers.

Instruction takes careful planning. It’s not something teachers do when the first bell rings and the students arrive. No teacher waits for that moment and then opens the textbook for something to do for the day.

One great lesson from the grand distance-learning experiment of the spring is that in-person instruction differs greatly from on-line instruction. Zoom (or Microsoft Teams for my school district) is a different experience. What teachers do with 25 children sitting in a classroom is not the same as what we need to do with 25 children in a Zoom meeting.

The mediums are different and instruction must also be different to keep students engaged and learning.

It’s astounding that school administrations and district leaders don’t know this, but then again, they didn’t bother to survey teachers at the end of May to find out what was working, what wasn’t, and how to make distance-learning effective.

The best we can glean from the announcements is that, for secondary students, half will sit in the classroom and half will watch from home if they choose the hybrid option.

Have these people never heard of Zoom fatigue? Did they not pay attention when numerous parents described their children’s melt-downs when they were sat in front of their computers? Do they not pay attention to pediatricians’ warnings about the dangers of excessive screen time?

Apparently not. What we can glean from the hybrid plan for children to be in synchronous learning at home means that they will have to sit in front of the computer and watch their classmates being taught. Does that mean teachers have to stream their classes and allow the home-stuck children to butt in with questions and comments? How will that work off a laptop? Not every classroom has the big-screen TV to put the stream on.

Who really expects teenagers to stay online? Once the teacher marks them present, they are outtathere. One more lesson from the spring that the district is not asking teachers about.

The latest info is that teachers can apply to do the distance-learning. One week before they report to work, two weeks before school opens, they will be notified of their assignments.

Teachers have no memory of the plan for reopening.

That’s because the school district hasn’t shared it with them.

The Forgotten

Amazon.com: The Forgotten: Julianne Moore, Dominic West, Gary ...
GOT googled and this turned up.

With a presidential tweet masquerading as a mandate and a willing henchwoman at the U.S. Department of Education, aided by willing governors who spend their days currying favor with the White House, furious debate broke out this past week over the wisdom of reopening school buildings.

For clarity, Grumpy Old Teacher (GOT) must emphasize that no one is against reopening schools in some form: through virtual endeavors such as Florida Virtual School (public) or K12 (charter), through distance learning platforms that school districts utilized in the spring, hybrid models in which students would spend some days on their campuses and some days at home, or a full return to the campus.

Schools will reopen.

What we are arguing about is whether school buildings should open.

Teachers are at risk and most of the debate weighs the benefits and risks to children versus the risks to teachers, many of whom are older and have underlying health issues.

Then there are the forgotten. No one is talking about them.

A Google search for the typical movie or song that GOT likes to use with a post turned up a 2004 movie in which a grieving mother is told that her dead child never existed and that she’s delusional. Evidence is suppressed or denied.

At this point, something of what we’re being told about Covid-19. We’re delusional and there’s no evidence the pandemic has resumed its exponential spread and deadly consequences despite the daily data reports.

Then, GOT found this poem: The Forgotten Ones, by Corrina H.

I am the voice of those afraid to speak,
Those of us society calls weak,
Those you ridicule every day,
The ones who have nothing to say.
We have feelings too, okay?

I am the voice of those alone,
The ones abandoned and on their own,
The ones who hide their pain in their eyes,
Those you never saw cry,
Those of us you just pass by.

I am the voice of those you forget,
The ones society regrets.
Though you see us, you don’t care
Whether or not we are here,
And we, like shadows, slowly disappear…

Who are the forgotten ones? In all this debate, whose voice is not being heard?

Teachers resist going back to their buildings, but if they do, they demand the cleaning that classrooms will need daily, maybe hourly, to keep them sanitized.

The forgotten are those who do that work. Those whose very job requires them to be exposed to the virus, either from the sneeze and cough deposits on student desks, plexiglass barriers, door handles, light switches, and the like as they have to wipe them down or from the airborne particles that linger in the air for hours after people have left the room.

They, too, must take great risks with their health and lives to do their jobs. They don’t make much in wages; if anyone needs to keep working despite the risks, it is them. Custodians and cleaners come from the more vulnerable parts of our population. How is it we do not hear from them?

Perhaps they don’t make enough money to afford an internet connection and they don’t have the time. They’re too busy working.

That is no reason they should be forgotten. If we reopen schools, their needs must also be considered. What are we asking of them? Can we keep them safe? If not, if we cannot provide protection to the people who must clean and sanitize to keep us safe, should we be reopening buildings?

The Covid Charge of the Teacher Brigade

“Someone had blundered:
Theirs not to make reply
Theirs not to reason why
Theirs but to do and die.”
—Alfred Lord Tennyson

Three million! Three million
Teachers in play
As the virus works throughout
Our nation today.
Schools must reopen
The Donald has thundered
Ignoring the data, the scientists,
Because people must work.
But teachers and staff have not wondered (that)
Someone had blundered:
Fearmongerers all, or so
Secretary DeVos did mock
As she echoed in chief
The chief commander’s talk.
Forward, then, the teacher brigade!
Though the future you cannot scry
Safety your concern
But your mask a muzzle
Fearful are your children, but fie!
Theirs not to make reply
Onward and open!
Forward, Teacher Brigade!
Into a mess you had not made
Brush aside the excuses
‘Bout the rise in cases, and deaths,
And hospitalizations by
The Covid deniers.
People must work, the economy calls.
What of their children’s lives?
Theirs not to reason why
About a virus that invades
The body’s organs.
An asymptomatic child
Nevertheless could end
With life-long health problems.
But with the school year nigh …
What of our teachers?
They must go back
Their voices despised,
Theirs but to do and die.


The Nitty-Gritty (Part Three)

A response to GOT’s last post from a parent, Kerri Cook Halligan:

Excellent post! I love the proactive nature of trying to make it better. I’m hoping for smaller classes, *limited risk* return to the classroom for my kids. But if we need to go back to online schooling, I like that teachers are thinking about how to make it better.

My teens had a really hard time and I was here to push and prod them. About halfway in, I spent HOURS each week logging onto Duval Homeroom trying to summarize and prioritize their work onto a clipboard sheet. I wouldn’t say we had 100% success because it was a struggle to get them to make progress when they got behind. I think it would have been better if I had done that from the start and then phased them into updating the chart themselves.

My observation as a parent was that

1) attendance was not consistent across the board and that was a problem. Some had google forms but you couldn’t SEE if the form had been submitted so my kids would forget. Others had daily questions that the kids had to answer. I liked this best because I could spot check my kids and see if they were at least checking in.

2) We also had issues that required a LOT of hunt and pecking for parts of an assignment. My kids would get frustrated and also distracted.

3) We also had issues with the type of work being assigned. My kids were not invested and they checked out.

4) Another thing was that this was such a huge upheaval. My kids were feeling very down and it took a huge amount of effort to get them to complete work. I think things would be better in the fall but I would hope that we can recognize that at least some of the ‘failure’ of the initial round was that you can’t teach kids that don’t feel safe and secure.

5) We let our schedule go to heck. My teens stayed up late and woke up late. This allowed my husband and I to work from home quietly before the chaos began. This meant that my kids missed whatever online real-time lessons might have been going on that could have helped with some of the above issues. I personally would prefer to see later hours for the ‘live lesson’ stuff instead of the early ones we had to choose from. During isolation, my homeschooled (dual-enrolled) teen daughter wrote a research paper about the benefits of a later start time for school for teens so I have been hearing from her about all the studies on it. I think this could have helped with 2 & 3 above for us.

6) I think my kids would have benefitted from a weekly or twice weekly phone call with a school employee mentor to help them stay focused and moving forward. We had this a bit with my kid who has an IEP. I think my other teen could have benefitted from this, too. Someone that could even email teachers to get clarification on assignments, help prioritize, offer tips on doing school at home or just offering a word of encouragement.

The Nitty-Gritty (Part Two)

The Nitty-Gritty is a series of posts looking at the new school year after pondering the lessons learned from the distance-learning experiment of the spring and sketching out the approach this teacher will take as the pandemic continues.

The first post looked at how to structure curriculum units in a way that would be adaptable to either an in-person model, whereby the students are physically present in the classrrom, or a distance-learning model, whereby the students stay home.

Today, Grumpy Old Teacher (GOT) will look at the structure of learning and what teenagers reported that they needed to help them maintain their learning.

Four-Day Rotating Schedule / Student Schedule
And a bell.

Most teen students said they missed being in school, but their reasons went beyond missing their friends.

More than half reported that they missed the structure of the school day, where bells rang, there were assigned places to be, and learning was organized. Those who believe school buildings are no longer necessary fail to understand how the building itself, a location dedicated to fostering learning, works in the background, little noticed, to keep the attention of students on their learning.

My teenage students got it. They commented on how learning at home brought many distractions that kept them from focusing on their lessons. One said that she tried to sit down and tune into the classroom meeting, but then her mother gave her work to do and she had to do what her mother said. But being at school removes those distractions. Location, with its underlying structure, is important.

Now, in these pandemic days, being ‘on property’ may not be possible. But this is a recognition that distance learning must find a way to replace the structure of a school building. The question is how.

Another thing to keep in mind is that three-fourths (76%) of students said they needed help in keeping track of their assignments. This despite GOT creating assignments in the Teams platform (equivalent to Google classroom), creating assignment entries in the online gradebook, and sending out grade reports via email.

Don’t blame the students. Teenagers are engaged in their developmental agenda and their body growth, which includes the brain. Their executive functioning, via the prefrontal cortex, is the last part of the brain to achieve adult status. Its growth is not finished until the mid-20s in age.

That is why teenagers are often impulsive. It’s not that they lack capacity to make good decisions, but the delay often finds them committed to decisions more driven by the amygdala, the center of emotion before they can think their way through it.

It’s easy to blow off an assignment, thinking they’ll do it later, and than forget what they were supposed to do.

Teenagers need structure, especially 9th graders who are transitioning from middle school. They love the new freedom of high school (You mean I don’t have to go to lunch in a line escorted by my teacher? Nope, we trust you are now old enough to know where the cafeteria is and can get there without causing mayhem along the way.) But they lack the organizational skills necessary. They need help.

The other difficulty: teenagers said they needed help in setting up a time schedule for learning at home that they could keep.

These are important lessons, not only for learning that must take place at home, but also for a resumption of in-person learning. How will a student manage home-learning assignments? How will they prepare for tests? A plan is needed–one that involves parents, not as educators, but as caring adults who will help their children follow the plan.

GOT is planning instruction for the fall. What this comes to is that an introductory unit is needed. Before students can begin to tackle Geometry or Algebra 2, they need to work through their learning needs and make a plan that will provide the structure that they need.

A learning plan for the new year will be the emphasis of the first week–one that students will create in consultation with their parents.

There is more that must be considered and included. That will be addressed in future posts of this Nitty-Gritty series.

The Nitty-Gritty (Part One)

Things were proceeding well in Florida as school districts brought their reopening plans to completion and planned to share them with parents and teachers.

Impeachment watch: Trump used unsecured cell phone in scheme to ...
Connected to Twitter by an umbilical cord.

Then the president put his thumbs on his phone and shouted in all caps that schools must open in the fall. Swiftly, Florida’s governor had its commissioner of education put out an executive order that upended almost every district’s plan to move to a hybrid model of half on-campus, half-off campus for at least their secondary schools.

Today’s post is not to recapitulate that decision. Today, Grumpy Old Teacher (GOT) wants to discuss the nitty-gritty of delivering instruction, planning curriculum units, and meeting student needs, both in general and in specific situations such as IEPs and 504 plans. (These specify instructional practices to support the needs of individual students to meet educational standards for their courses and grade level.)

In one way, the torpedoing of the hybrid model comes as a relief. Among the many questions GOT had about the specifics of how that would work, the most crucial one was how the district could tell him to teach in-person and online simultaneously. The spring experiment with distance learning showed that teachers could not replicate the in-person experience online and expect success. The two different models come with very different characteristics and the instructional design must take into account those differences. One will not look like the other.

Thus, a simultaneous delivery would mean little more than the students at home watching their lucky classmates get instruction, teacher feedback, and intervention while they observed. Schoolhouse Rock featured catchy tunes, but did it really deliver in-depth understanding?

Ready to pass your state writing exam, kids?

With the change to in-person schooling five days a week (as if the pandemic had never happened or has disappeared), GOT can move ahead with designing an instructional plan with built-in flexibility so he can move between in-person and remote learning as circumstances and his superintendent dictate, one that can be adapted and customized to either format.

Duval’s new theme song: the pivot as discussed during the July Board meeting with the superintendent.

After the ‘distance learning’ of the spring, GOT’s students asked that they be given their assignments at the beginning of the week and have them due at the end of the week, for example Sunday evening.

After pondering this request for a while, GOT realized that this would work for in-school learning as well as distance or remote learning.

The nitty-gritty: In the new school year, GOT will assign units to cover five instructional days, which is a week if we convert to a daily schedule or two weeks if we retain a block schedule.

That means a careful design considering how new knowledge is introduced to students, the exploration and practice needed, and the assessment to wrap-up the unit and determine who needs more help and practice.

Thus, for the coming year, my mathematics units will begin with an introduction of key concepts and examples. Not only will GOT present his own lessons, but he will also provide links to online videos by others for students who need more explanation or review.

There will be a requirement to verify that the student participated in a minimum amount of instruction. GOT plans to have parents sign a confirmation (not necessary if students attended one of his lectures in person) as evidence of completing this part of the unit.

This will also work well for absent students because students rarely come for tutoring when they miss a day of class. They will have video resources to use as an alternative. Distance learning has shown us that students can continue to learn at home if guided in effective ways to do so. Not all absent students are able to attend to learning, but for those that are, it will help maintain continuity.

As another piece of accountability, GOT will ask students to submit notes on the lesson presentations.

Then, we need exploration and practice. GOT plans to make students justify their work–explain their reasoning. Partly to make them engage on a deeper conceptual level; partly to forestall the inevitable cheating that takes place. A student can find answers on the internet, even a solution with all the steps to copy. But they cannot find an explanation. They have to come up with that themselves.

Finally, at the end, there will be a performance task for assessment. How well did the student understand? It will require solving unique problem situations or applying the mathematics under study and providing an explanation of how the student is reasoning about the work.

Again, the goal is to design an assessment that resists cheating.

With this framework, students can work in the classroom or at home, engage as we want them to, and achieve growth.

What’s that? How will it help them to pass “The TEST?”

Haven’t we gotten over that now? Didn’t we learn anything from the shutdown?

Damn the Torpedos! Full speed … glug, glug, glug.

Today, Monday, July 6, 2020, the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, issued an executive order requiring all traditional and charter schools to reopen in one month for students to attend five days a week as they normally would in the pre-pandemic days.

He argues that the picture is not as bad as it seems: more cases come from more testing, the positivity rate varies by county but is stable (spoiler alert: it’s not), and hospitals are not being overrun (another spoiler alert: they are.)

Pontius Pilate (Passion of the Christ) | Villains Wiki | Fandom
That confused look–aren’t we supposed to wash our hands?

Someone bring the governor and commissioner of education a bowl of water so they can re-enact the scene from Matthew 27:24 by washing their hands and claiming that they are free of blood, that they bear no responsibility for the illness and death that will result from their orders.

So much for local control. So much for respecting the role and constitutional authority of school boards to run the state’s schools. So much for following CDC guidelines and health department advice.

Where are the extra resources needed to accomplish this order? Suspending/altering the Fall FTE count to determine school funding for the year does nothing to provide the money needed for the extra bus runs, maybe double or triple what would be normal, the extra teachers and staff to reduce class sizes to the point where they can occupy a classroom, or the adjustments needed for meals, movement, and elective classes.

We cannot call them clueless. They know damn well what they are doing.

Too much has been written, discussed, and debated over the past several weeks for them to say they had no idea. If they try to make that claim, they will only confess a staggering incompetence to hold the offices that they do.

The news cycle moves fast. Perhaps tomorrow they will have to walk this back as the enormity of the consequences of this decision lands on them.

But Florida, O Florida! Do any of you still indulge a fantasy that these politicians care about children, your children, and their lives?

Covid-19 is moving through our state at an exponential pace. It is seen in new cases, the percent of tests coming back positive, and the increasing rate of hospitalizations.

It’s bad. But the governor has an answer for you:

The Great and Wonderful Donald has spoken and what Donald commands must be done.

Meanwhile, back on the Good Ship Florida, the torpedos are colliding with the ship’s hull … glug, glug, glug*.

*Glug: a hollow, gurgling sound like when liquid is poured from a bottle. It is the gulps of air rushing inward or outward from a vessel as the liquid fills or empties.

Risky Business

Risky Business - Hollywood Suite
You’ll have to find the famous underwear dance scene for yourself.

Risky Business was a 1983 teen movie about a young man left home alone and trying to figure out what to do with his time. Things get out of hand and he ends up trying to get on top of a situation that is out-of-control. (Parental alert: it is an R-rated movie.)

While there are few parallels between the movie and Covid-19 impacted schools, the title fits. Reopening schools is a risky business as community spread accelerates, the positivity rate for tests climbs, and increasing knowledge about how the virus acts to infect and then damage bodies even for children, teens, and young adults tells us that the risk of the virus is not limited to death.

What follows is a summary of information gleaned from days of reading reports, listening to broadcasts, and monitoring stats. While normal blogger practice provides embedded links in a post, perhaps in an attempt to establish pseudo-journalism status, which is not really practical as links to secondary sources do not qualify as quality journalism, this post will not include them. Partly because Grumpy Old Teacher (GOT) hasn’t kept track and partly because GOT encourages you to search and read widely as well.

ONE: Covid-19 is not a respiratory disease. While its most obvious effects show up in breathing difficulty from pneumonia complications, Covid-19 attacks all the major organs in the body: heart, brain, kidneys, spleen, liver, etc.

This explains odd symptoms like loss of taste and smell as the virus infects the brain. Strokes and cardiac problems have resulted from Covid-19 causing blood clots as well as kidney failure.

The idea that Covid-19 only affects older people, in particular, those older than 65 is not true. Anyone who catches it at any age runs the risk of surviving with life-long health problems that have the chance of shortening their life as well as impacting their quality of life.

We cannot say children are safe returning to school because even if they catch it and have symptoms, it will be a mild sickness and they soon will recover. A Covid-19 infection may condemn a child to a lifetime of illness.

TWO: The coronavirus has different characteristics than influenza virus. It is much smaller than influenza, which is why it tends to linger as an airborne virus than fall onto nearby surfaces. The risk of infection from touching a surface and then one’s face is low; the risk of infection from breathing virus-laden air is high.

To reopen schools, mitigation is crucial. While continual cleaning of commonly-touched surfaces such as door handles, light switches, desks, and books is helpful, what really counts is to stop airborne transmission.

This requires the wearing of facial coverings, either masks or shields, plexiglass barriers where appropriate, good ventilation in indoor spaces with outside air–it may be hot, Florida, but open those classroom windows–eating outside, not in classrooms, physically distancing as possible but! with the awareness that a virus that lingers in the air will move much farther than six feet. By the way, buses transporting children should also do so with the windows open. A little sweat is an acceptable trade-off for remaining healthy.

THREE: The community spread of the virus has resumed exponential characteristics. Every day, new records for identified cases, percent positive for conducted tests, and now, hospitalization rates are occurring.

We flattened the curve and then let it rebend.

Study the data. Although sources vary as to exact counts, all data dashboards are approximately the same. Florida has 210,000 identified cases, 16,000 hospitalizations, and 3,800 deaths.

Forget all the rates you’ve been quoted. 16,000 divided by 210,000 means that 7.6% of people who test positive have wound up in the hospital. 3,800 divided by 16,000 means that 24% of people who are hospitalized die. One out of every four persons whose case is severe enough to require hospitalization die. 3,800 divided by 210,000 means that the death rate is 1.8%.

FOUR: Mitigation of risk requires the cooperation of all. The behavior we have seen so far–refusal to wear masks, gathering in large groups, not maintaining physical distance–combined with the normal behavior schools see–sending sick children to school because parents have to go to work, reluctance to visit a urgent care center from lack of insurance with which to pay, etc.–means that the measures schools take to limit attendance by sick children will be difficult for school personnel to maintain their effectiveness.

We have not licked the coronavirus. What we are learning comes down to this–

Reopening schools is a risky business. Very risky, indeed.

Keep the Polls Open

Yesterday, the news dropped that Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, has issued an executive order urging schools to close so that they may be repurposed for the days of August 18 (primary) and November 3 (general) as polling places. He also encouraged state and school employees to serve as poll workers on those days.

Social media reaction, especially from teachers, was swift and ran along the lines of “no,” “hell, no,” and <unprintable.>

Grumpy Old Teacher (GOT) dissents.

Even before the executive order, GOT was considering becoming a poll worker. Things don’t happen in a vacuum and to understand the background of the story, let’s revisit why the executive order was issued.

Florida’s Supervisors of Elections, who are county officials elected by the residents and have the status of being constitutional officers, asked for more flexibility in being able to meet the demands of conducting an election during a pandemic.

In particular, they asked for more early voting days and for the authority to consolidate polling places as needed to meet staffing needs. The fear is that many poll workers, being retired senior citizens, will not work on the scheduled election days for fear of being exposed to Covid-19.

The governor did not agree, but decided to ‘urge’ schools to close so that they may serve as polling locations and ‘encourage’ teachers et al. to be poll workers on those days.

You will find GOT agreeing that any mandate for teachers, even one along the lines of you-got-the-day-off-you-should-work-anyway nature, is out-of-order. Not even given that fact the poll workers are paid a stipend.

Poll workers work long days. They must report by 6 AM to their assigned location. Polls open at 7 AM and close at 7 PM. Already, we have a 13 hour shift. But even then, once the polls close, the workers have to secure the ballots and tabulating machines, tidy the location, do other duties for the purpose and until the count is reported to the central office, etc. Even without problems, they often work for 15 hours for a stipend of $225, or about $15 an hour.

Better than minimum wage, you might say, until you realize that ought to be the minimum wage.

But GOT will stay on topic. Why would he volunteer for such a day when he could sit at home and relax?

Protests and demonstrations have broken out across the nation, “from the mountains to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam …” or “from California to the New York Island,
from the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters …”

All to say that Black Lives Matter. Critics say they shouldn’t demonstrate on the streets because that carries the potential for violence, in particular theft and arson. (No, I won’t use the emotionally-laden terms usually applied in these situations.)

What about kneeling for patriotic displays of song, flag, and military? Nope, ask Colin Kapaernik how well that worked out.

The fall-back advice is that the way to effect change is at the ballot box: Vote!

That brings us to Georgia, whose voter suppression moves came in the wake of the Supreme Court decision that vacated key parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. What good is a vote if you can’t cast it?

Then, this year we saw what happened in Wisconsin and then Georgia (again!) as voting officials claimed that they needed to consolidate voting places in response to Covid-19. People waited for hours to cast their vote; some got discouraged and went home.

Milwaukee opened only five polling places. Five places for a city with an estimated population of 590,000. Then, Georgia also experienced long lines.

Let’s put all this together. Covid-19 gives election officials the excuse to consolidate polling places, which impacts negatively the right of all persons, especially black persons, to exercise their 15th Amendment right to the ballot box.

Florida’s Supervisors of Election asked for the same. GOT is not impugning their intentions in any way; nevertheless, consolidating polling places will suppress voting if for no other reason than voter confusion when their usual polling place is closed and they don’t know how to find the new one.

Black people are risking their lives marching in the streets to demand what they are due: equality under the law and in our society.

Should GOT stay at home because of a fear that the virus represents a risk to health and life?

Or should GOT do his part and become a poll worker to keep all precinct polls open and operating? Yes, it involves a risk, but really, it is nothing in comparison to what other people are doing.

GOT will risk his life and health to see that people have access to a ballot. He has applied to be a poll worker in his county and will take personal leave if necessary to do the work.

It is the least he can do.

In closing, GOT would like to ask other teachers, “Won’t you do the same?”

Quick Notes from the DeSantis Presser

It came after 20 minutes of announcements and speeches about Melbourne hosting the AAU Junior Olympics this summer. The governor spoke so quickly it was hard to keep up. Here are the highlights as best as possible:

  • Schools to return to on-campus instruction for the fall.
  • CARES funds will be used to address learning losses during the spring and gaps between achievement groups.
  • “Florida fell less behind than other states because its distance learning was one of the most effective in the U.S.”
  • $64 million will be used to close achievement gaps through ‘fortified’ K-5 learning programs for the summer.
  • New goal: 90% of students to be proficient in reading by 2024.
  • $20 million for K – 3 reading curriculum as vetted by Just Read Florida.
  • $15 million for highly effective reading coaches and support by regional teams.
  • $29 million for transition to kindergarten programs.
  • $45 million for safety net programs, including $30 million for tax scholarships to protect traditional K – 12 schools from a huge increase in enrollment if private schools close. (Emphasis mine.)
  • $69 million for childcare providers.
  • $223 million for early learning programs, including safety precautions for Covid-19.
  • Free ACT/SAT for 2020.
  • $35 million for technological certification programs at state colleges.
  • $10.9 Million for K – 12 plan for technological prep for post-graduate programs.
  • $2.3 million for telehealth services.
  • Survey districts for PPE needs.

Then it was Corcoran’s turn:

  • Safe plan to open; schools fully open in the fall.
  • Must have teachers in front of children, but keep everyone safe.
  • Emphasis on in-person learning versus distance learning.
  • Focus on 3rd grade, where we need to ‘grapple’ (that was the word he used–several times) with getting them to a 90% literacy rate.
  • Something about credentialing personnel in 20 weeks where they would have high skills and high wages.
  • Then he waved a huge foam finger. (OK, I made that up, but he emphasized about being number one.)

A link to the recording via the Florida Channel is not yet available. Update: link now available.

Also, please offer corrections if a detail is wrong. It’s hard to keep up when they talk so fast.