News

Teach For America Incoming Class Hits a 15-Year Low

Facing a sharp drop in applications, Teach For America is expecting its smallest crop of first-year teachers in at least 15 years, new data from the organization shows. The organization expects to place just under 2,000 teachers in schools across the country this coming fall. That’s just two-thirds of the number of first-year teachers Teach for America placed in schools in fall 2019, and just one-third of the number it sent into the field at…

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School Shutdowns: the Biggest Impacts in 2022

Two years ago this month, school shutdowns occurred in 185 countries. According to UNESCO, roughly 9 out of 10 schoolchildren worldwide were out of school. It would soon be the biggest, longest interruption in schooling since formal education became the norm in wealthier countries in the late 19th century. At the time, several experts in the field of research known as “education in emergencies” gave their predictions for the long-term implications of school closures in…

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Levels of Banned Books Skyrocket in the US

Attacking books has been an American tradition since 1650, when Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony seized William Pynchon’s “The Meritorious Price of Our Redemption,” labeling it blasphemous for saying obedience, and not suffering, led to atonement. In 1885, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was banned for “coarse language” (and much later for the use of the n-word). “On the Origin of Species,” probably the most influential book ever banned, was censored in 1895 for…

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How to Talk About War and the News with Kids

Families across the world have been troubled by the news and images from Russia’s invasion and the war in Ukraine. When our children turn to us to help them understand scary news, we might feel afraid of saying too much—or not enough—and so avoid a conversation that could be a powerful way to help children learn about themselves and the world. Here’s what a handful of child development experts say about what parents, teachers, and…

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Support for Refugee and Immigrant Families

Recent world events have been unsettling and heartbreaking, especially for refugee and immigrant families. At the start of the year, 1,500 Afghani refugees arrived in Massachusetts for relocation. The invasion of Ukraine resulted in more than 2 million refugees fleeing the country in the past weeks. Currently, there are also 20k Ukrainian families living in Massachusetts, and research indicates that the rates of PTSD (50-90%) and major depressive disorder (6-40%) in refugee children and adolescents…

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Mask Mandate Lifted in Massachusetts Schools

The Massachusetts school mask mandate officially ended Monday, but some districts, including in the state’s largest cities of Boston, Worcester and Springfield, have decided to keep indoor mask mandates for students and staff in place for the time being. Governor Charlie Baker and state Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley announced early in February that they were lifting the statewide indoor mask mandate effective Feb. 28, but individual school districts could decide on their own masking requirements.…

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How to Talk About Climate Change with Young Children

2021 featured an unprecedented number of weather disasters in the United States, including a deep freeze in Texas, bouts of scorching temperatures in the normally temperate Pacific Northwest, a continuation of severe wildfires in California, and historic flooding in the New York area from Hurricane Ida. Today’s children are likely to live through more severe weather events; one study estimates children who are currently 6 years old will experience, on average, three times the number…

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Can American Public Schools Handle Omicron?

Many school districts, and many parents, say they don’t want classrooms to close again, but can American public schools really handle omicron? Several major school systems have said they would not shift districtwide to remote learning, or would do so only if forced to by public health officials. But the looming Omicron wave could challenge the rickety infrastructure that has kept schools running this year. Some classrooms are closing temporarily, as more people test positive…

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Education News: the Best and Worst of 2021

Most years, we might have wished that education was more present in the news. This year, though, gave truth to the old saying, ‘be careful what you wish for.’ Here are the best and worst pieces of education news in 2021, listed in no order of importance. The obvious choice for worst piece of education news: the COVID-19 pandemic that sickened and killed countless numbers of our students and members of their families, along with…

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How COVID-19 and Omicron Affects Colleges This Semester

As the omicron variant rapidly spreads, more colleges are adopting policies to discourage—or in some cases ban—students from being on campus in January. Generally, the colleges that are acting start up the first week in January. Institutions with later starts tend to be waiting to decide. DePaul, Harvard and Stanford University students won’t have in-person classes the first weeks of the semester, those universities announced; Pennsylvania State University, the University of California, Los Angeles, and…

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