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What We’re Reading: Week of February 28, 2022

March 4, 2022 | Ava Marinelli

Happy March, Linked Learning field! This week, we’re reading stories on COVID-19’s impact on college preparation, the role of community colleges in developing a 21st-century workforce, how pandemic funding is sparking an investment in career-technical education across the country, and more. As always, thank you for reading with us!


Curriculum
How did increased attention to computer science impact other subjects in California?, K-12 Dive
More students signing up for high school computer science classes in California didn't boost or decrease their development of math or English language arts skills, but it did affect enrollment in humanities classes, which saw a decline, according to the Illinois News Bureau.


Equity
Arne Duncan: It’s Time to Make a Quality Public Education a Civil Right for All Children, The 74 Million
When politicians and special interests defend the status quo, it takes parent power to compel the public school system to meet the needs of students, writes former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.


Higher Education
The Pandemic Interrupted College Preparation, Which Impacted College Application, Diverse Education
A new report released by the ACT college readiness exam nonprofit organization found that participation in college preparatory activities increases a student’s likelihood of attending college. But those same results showed that 46% of the class or 2021 had one or more of their college prep activities canceled due to pandemic restrictions, possibly leading to greater educational inequity.

The Important History of Community Colleges, Diverse Education
Current educational issues and how we respond to them will shape our future, just as the issues of the past have shaped our institutions. An understanding of the formation and continuing evolution of community colleges provides important insights for those who are faced with resolving today’s issues, writes Dr. George R. Boggs and Dr. Lawrence A. Galizio.

Community Colleges Must Put the ‘Education’ Back in Workforce Education, EdSurge
Postsecondary institutions are charged with developing people's academic skills, technical skills and positioning them for jobs and additional education through high-quality degree programs. Community colleges in particular have a difficult dual mission to train students for work and additional education, writes Palm Beach State College's associate dean of industrial and technical programs Thomas Gauthier.


Policy
10 COVID-relief spending plans reveal an area of growing urgency in schools, District Administration
Career-technical education programs designed to engage students in the skills needed for the future’s most in-demand jobs are getting re-energized as districts bounce back from COVID with help from a surplus of relief funds.


Student Supports
Teachers abandon letter grades in search of a fairer way, Washington Post
Instructors typically penalize children for late, incomplete or sloppy work, finding many opportunities (via homework and incremental tests) throughout the semester to do so, scholars say. These strictures, studies have shown, unfairly privilege one type of student — the kind with means, a supportive family, good nutrition, mental well-being and a peaceable home life — over others who may work after school, have a defective laptop or lack a desk and a quiet space to spit-shine their school work every night.

Social and emotional learning is helping close equity gaps at my school, Hechinger Report
Social-emotional learning (SEL) helped our students before the pandemic, and those same skills have supported them throughout this crisis, in which student engagement and connection with peers, teachers and staff is needed more than ever before, writes Jenine De Marzo, Ed.D, an SEL trainer and health and physical education teacher at Urban Assembly Media High School in New York City.

California made a historic investment in school counselors. Is it enough?, EdSource
For the first time in more than a decade, California invested significantly in school counselors last year as the pandemic spurred a mental health crisis among young people. But even with more funds and a soaring need, California’s school student-to-counselor ratio still ranks near the bottom nationally.

Workforce Development

There’s a Huge Gap Between How We Talk About Teachers & How We Treat Them. Some Ways to Make Teaching the Sought-After Profession It Should Be, The 74 Million
If kids are to have the teachers they need to recover from the pandemic, it’s time to take teaching from the object of sitcom jokes to the sought-after profession it should be, writes TNTP's executive vice president Victoria Van Cleef.

To Build a Pipeline of Workers for the Economy of the Future, High School Students Need CTE Training in Green Jobs. Federal Funding Can Help, The 74 Million
Developing a talent pipeline of students ready to enter the workforce as the clean energy transition accelerates would be a win for students, employers and the environment, writes Rachel Rosen, senior associate and co-director of MDRC’s Center for Effective Career and Technical Education.

Investing in Teachers Is Our Nation’s Most Important Jobs Strategy, EdSurge
As we enter long-COVID recovery, the educator workforce must be prioritized in discussions about the economy and jobs. Here is why: The educator workforce makes local economies work; the educator workforce makes families work; and the educator workforce prepares the future workforce, writes Stephanie Malia Krauss.

Grow-your-own teacher pipeline model gains steam, K-12 Dive
The community-based teacher development approach could help districts overcome barriers to entry like high tuition costs and low teacher pay.

How Local Partners Can Rebuild the Workforce Equitably, Strada Education Network
The Good Jobs Challenge is designed to fund holistic regional workforce systems built around strong partnerships that lead to well-paying jobs. It prioritizes equity and includes investments in wraparound services, easing barriers to training for those workers hardest hit by the pandemic, including women and people of color.