As threat of Omicron variant looms, school closures continue ticking upward
Even before the World Health Organization labeled the Omicron coronavirus strain a new “variant of concern” Friday, school closures were continuing to increase across the country. Last week, 621 schools across 58 districts announced new closures for a variety of reasons including teacher burnout, staffing shortages and virus outbreaks, according to counts from Burbio, a...
By Asher Lehrer-Small | December 2, 2021
CDC approves Pfizer shots for kids ages 5 to 11, roll out to begin Wednesday
Updated, Nov. 2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky on Tuesday evening endorsed the unanimous vote of a CDC vaccine advisory panel recommending Pfizer-BioNTech’s pediatric coronavirus vaccine for use in children ages 5 to 11. Her sign-off means shots can begin Wednesday for some 28 million children in this younger age group. The...
By Asher Lehrer-Small | October 28, 2021
New report: How to build culturally affirming schools, according to over 100 Black teachers
Recruiting a diverse staff and building a “family-like” school culture are among the key action steps more than 100 Black educators recommend school leaders follow in a recent report released by Teach Plus and the Center for Black Educator Development. The paper presented the findings of focus groups conducted during the spring and summer of...
By Asher Lehrer-Small | October 26, 2021
Exclusive analysis: CDC COVID youth vaccination figures clash — sometimes by double-digits — with locally reported rates
As schools work to mitigate COVID spread in classrooms and get a handle on how many teens have been immunized, they may not be able to rely on vaccination data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In many cases, CDC numbers clash with locally reported vaccination rates, an analysis from The 74...
By Asher Lehrer-Small | October 21, 2021
Study: AI uncovers skin-tone gap in most-beloved children’s books
The most popular, award-winning children’s books tend to shade their Black, Asian and Hispanic characters with lighter skin tones than stories recognized for identity-based awards, new research finds. The discovery comes on the heels of a half decade of advocacy to diversify the historically white and male-centric kids’ literature genre, leading to modest gains in racial...
By Asher Lehrer-Small | October 11, 2021
‘We left those students behind’: 1.9 million low-income youth boxed out of afterschool programs, despite surging parent interest in STEM offerings
Every year, millions of students nationwide participate in afterschool and summer programs that help them gain skills in science, technology, engineering and math — also known as STEM. But even as student interest surges and the programs continue to expand, financial and transportation barriers have boxed many young people out of these pivotal learning opportunities,...
By Asher Lehrer-Small | September 23, 2021
Ask the doctor: Did we miscalculate the risk of COVID for kids?
Not so long ago, it seemed the data on COVID-19 held a degree of comfort when it came to children: not too many of them got infected, fewer still got sick and almost none were hospitalized. As for schools, they were not believed to be super spreaders of the virus, for either adults or students....
By Asher Lehrer-Small | September 16, 2021
‘Buried’ CDC guidance emphasizes universal masking in schools, says properly protected ‘close contacts’ needn’t quarantine
Some key absences complicated the return to school in Wayne Township, Indiana: 461 to be exact. After just eight days in classrooms, 37 positive coronavirus cases in the 16,000-student district outside Indianapolis had triggered hundreds of student quarantines, forcing young people to miss out on classes and extracurriculars. Superintendent Jeff Butts knew he had to...
By Asher Lehrer-Small | August 25, 2021
‘A rising tide that lifts all boats’: Having more immigrant peers can boost scores for U.S.-born students, new study finds
March marked an all-time monthly high in solo youth crossings at the U.S. southern border. Those children and teenagers could be an unexpected boon for native-born students should they reach American classrooms, a timely new study suggests. The research, which analyzes a decade’s worth of data from over 1.3 million Florida students, links the presence of immigrant classmates...
By Asher Lehrer-Small | August 3, 2021
When parents disagree over doses for kids: How mothers’ caretaking instinct may be slowing youth COVID vaccination
Fatou and Modou have two healthy children. A 5-year-old boy who likes to build Lego towers. A 7-year-old girl who’s into anime. With each parenting decision the couple has faced over the years — picking a religious Sunday school for their kids, setting bedtime — they have mostly been on the same page. But now,...
By Asher Lehrer-Small | July 20, 2021