“The Biden administration is stepping in to offer financial assistance to Florida educators defying Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) law banning local K-12 mask mandates,” Axios reports.
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“Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration signaled earlier this week that it would slash the pay of Florida school superintendents and school board members who defy the governor on school masks,” the Miami Herald reports.
“But now — as two Florida districts, including Broward County Public Schools, remain defiant — the governor’s office is acknowledging the state has no control over local employees’ pay.”
Four Florida teachers working in the same school district died of COVID-19 within one day of each other this week, CBS Miami reports.
Three of the teachers were unvaccinated and that the vaccination status of the fourth was unknown.
“The American Federation of Teachers stopped short of fully endorsing Covid-19 vaccine requirements for its roughly 1.7 million members, after union officials instead opted to encourage union workers to negotiate potential mandates with local governments and school systems,” Politico reports.
Said ATF President Randi Weingarten: “We believe that workplace policies should be done with working people, not to them.”
Weingarten previously said she backed a vaccine mandate.
A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that 54% of parents surveyed don’t support their schools requiring Covid vaccinations even with full FDA approval, but that 63% support requiring unvaccinated students and staff to wear masks.
Associated Press: “California will become the first state in the nation to require all teachers and school staff to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.”
Dallas Independent School District will require students and teachers to wear masks at its campuses, defying Gov. Greg Abbott’s order that bars districts from issuing mask mandates, the Dallas Morning News reports.
Randi Weinbarten, the head of the American Federation of Teachers, told NBC News that the union’s leadership should consider implementing a vaccine mandate for teachers in schools.
Axios: “The move would mark a policy reversal from last October, when the union allowed vaccinations on a voluntary basis. Weingarten called the Delta variant of the virus ‘alarming’ and voiced concern for children who cannot yet be vaccinated.”
Wall Street Journal: “The median net worth of households with Black college graduates in their 30s has plunged over the past three decades to less than one-tenth the net worth of their white counterparts.”
“The drop is driven by skyrocketing student debt and sluggish income growth, which combine to make it difficult to build savings or buy a home. Now, the generation that hoped to close the racial wealth gap is finding it is only growing wider.”
“The Biden administration is extending the pause on federal student loans due to the coronavirus pandemic through Jan. 31, 2022,” The Hill reports.
“An Arkansas judge has temporarily blocked the state from enforcing a law that prevents schools and other governmental agencies from requiring masks,” the Associated Press reports.
New York Times: “With coronavirus cases rising sharply across the country, and new federal guidance that everyone, vaccinated or not, should wear masks in schools, some school districts in those states are imposing mask mandates anyway, despite the risk of financial penalties for defying the state orders.”
“In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said in an executive order last Friday that the state would take away funding from any district that infringed on ‘the fundamental right of parents to make health and educational decisions for their children’ by requiring students to wear masks.”
“But four Florida school systems — in Broward, Leon, Duval and Alachua Counties — have said they would retain or seek to impose mask mandates.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that President Biden “does not have the power to forgive student loan debt, putting her at odds with some members of her own Democratic caucus as the pressure builds on the president to cancel $50,000 in student loan debt per borrower,” CBS News reports.
Said Pelosi: “People think that the president of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not. He can postpone, he can delay, but he does not have that power.”
The Texas Senate passed a bill that would remove a requirement for public school teachers to teach that the Ku Klux Klan is “morally wrong,” NBC News reports.
Politico: “When Arizona lawmakers turned their eyes toward their own ‘critical race theory’ ban this past spring, few seemed to remember how the previous attempt to prohibit race-related studies in schools had turned out here.”
“In 2010, Gov. Jan Brewer signed a law banning Tucson’s Mexican American studies program. But today, 15 years after the curriculum first caught the attention of Republican lawmakers and a decade after they outlawed it, the courses — or at least a version of them — live on, thanks to a court-appointed monitor… Today, the program is larger than it’s ever been.”
David Leonhardt: “Covid-19 is undermining the idea of universal schooling… Recent polls suggest that as many as one quarter of parents plan to keep their children home. The families who choose to do so will span every demographic group, but they are likely to be disproportionately lower-income, Black and Latino.”
“The problem with remote school is that children learn vastly less than they do in person.”
Politico: “Administration voices join a growing chorus of top congressional Democrats and advocacy groups pushing the White House to continue pandemic benefits for more than 40 million student loan borrowers. The White House has not yet made a final decision.”
“But Education Department officials have suggested to the White House that the administration extend loan relief one final time, through the end of January.”
Wall Street Journal: “For many districts accustomed to tight budgets, the influx of a historic level of federal funding has created a high-stakes opportunity to develop new learning opportunities and, many leaders hope, forge long-term change with short-term funding.”
“The Education Department has required administrators to ask parents, teachers, students, organizations and community members for input before many must submit spending plans in August. Common requests include more time for learning—either through a longer school year or school day, or after-school tutoring. Some communities are pushing for increased mental-health resources, such as added counselors … Others want smaller class sizes or new enrichment activities.”