News Briefs | FYI
October 5, 2020
Economic impacts of school shut-down could last decades
Students could see economic impacts from coronavirus school closures that last their entire lifetimes, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.  A new report from the multi-national intergovernmental organization estimates that the typical student can expect 3 percent lower career earnings due to school closures that occurred through May 2020. Lost earnings would likely be greater for disadvantaged students and could worsen for all students depending on how long they are in out-of-school learning.  The analysis used existing research that shows the affect years of schooling can have on income, with each additional school year translating to about 10 percent higher income in many countries.  The report authors posit that a loss in the development of cognitive skills resulting from the pandemic would make students less capable and productive once they reach the workforce. In the U.S., that could mean a 1.5 percent loss in future GDP that would be equivalent to a total economic loss of $14.2 trillion dollars by the end of the century.  “If these students are to be remediated, it would require improving the schools, not returning schools to where they were in 2019,” the authors write.  The report cautions against suspending testing and other accountability measures, as the lack of data would not reveal the true amount of learning loss suffered, and recommends schools adopt more individualized instruction to shore up gaps. Read the whole report at

Judge vacates DOE rule on coronavirus aid money
A U.S. District Court judge has ruled against the U.S. Department of Education in a dispute over how much federal coronavirus aid money should go to private schools.   Public school officials said the department’s interim final rule would have illegally siphoned CARES Act funds away from public schools by including private schools based on the total population they serve, instead of income. In July, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined six other attorneys general in a lawsuit against U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ rule. While DeVos said she strongly disagrees with the Sept. 4 ruling, she said the department will respect the law as the courts have interpreted it and will not appeal the decision.  “In the CARES Act, there is nothing suggesting Congress intended to deny some American students the help they need. In the real world, the pandemic harmed everyone,” DeVos said in a letter to state school officers on Sept. 25. “Sadly, that fact did not stop some from suing us, attempting to deny private-school children and teachers help they needed.”  DeVos said the department will not take any action against states or local districts that followed the guidance prior to notice of the court’s decision. Districts must now calculate the minimal proportional share for CARES Act equitable services according to the formula provided in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.    
PPIC: Mostly private schools receive waiver for in-person  
More than 550 California schools, a majority of them private, have received waivers from the state to return to in-person learning, according to research by the Public Policy Institute of California.  Under the state’s new four-tier reopening framework, schools in counties with the most “widespread” risk of coronavirus must remain closed for in-person instruction until the county moves to a “substantial” risk level and remains there for two weeks. However, elementary schools can apply for and receive a waiver to resume in-person learning.  As of Sept. 18, the state had approved 550 (out of 557) waiver applications from 28 counties, according to PPIC. More than a third of the waivers are from Orange and San Diego counties. Ninety-three percent of the approved waivers are for private schools, which serve on average 137 students, and 9 percent are for public schools, which serve an average of 252.   Schools that do return must follow state guidelines on distancing and cohorting.   “The prospects for a school’s reopening are closely tied to the resources it is able to muster,” according to the PPIC article. “The requirements for personal protective equipment (for students and staff), the increased staff levels needed for instructing smaller cohorts, and the sheer availability of space for distanced in-person learning all necessitate extra expenditures, or an existing wealth of resources.”   Read the full article at

SBE approves criteria for new Seal of Civic Engagement
The State Board of Education has approved criteria for California students to earn a new Seal of Civic Engagement, an incentive aimed at encouraging active and ongoing citizenship.  To earn the seal, students must demonstrate excellence in civic learning, participation in civics-related projects, contributions to their community, and an understanding of the U.S. Constitution, the California Constitution, and the American democratic system. Students may earn the seal on a transcript, diploma, or Certificate of Completion. California history and social science teachers worked with the California Department of Education to develop the initial requirements.  “The future of our democracy depends on a knowledgeable and actively engaged citizenry,” said State Board President Linda Darling-Hammond, in a news release following the board’s Sept. 10 vote. “With this new seal, we hope to prepare all students with an empathetic concern for others, a deep understanding of democracy, and the civic engagement skills needed to contribute to the welfare of their local communities, the state, and the country.”  Since then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 24 into law in October 2017, the CDE has worked with teachers, a variety of stakeholder groups, and the public to draft criteria and guidance for the seal. Under direction of the State Board, the CDE worked to ensure that the criteria approved are accessible to all students, support rigorous and continuous civic engagement, promote diversity and inclusion, engage young students, reflect an interdisciplinary approach, and recognize civil disobedience as a form of civic engagement.  “Education is the cornerstone of realizing our democratic ideals, and this new seal puts additional tools in students’ hands as they work to shape the future,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, in a news release.   The CDE has created a resources web page to support LEAs in adopting the criteria at

Free lunch may not be best way to measure poverty
Counting students on the federal Free or Reduced-Price Lunch Program may not be the best way to measure student poverty, according to a new report from the Learning Policy Institute, which examines alternatives for state policymakers who are seeking to accurately count students from low-income families.  “A shift away from the FRPL measure was already long overdue and taking place in some states,” said LPI Senior Researcher Peter Cookson, who authored the study, in a news release. “This takes on deeper urgency now as learning for a generation of students has been upheaved by the COVID-19 pandemic.”  The report raises several key concerns with using FRPL as the sole measure for evaluating student poverty, including that it does not capture fluctuations in family income, cannot distinguish between students in extreme poverty and those who have some stable income, and that some families who may be eligible for FRPL do not apply.  The study addresses multiple methods that state policymakers can consider, such as using a multiplier to adjust school-level counts of children from low-income families, allowing schools to use and collect their own income information forms (as is done in California), or including students whose families qualify for other assistance like Medicare or public housing.  The full report is available at
Donate to ACSA Red Cross site to support fire victims 
Wildfire donations through the ACSA Red Cross microsite link have raised $1,200 to date. To donate, please go to
. As part of its Crisis Response Support, ACSA has built a network of members who have identified themselves as able to provide temporary shelter for an impacted educator, donate personal necessity items, or provide knowledge about the recovery process. Visit
for more information. For questions about ACSA’s Crisis Support, please contact Sr. Director of Member Services Margarita Cuizon-Armelino at
SB 820 allows extra time to administer ELPAC 
On Sept. 22, a communication was sent to all local educational agency ELPAC coordinators announcing that Senate Bill 820 had been signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, allowing for a 45-calendar-day extension to the Initial ELPAC 30-calendar-day requirement. SB 820 allows LEAs a total of 75 calendar days to administer the 2020–2021 Initial ELPAC, officially score it, and provide the results to parents and guardians. SB 820 also affects another statewide assessment, suspending the administration of the Physical Fitness Test for the 2020–21 school year. In addition, this bill waives the passage of the CAASPP English language arts requirement for the State Seal of Biliteracy for students graduating in 2020–21 and allows the California High School Proficiency Examination to be offered more than once per semester if public health requirements are met. Find the full text of the bill at

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