Covid-19 Policy Update #631
States Are Flush With Cash, Which Could Soften a Possible Recession: Via the WSJ.
"States will hold an estimated $136.8 billion in rainy-day funds this fiscal year, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers, up from $134.5 billion a year earlier, when they represented 0.53% of gross domestic product, the highest in records going back to 1988. This year’s figure would represent roughly 12.4% of their total spending."
"On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said state and local governments “are really flush these days,” which could support economic growth this year."
"Moody’s Analytics estimates 39 states have the reserves necessary to offset all the revenue expected to be lost in a relatively mild recession. Four more are within striking distance."
"A broader measure of state reserves, which includes all unspent funds, whether stored in specified rainy day funds or not, will amount to 24.7% of total spending this fiscal year, down from 31.7% in 2022, according to NASBO forecasts. By contrast, states held just 8.9% on average between 2000 and 2020. Most state fiscal years run from July 1 to June 30."
10 Ways to Spend Remaining ESSER Dollars to Transform Schooling for Good: Via ERS
Coherent, Empowering, Challenging Curricula—and Professional Learning to Support It
Technology and Other Digital Resources
Data and Progress Monitoring Systems
Targeted Academic Supports
Expanded Partner Network
Credit Recovery and Acceleration
Mentoring and Advisory
Expanded, Supported Pathways Into Teaching
Schedules and Team-Based Staffing Models That Enable Personalized Instruction and Leverage Teacher Expertise
Revamped Teacher Compensation and Career Models
Strengthening Youth Mental Health:
The Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), in partnership with L.A. Care Health Plan, Health Net, their plan partners, and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, will make mental telehealth services available to over one million K-12 public school students at no cost to families through Hazel Health.
Governors in at least a dozen states—including California, South Carolina, Ohio and Georgia—are pushing for more money for mental health.
"Gov. Youngkin’s proposal would also pump more dollars into treating youth, including $15 million to expand mental-health programs in schools."
"In Montana, Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte has called for $300 million in spending, which he said would be the biggest investment ever in the state’s behavioral-health system.”
Illinois announced receiving two federal grants totaling $7.2 million for the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Chicago Public Schools to increase student mental health and trauma-informed care services in schools across the state.
Gov. DeWine wants to expand the availability of counseling services, both in-person and telehealth, and tackle workforce shortages in the behavioral health field. He also called on lawmakers to invest more in pediatric behavioral health care and crisis response resources, including the new 988 suicide hotline.”
NGA: Strengthening Youth Mental Health By Building Awareness And Reducing Stigma.
Public school districts that received a windfall of COVID relief funds for mental health services are confronting a new dilemma: How to sustain counseling, screenings, teletherapy and other programs when the money runs out.
Effective School Solutions, which provides mental health services to schools across the country, launched an effort to help districts tap 13 different funding sources to establish sustainable mental health programs.
The Interstate Counseling Compact, which creates reciprocal licensure for licensed clinical mental health counselors, has the backing of 17 states, including New Hampshire and Maine.
State Legislation Addressing Public Health Emergency Authority: Great list compiled by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the Network for Public Health Law.
‘Died Suddenly’ Posts Twist Tragedies to Push Vaccine Lies: Via the AP.
"Results from 6-year-old Anastasia Weaver’s autopsy may take weeks. But online anti-vaccine activists needed only hours after her funeral this week to baselessly blame the COVID-19 vaccine."
"The use of “died suddenly” — or a misspelled version of it — has surged more than 740% in tweets about vaccines over the past two months compared with the two previous months, the media intelligence firm Zignal Labs found in an analysis conducted for The Associated Press. The phrase’s explosion began with the late November debut of an online “documentary” by the same name, giving power to what experts say is a new and damaging shorthand."
"An AP review of more than 100 tweets from the account in December and January found that claims about the cases being vaccine related were largely unsubstantiated and, in some cases, contradicted by public information. Some of the people featured died of genetic disorders, drug overdoses, flu complications or suicide. One died in a surfing accident."
An Even Deadlier Pandemic Could Soon Be Here: Zeynep Tufekci in the NYT.
"Bird flu — known more formally as avian influenza — has long hovered on the horizons of scientists’ fears. This pathogen, especially the H5N1 strain, hasn’t often infected humans, but when it has, 56 percent of those known to have contracted it have died. Its inability to spread easily, if at all, from one person to another has kept it from causing a pandemic."
"Alarmingly, it was recently reported that a mutant H5N1 strain was not only infecting minks at a fur farm in Spain but also most likely spreading among them, unprecedented among mammals. Even worse, the mink’s upper respiratory tract is exceptionally well suited to act as a conduit to humans, Thomas Peacock, a virologist who has studied avian influenza, told me."
"Worryingly, all but one of the approved vaccines are produced by incubating each dose in an egg. The U.S. government keeps hundreds of thousands of chickens in secret farms with bodyguards. (It’s true!) But the bodyguards are presumably there to fend off terror attacks, not a virus. Relying on chickens to produce vaccines against a virus that has a 90 percent to 100 percent fatality rate among poultry has the makings of the most unfunny which-came-first, the-chicken-or-the-egg riddle."
Colorado: Burbio estimates that enrollment dropped by 0.4% after increasing 0.4% the previous year.
DC: Mayor Bowser announces expansion of high-impact tutoring programming to serve an additional 3,600 DC students.
Florida: Burbio estimates that public school enrollment rose 1.3% from 2021/22, versus a 1.5% increase the previous year.
Hawaii: Hawaii is on track to have fewer students enrolled in state-run schools by 2027 than at any point since the early years of statehood.
New York: Principal’s View: How High-Dosage Tutoring Transformed My NYC Middle School.
Ohio: Burbio estimates that enrollment declined 0.3% versus a 0.7% increase the previous year.
Virginia: How dog program helps Northern Va. students meet their educational goal — one paw at a time. (Video)
Washington: "Seattle may need to close schools to save money."
"Seattle is projecting a budget shortfall of about $131 million in the 2023-24 school year and about $92 million the following year. The plan to fix it includes reducing staff, merging schools, getting more state funding and making program changes."
"Between 2019 and 2022, the Bellevue School District lost about 1,890 students, the most significant drop since 2010. And like Seattle, officials are also projecting enrollment declines for the next decade."
Jobs Report: The U.S. added 517,000 jobs last month, bringing the unemployment rate to 3.4% — the lowest since 1969.
Child Care Hasn’t Recovered From Covid, Keeping Many Parents at Home: Via the WSJ.
"There were about 58,000 fewer daycare workers in the U.S. last month compared with February 2020, just before the pandemic took hold, according to the Labor Department."
"That limited supply of labor is also keeping upward pressure on costs. The median price to put an infant in center-based care ranges from $8,000 a year in less-populated counties to more than $17,000 in a major metro area, according to a Labor Department report."
“In the rest of the economy there’s room for the Targets and the Walmarts of the world to increase wages,” said Lynn Karoly, a senior economist at the Rand Corp., adding “it’s harder in the child-care sector, given the issues about affordability, to say ‘We’re going to charge more’ when many families already can’t afford the care.”
Who Gets Audited The Most: Axios: "If you're a single Black man with dependents who claims the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), you have a 7.73% chance of being audited by the IRS in any given year. For Americans as a whole, the equivalent figure is just 0.54%."
Engaging Employers in the Apprenticeship System through IRA Tax Incentives: Via NGA.
The COVID Economy Is Now The Economy: Via Axios:
"The Federal Reserve doesn't see the pandemic posing a risk to the economy anymore — an important milestone."
"COVID is no longer playing an important role in our economy," chair Jerome Powell told reporters at a press conference Wednesday."
A Guide to Impact Investing in Black Economic Mobility: Via McKinsey
Define and Design: Measuring Educational Equity: Via DQC.
Freshmen Make up a Fifth of State Lawmakers: Roughly 20% of state legislators in 2023 are freshmen.
How To Grade Schools Post-Pandemic?: Via Chalkbeat.
Strategies Districts Should Consider When Weighing School Closures: Via K12 Dive.
How Much Faith Should Educators Have in High-Dosage Tutoring?: Rick Hess.
States Supporting More Classroom Use of Quality Instructional Materials: Via CurriculumHQ.
"Several states, including Colorado and North Dakota, are working to ensure districts are using quality literacy curriculum based on the science of reading. As of now, more than half of states have passed science of reading legislation, with six joining the list just since the start of 2022."
"Just over half of states (26) are dedicating at least some ESSER investment to high-quality instructional materials and/or professional learning support."
Florida awards $144 million for 58 broadband projects in 41 counties.
South Carolina awards $133 million in ARPA funding to 56 broadband projects.
In Restless Dreams, I Walked Alone: School teacher Tom Ball performs "The Sound of Silence.” Slow start but amazing performance.
Valentine's Day Is Coming Up: Puppy love.