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Covid-19 Policy Update #652
What Did US Do Wrong? New Book Examines Lessons: Via CIDRAP
"To help crystalize the events of the past 3 years, a team of 34 experts from public health, global health, science, academia, and industry—called the Covid Crisis Group—spent 2 years examining the nation's response. Today they published a book on their investigation, Lessons from the COVID War"
"Group members held "listening sessions" with nearly 300 people, and in the absence of a federal commission on the topic, they felt a duty to speak out about what they found."
Great interview via USA Today
Dr. Fauci Looks Back: ‘Something Clearly Went Wrong’: Via the NYT.
"Almost certainly, schools stayed closed longer than they needed to. Very conspicuously, American vaccination rates never approached the levels of peer nations — and the problem wasn’t just the anti-vaccine right."
'What could we have done better to promote vaccination among those groups? Fauci: David, I don’t have a great answer for you... And then there was the whole idea of people not getting vaccinated, and then came mandating. Wallace-Wells: You think that was harmful? Fauci: Man, I think, almost paradoxically, you had people who were on the fence about getting vaccinated thinking, why are they forcing me to do this? And that sometimes-beautiful independent streak in our country becomes counterproductive. And you have that smoldering anti-science feeling, a divisiveness that’s palpable politically in this country."
"Certainly there could have been a better understanding of why people were emphasizing the economy. But when people say, “Fauci shut down the economy” — it wasn’t Fauci. The C.D.C. was the organization that made those recommendations. I happened to be perceived as the personification of the recommendations. But show me a school that I shut down and show me a factory that I shut down. Never. I never did. I gave a public-health recommendation that echoed the C.D.C.’s recommendation, and people made a decision based on that. But I never criticized the people who had to make the decisions one way or the other."
"Wallace-Wells" To be clear: I’m not someone who doesn’t think masks work. I think the science and the data show that they do work, but that they aren’t perfect and that at the population level the effect can be somewhat small. In what was probably our best study, from Bangladesh, in places where mask use tripled, positive tests were reduced by less than 10 percent. Fauci: It’s a good point in general, but I disagree with your premise a bit. From a broad public-health standpoint, at the population level, masks work at the margins — maybe 10 percent. But for an individual who religiously wears a mask, a well-fitted KN95 or N95, it’s not at the margin. It really does work."
Burbio School Tracker: Change Percentages
"In our last update to partners, we noted over ten percent of ESSER III plans had material changes in their latest updates."
"Below are a set of frequently mentioned vendors from the most recent board meeting for 699 districts representing 36% of K-12 students."
Great timelapse of setting up for the State Dinner.
Unexpected moment at the state dinner when the president of South Korea sings “American Pie.”
IES: Evaluating the Federal Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority: Early Implementation and Progress of State Efforts to Develop New Statewide Academic Assessments.
"All five IADA systems sought to increase the usefulness of assessment data for classroom teaching, but few were ready to try out their assessments within a year of starting IADA—both program goals."
"After 2 or 3 years of participation, the IADA systems had made limited progress and may not be on track to meet the program’s 5-year statewide scale-up goal."
"States reported challenges hampering assessment development and implementation activities, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing major disruptions."
"Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said that NIST’s AI Risk Management Framework represents the “gold standard” for the regulatory guidance of artificial intelligence technology and has so far received a warm reception from industry."
FDA: "It's OK for diners to bring dogs to restaurants' outdoor seating areas if state and local laws — and the restaurant — allow it, the FDA says in new guidance."
Do I Need a Spring Booster?: Via Katelyn Jetelina:
"Anyone who hasn’t had a bivalent vaccine (i.e. fall Omicron booster) needs to get one. If you have your bivalent already, there is a spectrum of urgency. Try not to overthink it too much."
The Ongoing Search for Long COVID Treatments: Via Axios:
"As the federal government wrestles with its response to long COVID, FDA officials are turning to patients who've experimented with unproven treatments for clues about how to manage the condition and design clinical trials."
DC: The Fight Over Federal Telework: Via Axios. "As federal workers anxiously await more certainty about the future of lax telework policies, local business and political forces are putting more pressure on the White House to bring back in-person work."
Politico: "Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo altered an analysis released by the Florida Department of Health last year to suggest mRNA Covid-19 vaccines pose a significant health risk to men ages 18 to 39."
Via Katelyn Jetelina: "Evolution of Florida vaccine analysis."
Via Arne Duncan and Bibb Hubbard, "Schools are failing when it comes to telling parents the truth about student achievement."
"The Chicago Board of Education voted Wednesday to change how it rates public schools, judging them on how their learning environment heals from COVID-19, while students suffer major learning loss."
"In a 6-0 vote, the board approved its “Continuous Improvement and Data Transparency” accountability policy, which will label schools on a five point scale, now considering how the school supports student’s emotionally and how parents feel about their child’s education in addition to student grades."
Consumer Spending Fell Substantially in March: Via Axios.
Americans Take Dim View of the Future: Via Pew.
“Sizable majorities of U.S. adults say that in 2050 – just over 25 years away – the U.S. economy will be weaker, the United States will be less important in the world, political divisions will be wider and there will be a larger gap between the rich and the poor. Far fewer adults predict positive developments in each of these areas.”
“And when Americans reflect on the country’s past, the present looks worse by comparison. Around six-in-ten (58%) say that life for people like them is worse today than it was 50 years ago.”
Schools Race to Teach Reading to Third Graders Disrupted by Pandemic: Via the AP.
Accelerate: "Accelerate, a national initiative to support effective tutoring, awarded $1 million each to five states to bolster efforts to integrate tutoring into the school day."
Leading for Action: An Insight Report on K-12 Tutoring Programs: Via the Center for Education Market Dynamics:
Future of Assessments: Centering Equity and the Lived Experiences of Students, Families, and Educators: Via EdTrust.
There Were 1,269 Efforts to Ban Books in 2022. These Were the Most Targeted: Via the WSJ.
Breaking With the Past: Embracing Digital Transformation in Education: Via Digital Promise.
AI Learning Summit: Via USV: "Many of the builders we have met are building learning tools on top of existing LLMs like GPT4. We question whether market power is more likely to sit with the infrastructure layer or application layer of AI, and therefore what differentiation in AI-based learning will look like."
Generative AI at Work NBER paper: "We study the staggered introduction of a generative AI-based conversational assistant using data from 5,179 customer support agents. Access to the tool increases productivity, as measured by issues resolved per hour, by 14 percent on average, with the greatest impact on novice and low-skilled workers, and minimal impact on experienced and highly skilled workers."
Speaking of dogs, a quick update on Bentley. You'll recall that last year he was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy which is a disease affecting the spinal cord, resulting in slowly progressive hind limb weakness. That unfortunately has progressed to his front legs which means he can't support himself any more. So walks have been traded in for car rides and a wagon gives him the chance to interact with other dogs. They're always very kind and gentle in checking him out, but this one Husky has taken to jumping in the wagon and hugging him. It’s hysterical but also really great.