Discover more from COVID-19 Policy Update
Covid-19 Policy Update #662
Worldwide, Learning Loss and Pandemic School Closures Were Directly Connected: Via Jeff Murray over at Fordham.
"Harry Patrinos, an education economist and adviser with the World Bank, offers us a new working paper that extends an ongoing series of World Bank Group research attempting to identify the mechanisms of learning loss for primary and secondary school students all around the world."
"Patrinos looks at eleven factors potentially increasing or mitigating learning loss, which is defined using test score data via country-specific instruments that were standardized for comparison."
"Some of the factors are obvious—pre-existing school quality, school closure duration, private school enrollment, and internet availability and access—while others such as trade union strength and “measure of democracy” seem somewhat tangential."
"There is a clear link between school closure duration and learning loss. Closures as part of government-imposed lockdowns averaged twenty-one weeks’ duration and resulted in an average learning loss of 0.23 standard deviations across the countries studied (representing two-thirds of the world’s population). Testing for mitigating factors or other means to explain learning loss produced no significant findings, meaning that school closures appear to be directly responsible for student learning loss."
"Patrinos finds that each additional week of school closure increased learning loss by a further 1 percent of a standard deviation. In short: The longer schools stayed closed, the less students learned, no matter what else was done to blunt the losses."
Less Than 1% of Philadelphia Students Are Using the District’s Tutoring Programs: Via Chalkbeat.
"District officials aren’t sure why its tutoring program, which is free for the district’s K-12 students, isn’t reaching more of them."
"According to district budget data for the 2022-23 school year, the district set aside up to $3 million for three tutoring vendors: Catapult Learning, Focus Care FEV, and Tutor Me Education. It also earmarked another $1.4 million for “in-person monitoring” of tutoring programs in schools."
Five Steps Districts Can Take to Prepare for a Big Financial Reckoning: Noah Wepman, the former chief financial officer for the District of Columbia Public Schools with five things districts should consider doing to keep students and their successes at the center of discussions about budget reductions:
Inventory district-funded programs, then examine student data.
Engage in strategic abandonment discussions.
Set your district’s priorities and create (or update) your five-year financial plan.
Budget for equity.
Innovate and experiment with new school models or staffing approaches.
FDA Approves First Oral Antiviral Medication for COVID-19 Treatment Among Adults: "FDA approved the oral antiviral Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir tablets and ritonavir tablets, co-packaged for oral use) for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death. Paxlovid is the fourth drug—and first oral antiviral pill—approved by the FDA to treat COVID-19 in adults."
Covid Survivors With Depressive, Cognitive Symptoms Show Signs of Brain Inflammation: "Patients with persistent symptoms of brain impairment after mild to moderate COVID-19 had elevated levels of a protein indicating inflammation."
More Than 1 in 6 Unvaccinated COVID Survivors Report Symptoms for Up to 2 Years: "At 24 months, the severity of health impairment declined, with 10.4% reporting mild, 3.9% moderate, and 1.9% severe impairment."
Immunity Levels: Via the CDC. By third quarter 2022, an estimated 96.4% of US blood donors had antibodies against COVID-19 from a previous infection or vaccination, including 22.6% from infection alone and 26.1% from vaccination alone, with 47.7% having both (hybrid immunity).
California: Bolstered by Miami track record, Carvalho revamps LAUSD Primary Promise reading program.
Mississippi: Kristof: Mississippi Is Offering Lessons for America on Education.
Pennsylvania: Teachers leaving their jobs at an accelerating rate in Pennsylvania, new study finds
"All told, the attrition rate was 7.7% in 2022-23, up from 6.2% in 2021-22 and 5.4% in 2020-21. That comes out to nearly 9,600 leaving their jobs in 2022-23, nearly doubling the number of newly certified teachers in Pennsylvania in 2022."
New Jersey: 10,000 Newark public school students need summer school this year, district says.
Virginia: Governor Youngkin has ordered state agencies to eliminate college degree requirements from the vast majority of state jobs.
Jobs Report: 339,000 jobs added in May, beating the 190,000 consensus forecast.
April revised up +41,000 to 294,000 and March revised up +52,000 to 217,000. Three month average is 283,000.
Work From Home: Via Axios. "In May, 30% of U.S. employers were doing some kind of structured hybrid plan where office workers come in a minimum number of days a week."
We Asked Workers Why They’re Not Coming Back to the Office: WSJ: "Terrible commutes. Expensive child care. Employees explain why they will keep working from home."
"One reason workers say they’re reluctant to return is money. Some who have lost remote-work privileges said they are spending hundreds, or in some cases thousands, of dollars each month on meals, commutes and child care."
"If pandemic-era flexible schedules go away, a huge number of parents will drop out of the workforce, workers say."
A Visual Breakdown of America’s Stagnating Number of Births: Via WSJ.
"About 3.66 million babies were born in the U.S. in 2022, essentially unchanged from 2021 and 15% below the peak hit in 2007."
"Experts have pointed to a confluence of factors behind the nation’s recent relative dearth of births, including economic and social obstacles ranging from child care to housing affordability."
"Absent increases in immigration, fewer births combined with ongoing baby boomer retirements will likely weigh on the labor force supply within the next 10 years, said Kathy Bostjancic, chief economist at Nationwide, an insurance and financial-services company. “You’re going to have a real shortage of workers unless we have technology somehow to fill the gap,” Bostjancic said."
Building Nonprofit Capacity, Hand in Hand: Via Overdeck's Anu Malipatil and Lucy Brainard.
The Critical Role of Teacher Wellbeing in Retaining Teachers of Color:Via EducationFirst.
AI21 Labs conducted a massive Turing Test experiment, "Human or Not?", with over 1.5 million global participants engaging in more than 10 million conversations.
Participants who talked to humans correctly guessed whether their conversation partner was a human or AI 73% of the time, but people who talked to AI bots, only got it right a surprisingly low 60% of the time - meaning 40% of human participants couldn’t tell whether they were talking to an AI or not.
Top AI researchers and CEOs warn against ‘risk of extinction’ in 22-word statement: signatories include Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.
Gates Foundation: Catalyzing Equitable Artificial Intelligence (AI) Use Grand Challenge.
The longer 32k context can’t yet be rolled out to more people.
Cheaper and faster GPT-4 is a top goal this year.
GPU shortage means no GPT-4 multimodality this year
Up to 1M token context window are plausible.
Paper describes how they were able to set a new benchmark in solving mathematical problems. This was achieved by incentivizing each correct reasoning step, a method they refer to as "process supervision," instead of just rewarding the final accurate answer, known as "outcome supervision."
This approach not only enhances performance when compared to outcome supervision but also aligns the model more closely with human thinking patterns by encouraging it to generate a step-by-step thought process that humans can endorse.
I had my first self-driving taxi ride in a Cruise this week. Great experience! You summon a car using an app (similar to Uber/Lyft) and the phone unlocks the car door. Very smooth ride and it effortlessly navigated around stopped trucks and pedestrians. I felt safer in the Cruise than I do with some rideshare drivers. Here are some video snippets from the trip.
These Dogs: Are very confused.
"We were touched by her story that we decided to record the song. To our surprise she responded so beautifully. This song has been such a pillar of strength for us as a choir through difficult times we just want to continue the Legacy and that's why we chose this song."