Education

Ways to Connect

With most schools closed nationwide because of the coronavirus pandemic, a national poll of young people ages 13 to 17 suggests distance learning has been far from a universal substitute.

The poll of 849 teenagers, by Common Sense Media, conducted with SurveyMonkey, found that as schools across the country transition to some form of online learning, 41% of teenagers overall, including 47% of public school students, say they haven't attended a single online or virtual class.

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Musicians and other professional performers are among those who have already been hit hard by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. For many, most of their regular income opportunities have been canceled, or have been delayed indefinitely. So many musicians are trying their hand at teaching online.

Bassist Steve Whipple has played with everyone from Lady Gaga to NEA Jazz Master Toshiko Akiyoshi to his own group.

Spring semester was off to a pretty normal start at Rolling Meadows High School. The school, in a northwest suburb of Chicago, was gearing up for the goodbye rituals of every spring semester: senior prom, end-of-year exams and graduation.

Caitlyn Walsh, the school's music teacher, was looking forward to the big choir concert and the spring musical. "From the fine arts scene we have a lot of end-of-year activities that are very cherished," she says.

In Clark County, Nev., the nation's fifth-largest school district, a school food service worker has reportedly died of COVID-19. That death is one of around 40 recorded in the state of Nevada as of Friday afternoon.

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Teaching For Better Humans 2.0.

About Thomas Curran's TED Talk

Many students feel unrelenting pressure to be ... perfect. Social psychologist Thomas Curran warns that striving for perfectionism isn't just impossible — it's also dangerous to children's health.

About Thomas Curran

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Teaching For Better Humans 2.0.

About Liz Kleinrock's TED Talk

When one of Liz Kleinrock's fourth grade students made a cringeworthy comment about race, rather than change the subject, she chose to turn the moment into a teachable one—and start a conversation.

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Teaching For Better Humans 2.0.

About Richard Culatta's TED Talk

What does a global pandemic mean for our education system? Educator Richard Culatta discusses the ways we can teach for better humans virtually... and the opportunity this moment presents.

About Richard Culatta

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Teaching For Better Humans 2.0.

About Jacqueline Woodson's TED Talk

Novelist Jacqueline Woodson is a slow reader. Taking her time lets her savor each word, brings her closer to each story, and it lets her pay respect to her ancestors who weren't allowed to read.

About Jacqueline Woodson

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Right now students are out of school in 185 countries. According to UNESCO, that's roughly 9 out of 10 schoolchildren worldwide.

The world has never seen a school shutdown on this scale. And not since Great Britain during World War II has such a long-term, widespread emptying of classrooms come to a rich country.

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

We want to spend the next minute or so remembering one of the many people who have died as a result of the coronavirus. Dez-Ann Romain lived in New York City.

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It was a pretty normal St. Patrick's Day. Nathan Stewart and a couple of friends were hanging out, drinking a few beers, soaking up senior spring at the University of Virginia. Then an email landed in their inboxes: Classes were moving online and graduation was indefinitely postponed.

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Child care providers around the country have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with many facing closure even as others struggle to stay open.

At least 12 states have shuttered all child care except for essential workers, according to The Hunt Institute, an education nonprofit. In California, the decision is up to each provider, who must balance the needs of families with the health and safety of workers and children.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We've been bringing you the stories of people, families whose livelihoods have been turned upside down because of this pandemic. It's affecting all walks of life - all kinds of industries.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CLAVELES")

Updated at 9:31 a.m. ET

With school closed, Marla Murasko begins her morning getting her 14-year-old son, Jacob, dressed and ready for the day. They have a daily check-in: How are you doing? How are you feeling? Next, they consult the colorful, hourly schedule she has pinned on the fridge.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

How is the nation's largest school district managing this crisis? Richard Carranza is on the line. He is chancellor of the New York City schools - joins us from home. Good morning, sir.

For 6-year-old Sadie Hernandez, the first day of online school started at her round, wooden kitchen table in Jacksonville, Fla. She turned on an iPad and started talking to her first grade teacher, Robin Nelson.

"Are you ready to do this online stuff?" her teacher asks, in a video sent to NPR by Hernandez's mother, Audrey.

"Yeah," Sadie responds.
"It's kind of scary isn't it?"
"Kind of."

The U.S. Senate's $2 trillion coronavirus relief package includes more than $30 billion for education, with more than $14 billion for colleges and universities and at least $13.5 billion for the nation's K-12 schools.

Deadline Extension: With so many schools closed because of COVID-19, the NPR Student Podcast Challenge has pushed its deadline back to May 1, 2020.

Borrowers who have defaulted on their federal student loans will get a temporary reprieve from having their wages, Social Security benefits and tax refunds garnished by the federal government, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced on Wednesday. This break will last for a minimum of 60 days, beginning March 13.

When Dr. Judy Salerno, who is in her 60s, got word that the New York State health department was looking for retired physicians to volunteer in the coronavirus crisis, she didn't hesitate.

"As I look to what's ahead for New York City, where I live, I'm thinking that if I can use my skills in some way that I will be helpful, I will step up," she says.

The vast majority of states have closed public schools in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and many districts are now faced with a dilemma: how to provide remote learning to students without running afoul of civil rights and disability laws.

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