Sufficiency of relief aid is questioned, teacher raises and budget, urgent plea for laptops and more

But is it enough aid? As the U.S. House prepares to vote today on the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package, educators around the United States say the $13.5 billion earmarked for K-12 education is not nearly enough. That money will go to elementary and secondary education for expenses surrounding  school closures and buying technology for online learning. The bill also gives governors an additional $3.5 billion to distribute based on need. “Based on what we’re hearing and seeing, ultimately schools are going to need a lot more help than what’s in this current package,” said Chip Slaven, chief advocacy officer for the National School Boards Association. Other education-related highlights of the bill: Students can defer loan payments for six month and keep Pell grants, federal testing rules for K-12 students will be waived, and $14 billion is targeted for higher education to compensate for lost revenue and increased technology costs associated with the switch to distance education. Education Dive. Associated Press. Washington Post. USA Today. Chalkbeat.

Teacher raises: Gov. Ron DeSantis said he wants to protect the $500 million for teacher raises that’s in the state’s $93.2 billion budget, but said he’s putting consideration of the budget on hold as he deals with the problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The effects of the outbreak are expected to have a severe impact on the state’s revenue. “I think the budget is in flux, let’s put it that way,” DeSantis said. “So, I’m not going do a signing ceremony tomorrow about any of this stuff until we kind of get our feet under us a little bit more.” Once a bill is delivered to DeSantis, he has 15 days to sign or veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature. Florida Phoenix. News Service of Florida.

Laptops needed: Just days before the St. Lucie County School District is scheduled to begin online instruction, district officials say they need $1.5 million to buy 5,000 laptops so every household with a student will have one. The district has 14,000 laptops, which was enough to cover what families had requested through a survey. But additional requests have come in from families with more than one student. District officials began an immediate fund-raising drive to close the gap before online classes begin Monday. The Osceola County School District is also short of the laptops needed to give one to each student. TCPalm. WPTV. WKMG.

Online instruction: The online learning plan for Lee County students, which begins Monday, has them collecting assignments through Google Classroom at the beginning of the week and turning them in by the end of the week. Teachers will confer with students throughout the days by email, texting, phone calls, School Messenger and video conferencing. More than 11,000 Chromebooks have been handed out to students. “I know this is a huge change for everyone,” said Superintendent Greg Adkins. “I will ask for your patience because there will probably be some glitches along the way, but we are here to support you.” Fort Myers News-Press. WINK. Three days after Gov. DeSantis ordered Florida schools closed because of the coronavirus, the charter school support company Academica had about 40,000 of its 65,000 Florida students taking classes online. That quick turnaround was made possible by years of preparation. redefinED. Other school districts also are making preparations to hold online classes for students, handing out electronic devices to students, training teachers and assembling materials. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. TCPalm. Orlando Sentinel. Cape Coral Daily Breeze. The sheer amount of online learning resources has been overwhelming for many U.S. teachers. Education Week. What schools have discovered after a week of the nation’s biggest distance learning experiment. NPR.

More on the coronavirus: A tent school in north Naples is keeping learning alive for about 60 children of migrant workers in Collier County. Naples Daily News. More stories about teachers surprising homebound students with visits by car. Tampa Bay Times. Tampa Bay Times. WINK. School districts and other organizations continue to feed low-income students while schools are closed. Florida Department of AgricultureFlorida Department of Education. Pensacola News Journal. Port St. Joe Star. Lakeland Ledger. Ocala Star-Banner. St. Augustine Record. Citrus County Chronicle. WSVN. WTVT. Questions and answers about the coronavirus, guidance for school districts and a glossaryFlorida Department of HealthFlorida Department of Education. Fort Myers News-Press. The CDC’s latest guidance for K-12 schools. Education Dive. Here are the communities with lockdowns in place. Florida Politics.

AMIkids report: AMIkids says an internal investigation has found that the mother of a 12-year-old student badly injured in March when a worker slammed him to the floor in the cafeteria at the Pinellas Park camp was notified by the school, contradicting the Pinellas Park police’s claim that she was not. The employee who body-slammed the boy has been charged with aggravated child abuse, and the employee’s supervisor was charged with neglect of a child and failure to report child neglect. WTSP.

Opinions on schools: Will this pandemic force us to boldly address the inequities in our schools? Laura Waters, redefinED. If the great recession of 2008 is a barometer of what will happen during the coronavirus pandemic, we can expect declining student performance and widening achievement gaps. Kevin Mahnken, The 74. How will I remain productive at work and teach two kids at different education levels? Lynn Cristina, Tampa Bay Times.

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