Education News Roundup #45: Enrollment Drops Again, SCOTUS Takes On Harvard, SAT Goes Online, Masks Stay On, Asian BTech Students on SHSAT

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Top Story
Enrollment in NYC public schools drops again — giving Adams, Banks opportunity to better serve students
NY Post Opinion, 1/26/2022

Detailed data the State Education Department released this week reveal that enrollment in kindergarten through eighth grade in city public schools is down by 41,017 students this year, after last year’s decline of 32,273.

That’s an eye-popping drop of 73,290 students, or 12%, since the last pre-pandemic school year, 2018-19. Enrollment in city public high schools is also down, but by less: This year’s drop of 7,281 students combined with last year’s 3,085 means a 3.5% decline over two years. 

Other Top Headlines
Affirmative Action
Race, Harvard and the Supreme Court
Wall Street Journal Opinion, 1/24/2022

This also is a chance for the Court to correct its own mistakes. Racial quotas are forbidden, but in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), a 5-4 majority endorsed the idea that race could be a “plus” factor to help colleges seek “the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body.” Yet there was an expiration date: “We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.”

Mask Appeal Update
Q&A: Masks are (mostly) back in New York. What’s next for Gov. Kathy Hochul’s mandate?
LoHud, 1/28/2022

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s indoor mask mandate is back, for now, as New York courts decide its fate. Hochul on Friday extended the indoor business mandate until Feb. 10. It will be reviewed every two weeks, the governor said, to decide on further extensions.

For schools, an indoor mask mandate is in effect until Feb. 21, unless the courts or Hochul make a change first.

More SAT Changes
SAT is going digital: Exam will be online-only, shorter as colleges ditch standardized tests
USA Today, 1/25/2022

The College Board, the organization that administers the SAT, PSAT and other standardized tests, announced the change Tuesday. The shift to online exams won’t happen until 2024 for American students. International students will start testing virtually in 2023.

Adams says NYC school mask mandates remain after judge shoots down Hochul rule
NY Post, 1/25/2022

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Other Headlines

More Enrollment Woes
75% of NYC public schools enrolled fewer students this year. Here’s a breakdown of every school.
Chalkbeat, 1/28/2022

The state figures show that overall enrollment in the city’s traditional public schools dropped 5.6% this year among students in grades K-12 to roughly 821,000 students, according to a Chalkbeat analysis. Since the pandemic hit in the 2019-2020 school year, K-12 enrollment has dropped by 9%. City officials noted the state data does not include a slew of nontraditional programs, so the figures are lower compared with the city’s own enrollment tallies.

After 2 years, growing calls to take masks off children in school
NPR, 1/28/2022

It’s Time for an Honest Conversation About Affirmative Action
NY Times Opinion, 1/27/2022

Vax by School Nurses
NYS Board of Regents approves legislation to allow COVID-19 vaccinations through school nurses
Finger Lakes, 1/27/2022

“The amendment will add the COVID-19 immunization to a long list of vaccines already approved to administer in schools. If the proposal is adopted at the Board of Regents at their meeting in February, the rule will go into effect March 2, 2022.”

Banks holds forum for parent leaders
Queens Chronicle, 1/27/2022

Queens students get on their soapbox
Queens Chronicle, 1/27/2022

Debate Point
Schools can safely make masks optional with the CDC’s new guidelines
Washington Post Opinion, 1/25/2022

Hopkinton High School in Massachusetts, in a region which boasts a 98 percent vaccination rate, offers a glimpse of what happens when students are given the opportunity to move from mandatory to optional masking. During their brief masking-optional pilot, the school reported that “smiling is more contagious than covid-19,” and a survey of students found that 70 percent said the policy improved their experience, including their ability to learn.

College Students Are Losing Confidence in Their Free-Speech Rights
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/25/2022

Parents Polled
Two Covid Americas
NY Times, 1/25/2022

“One area of agreement among Democrats and Republicans is a widespread concern that pandemic disruptions are harming their children:”

People are right to be worried, too. Three medical groups — representing pediatricians, child psychiatrists and children’s hospitals — recently declared “a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health.” 

Ask The Asian Kids
How It Feels to Be an Asian Student in an Elite Public School
NY Times, 1/25/2022

“Students and teachers spoke of alternatives. Establish variable passing scores so that economically disadvantaged, Latino or Black districts face somewhat lower bars than a wealthy majority-white district on the Upper West Side. Offer the exam to all eighth graders as a matter of course, and improve tutoring. Build out gifted and talented in nonwhite districts.
Again and again, the conversation returned to the broader problem. The elementary and middle schools must prepare more students to compete at the highest level.

“Bring grades or class rank into it if you need to; we should strive for a world where we don’t need Brooklyn Tech,” said Ayaan Ali, a senior whose parents emigrated from Pakistan. “But abolishing the test is like putting a Band-Aid over a gunshot wound.”

Podcast – Potomac Watch
The Supreme Court on Race in College Admissions
Wall Street Journal, Potomac Watch, 1/25/2022

Supreme Court Will Hear Challenge to Affirmative Action at Harvard and U.N.C.
NY Times, 1/24/2022

School Choice Backers See Opening in COVID Chaos, Even as Culture War Issues Threaten to Fracture Coalition
The 74 Million, 1/24/2022

Mandate Challenged
Long Island judge rules Gov. Hochul’s mask mandate as ‘unlawful’
NY Post, 1/24/2022

A Long Island judge ruled against Gov. Kathy Hochul’s controversial mask mandate on Monday — in a move that could lead to the lifting of similar orders in schools across the state.