8 to 3: The advice of the Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona: “Include them in school! “

This is the July 19, 2021 edition of the 8 to 3 newsletter on school, kids and parenting. Do you like what you read ? Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Monday.

This year’s back-to-school checklist is way heavier than the new backpacks, satchels and tennis shoes. For many parents, concerns about the loss of learning, growing uncertainties about the Delta variant, and school safety rules are also part of the discussion.

I’m Paloma Esquivel, a reporter for The Times Education Team, replacing Sonja Sharp. This week, I had the opportunity to speak with the United States Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, on a number of issues, including what he believes should be at the forefront in the mind of anxious parents as the new school year approaches. I want to share some of his conversation with you.

Cardona, a father of two teenagers, had one overarching message: to bring children back to learning in person.

“Take them to school,” he said. “Get them quickly and safely to school. Cardona said he is very concerned about “the emotional and mental well-being of our students if they continue to learn at a distance, when they want to be in school”.

“We know that students learn best in the classroom,” he said.

But Cardona also said parents need to be kept informed about safety strategies implemented by schools.

“It is our job to serve you,” he said. “And what that means is that we need to communicate with you what we are doing to keep your children safe.”

Cardona opened up about his own decision to send his children back to school in his home state of Connecticut last August, saying he took a close look at their school’s safety plan and wondered: do i trust the system?

“I did it,” he said. Looking back, he thinks it was the right decision.

“My children have thrived this year, being surrounded by their peers. They needed it and they were safe, ”he said. “I never worried that they were not safe based on the mitigation strategies. And that was before they got vaccinated.

“As long as [parents] are clear about mitigation strategies – and in California they take this very seriously – the best thing we can do for our children is to offer them a vaccination option when it is available for their age and size. ensure they follow mitigation strategies, that their schools have clearly marked mitigation strategies, ”he said.

“But take them to school. “

The rest of my interview with Cardona is here.

You might already be a winner

– If you are the parent of a child under 18, you could receive $ 300 per month – more if you have more than one child. My colleague Chris Megerian has this explanation of a big expansion of the federal child tax credit, which is expected to halve child poverty in America.

– The Newsom administration’s policy of not wearing a mask at school is a bit like the federal government’s policy on marijuana: it’s illegal! (Sort of.) The state has said everyone must wear masks in schools – but school districts are free to apply this rule loosely or not at all. This has been confusing for educators and parents (and, to be honest, for journalists). Here’s a look at how politics play out in San Diego, via Kristen Taketa of our sister newspaper, the San Diego Union-Tribune.

– Here’s some news that Southern California parents can use: Disney has revamped the Jungle Ride at Disneyland, and it’s apparently still cheesy, though less racist. Todd Martens of The Times, whose job is to play computer games and ride in amusement parks (yes, that’s a job), has the story.

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More news from around the state

– Perhaps you have reached the point where you are no longer shocked by allegations of sexual harassment and abuse, even when it comes to teachers and high school students. But it’s hard not to be shocked by this story. Black Panther founder Huey P. Newton’s niece claims she suffered continued sexual abuse by a teacher at Berkeley High School, some of which is virtually in plain sight. No criminal charges have been laid. Chronicle of San Francisco

– It’s been a few weeks since Independence Day, but some of us still hear fireworks almost every night. Lest we forget the risks, there’s this breaking news about an 8-year-old boy in San Bernardino who was killed by a stray mortar at a block party on July 4th. Riverside Press-Company

– No surprise here: New research shows that distance learning during the pandemic hurt high school students socially, emotionally and academically. EdSource. Some other data analysis shows that boys have lost more ground than girls academically, at least in Chicago. Chalk beat

– Slow down and feel the algebra. That’s more or less the advice experts are giving educators worried about students who have lost ground in math during the pandemic. Hechinger Report

– In the Santa Clarita area, the William S. Hart Union High School District board of directors has agreed to “honorably” remove the Indian mascot from the high school by 2025. No word yet on his replacement. Los Angeles Daily News

Give me your news.

Do you have any comments? Ideas ? Questions? Tips for the story? Send me an email. And stay connected on Twitter.