Parents must be allowed to pick their poison this school year

The usual debates in education circles aren’t helping right now.

These conversations — about school choice and vouchers and equity, public vs. private vs. charter vs. home, standardized testing and screen time and district residency rules and teachers’ unions — can’t be suspended as COVID-19 spikes around the country ahead of the start of the fall semester. But in their status quo version, such debates are distorting the more pressing matter of getting through this hell year. It won’t work to shoehorn discussion of this semester into our normal policy frameworks.

Perhaps instead of sticking to those ordinary patterns, we could start with two presuppositions: Just about every option will be worse for disadvantaged students. And families should be given as many choices as possible to navigate this fall.

Parents must be allowed to pick their poison.

Consider how re-openings will affect disadvantaged students. If public schools open their doors,

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Markey throws shade at Kennedy family in Senate primary brawl

BOSTON — Sen. Ed Markey is going where few Massachusetts Democrats have dared to go before. He’s not only attacking his challenger, Rep. Joe Kennedy III, he’s throwing shade at the Kennedy family, the state’s equivalent of political royalty.

In an ever more contentious battle between a septuagenarian senator and the scion of one of the nation’s best-known dynasties, Markey is calling out specific Kennedy family members by name, needling the wealth and privilege that attaches to the family name, and even drawing from the Kennedy myth in his bid to fend off his youthful challenger.

At one time, that approach might have been a career-killer in Massachusetts Democratic politics. Yet Markey has employed it successfully to help narrow a double-digit polling gap with the primary just over two weeks away.

“It’s unconventional. That’s the only way to put it,” said Democratic strategist Wilnelia Rivera, who advised Rep. Ayanna Pressley

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Parents brace for school year juggling jobs, remote learning amid COVID-19 pandemic

Traci Wells was at a school board meeting when she found out the springtime balancing act between her job and helping her children with online schooling would stretch into the fall. 

“I was like, I cannot do six more months of this,” says Wells, a mother of four, who is director of education for the global health program at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. With her husband working as well, “I don’t know how we’re going to be on all the calls and get the work done when we have these responsibilities. It’s just really, really hard.”

When the coronavirus outbreak led schools to shut down in the spring, parents had to quickly rally, juggling their jobs with the added roles of teacher, tutor and occasional IT technician.

It was a stressful time, but one that many families presumed would be temporary, coming at the end of the school

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COVID-19 will hit colleges when students arrive for fall semester. So why open at all? Money is a factor.

Colleges that are reopening campuses this fall know they’re bringing a higher risk of coronavirus to their community.

The questions aren’t really about if or when, but about how bad outbreaks could be — and whether having an in-person experience for students is worth the cost. With so much at stake, some students, parents and faculty are asking: Why take the risk at all?

In many cases, it comes back to money.

For months, colleges and experts have warned another semester of remote courses could have disastrous effects on student enrollment and college budgets.

Colleges already lost billions of dollars when they pivoted to digital instruction in the spring, in the form of refunded room-and-board payments and expensive technology for online courses. Another semester — or year — of online courses could be even worse, especially for universities without large endowments.

For any institution, online instruction also means no money

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virtual Democratic convention kicks off with emphasis on unity

<span>Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP</span>
Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP

The Democratic national convention begins on Monday with a star-studded lineup and heavy emphasis on unity aimed at presenting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the US’s best hope for healing a deeply divided nation reckoning with the parallel crises of a global pandemic and racial injustice.

Related: From Oakland to the White House? The rise of Kamala Harris

The party’s four-day presidential nominating convention has been entirely reshaped by the public health crisis. Originally planned for Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in mid-July, it has been forced into a compacted, virtual affair, renamed the “Convention Across America.”

The event, which usually draws thousands of the party faithful to a single city for days of celebrating, deal-making and politicking, will now take place from remote locations across the US. There will be no roaring crowd, bespoke thunder sticks or oversized balloons.

Biden is scheduled to formally accept the Democratic presidential

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China teenage climate warrior fights a lonely battle

While most of her peers are preparing for university or enjoying summer vacation, 17-year-old Howey Ou is braving intimidation and criticism in China to save the world from climate catastrophe.

Young environmental activists around the world have skipped school to attend marches in protest at global inaction over climate change.

But in China, grassroots social movements are heavily suppressed by the government, and the movement is severely lacking in participants.

It has changed Ou’s life though. She was inspired by Swedish teenage climate campaigner Greta Thunberg, and held her own week-long solo protest in May last year outside her local government buildings, gaining international recognition.

“The climate emergency is the biggest threat to the survival of mankind. I feel anxious every day about the climate and the extinction of animal species,” said Ou, an intense figure who speaks in a fast monotone, reeling off a trove of scientific data from

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L.A. schools announce massive COVID-19 testing, tracing initiative for all students and staff

Los Angeles Unified School District staff member Adrian Pacheco demonstrates the use of sanitizing tools as Supt. Austin Beutner takes a tour of Burbank Middle School. As the academic school year looms, preparations have been underway to make campuses safe. <span class="copyright">(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)</span>
Los Angeles Unified School District staff member Adrian Pacheco demonstrates the use of sanitizing tools as Supt. Austin Beutner takes a tour of Burbank Middle School. As the academic school year looms, preparations have been underway to make campuses safe. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Unified School District announced Sunday that it is launching an ambitious coronavirus testing and contact tracing program for all students, staff and their families — aiming to create a path to safely reopening campuses in the nation’s second-largest school district.

If the plan unfolds as described, it could be one of the most detailed to date for an American school district, involving nearly 500,000 students and 75,000 staff members. It appears to be the most sizable, at least until the larger New York City school system clarifies how it will manage testing and contact tracing.

The L.A. testing program is not

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‘Sustainability Is Our Business Plan,’ Selfridges Vows

Ratcheting up its sustainability commitments, Selfridges is unfurling a two-month campaign involving repair, rental and resale services — and setting steep commitments for all its vendors regarding eco-friendly materials.

“Sustainability is our business plan, with five-year commitments,” said Anne Pitcher, group managing director, unveiling the British retailer’s Project Earth initiative during a webcast last week.

Forecasting “a tough year ahead,” Pitcher stressed the need to “provide new experiences and new conversations” for its customers as they emerge from coronavirus lockdowns with stronger convictions about mindful consumption, and heightened concerns about the environment.

The executive said Selfridges is “putting people and planet at the heart of our thinking,” which will “transform the way we do business and the way we shop over the next five years.”

The retailer plans to make it easier for customers to shop responsibly with a new destination called “The Organic Cotton Shop,” plus labeling detailing the

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US convention season set to begin, with (virtual) spotlight on Biden

As Democrats on Monday open an unprecedented virtual convention, the party’s disparate factions are projecting a united front behind Joe Biden, brought together by their common determination to oust Donald Trump in November’s election.

“It is absolutely imperative that Donald Trump be defeated,” Bernie Sanders, a former Biden rival and a keynote speaker on the event’s opening night, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

Adding to the drama, the four-day convention — originally planned for the Midwestern city of Milwaukee but forced to go online by the COVID-19 pandemic — takes place amid a furor over Trump’s efforts to limit mail-in voting.

The president, insisting without proof that mail-in voting fosters fraud, has threatened to block extra funding that Democrats say is urgently needed to allow the US Postal Service to process millions of ballots.

In normal election years, nominating conventions are a raucous scene. Tens of thousands of party

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CU Boulder Move-In Begins: What To Know

BOULDER, CO — University of Colorado Boulder’s class of 2024 and returning students began moving to the campus Saturday, but they will be welcomed formally Monday.

All students are checking in at the CU Events Center and providing proof of a coronavirus test, which must have been taken within the previous five days. Students who don’t produce evidence of a test, or those who haven’t received their tests yet, must be tested on campus before going to their residence hall.

Students can bring no more than two family members and only one guest will be allowed in the residence hall at a time, university officials said.

Face coverings must be worn at all times inside buildings and outside when social distancing can’t be maintained.

Don’t miss the latest coronavirus updates from health and government officials in Boulder: Free Newsletters and Email Alerts | Facebook | Twitter

Students coming to campus

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