Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden: Where they stand on COVID, education and more

Amid the tumult of the 2020 presidential campaign, one dynamic has remained constant: The Nov. 3 election offers voters a choice between substantially different policy paths.

President Donald Trump, like many fellow Republicans, holds out tax reductions and regulatory cuts as economic imperatives and frames himself as a conservative champion in the culture wars. The president has offered few details about how he would pull the levers of government in a second term. His most consistent argument focuses on stopping Democratic opponent Joe Biden and his party from pushing U.S. policy leftward.

Biden, for his part, is not the socialist caricature depicted by Trump. But he is every bit a center-left Democrat who frames the federal government as the force to combat the coronavirus, rebuild the economy and address centuries of institutional racism and systemic inequalities. The former vice president and U.S. senator also offers his deal-making past as evidence

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From COVID testing to cops, University of Michigan graduate students explain why they’re striking

ANN ARBOR, MI – While more than 70% of the University of Michigan’s classes are being taught online this fall, Kathleen Brown was quick to question which types of instructors would feel the pressure to teach in-person.

The second-year PhD student in UM’s American Culture Department said it’s natural to assume graduate student instructors have been more greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic financially than their faculty counterparts, putting more stress on them to teach the classes the university is offering in-person.

It also has forced graduate employees to apply pressure on the university by striking Tuesday, Sept. 8, marching and chanting at five different locations on the UM campus, asking the university for more transparency in its plans related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including randomized testing.

A universal right to work remotely was one of the union’s demands. They also want a universal right to work remotely, childcare subsidies,

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Oakland University urges Michiganders to ‘Spread Hope, Not COVID’

This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author’s own.

At the request of Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Oakland University is supporting a new statewide public education campaign called “Spread Hope, Not COVID.” The goal of the campaign is to unite all Michiganders to take three simple actions that will contain the spread of the virus at levels that will enable the state to fully reopen — and stay open.

“In these trying times, it’s so important to remain hopeful and to work together for the betterment of all of us,” said Oakland University President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D. “The governor’s appeal unites us in the common purpose of making sure we’re acting responsibly, safely and doing everything we can to reopen the state with a thoughtful approach that considers the long-term public and economic health of our residents and economy.”

To help contain the

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‘Career criminal’ Wayne Bradley jailed for Covid hospital thefts

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Wayne Bradley

image copyrightWest Midlands Police

image captionWayne Bradley targeted NHS staff during lockdown, police said

A serial thief who targeted hospitals and NHS staff during the coronavirus lockdown has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Wayne Bradley, 30, from Bartley Green, Birmingham “conned and tailgated” staff to gain access to unauthorised areas.

He stole a purse from Solihull Hospital and mobile phones from Birmingham Children’s Hospital in April.

The “career criminal”, already serving a Criminal Behaviour Order, admitted burglary at the city’s crown court.

‘Targeted most vulnerable’

Bradley was also linked to further offences committed at a care complex in Bournville and Birmingham Women’s Hospital, as well as the theft of a laptop from a cardiac unit at the children’s hospital.

One of the victims of his theft at the children’s hospital confronted him, but Bradley

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Privileged parents form COVID pandemic pods that widen education gaps. We can do better.

I saw a Tesla with #BlackLivesMatter written on the rear windshield the other day. It appeared to be a parent picking up their kid from a “pandemic pod,” which, if you’re not familiar, is a small cluster of families who pool resources to hire a private tutor, who may be a parent. These pods are very popular among my neighbors in the Bay Area of California. Nearby I could see a YMCA, which provides child care and after-school programming. It shut down due to COVID-19.

I’m not the first to point out that pods are emblematic of educational inequity in the United States. It’s a winner-take-all approach, with privileged, often mostly white students hoarding academic and social gains and further segregating our K-12 systems. This hypocrisy is why pod parents make me so angry. If Black lives matter, doesn’t that include Black children? What about Black futures?

Pods don’t just

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As Stax Music Academy Turns 20, Memphis School Reimagines Curriculum for COVID

The Stax Music Academy isn’t participating in the debate about whether schools should open their classrooms and risk the further spreading of COVID-19. They’re going online, choosing to create solutions to the pandemic that broaden the Memphis academy’s offerings rather than curtail the usual curriculum.

When the doors open Aug. 17 at the music school, which quietly marked its 20th anniversary in June, the stay-at-home orders are leading to a new emphasis on recording and additional opportunities to teach songwriting.

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“Ninety percent of our focus has been on performance,” says executive director Pat Mitchell-Worley, noting the academy’s ensembles deliver more than 50 performances each year. “In the past, we have not been able to focus as much as we want on a studio work, the recorded performance.”

In February, they plan to do an online variety show that that can be streamed at any time and comes

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How tutoring could be a key to lifting kids out of ‘COVID slide’

Zachary Carr hadn’t known Victor for long. Carr, 21, began tutoring the rising fifth grader in mid-June, shortly after wrapping up his junior year at Middle Tennessee State University. But Carr had spent enough one-on-one time with Victor to discern that the boy was unusually fidgety during their latest morning session. 

Victor had made lots of progress in math since he began meeting twice a week with Carr at a Nashville-area Boys & Girls Club through an ad hoc, statewide tutoring initiative. The more Victor improved in arithmetic, the more he engaged with the tutoring sessions. Yet this session was “a little rocky,” Carr said later. Victor was antsy, regularly losing focus; he often tripped up on equations the two had rehearsed seconds prior.  

Realizing something was off, Carr playfully asked Victor, “Why are you so hyper today, man?” Turns out Victor had gotten his hands on some coffee. He

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Young people struggle with finding mental health support amid COVID pandemic

Kathryn Boit feels “guilty for struggling so much” these past few months. 

As the president of the Harvard Student Mental Health Liaisons, she has “college friends, acquaintances, and strangers reach out to me for resources and advice,” she said. “I don’t know the answers anymore.”

It’s no wonder Boit, a Harvard sophomore, feels overwhelmed. Prevalence of depression among college students increased since the pandemic caused the closure of campuses this spring compared to fall 2019, according to a survey of 18,000 college students published by the Healthy Minds Network on July 9. And of the nearly 42% of students who sought mental health care during the pandemic, 60% said it was either much more or somewhat more difficult to access care.

Mental health among young people has been worsening for years. A 2019 analysis of teens reported 13% of U.S. teens ages 12 to 17 (or 3.2 million) said in

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Student laborer gets lesson in COVID perseverance

Gianna Nino-Tapias imagined the next time she would wake up at 3 a.m. for work would be for rounds as a medical resident. But this summer she woke up with her mom, back home in eastern Washington state, packed enough food and water for the blistering heat, and headed out to the fields.

After an hour-long drive, she and her mother, Susana Tapias, waited in line to get their temperature checked. Nino-Tapias, with a master’s degree in epidemiology, would think about the lack of social distancing in the lines while they waited.

They strapped gallon pails to their chests and picked blueberries as fast as they reasonably could. If farmworkers don’t pick enough to make minimum wage, they aren’t allowed to work.

They picked and picked until 2 or 3 p.m., the hottest part of the day. It reached 110 degrees recently. On days like that, it was hard to

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Covid puts financial stress on young people

<span>Photograph: Yurkevych Liliia/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Yurkevych Liliia/Alamy

Raymond Christie is having sleepless nights. The 18-year-old is worrying about how difficult it will be to find work opportunities as he anticipates an upcoming recession. Christie left school at 16 with no qualifications and went into training on a construction scheme that went into administration during the pandemic. Since then, he has had to rely on his family for financial support.

“My mental health has never been as bad as it has been over the last few months since my mid-teens,” he says. “Losing my place in something that I really enjoyed doing and the overwhelming feeling of uncertainty has made me struggle with deep moods of depression and boredom. Most days, I don’t want to do anything or get up from my bed and I find it hard to motivate myself with nothing to do.”

Christie is not alone in being so worried. The debt

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