Teachers

Judge weighs legal arguments in lawsuit by teachers union over opening Florida schools

As thousands of children return to classrooms throughout Florida, local school officials, teachers and doctors spent Wednesday picking apart a state mandate requiring schools to resume in-person instruction this month amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have no business opening schools by a certain deadline, and certainly not by Aug. 31,” Orlando pediatrician Annette Nielsen said during a daylong video hearing in a legal challenge to an emergency order by Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran requiring schools to reopen five days a week in August. “We’re simply not ready. We don’t have the things in place to open.”

The Florida Education Association statewide teachers union last month filed a lawsuit alleging that Corcoran’s July 6 order violates the state Constitution, which guarantees Floridians the right to “safe” and “secure” public schools. The Orange County teachers union filed a similar legal complaint, and Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson consolidated the cases.

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Should teachers be considered essential workers?

“The 360” shows you diverse perspectives on the day’s top stories and debates.

What’s happening

As the coronavirus pandemic began to hit the United States, schools shut down and moved online for the remainder of spring for the safety of their teachers and students. Now, with a new academic year on the horizon, schools are trying to decide whether to send teachers and students back to classrooms in person, continue online instruction or use a hybrid model.

Federal guidelines for what’s considered an essential worker — those whose jobs are necessary to keep society functioning even when much of the economy has been closed —  include professions such as health care workers, media and grocery store employees. But while the guidelines say child care workers are considered essential, it does not include teachers. In the United States, teachers have not been treated as frontline workers in the fight against the

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Trump says open schools. Teachers say safety first. As cases rise, unions may win.

Chicago teachers piled into hundreds of cars on the first Monday of August and rolled their way to City Hall.

No strangers to large demonstrations, the teachers spent hours protesting Chicago Public Schools’ plan to mix in-school and at-home learning this fall to reduce crowding in buildings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Staff didn’t feel safe teaching in person, the educators said, especially given rising rates of positive COVID-19 cases in Illinois. The demonstration had hallmarks of the massive strike the Chicago Teachers Union waged 10 months prior during a contract dispute with the city.

As union members murmured about potentially striking again for their safety, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Chicago’s near 400,000 students would start the year online-only on Sept. 8. That means almost all of America’s biggest districts will start the school year with online learning – a move largely driven by local teachers unions.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, joined by Chicago Public Schools CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson, right rear, announce a preliminary reopening framework for public schools during a press conference, Friday, July 17, 2020, at CPS Headquarters in Chicago.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot,
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Trump says open schools. Teachers say not until they’re safe. As cases rise, unions may win.

Chicago teachers piled into hundreds of cars on the first Monday of August and rolled their way to City Hall.

No strangers to large demonstrations, the teachers spent hours protesting Chicago Public Schools’ plan to mix in-school and at-home learning this fall to reduce crowding in buildings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Staff didn’t feel safe teaching in person, the educators said, especially given rising rates of positive COVID-19 cases in Illinois. The demonstration had hallmarks of the massive strike the Chicago Teachers Union waged 10 months prior during a contract dispute with the city.

As union members murmured about potentially striking again for their safety, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Chicago’s near 400,000 students would start the year online-only on Sept. 8. That means almost all of America’s biggest districts will start the school year with online learning — a move largely driven by local teachers unions.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, joined by Chicago Public Schools CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson, right rear, announce a preliminary reopening framework for public schools during a press conference, Friday, July 17, 2020, at CPS Headquarters in Chicago.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot,
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Parents, Teachers, Doctors Clash Over Reopening Arizona Schools

ARIZONA — As virtual learning has started in school districts across the state, parents, educators, doctors and the government all disagree on the best way to move forward for the sake of Arizona’s students. Parents have rallied for schools to reopen while educators and doctors have said the government has not provided clear enough guidelines to do so.

Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Department of Health Services released guidelines for reopening schools earlier this month. In them, they mandated that all Arizona school districts must open one school for in-person learning on Aug. 17 for students with no other place to go.

But a group of educators and physicians argue that the guidelines don’t go nearly far enough to protect students from the spread of the coronavirus. The Committee to Protect Medicare hosted a webinar Monday to discuss the issue. The group, made up of Arizona physicians and education

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‘Let’s listen to the teachers:’ NYC comptroller on school re-openings

To date, the city of New York, the most populous city in the U.S. and the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, has only received 12% of federal PPP loans. Like many cities and counties around the country, New York is counting on federal loan aid to help businesses and support in the reopening of public schools. NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer joined Yahoo Finance to discuss why the city needs a stimulus package that includes funding for education.

“We need to have a stimulus package that is also gonna include money for school re-openings; this is not a cheap undertaking,” he said.

“This is really a matter of putting dollars to work so that we can create a school plan that works for kids, whether it’s [online learning or] classroom learning. This is the challenge of every big city and every small county in America right now,” he stressed.

QUEENS,

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“I Just Really Miss Our Teachers So Much”

Actress Angela Kinsey has always admired the hard work educators do. Ever since she was young, Angela’s older sister has been a teacher, so she knows first-hand just how trying the profession can be. Recently, Angela partnered with Staples for its “Thank a Teacher” contest, which awards 20 deserving educators with a $5,000 Staples gift card to stock their classrooms for the coming school year.

“Some of my earliest memories are of my sister being a teacher and helping her cut out things for the classroom,” Angela told POPSUGAR. “My mom and I would help her cut out class decorations while sitting around the fireplace in the winter. She always goes above and beyond for our students. She always goes out of pocket every year to buy things for her classroom. So when I heard that Staples was doing the contest, I just thought it was really wonderful because our

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What Teachers Want Parents To Know As Schools Reopen

The coronavirus pandemic is raging, but schools are beginning to reopen across the country — many with terrifying results. 

HuffPost Parenting asked the teachers from our Facebook community what they want parents to know right now. Here’s what they had to say.

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“Educators will all tell you that we want to see our kids! We want group work, laughter in our hallways, pizza party incentives and everything that we once had in our schools. We also want to live, and we want our children to live

With the disruption of 2019-20’s school year, alongside immense loss-grief-trauma, our children will need time to make up any deficits they’ve encountered. This is doubly true for students of color and students with disabilities. … The plans that have been laid out thus far are vague and put us all at risk. It would be great to have had actual teachers

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Teachers File Suit Over Concerns About Reopening Florida Schools

ACROSS FLORIDA — Thousands of Florida teachers are awaiting word on whether they’ll be heading back to the classroom this month after the Florida Education Association filed a lawsuit asking a judge to let the school districts decide for themselves when school can safely open during the coronavirus pandemic.

On July 6, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran issued an executive order mandating that all Florida school districts reopen schools five days a week by the end of August in order to receive state funding.

In response, the FEA filed a lawsuit July 20. The injunctive relief hearing was heard Wednesday by a judge in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida in Miami. However, the hearing was adjourned after Gov. Ron DeSantis filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The hearing is expected to continue Thursday but a decision by the judge isn’t likely until next week.

The defendants are DeSantis,

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The Spin: Teachers Union, Mayor Lightfoot and a new game of brinksmanship? | Durkin says GOP candidates will use ComEd, Madigan as talking points in November election

Reopening schools for the looming new academic year already was gearing up to be a political brawl. But things amped up today as the Chicago Teachers Union — concerned that in-class learning would be dangerous amid the coronavirus pandemic — was planning a House of Delegates meeting next week, a required move on the road to a potential strike.

Anyone who recalls the battles and brinksmanship that played out between union leaders and the mayor during last fall’s knows to brace themselves for a battle.

Parents and guardians were looking to a Friday deadline to inform Chicago Public Schools whether their students would attend in-person classes or stay home. But, as my colleagues reported, sources say CPS — whose CEO and Board of Education is appointed by the mayor — is expected to announce an all-remote learning plan as soon as Wednesday. A source told the Tribune the shift is

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