Daily Bread for 4.26.20

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of sixty-three.  Sunrise is 5:53 AM and sunset 7:50 PM, for 13h 57m 08s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 10.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand two hundred sixty-fifth day.

 On this day in 1865, Union soldiers corner and shoot dead John Wilkes Booth.

Recommended for reading in full —

Beth McMurtrie writes The Next Casualty of the Coronavirus Crisis May Be the Academic Calendar:

As the novel coronavirus rolled across the country in early March, Beloit College scrambled to keep up. Like virtually every other campus in the United States, it sent students home and moved instruction online. But what about the future?

“All we were doing was triage,” says Eric Boynton, provost of the small liberal-arts college in Wisconsin, remembering the days after Covid-19 hit. “I had this sinking feeling that this wasn’t enough.”

So Boynton brought an idea to a committee at Beloit that had spent nearly eight months crafting a new academic plan to differentiate itself from its peers: What if, come fall, Beloit broke the semester into 3.5-week increments, so students and professors could focus on one course at a time? That, he argued, would allow for greater flexibility to respond to what many public-health experts anticipate will be a flare-up in infections in the coming months if social-distancing orders are lifted too soon. And it would, he said, give “solidity” to the fall calendar.

The committee rejected that idea but two days later suggested another: a later start date and two seven-week modules instead of a full semester. That way, if the college needed to move everyone online either early or late in the fall, it could do so with fewer disruptions. The deal was ratified and publicly rolled out within two weeks, giving Beloit a leg up at a time when families are struggling to make sense of what the next academic year will look like.

 Douglas N. Harris asks How will COVID-19 change our schools in the long run?:

Use of online tools? It should be clear from my arguments above that schools will make much greater use of online tools. Most students in the country will soon have laptops and some type of internet access (though the digital divide will remain a significant concern). Teachers are going to like many of the tools out there, and they will have an easier time using them now that students have some experience with them. As Dave Deming recently pointed out, online tools can be helpful complements to in-person instruction—instead of a replacement for it—allowing teachers to focus more on engaging students and mentoring them.

A shift to homeschooling and fully virtual instruction? There may be some shift in this direction. Families will get more accustomed to online learning. However, this approach has the significant disadvantage that families have to play the role of hall monitor and teacher. Few families want or can afford that, given their work schedules and other responsibilities. Moreover, research consistently suggests that students learn less in fully virtual environments. In-person, teacher-led instruction simply has too many advantages.

(Note: Harris’s perspective rests primarily on his study of K-12 education in New Orleans after Katrina.)

Why These Grandmas Swim With Venomous Sea Snakes:

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