May 13, 2020

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 490 words, a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: K-12 faces unthinkable options

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

America's schools have a daunting year ahead.

The big picture: "Saturday school" and "summer school" used to evoke images of punishment for American kids, but they may need to become commonplace for everybody.

  • And on top of it all, some children will come back with trauma — from the loss of family members, economic hardship and anxiety about their own health and well-being.

Among the changes under discussion (AP):

  • Some states may start way earlier: California is considering late July in the hope that it will help catch kids back up.
  • Others are pushing for permanent changes: A Maryland lawmaker wants to move to year-round schooling on a quarters system.
  • Social distancing will require more classroom space: Expect trailers and tents, plus retrofits of big spaces like gyms.
  • School will also shoot for mixes of in-person and online classes: If you're a parent wondering how this could work when it comes to child care, you aren't alone.

Between the lines: This will impose a huge burden on teachers, who will be on the front lines of getting kids back up to speed.

  • That's for those who go back: Roughly 20% of teachers are over 55, and many who are at high risk might not return to classrooms anytime soon.
  • The American Federation of Teachers launched several capstone lesson plans yesterday to help K-12 teachers measure student progress during school closures, Axios' Marisa Fernandez reports.
  • “We cannot lose sight of the fact that students already have completed at least seven months of learning," said AFT president Randi Weingarten. "We need to make sure to honor this, not invalidate it, and offer kids both closure and a bridge to next year."

Go deeper: How the coronavirus pandemic will transform teaching

Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa/AP

A bust of Bach with a face mask made of notes from the cantata "My heart swims in blood" is on display in the Bach Archive in Leipzig, Germany.

  • The exhibition, which shows the influence Bach's compositions had on Beethoven, was supposed to start on March 26, but will now run from tomorrow into October.
2. Catch up quick
  1. Congress: Pelosi defends $3 trillion relief bill saying, "The American people are worth it" — Ousted vaccine doctor to warn in testimony of "darkest winter in modern history" if the U.S. doesn't ramp up virus response.
  2. Business: Venture capital investment activity has dropped off 25% from pre-pandemic levels Fed chair Jay Powell warns of "lasting" economic damage without more stimulus.
  3. Prison: Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort moved to home confinement amid coronavirus crisis.
  4. 🎧 Podcast: Quibi's short-form rise and fall and how much of it should be blamed on the coronavirus.
3. 1 helpful thing

Photo: BET2020/Getty Images for BET Networks

Rapper and activist Common is calling attention to the threat that coronavirus poses on people who are incarcerated in America. (AP)

  • His criminal justice reform organization Imagine Justice launched a campaign today with dozens of advocacy and activist groups.
  • #WeMatterToo urges authorities to immediately release people who have served the vast majority of their sentences, especially if they have underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19.

Two-minute video.