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Back to School Media Coverage and Vaccine Distribution Met With Skepticism.

This weekly segment by Democrats for Education Reform CT looks at the top education stories Democrats are watching, providing bite-sized analysis and links to recent articles. On the roster this week: Back to School Media Coverage and Vaccine Distribution Met With Skepticism.

Reading Between the Lines in Back to School News Coverage

Oceans of ink have been spilled on the return to school this fall, and while much of it has been balanced and well reported, we have seen many headlines focusing on small-scale hiccups rather than some of the noteworthy successes. Alexander Russo, a contributor for Phi Delta Kappan, a professional journal for educators, has reviewed some of this coverage, noting that including the emotional narrative in reporting the perspective of teachers, students and parents is critical to the storytelling, but “there are ways to cover this thorny story that leave readers informed about the process, what the available science can tell us, and — perhaps most important — what the ramifications are for student learning.”

Here in Connecticut, we have seen a steady drip of stories covering how one or two cases of COVID-19 have shuttered schools for a period of time, against the most recent recommendations of the Lamont administration. As the Governor said in the Hartford Courant on Tuesday, “I think it’s worth remembering that of all the schools that have been opened, some full-time, some part-time... we’ve had 32 infections. That’s 32 out of six or seven hundred thousand students and teachers and administrators so... it’s a much lower positivity rate than we’re used to seeing in the general population right now.” Good news, indeed.

Vaccine Distribution Met With Skepticism

New analysis from ranks Connecticut 13th in States that Vaccinate the Most, with "children and teenagers immunization rates" well-vaccinated with a state ranking of 5, but "adult and elderly vaccination rates" were lower with a state ranking of 29, and notably, in the "immunization uptake disparities and influencing factors" such as access to health insurance and infant poverty measurements, Connecticut’s rank was surprisingly low also at #29. This measure is far behind our “peer” states like Massachusetts (2nd), Maryland (3rd), and Rhode Island (8th). Also this week, General Assembly Education Co-Chair Douglas McCrory reacted to Governor Lamont’s comments on engaging the Black community on a future COVID-19 vaccine. As covered in the Hartford Courant, Lamont said he “needed the state’s Black churches to support a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.” McCrory raised the concern that many in the African American community take issue with being the first to be inoculated due to a long documented history of mistreatment by medical and research institutions, and discrimination in health care.

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