Collections: Students face debt collectors

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Liz WillenDear reader,
 
The pandemic has taken a toll on all of us this last year, and some of the consequences may not be clear for months. We do know that schools are being severely tested: Many do not have enough mental health supports to meet the needs of students who are struggling with loneliness, anxiety and even severe or suicidal depression.
 
School counselors, mental health workers and psychologists are all in short supply,  our reporting shows, just when they are most needed. That’s leading to new ideas around how to help: One option would be to include a mental health component in summer school. And on the question of how we’ll catch up students academically, we take a look at post-Katrina lessons from New Orleans.
 
Also this week, we bring you a powerful story from our hidden debt trap series, involving a little-noticed way students are forced into deepening debt: the fees and interest that accrue when their bills are referred to private debt collection agencies. As always, we’d love to hear from you as well.

Liz Willen, Editor
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Main Idea 

Public colleges shock students by sending them to costly debt collection agencies

With fees and interest, debt can balloon by nearly a third in several months in some states.
Reading List 

Counting on summer school to catch kids up after a disrupted year

Money is flowing, but there’s no guarantee kids will learn — or show up.


Nation’s skeletal school mental health network will be severely tested

On average, school psychologists are responsible for more than double the recommended number of students and school social workers are responsible for almost five times the recommended number.


PROOF POINTS: New study shows controversial post-Katrina school reforms paid off for New Orleans

Researcher says the city’s approach to educational recovery isn’t applicable nationwide after the pandemic.


OPINION: Stop holding college transcripts hostage over unpaid debt

Millions of Americans cannot enroll in college because of unpaid student debt.
 

The pandemic hit moms hard, and that stress can trickle down to kids

New survey data show one-third of moms with young children had to leave work or reduce hours.


OPINION: The wrong roadmap for teaching American history

America’s fraying democracy feels as if it is close to falling apart. What role should our education system play in bringing us back together?
 

Can patriotism and criticism coexist in social studies?

Seeking common ground in the century-old Social Studies Wars.


OPINION: Post-pandemic summer school should not be just about catching up

New funding should help students connect and reengage while addressing their stress and mental health.
 

5 ways schools hope to fight Covid-19 learning loss

Data show kids are behind in reading achievement, especially in the early grades. (Hechinger en Español: Cinco maneras de combatir la pérdida de aprendizaje causada por el Covid-19.)
Solutions 
"To the other 98%: Lessons from the nation's Black male educators," Scalawag 

"HBCUs are keeping the rest of the South safe," Scalawag
👋 Contact Nichole Dobo at dobo@hechingerreport.org to give feedback on The Hechinger Report’s newsletters. Did you know we produce newsletters on early childhood, education research, the future of learning and higher education? And it helps us if you recommend our newsletters to a friend. 
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