Just News from Center X – August 12, 2022

Just News from Center X is a free weekly news blast about equitable public education. Please share and encourage colleagues and friends to subscribe.

Teaching, Leading, and Social Justice

Welcome Back, AUHSD! [Video]

Michael Matsuda, Youtube

Greetings students, and welcome back.  This is your superintendent, Mr. Matsuda.  I would like to welcome you with a song that was very popular in the 1960s.  It’s called, “Everyday People,” written by a group called Sly and the Family Stone, one of the first integrated pop bands in America.  It was released in 1968, the year that Martin Luther King was assassinated, the year Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the year of the Tet Offensive which marked the turning point in the Vietnam War.  There were race riots in the streets and America was in turmoil.  Things seemed upside down, kind of like today.  But it was young people, just like yourselves, who wrote and performed songs and expressed themselves through art and spoken word about love and healing.  That is what this song is about.  I believe that like the young people in the 1960s, you and your generation will lead the way forward.  You will show the older generation how to be kind, compassionate, and loving.  I believe your generation will help us all heal.

As a new school year looms, nationwide teacher shortages persist [AUDIO]

WBUR, Here & Now

A new school year is beginning. But a lot of teachers aren’t coming back. As the new school year gets underway, across the country there has been a growing shortage of teachers. From the ongoing pandemic to divisive politics, teachers have endured a lot of uncertainty. Here & Now’s Celeste Headlee talks with American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten.

Low pay, stress and burnout: U.S. schools face severe teacher shortage [Video]

Elise Presto, CBS News

Kindergarten teacher Natalie Tran is excited to be back in her Oakland, California, classroom with her 25 4-year-olds. But she’s not surprised that many other teachers across the country didn’t return for the upcoming school year. “We need higher pay,” she told CBS News. “We need more respect for the teaching profession because it’s extremely difficult, and we really need to have manageable class sizes.” Nationwide, there are at least 280,000 fewer public school teachers than there were before the pandemic, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Language, Culture, and Power

DACA opened doors to education for some, but many students still face obstacles

Yesenia Robles, Chalkbeat Colorado

When Flor Camarena was getting ready to graduate from her Denver high school, there was a moment she wasn’t sure she’d be able to go to college. But her counselors, to whom she had confided her lack of legal status, helped her find schools that were supportive and programs that gave her hope for financial assistance.

How the Oceti Sakowin are reclaiming their culture one school at  a time

Jordan Rusche, SDPB Radio

The Wakanyeja Tokeyahci Lakota Immersion School building is small, but it’s a step up from its former single-room classroom at the Boys and Girls Club in Mission, South Dakota, on the Rosebud Reservation. Founder and director Sage Fast Dog and his employees have spent the summer cleaning and preparing the building, which is equipped with classroom spaces, a kitchen, and an open activity area, for when students return in the fall.

Kentucky teenagers discover that embroidery is a lot more than just a craft [AUDIO]

Cheri Lawson, NPR

Two artists in Kentucky designed a summer workshop for teens called The School of Needlework for Disobedient Women, using embroidery as an avenue to explore feminism, activism and self-expression.

Whole Children and Strong Communities

Just over half of U.S. public schools offer mental health assessments for students; fewer offer treatment

Katherine Schaeffer, Pew Research

Citing an “unprecedented mental health crisis” among young people in the United States, the Biden administration recently announced new funding to expand mental health services in the nation’s K-12 schools. While school-based mental health services have become more common in recent years, many K-12 schools lack such resources, according to the most recent available government data. Overall, just over half of U.S. public schools (55%) provided students with diagnostic mental health assessments to evaluate them for mental health disorders during the 2019-20 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) School Survey on Crime and Safety. These assessments were conducted by a licensed mental health professional employed or contracted by the schools.

Teens, Social Media and Technology 2022

Emily Vogels, Risa Gelles-Watnick  and Navid Mssarat, Pew Research

The landscape of social media is ever-changing, especially among teens who often are on the leading edge of this space. A new Pew Research Center survey of American teenagers ages 13 to 17 finds TikTok has rocketed in popularity since its North American debut several years ago and now is a top social media platform for teens among the platforms covered in this survey. Some 67% of teens say they ever use TikTok, with 16% of all teens saying they use it almost constantly. Meanwhile, the share of teens who say they use Facebook, a dominant social media platform among teens in the Center’s 2014-15 survey, has plummeted from 71% then to 32% today.

What Role Does Social Media Use Play in the Youth Mental Health Crisis? Researchers Are Trying to Find Out

Lilah Burke, EdSurge

Youth mental health is at a crisis point. In December 2021, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory on youth mental health. A few months later, the chief science officer at the American Psychological Association testified before a Senate committee that America’s youth mental health system was fundamentally flawed. Not only have symptoms of mood disorders, such as depression, increased in teens and children—but manifestations of those diseases, such as emergency room visits and suicides, have as well.

Access, Assessment, Advancement

Post-Roe landscape could further stress America’s crumbling child care system

Jackie Mader, Hechinger Report

Experts say more families will likely need help paying for child care if they have children at inopportune times due to abortion bans. Credit: Camilla Forte/The Hechinger Report

The Hechinger Report is a national nonprofit newsroom that reports on one topic: education. Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get stories like this delivered directly to your inbox. In 2008, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco launched a study to track the effects of being denied an abortion on women who sought to end their pregnancies. For five years, they monitored the socioeconomic and health-related outcomes of around 1,000 women who tried to attain an abortion between 2008 and 2010; some received abortions, while others were turned away because their pregnancies were just over a clinic’s gestational limit. The outcomes captured by The Turnaway Study were clear. Women who gave birth after being denied an abortion experienced an increase in household poverty compared to those who received an abortion. They were more likely to lack food and housing, incur debt, stay in contact with a violent partner and end up raising children alone. The well-being of children was also impacted: Babies born after a mother sought an abortion were more likely to live below the federal poverty level, and the mother’s existing children received lower scores on child development evaluations.

University of California accepts record number of in-state students, but only at some campuses

Michael Burke, Ed Source

Keeping with a pledge to prioritize enrollment of California residents, the University of California admitted a record number of in-state freshman applicants and fewer out-of-state and international students for fall 2022, according to data released Wednesday. Those trends, however, varied across the system’s nine campuses, with several campuses admitting fewer California residents than a year ago. At the same time, even though the raw number of Californians accepted was up from last year, the overall acceptance rate for those students was down across the system. That’s because the system received more applications than a year ago. UC also admitted fewer transfer students, which was the result of fewer applications from California’s community colleges, where enrollment has dropped dramatically since the pandemic.

Free cash for college: How California parents can access CalKIDS funds

Jon Healey, LA Times

It may be hard to believe, but California’s esteemed university system was tuition-free for state residents until 1970. Now, the average charge in the UC system is more than $13,000 a year, and fees, housing, meals and other costs add an estimated $25,000 to that total. The increase in costs is due in part to the declining percentage of the UC budget that the state covered.

Inequality, Poverty, Segregation

Alabama district among first probed under LGBTQ Title IX guidance

Naaz Modan, K-12 Dive

One of the first cases to investigate a school based on the Biden administration’s LGBTQ protections and Title IX interpretation has made its way to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.  Although this isn’t the first time a school has been investigated by the OCR for discrimination against an LGBTQ student, the case against Alabama’s Shelby County Schools is among the first to cite the Biden administration’s interpretation of Title IX regulations that protect LGBTQ students, OCR investigator Martin Chen told AL.com.

Girls and women in Afghanistan have been blocked from receiving an education [AUDIO]

Alina Selyukh, NPR

Removing women from public life was one of the first orders of business when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan almost one year ago. This includes keeping female students out of classrooms. And the result has been devastating to a generation of Afghan girls and women who, for decades, fought for the right to access education. So what now? Pashtana Durrani is the executive director of LEARN. It’s a nonprofit based in Afghanistan that helps girls access education.

The food crisis is severely disrupting children’s education in the Sahel


Educo alerts that the food crisis that is taking place in the Sahel region is having serious consequences for children’s education. As well as affecting children’s health and wellbeing, the difficulty they have accessing food, impacts their ability to learn. “A child who is hungry is a child who, obviously, cannot keep up in class”, says Constance Hien, the head teacher at the Tasmin school in Ouahigouya, in Burkina Faso. Hien explains that children are struggling to be able to eat once a day, but thanks to the existence of the school canteen, everyone who attends the school can have one guaranteed daily meal. The school canteen is also a strong incentive for staying in school. The food crisis, combined with the severe security crisis, has led to an increase in school dropouts and dropout rates.

Democracy and the Public Interest

Hope, frustration and hard lessons as youth try to lower voting age for school board

Carolyn Jones, Ed Source

Three years ago, Melissa Rodriguez and dozens of her peers in Oakland Unified had a bold idea. Unhappy with the civics education at their schools, among other issues, they decided to enact their own real-life civics lesson: by fighting for 16- and 17-year-olds to have the right to vote in school board elections. They circulated petitions. They went door to door in every neighborhood of the city. They collected endorsements and raised money for advertising. They did email blasts, social media campaigns and phone banking. And in the fall 2020 election, they won. Measure QQ passed with almost 68% of the vote. Melissa Rodriguez and her peers campaigned for months to pass Alameda County Measure QQ. But that, so far, is where the story ends. The Alameda County Registrar of Voters has yet to implement Measure QQ, nor a similar measure, Y1, that passed in Berkeley in 2016.

Stress, Harassment, Censorship: What Educators Face as Politics Roils Schools

Madeline Will, Education Week

Political debates making their way into school buildings have been a big source of stress for educators, a newly released nationally representative survey confirms. In fact, principals are three times more likely than other working adults to consider the intrusion of politicized issues—such as COVID-19 mitigation or classroom conversations about race—to be a job-related stressor. Sixty-one percent of principals and 37 percent of teachers surveyed by the RAND Corporation reported experiencing harassment about these politicized topics, which contributed to burnout, frequent job-related stress, and symptoms of depression.

Black and Latino students find their voice through civics education in Sacramento

Srishti Prabha, Cap Radio

The 2020 election had the highest voter turnout in United States history — but not in California. While the Golden State’s voter turnout was the highest it has seen since the ’50s, it ranked 35th in the country that year. And during the recent primary election in June, less than 39%  of Sacramento County’s registered voters went to the polls — one of the lowest turnouts in the past few election seasons. The need for civics engagement in the diverse Sacramento landscape is apparent.

Other News of Note

Teachers and Port Workers Have Taken over an Oakland School

Don Macleay, The Progressive

In what may at first seem an odd alliance, teachers and port workers in Oakland, California, have joined together to oppose charter school expansion and a new baseball stadium proposed by luxury real estate developers. Forming a group called Schools and Labor Against Privatization, or SLAP, they began their campaign with a strike that shut down the city’s port and public schools for an entire day in April. In May, parents and teachers with SLAP took over Parker Elementary School in East Oakland, which was slated to close, and kept it running to provide services to students over the summer. Oakland, like New Orleans, Denver, St. Louis, and other metropolitan centers, has long been a target of the charter school industry. “Oakland has been a veritable charter boomtown,” KQED reported in 2019. “There are now 45 charter schools attended by about 30 percent of the city’s K-12 students, up from thirteen charters in 2003. Largely as a result, the district lost about 17,000 students in those 16 years.” Many Oakland schools have seen parts of their school buildings leased out to private charter operators.