Just News from Center X – February 10, 2023

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Teaching, Leading, and Social Justice

Education Issues Vault to Top of the G.O.P.’s Presidential Race

Trip Gabriel, New York Times

With a presidential primary starting to stir, Republicans are returning with force to the education debates that mobilized their staunchest voters during the pandemic and set off a wave of conservative activism around how schools teach about racism in American history and tolerate gender fluidity. The messaging casts Republicans as defenders of parents who feel that schools have run amok with “wokeness.” Its loudest champion has been Gov. Ron DeSantis, who last week scored an apparent victory attacking the College Board’s curriculum on African American studies. Former President Donald J. Trump has sought to catch up with even hotter language, recently threatening “severe consequences” for educators who “suggest to a child that they could be trapped in the wrong body.”

About 152,000 California school-age children unaccounted for, research shows

Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

An estimated 152,000 school-age children expected to be in California classrooms are unaccounted for in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research, an indication of the lingering disruption affecting students, their families and schools. In all, the analysis tallied 240,000 unaccounted-for public school students in 21 states and the District of Columbia, with the greatest number in California, the nation’s most populous state. Data were not available for 29 states in research conducted by the Associated Press, Stanford University’s Big Local News project and Stanford education professor Thomas Dee.

This Principal Uses Her Experience as the Child of Farmworkers to Support Students

Denisa R. Superville, Education Week

Raquel Martinez thinks a lot about time. The time of the day she schedules parent conferences. The time of year she holds open houses at Isaac Stevens Middle School, where she’s the principal. For her, time is essential to how she shows respect for the community her school serves. Many of her students’ parents are farmworkers—some of them migrant workers—who toil 12- to 14-hour days in apple orchards, and on cherry and potato farms in and around Pasco, Wash. “When I ask a family member to come [to the campus] during the day, they are losing money to buy food to put on the table,” said Martinez, 40, who is in her fifth year as the school’s principal. “It’s navigating those conversations, making strategic plans, schedules—things like that—around that.”

Language, Culture, and Power

‘I can’t plan ahead’: Dreamers speak out as US program faces new threat

Justo Robles, Guardian

It’s been almost 10 years since Areli Hernandez received her first US government work permit in her mailbox. Hernandez remembers staring at her own photograph and touching the scripted name on the card in disbelief, feeling that a long-sought dream had finally materialized. But earlier this week, the program that gives temporary deportation relief to Hernandez and hundreds of thousands of other immigrants known as Dreamers, allowing a chance to live and work legally in the US, came under threat once again in a federal court. Nine Republican-led states asked Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) policy, a request that if successful would stop nearly 600,000 immigrants brought to the US as undocumented children from being able to renew their work permits and continue to be protected from potential deportation.

Toward a Class-Conscious Approach to Cultural Responsiveness

Aaron Leo, Educational Researcher

The last several decades have seen a growth in scholarship and application of culturally responsive and sustaining educational (CRSE) approaches in schools serving youth of color. A growing body of research has shown how CRSE serves as an effective strategy to engage students of color, combat pernicious stereotypes, and improve academic outcomes. Notwithstanding these important contributions, CRSE scholarship and practice have not fully explored the significance of social class, despite its long-standing correlation with academic performance, deep connections to identity, and relationship to race and racialization. Drawing on lessons gleaned from ethnographic research, which has demonstrated the importance of social-class analyses, this essay calls for a greater emphasis on and recognition of class in CRSE methods and application.

Bilingual students do better on tests than native English speakers. Why?

Zaidee Stavely, EdSource

Students who were once English learners but are now proficient in English do better on average on California’s standardized tests than students who only speak English. Some district leaders and advocates for English learners celebrate this achievement as a sign that districts are preparing English learners well. Some researchers, however, say it is a sign that the bar for students to be considered proficient in English is too high.

Whole Children and Strong Communities

New Legislation Takes Aim at Hidden Foster Care

Lizzie Presser, ProPublica

Last month, Washington state Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, a Democrat, introduced a first-of-its-kind bill aimed at providing attorneys for parents who are facing hidden foster care, the subject of a ProPublica-New York Times Magazine investigation in December 2021. The story documented how, across the country, caseworkers who have not petitioned a court persuade parents to send their children to live in another home, often by threatening a foster placement if they refuse. The Washington bill unanimously passed out of the House Committee on Human Services, Youth and Early Learning on Friday. The ProPublica-New York Times Magazine story exposed a shadow foster care system in which parents and their children have little or no legal protections. Caseworkers investigating allegations of mistreatment sometimes coerce parents to place their children with a relative, friend or family. Child welfare departments then often skirt their responsibility to keep families together or to monitor the informal arrangements, saving money in the process; the hidden system strips parents of access to free lawyers, judicial oversight and court-mandated services to attempt to reunite families.

Remaking America: Recovery High Schools And Teens Facing Addiction [Audio]


Overdose deaths among teens doubled in the first year of the pandemic, according to data from UCLA. Schools have spent decades trying to prevent teens from using drugs and alcohol. The Office of National Drug Control Policy spent $2.9 billion on drug prevention last year alone, but the success rates of prevention programs remains in question. The Monitoring the Future Survey found 32 percent of 12th graders reported using an illicit substance in the past year. That’s virtually unchanged from the survey’s findings 30 years ago. As part of our “Remaking America” collaboration, we highlight reporting from partner station KUNC on kids facing mental health and substance abuse issues.

At This School, Computer Science Class Now Includes Critiquing Chatbots

Natasha Singer, New York Times

Marisa Shuman’s computer science class at the Young Women’s Leadership School of the Bronx began as usual on a recent January morning. Just after 11:30, energetic 11th and 12th graders bounded into the classroom, settled down at communal study tables and pulled out their laptops. Then they turned to the front of the room, eyeing a whiteboard where Ms. Shuman had posted a question on wearable technology, the topic of that day’s class.

Access, Assessment, Advancement

Teaching minoritised children in South Korea: perspectives of teachers in early childhood education and care

Shim Lew and Jayoung Choi, Educational Review

Most policies and teaching practices in early childhood education and care (ECEC) are based on the developmental paths of children from mainstream middle-class, White, European, heterosexual households. The common discourse often summed up as universalism significantly minoritizes children deviating from this “norm” and pathologizes their differences. Efforts toward bringing about changes in the ECEC field can start by examining individual ECEC teachers’ views on and teaching practices for minoritised children in various contexts. Set in South Korea, which has recently been populated by a relatively small yet exponentially growing minoritised population, this qualitative study examines ECEC educators’ approaches to teaching ethnolinguistically minoritised children. We interviewed nine ECEC teachers who have taught a small number of minoritised children throughout their careers. We found that the ECEC teachers valued sameness and harmony over difference and emphasised good teaching practice and caring for the minoritised children’s emotional needs. The teachers’ approaches seemed to be propelled by the ECEC’s dominant discourse, developmentally appropriate practice, and traditional Confucian beliefs. Using critical race and feminist theories that illuminate participants’ lived experiences and identities, we discussed that the teachers’ good-willed yet neutral approaches may have inadvertently led to inequitable practices and oppressive experiences for minoritised children.

Incarcerated Coloradans could get released early by going to college

Jason Gonzales, Chalkbeat Colorado

People incarcerated for nonviolent offenses in Colorado could earn time off their sentence if they get a college degree or credential. Supporters of House Bill 1037, which the House Judiciary Committee approved 11-2, say it will help incarcerated Coloradans find new opportunities and make it less likely they reoffend after release while also saving the state money.

‘Revolutionary’ housing: How colleges aim to support formerly incarcerated students

Gail Cornwall, Hechinger Report

On an unremarkable November morning, Jimmie Conner is hunched over his laptop at a dining table in an open-concept kitchen flooded with light. The fourth-year student at California State University, Fullerton, lives in the John Irwin House, a residence for formerly incarcerated students just over four miles from the CSUF campus. The house, in a pleasant Orange County neighborhood with a park, a reservoir, and horse stables, is furnished in a modular style. Two chairs by the fireplace sit ready for one-on-one tutoring, a cluster of ottomans nearby can accommodate a study group, and spaces to hunker down with a book or notes abound: a couch by the front door layered with pillows and blankets, a desk tucked into a corner, a fire table on the patio, and a backyard. Before living here, Conner was at a halfway house, and for the 14 years before that, he was in prison, most recently at the California Men’s Colony.

Inequality, Poverty, Segregation

Invisible Barriers in STEM Education [Audio]

Scholars Strategy Network’s No Jargon

In the American school system, math and science are considered essential building blocks of a good education. But for many students, those building blocks can topple over somewhere along the way. We spoke to Professor Lara Perez-Felkner, who laid out invisible barriers faced by racially minoritized and economically disadvantaged students pursuing STEM. Perez-Felkner discussed ways that school administrators, policymakers, and families can come together to remove these barriers and increase opportunity –  all the way from kindergarten classrooms to college laboratories.

Black Students Deserve Equitable Access to Arts Education

Maya Pottiger, San Diego Voice and Viewpoint

While working as a middle school arts educator in Chicago, Ray Yang kept seeing the imbalance in resources in schools across the racially segregated city. “It was always mind-boggling,” says Yang, now the director of equity, diversity and inclusion, and special initiatives for the National Art Education Association. “It’s one of the reasons why I started to do a lot more equity work.” Schools on the city’s predominantly white North Side tended to have more money and community support compared to the predominantly Black South Side schools. Much of it goes back to funding, Yang says, along with inequitable resource sharing and access to resources. The issue is often drawn along socioeconomic and racial divides. “We always need to bring up how certain communities are being underserved with education and arts education,” Yang says, “specifically, because of how cities — urban areas, especially, but communities in general — have become segregated.”

Pennsylvania’s school funding system violates state constitution, judge rules

Dale Mezzacappa, Chalkbeat Philadelphia

A Commonwealth Court judge has declared Pennsylvania’s school funding system unconstitutional and ordered the General Assembly to overhaul it. Judge Renée Cohn Jubelirer’s ruling, which the court issued Tuesday, could have a profound long-term impact on the state’s approach to education spending, although an appeal of her ruling is likely and the case could end up before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Democracy and the Public Interest

Giving Students a Say in School Spending? A District Leader’s Bold Idea Pays Off

Mark Lieberman, Education Week

When Cyndi Tercero-Sandoval asked students for ideas on how to spend $4,000 the district had set aside for their school building, their proposal—a canopy to protect them from the scorching Phoenix sun—left some of her colleagues baffled. The district had built a similar structure for students just the year before. But the students pointed to the out-of-the-way corner where the canopy had been erected and then to the outdoor seating area where they spent most of their time—and where they wanted the new covering. It was sweltering.

7-year struggle: LA public and charter schools reluctantly share same campus [Audio]

Robin Estrin, KCRW

Due to an idea called “co-location,” a public school and a charter school in LA are sharing the same campus. Baldwin Hills Elementary and New LA Elementary have shared one space for the last seven years. This is one of more than 50 campuses in LA Unified with a public charter school planted on the campus of a public traditional school. And here – as on many shared campuses – neither school is happy about it.

Voucher Schemes Are Failing Students with Disabilities

Jacob Goodwin, The Progressive

Anew lawsuit is challenging the voucher scheme of Frank Edelblut, New Hampshire’s commissioner of education. Edelblut, formerly an accountant, lacks meaningful experience in the field of education outside his politically appointed post. He is being sued by the American Federation of Teachers for allegedly misusing funds that were meant solely for public schools in the state.  The statutory requirement for the disbursement of public money prohibits all other financial transactions, which the plaintiffs argue extends to providing public money to private and religious schools—something that the voucher law has done. The current voucher expenditures have ballooned to over $20 million, despite the commissioner having promised that the cost of the program would be nearly one-tenth the current taxpayer obligation. Funneling dollars to the voucher program is detrimental to public schools and the students they serve.

Other News of Note

W.E.B. Du Bois, Black History Month and the importance of African American Studies

Chad Williams, The Conversation

The opening days of Black History Month 2023 have coincided with controversy about the teaching and broader meaning of African American studies. On Feb. 1, 2023, the College Board released a revised curriculum for its newly developed Advanced Placement African American studies course. Critics have accused the College Board of caving to political pressure stemming from conservative backlash and the decision of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to ban the course from public high schools in Florida because of what he characterized as its radical content and inclusion of topics such as critical race theory, reparations and the Black Lives Matter movement. On Feb. 11, 1951, an article by the 82-year-old Black scholar-activist W.E.B. Du Bois titled “Negro History Week” appeared in the short-lived New York newspaper The Daily Compass.

Negro history week (February 11, 1951)

W.E.B. Du Bois, The Daily Compass

After the death of Carter Woodson last April, I wrote of him that his crowing achievement was the establishment of Negro History Week. My own contribution to Negro History Week lay in my long effort as a historian and sociologist to make America and Negroes themselves aware of the significant facts of Negro history.  The worst effect of slavery was to make Negroes doubt themselves and share in the national contempt for black folk.  THis, from the public of my first book on the slave trade in 1896, I tried to correct.