Just News from Center X – February 26, 2016

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Teaching, Leading, and Social Justice

Howard Blume and Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

An overflow crowd at a state appellate courtroom in Los Angeles listened attentively Thursday to the latest round in an ongoing argument about the intersection of students’ rights and teachers’ rights.


Alia Wong, The Atlantic

A number of states want to raise their salaries, but it’s unclear whether the increases will do much to solve schools’ staffing problems.


Corey Mitchell, Education Week

When Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans, Chrissell Rhone lost lots: his home, his job, and the sense of security that came from teaching alongside people who looked like him. The storm forced Rhone to pack up and leave New Orleans, where an ample supply of black educators populated the city’s classrooms. He settled just 45 miles northeast, in Picayune, Miss., a town of 11,000 near the Mississippi-Louisiana border, and is now the lone black teacher at the district’s alternative education center and among only a handful of black male educators in a district where a majority of students are white.


Alyson Klein, Education Week

Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr., should start researching the lunch options in House and Senate cafeterias—he’s going to be on Capitol Hill quite a bit this week. He’ll kick things off with a House education committee hearing on the budget Wednesday, plus another on the president’s latest budget request for fiscal year 2017 on Thursday morning. But the highlight may come Thursday afternoon, with his confirmation hearing.


Language, Culture, and Power

Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic

The seed of what is now known as Black History Month was planted in the doctoral thesis of Carter G. Woodson, a noted scholar, author, and co-founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. The son of former slaves, Woodson received a Ph.D. in 1912 from Harvard University, where he studied under renowned historians who minimized the importance and vitality of black history. But Woodson would not be deterred. He believed the heritage and contributions of black Americans was excluded from history, and he saw this knowledge as essential to social change.


Roberto G. Gonzales, Forum Network

Over two million of the nation’s eleven million undocumented immigrants have lived in the United States since childhood. Due to a broken immigration system, they grow up to uncertain futures. In Lives in Limbo, Roberto G. Gonzales introduces us to two groups: the college-goers, like Ricardo, who had good grades and a strong network of community support that propelled him to college and DREAM Act organizing but still landed in a factory job a few short years after graduation, and the early-exiters, like Gabriel, who failed to make meaningful connections in high school and started navigating dead-end jobs, immigration checkpoints, and a world narrowly circumscribed by legal limitations. This vivid ethnography explores why highly educated undocumented youth share similar work and life outcomes with their less-educated peers, despite the fact that higher education is touted as the path to integration and success in America.


Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County’s juvenile detention system was designed in an era when youth crime was on the rise. The number of juvenile arrests has fallen dramatically in recent years. Some say the system has not kept up with this shift, and now it’s costing taxpayers money.


Access, Assessment, and Advancement

Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

For years, Los Angeles school officials have suggested that miracle academic turnarounds would be unsustainable and even suspect, and that real and lasting gains for the academically lagging school system would be a step-by-step journey. On Friday, that gospel changed.


Alisha Kirby, Cabinet Report

Nearly 66 percent of students released nationally from the juvenile court school system do not return to traditional school. In California, the landscape might be further complicated by an unstructured re-entry process that does not properly transfer credits and often penalizes students for losing textbooks or failing to pay fines.


Richard D. Kahlenberg, The Atlantic

People from the richest quarter of the population outnumber those from the poorest quarter by almost 25 to one at the nation’s most selective institutions.


Tatiana Sanchez, Los Angeles Times

Officials at California’s four-year public universities are reaching out to an estimated 10,000 undergraduate students who might qualify for a special loan aimed at reducing their tuition — a program that further distinguishes the state as a national trendsetter in providing services to immigrants who are in the country illegally. The California DREAM low-interest loans are designated for such immigrants who are enrolled at University of California or California State University campuses. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the program into law in 2014, but funding didn’t become available until last month.

Inequality, Poverty, Segregation

Denisa R. Superville, Education Week

Two K-12 initiatives that are launching this week aim to capitalize on the mounting support for taking a more holistic approach to educating poor children, a shift away from the view that has heavily emphasized that schools alone can counteract the effects of poverty.


Cecilia Kang, The New York Times

At 7 p.m. on a recent Wednesday, Isabella and Tony Ruiz were standing in their usual homework spot, on a crumbling sidewalk across the street from the elementary school nearest to their home. “I got it. I’m going to download,” Isabella said to her brother Tony as they connected to the school’s wireless hot spot and watched her teacher’s math guide slowly appear on the cracked screen of the family smartphone.


Brigid Kelly, KCRW

School desegregation brings to mind famous photos of African-American children integrating classrooms after the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision. But over seven years earlier, five Latino families fought and won a case that helped integrate schools in California. On its 70th anniversary we look back at the mostly forgotten Mendez v. Westminster case.


Halley Potter and Kimberly Quick, The New York Times

By most measures, America’s public schools are now more racially and socioeconomically segregated than they have been for decades. In the Northeast, 51.4 percent of black students attend schools where 90 percent to 100 percent of their classmates are racial minorities, up from 42.7 percent in 1968. In the country’s 100 largest school districts, economic segregation rose roughly 30 percent from 1991 to 2010. In some ways, it’s as if Brown v. Board of Education never happened. Increasing residential segregation and a string of unfavorable court cases are partly to blame. But too many local school officials are loath to admit the role that their enrollment policies play in perpetuating de facto segregation.

Public Schools and Private $

National Education Policy Center

The National Education Policy Center is pleased to announce the winner of the 2015 Bunkum Award, recognizing the think tank whose reviewed work best captures the true spirit of bunk, starring in a feature report.


Other News of Note

Kale Williams and Hamed Aleaziz, SF Gate

A group of roughly two dozen students walked out of Lowell High School in San Francisco Tuesday morning in response to an offensive sign posted on a window at the school’s library this month.


Agence France Presse, Capital News

Violent demonstrations and arson attacks that burnt down campus buildings forced at least three South African universities to shut their doors on Thursday in a new wave of student protests.


Victoria M. Massie, Vox

As the Oscars draw closer, the Hollywood Reporter took a look at the legacy of Hattie McDaniel, best known as the first African American to win an Academy Award in 1940 for her role in Gone With the Wind. It turns out, though, that her impact reaches far beyond cinema. McDaniel played a pivotal role in desegregating housing in Los Angeles.

Just News from Center X is a free weekly education news blast edited by Jenn Ayscue.


Just News from Center X is a free weekly education news blast edited by Jenn Ayscue.