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Teaching, Leading, and Social Justice
Howard Blume and Sonali Kohli, The Los Angeles Times
Arnoldo Vargas’ life hasn’t changed much since last January when he joined thousands of Los Angeles teachers in a momentous six-day strike. He drives the same 2006 Camry, has no more than 41 students in his art classes compared to an average of 42 last year, and would love to see his own eighth-grade son and first-grade daughter in smaller classes. “A lot of the gains, I don’t see them … day-to-day, to be honest,” said Vargas, who teaches at Banning High School in Wilmington.
Adam Beam and Don Thompson, Los Angeles Daily News
California Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed Friday to provide $20,000 stipends for teachers who teach at a high needs school for four years, eating up $100 million of the state’s budget for the next fiscal year. His budget proposal also includes health care for 27,000 older low-income immigrants who are in the country illegally. When it comes to encouraging more teachers, “It’s not that complicated. Train your teachers, make them the best, the brightest, incentivize,” the Democratic governor said.
Ricardo Cano, CalMatters
What it would do: This Proposition 13 would authorize a $15 billion bond for school modernization and construction projects. Here’s how it would break down: $9 billion for K-12 schools ,and $2 billion each for community colleges and the state’s two public university systems, the California State University and University of California. What it would cost taxpayers: The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates it would cost the state about $740 million a year over the next 35 years to repay the costs of the bond, with interest. That’s a total estimated cost of $26 billion: the bond itself plus an added $11 billion in interest. Why it’s on the ballot: Lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to put this on the ballot, stressing California’s urgent need to modernize its facilities. Academics say that addressing a backlog of those needs would cost about $117 billion over the next decade. California voters approved a $9 billion school bond in 2016, but all that money has been accounted for and oversubscribed.
Language, Culture, and Power
Chloe Veltman, NPR
Nearly 40 years after high school students in Oakland, Calif., campaigned to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a holiday, students at the same school are taking inspiration from their predecessors.
Zack Linly, The Root
I’ve always thought that if, on the fateful day when Colin Kaepernick chose to remain seated during the National Anthem in protest of police violence against black people, the media, zealous patriots, and angry white people, in general, would’ve just ignored him and not made such a big to-do about it, the NFL wouldn’t be plagued with the silent protests that gets their Star-Spangled underoos all in a bunch four years later. After all, it’s not as if he stood up in his seat and started kicking over Gatorade kegs while blasting NWA’s Fuck Tha Police through a loudspeaker. All he did was stay his ass seated. But they rained down fire and brimstone (actually they rained down snowflakes, but that messes up dramatic effect) on the formal pro football player, prompting him to begin the notorious practice of taking a knee during the anthem; a trend even Jay-Z a.k.a. Sean “We’re Past Kneeling” Carter couldn’t quell. Nah bruh, we still at it. Former Minnesota Teacher of the Year Kelly D. Holstine decided to carry on the tradition when she took a knee during the anthem at a college football national championship game attended by President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.
Madeline Will, Education Week
Shanna Peeples was a veteran teacher with a long list of accolades, association memberships, and strong relationships with students and colleagues. But it wasn’t until she received national recognition as the 2015 Teacher of the Year—an honor that brought her to the White House and across the country as a spokesperson for the teaching profession—that she finally felt secure in her job. That’s because Peeples is a lesbian and taught in Texas, one of nearly 30 states with no explicit employment-discrimination protections for LGBTQ workers, including teachers.
Whole Children and Strong Communities
Nathalie Baptiste and Tom Philpott, Mother Jones
The Trump administration has yet another proposal that could disproportionately harm the most vulnerable Americans. Last Friday, the US Department of Agriculture introduced a rule that would allow the nation’s schools to shrink the amount of healthy foods provided to children. The rule is just the latest in the administration’s attempt to dismantle the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, an initiative championed by former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Parent engagement, bilingual education and immigrant friendly schools are crucial to student success in LA, where 60% of children have at least one immigrant parent, new report finds
Esmeralda Fabián Romero, LA School Report
Nearly 60 percent of children in L.A. County have at least one immigrant parent, according to a new report by the USC Center for Immigrant Integration which highlights deep disparities in education and the workforce among Latino and black immigrants. The report, “State of Immigrants in LA County” and the challenges faced by immigrant students and the children of immigrants across L.A. schools were among the main topics of discussion at the first “The Future of Immigrants in Los Angeles” summit in downtown L.A. on Jan. 9.
Devin Katayama, Vanessa Rancaño, Marisol Medina-Cadena, and Alan Montecillo, KQED
Many local leaders in the Bay Area have made it a point to say that their communities are welcoming places for new immigrants, including those who are undocumented, are seeking asylum or are refugees. Oakland Unified School District prides itself on helping “newcomer” students. And this year, they could see an unprecedented number of new arrivals. But the district can’t always get new students enrolled in class, let alone provide all the help that families and kids need.
Access, Assessment, and Advancement
Teresa Watanabe and Taryn Luna, The Los Angeles Times
Gov. Gavin Newsom opposes any tuition increase for University of California students this fall, weighing in Tuesday on a controversial proposal that the Board of Regents is set to discuss this week. “Given the major increase in higher education funding provided in last year’s budget and the similar increase proposed by Governor Newsom for next year’s budget, he believes that the proposed tuition increase is unwarranted, bad for students and inconsistent with our college affordability goals,” his spokesman Jesse Melgar said in a statement. Newsom consistently opposed tuition hikes when he served on the UC Board of Regents under his previous role as California’s lieutenant governor, a record he campaigned on in the run-up to his 2018 election.
Rethinking remedial education: New study shows college students did better in ‘corequisite’ courses built around extra instruction and support
Mikhail Zinshteyn, The 74
A first-of-its-kind study found mixed evidence that a type of reform meant to improve the odds that college students graduate is truly effective. The researchers homed in on corequisite courses, an instructional model that allows students to skip remedial math and English courses and instead take college-level, or gateway, classes with additional instructional support. The analysis, conducted by Florence Xiaotao Ran of the Community College Research Center at Columbia University and Yuxin Lin of the University of Southern California, studied eight years of student records at the 13 community colleges under the Tennessee Board of Regents, which in 2015 was the first state collection of higher-education institutions to have corequisite classes systemwide.
Tina L. Fletcher, Diverse Issues in Higher Education
During last year’s September 12th presidential debate held at Texas Southern University, an HBCU in Houston, Senator Kamala Harris, a graduate of Washington, DC’s premier HBCU Howard University, introduced her plan to allocate “$2 trillion [dollars] into investing in our HBCUs for teachers”. According to her campaign website, “teachers of color are significantly underrepresented in our education system.” Harris’ plan and promise were timely given the fiscal challenges some HBCUs face due, in part, to ongoing inequities in federal and state funding. According to Howard University education professor Dr. Deena Khalil, “…any one of [the major research institutions] receive more than all of the Black colleges combined.”
Inequality, Poverty, Segregation
Tim DeRoche, Quillette
Nothing about North Avenue in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago feels like a political barrier or a sociological fault line. Residents of Old Town cross busy North Avenue every day. If you live north of North, you might cross the street to meet a friend for a pint at the Old Town Ale House. If you live to the south, you might cross North Avenue to see a show at the world-famous Second City comedy club or to take your family to the 11am choir service at St. Michael’s Catholic Church. If you need medical care in Old Town, no matter which side of North Avenue you live on, you have your choice of Family Urgent Care on the north or Physicians Immediate Care on the south. Both receive excellent ratings from patients. But North Avenue is a fault line in one extremely important way. If you stand at the corner of Larrabee and North, there are two public elementary schools within a mile. Both schools are operated by Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Both are governed by the decisions of the Board of Education. Both are funded by Chicago residents, who pay property taxes directly into the CPS General Fund. So residents living north and south of North Avenue share the burden of funding the two schools. However, neighborhood families do not share equal access to the two local schools. The district has split the community into two groups: If you live north, you go to Lincoln Elementary. If you live south, then you’re assigned to Manierre Elementary.
Haves and have-nots: The borders between school districts often mark extreme segregation. A new study outlines America’s 50 worst cases
Mark Keierleber, LA School Report
The Rust Belt city of Rochester in upstate New York has the most economically segregating school district border in the country, walling off the high-poverty education system from its affluent neighbors next door, according to a new report.
About half the children in Rochester live in poverty, many of whom struggle to get adequate food, health care and housing, according to a report released Wednesday by the nonprofit EdBuild. In Penfield, a Rochester suburb, the student poverty rate hovers in the single digits, and children fare much better.
Eli Kintisch, PBS
Nation Jan 20, 2020 12:35 PM EST
“Racism is still deeply rooted all over America,” said Martin Luther King Jr. in a 1967 speech. “It is still deeply rooted in the North, and it’s still deeply rooted in the South.” Fifty-three years after King said those words, American students say they still encounter racial stereotypes in their daily lives. To mark today’s anniversary of King’s birth, PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs collected testimonies about racism from our recent No Labels Attached project on misconceptions and stereotypes. In interviews with their peers, student journalists found teenagers grappling with a variety of racial misconceptions, ranging from annoying attitudes to deeply hurtful views.
Public Schools and Private $
Annie Murphy Paul, The New York Times
She came. She saw. She conquered. Such is the triumphant theme of “Slaying Goliath,” the latest work by the education historian turned education activist Diane Ravitch. The book exults in the failures of a reform movement that the author has spent the past decade denouncing — a movement that has often deserved her indignant critiques. In winning, however, Ravitch has also lost: Missing from these pages are the subtle insight and informed judgment for which she was once known.
Matt Barnum and Kalyn Belsha, Chalkbeat
The American Federation of Teachers and the Center for Education Reform don’t agree on much. But they both think a Supreme Court case, with oral arguments set for Wednesday, about whether a state can prohibit public funds from going to religious schools is a very big deal. “The stakes truly don’t get any bigger than this,” said CER founder and CEO Jeanne Allen, who supports private school vouchers. “If a decision goes in a certain way, it will be a virtual earthquake,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. Weingarten and others say that if the conservative-leaning Supreme Court makes a sweeping ruling, it would “open up the floodgates” for public funding for private schools.
Complaints lodged against L.A. school board member Scott Schmerelson for investments in JUUL’s tobacco giant owner
Jenny Hontz, Speak Up
The state Fair Political Practices Commission is reviewing two complaints filed Friday against San Fernando Valley School Board Member Scott Schmerelson (BD3) alleging conflict of interest and inaccurate reporting of his investments in the tobacco giant that owns JUUL, an e-cigarette company that Los Angeles Unified is suing. On Schmerelson’s last three financial disclosure forms filed in 2017, 2018 and 2019, he reported that he owns between $10,000 and $100,000 of stock in Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris tobacco that has a 35% stake in JUUL. The vaping giant JUUL, the leading e-cigarette company among teens, has come under fire for selling flavored tobacco to kids and getting a whole new generation of teenagers hooked on nicotine.
Other News of Note
Jhacova Williams, Economic Policy Institute
“We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality…We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and the Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.” —Martin Luther King Jr. Two historic events occurred in American history in different years on August 28. In 1955, Emmett Till was lynched in Mississippi—and in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. addressed the nation from Washington, D.C., with his “I Have a Dream” speech. While both events have been ingrained in many Americans’ memories, few are aware that they share a common link between brutality and voter suppression.