Just News from Center X – July 8, 2022

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Teaching, Leading, and Social Justice

Nation’s Largest Teachers’ Union Calls for Curbs on School Policing                                      Madeline Will, Education Week

The nation’s largest teachers’ union adopted a new policy statement calling for an end to the “criminalization and policing of students”—but stopped short of urging the removal of armed officers on school campuses. Last year, National Education Association delegates established a task force to explore the role of law enforcement in education. The task force—which included teachers and at least one school security guard—has since developed a policy statement on how to achieve “safe, just, and equitable schools” and published a 73-page report outlining the group’s analysis and rationale.

Biden offers help for schools to use American Rescue Plan funds on learning recovery

Ali Tadayon, EdSource

President Joe Biden on Tuesday called on school districts and states to invest American Rescue Plan funds in programs to make up for lost learning time, and announced federal initiatives to help them do so. During his 2022 State of the Union address, Biden called on Americans to volunteer as tutors and mentors to help address the impact of missed instruction during the pandemic. To facilitate that, the U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday launched the National Partnership for Student Success — a program that seeks to recruit 250,000 adult volunteers over the next three years to serve as tutors and mentors in schools.

High school on fire: violent protests by kids rock Chile

Natalia A. Ramos Miranda, Reuters

As Chilean school kids start winter vacation, they leave behind a semester marked by violence. Several high schools around Santiago were taken over by students; one was set on fire while hooded youths clashed with police and burned city buses. In June, the prestigious Internado Nacional Barros Arana (INBA) high school in Santiago was temporarily shut over “severe” violence, including the principal’s office being set ablaze. In a country that has seen rapid but uneven development in recent decades, angry protests by students over expensive and poor-quality school and university education have become more frequent.

Language, Culture, and Power

‘They saw me as calculating, not a child’: how adultification leads to black children being treated as criminals

Aamna Mohdin, The Guardian

Ahmed has a recurring nightmare. The specifics change, but the script stays the same: he is in terrible danger, he tries to call the police, but no one responds. He is alone. In the latest version, bullets were shot through his window, but the line was dead when he picked up a phone to call the police. It is not hard to see why Ahmed (not his real name) can’t shake such dreams. When he was 12, he was sitting in class when he was called into the headteacher’s office. Two police officers were waiting for him, with his headteacher. They told him a man had handed himself into the police for the rape of a minor he had met on a dating app and that the number he had given for the child matched Ahmed’s. Ahmed says he asked for his parents to be called, so they could be with him during his questioning, but he was ignored.

Legal settlement requires Chicago to offer translation services to parents of students with disabilities

Eileen Pomeroy, Chalkbeat Chicago

It took Maggie Przytulinski seven years to get her younger brother, Mark, the help he needed in school.  Przytulinski said Mark, who has autism, Down syndrome, and is non-verbal, had an Individualized Education Program, or IEP, a legally binding document that outlines the services for students with disabilities. It requires multiple meetings every year and a significant amount of legal paperwork. Adding to the complexity? Przytulinski’s Polish-speaking mother knows only basic English.

How Latin American Film and other college classes changed my high school experience

Yuleisy Aguirre De Jesus, Chalkbeat

It was the start of 11th grade. The first quarter was approaching an end, and I was finishing up the first big essay of the year. A sense of hope, accomplishment, and confidence completely overwhelmed me. That entire week, I was glowing and radiating optimism. I felt a lot different than the stereotypical teenager in school who just wants to get out of their version of “prison” every day. The most amazing thing was how different I felt from just a year earlier.

Whole Children and Strong Communities

Nearly 70% of adults support permanent extension of universal school meals

Anna Merod, K-12 Dive

A majority of adults — nearly 70% — back a permanent universal school meal policy, according to a new report by the Urban Institute with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. For the past two years, pandemic-era meal waivers granted by Congress have allowed all students to eat for free in schools, regardless of their family’s income. However, that policy will come to a close this fall as the universal school meal waiver is set to expire today.

Districts discover benefits of hiring students to address staff shortages                                    Anna Merod, K-12 Dive

Like many districts nationwide, the Northwest R-I School District in Missouri faced a surge of COVID-19 cases in fall 2021 that worsened an already growing labor shortage. As few people were applying for open positions, an idea emerged to hold a job fair to gauge interest and hire high school juniors and seniors for custodial and aide positions, said Mark Catalana, the district’s chief human resources officer. Initially, the district hired nine students, a number that eventually resulted from the fair. That has since expanded to nearly 20, he said.


High School Students Say They Learn The Most Important Skills Outside of School [AUDIO]

Jeffrey R. Young, EdSurge Podcast

If you ask middle school and high school students these days the most important skills they’re learning, they’re likely to name something they picked up on their own, outside of normal school hours. That’s according to Julie Evans, CEO of the nonprofit Project Tomorrow, who has been doing focus groups with students for years—both before and after the pandemic—and whose organization conducts an annual survey of middle and high school students about their learning.

Access, Assessment, Advancement

An Inconvenient Truth About the New Jim Crow of Education [Video]

Amy Stuart Wells, AERA

In this year’s Presidential Address, “An Inconvenient Truth About the New Jim Crow of Education,” 2019 AERA President Amy Stuart Wells (Teachers College, Columbia University) scrutinized testing policies in education, suggesting that standardized testing, with its perpetuation of an unequal education system for students of color, is the new “Jim Crow” of education.

What does the T.M. Landry scandal say about American education?

Stephen Marcantel, The Current

Late one evening,  students at T.M. Landry College Prep  surround Michael Landry as he begins one of his sermon-like speeches. “Come on y’all, we in Breaux Bridge. Nobody expects you to do anything. And for you to leave your mark, you’re going to have to do something that other people say cannot be accomplished,” Landry says.  The 2018 scene, depicted in the documentary Accepted, culminates with the school’s rallying cry. He asks students to say, ‘I love you,’ in various languages and, finally, in his own language. How do you say I love you in “Mike-anese?” One word: kneel.

Black and Latina Women Hold the Most Student Debt

Liann Herder, Diverse Issues in Education

In just two months, the pause on federal student loan repayment will come to an end. Many borrowers are not financially prepared to resume payments due to the lingering effects of the pandemic, particularly women, who disproportionately shoulder two thirds of the $1.7 trillion of federal student loan debt. That’s according to a new report released by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), a research and policy group focusing on consumer lending.

Inequality, Poverty, Segregation

Computer scientists create tool that can desegregate schools – and shorten bus routes

Jill Barshay, Hechinger Report

One out of every six white school children in the United States – nearly four million white students  –  attend schools that are 90 percent or more white, according to the most recent federal data from 2019. A similar share of Hispanic children, totaling two million students, attend schools that are all or nearly all Hispanic. This degree of racial isolation is slightly less common among Black children. One out of eight Black children or almost one million attend schools that are 90 percent or more Black. More common are schools filled with both Black and Hispanic children learning together but with almost no white students among them. Two out of every five Black and Hispanic students – almost nine million children – attend schools where fewer than 10 percent of the students are white. One out of five Asian American students – roughly 500,000 – attend schools like this with very few or no white students.

UCLA will expand its worker justice programs thanks to a new annual state budget increase

UCLA Newsroom

Scholars at UCLA who are dedicated to studying working conditions, eliminating unfair labor practices that disproportionately affect workers of color and educating the next generation of labor and social justice leaders will be able to increase the scope of their work as they share in California’s single largest budget increase for the University of California’s labor centers. The funding from the state legislature will go toward three UCLA units: The Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, the Labor Center and the Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program. This breakthrough comes at a crucial time for working people across the state, as class and racial disparities have intensified amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “At a time when billionaires are making massive profits during the pandemic, essential workers on the frontlines face poverty wages,” said Kent Wong, director at the UCLA Labor Center. “The expansion of labor centers and labor studies within the University of California will advance research, education and policies that serve working people and promote economic and racial justice.”

Nearly 1 out of 5 classes in California taught by underprepared teachers

Diana Lambert, Daniel J. Willis, & Yuxuan Xie, EdSource

Most California teachers have the appropriate credentials and training to teach the subjects and students in their classes, but many do not, according to new statewide data on teacher assignments released Thursday. While 83% of K-12 classes in the 2020-21 school year were taught by teachers credentialed to teach that course, 17% were taught by teachers who were not.

Democracy and the Public Interest

Three high schoolers join Seattle School Board

Monica Velez, Seattle Times

This fall, the community can expect three new members to join the Seattle School Board during public meetings, all much younger than the average board member. In fact, they have yet to graduate from high school. For the first time, Seattle Public Schools will have students sitting on the board as nonvoting members beginning in September. It’s part of an ongoing effort to include student voices in the decision-making process. The three high schoolers were introduced to the board in late June, and they’ll serve during the next school year. Although student board members won’t be able to vote, they can ask questions of the staff and share their ideas on agenda items.

What the Biden administration’s new rules for charter schools say

Valerie Strauss and Carol Burris, Washington Post

The Biden administration is moving to overhaul the federal Charter School Program with new rules finalized last week that make it harder for for-profit organizations to win taxpayer money and require greater transparency and accountability for grant applicants. The program has awarded billions of dollars in grants over the past several decades for the expansion or opening of charters, which are publicly funded but privately operated, often with little or no public oversight. President Biden said during the 2020 election campaign that he wanted to end federal funding for for-profit charter schools, but the final regulations don’t go that far.

In trainings, Florida tells teachers that religion belongs in public life

Lori Rozsa, Washington Post

New civics training for Florida public school teachers comes with a dose of Christian dogma, some teachers say, and they worry that it also sanitizes history and promotes inaccuracies. Included in the training is the statement that it is a “misconception” that “the Founders desired strict separation of church and state.” Other materials included fragments of statements that were “cherry-picked” to present a more conservative view of American history, some attendees said.

Other News of Note

How the Mexican revolution of 1910 helped shape U.S. border policy [Audio]

Tonya Mosley, Fresh Air

Not many Americans know much about the Mexican Revolution of 1910. The impact of that revolution on the U.S. is the subject of the new book “Bad Mexicans” by our guest, historian Kelly Lytle Hernandez. She spoke with our guest interviewer, Tonya Mosley, host of the podcast “Truth Be Told.” Here’s Tonya with more.