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Teaching, Leading, and Social Justice
Stephanie Marken and Sangeeta Agrawal, Gallup
More than four in 10 K-12 workers in the U.S. (44%) say they “always” or “very often” feel burned out at work, outpacing all other industries nationally. College and university workers have the next-highest burnout level, at 35%, making educators among the most burned out groups in the U.S. workforce. These results are based on the Gallup Panel Workforce Study, conducted Feb. 3-14, 2022, with 12,319 U.S. full-time employees, including 1,263 K-12 workers.Within the K-12 employee population, teachers are the most burned out, at 52%. K-12 workers have consistently been among the more burned out workers nationally, but the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing challenges — and introduced new ones to a profession already struggling.
John Woodrow Cox, Washington Post
The children who did not die are young adults now, and on a Wednesday morning in Washington, they gathered just before 9 inside a hotel conference room on Capitol Hill. The school shooting survivors had come from all over the country, each of them hoping that this time would be different. “Are you Zoe?” Alexa Browning asked Zoe Touray, who was standing alone by the door, nervously fiddling with a cellphone wrapped in a Mickey Mouse case.
Kiley Hurst, Pew Research
American teenagers are more likely than adults to express support for the Black Lives Matter movement, according to two Pew Research Center surveys fielded this spring. U.S. teens say they at least somewhat support the Black Lives Matter movement, including 31% of teenagers who strongly support it, according to a survey conducted in April and May among American teens ages 13 to 17. By comparison, a little over half of U.S. adults (56%) said in a March survey that they support the Black Lives Matter movement, similar to the 55% who said the same in September 2021 and September 2020. Around a quarter of adults (26%) strongly support the movement.
Language, Culture, and Power
Raul Reyes, NBC News
This week marks the 40th anniversary of a court case that affected thousands of schoolchildren. Yet it’s one that most Americans likely don’t know about. In the 1970s, a group of Texas parents who lacked legal immigration status risked deportation to fight for their children’s right to attend public school. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which on June 15, 1982, ruled in favor of the parents and their children. Plyler v. Doe ensured that children living in the U.S. without legal immigration documentation could access a basic education and lead more productive lives. It also paved the way for young immigrants to become active in efforts to demand legal pathways for children who have spent most of their lives in the U.S., such as the DREAM Act and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.
Editorial Board, San Antonio Express News
Plyler v. Doe, the landmark Supreme Court case that struck down a Texas law denying public education for children who are undocumented, turned 40 this week. And this landmark decision is on Gov. Greg Abbott’s mind. As he made clear in early May, following a leaked Supreme Court draft decision that portends the likely reversal of the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion ruling, Abbott intends to challenge the precedent of free public education for immigrant children.
Steve Inskeep and Ibram Kendi, NPR Morning Edition
Some people claim they want to protect children from the writings of Ibram X. Kendi. He wrote a history of racist thought and a book on how to be an anti-racist. Activists in Virginia, North Carolina and elsewhere critiqued school districts that invited Kendi to speak. He is used as a symbol of the debate over critical race theory, which he doesn’t teach. In truth, though, he is part of the debate over how, if at all, to teach kids about race in America. Ibram X. Kendi is also a parent with a kid in school.
Whole Children and Strong Communities
Lilly Quiroz & Audrey Nguyen, NPR
Sex can be a nerve-racking experience no matter what. That’s especially true if you have no clue what to do, and since LGBTQ+ topics are often left out of the conversation in school sex ed classes, many queer people know this feeling well. Life Kit spoke with sexuality educators to understand what sex education could look like for queer students and the importance of including everybody in the discussions.
Jasmine Brann, Hechinger Report
As a school principal, I’ve seen my fair share of student showcases. Last week, when our students performed the song “When I grow up” from the musical “Matilda,” was different. In front of a sold-out crowd of families, staff and friends, they performed with poise, confidence and enthusiasm. After over five months of rehearsals and an unwavering commitment that neither Covid nor quarantines could squelch, their young faces truly illuminated the stage. The view of my students, from all walks of life, singing and performing with genuine smiles and glee overtook me. I saw such beauty. Such innocence. So much hope.
Lauren Camera, US News and World Report
The Education Department is creating a parent council to help them better engage in their children’s schools – a move that comes as Republicans tap into parents’ frustrations over a third year of pandemic schooling and threaten to unseat Democrats as the party of education ahead of the midterm elections. “Parents are a child’s first teachers and there’s no one better equipped to work with schools and educators to identify what students need to recover,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement.
Access, Assessment, Advancement
Sophie Morse, WBUR
The child care system in the U.S. operates in a precarious balance. It’s often a strain on family budgets. Yet, the workers who provide this essential service often don’t make enough to afford child care for their own kids. It’s a big reason why some workers say they have chosen to leave the industry. As part of WBUR’s series on the cost of child care, we take a closer look at one parent’s story about working in early childhood education.
Hannah Levintova, Mother Jones
As a 28-year-old art student, Thomas Gokey convinced the Federal Reserve to give him bags of shredded currency worth $49,983, the exact amount of his ballooning student loan debt. He pulped the scraps, turned the paste into four enormous sheets of paper, and began offering piecemeal sales—$4.22 a square inch. In 2011, when the artwork was accepted in an annual competition—“the American Idol of art,” as Gokey describes it—that had been founded by the son of billionaire heir (and future Education Secretary) Betsy DeVos, he saw another shot at paying off the debt. Buyers had been scarce, but his project sparked conversations with other debtors.
Christina Veiga, Chalkbeat
The low number of Black and Latino students admitted to New York City’s prestigious specialized high schools hasn’t budged, with those students making up just under 9% of offers for next year’s class, according to education department data released Wednesday. That’s about the same as the previous year. The specialized high schools are widely considered the Ivy League of public schools in New York City. But they have long been starkly unrepresentative, with Black and Latino students making up only about 10% of enrollment, compared to about 66% of public school enrollment citywide.
Inequality, Poverty, Segregation
Kendra Hurley, The Atlantic
On so many measures of family hardship, young children and their parents in the U.S. suffer more than their counterparts in other high-income nations. Babies are more likely to die and children are more likely to grow up in poverty. The U.S. is the only rich country in the world without national paid family leave. And while other wealthy countries spend an average of $14,000 each year per child on early-childhood care, the U.S. spends a miserly $500. Underlying each of these bleak truths appears to be the same, misguided belief: that government support for parents is at odds with parents being responsible for their kids. Once you start looking for it, this idea is everywhere.
Abdou Rahim Lema, Mail and Guardian
Affo, 29, was born in a polygamous family comprising more than two dozen children. He is the second child to have obtained a high school degree but the only one to have gone to university. For his seven years at high school, he had to balance his studies with part-time jobs to pay tuition fees and daily expenses. Affo was brought up in a place where educational opportunities are nearly non-existent. But Affo’s is not an isolated story. Rather, it’s common in Benin and the wider African continent. If we’re serious about intergenerational fairness, we need to urgently address the education problems facing millions of Affos in Africa.
Louise Perry, The New Statesman
TThe final report from the Times Education Commission, set up in 2021 to examine the future of education in Britain, makes for very grim reading indeed. It states clearly that the government wittering on about literacy and numeracy has little relevance for schools in the most deprived parts of the UK. Not when some four- and five-year-old children are unable to say their own names, and others are still using baby bottles and asking for “bot-bot” when thirsty, incapable of forming a sentence as complex as, “Can I have a drink?”
Democracy and the Public Interest
White Parents Rallied to Chase a Black Educator Out of Town. Then, They Followed Her to the Next One.
Nicole Carr, ProPublica
In April of 2021, Cecelia Lewis had just returned to Maryland from a house-hunting trip in Georgia when she received the first red flag about her new job. The trip itself had gone well. Lewis and her husband had settled on a rental home in Woodstock, a small city with a charming downtown and a regular presence on best places to live lists. It was a short drive to her soon-to-be office at the Cherokee County School District and less than a half hour to her husband’s new corporate assignment. While the north Georgia county was new to the couple, the Atlanta area was not. They’d visited several times in recent years to see their son, who attended Georgia Tech.
Stephanie Wang, Chalkbeat Indiana
At Bethel Park Elementary in Indianapolis, a fourth- and fifth-grade book club pauses in a read-aloud to discuss this line in “The Hate U Give”: Funny how it works with white kids though. It’s dope to be black until it’s hard to be black. “Black people can’t really do stuff like white people can,” a student says. Eight students sit around a table, almost all of them Black — a reflection of the older grades at the small elementary school. The student grows shy when the teacher asks him to elaborate. A classmate chimes in: “Black people don’t have as much privilege as white people sometimes.”
Velislava Hillman and Molly Esquivel, The Progressive
While K-12 public school teachers are increasingly having their professional judgments questioned at every turn and are being subjected to wild claims that they are “indoctrinating” students with political ideologies, education technology—or “ed-tech”—businesses are taking on greater roles in education with little regulation or oversight. At a moment when many teachers are quitting the profession, these companies are also claiming the power to “personalize learning” while avoiding discussion about how their profit model could have dire consequences for children and their futures.
Other News of Note
Hugh Hart, UCLA
At the end of the 1960s, a decade roiled by assassinations, race riots and war, UCLA responded to the turmoil by creating the Media Urban Crisis (MUC) pilot program. Eight months after two Black Panthers were killed on campus by rivals at Campbell Hall, Elyseo Taylor — then UCLA’s only African American film professor — launched MUC with a grant from the Ford Foundation and a major assist from his student Moctesuma Esparza ’71, ’73. A natural-born organizer, by age 18 Esparza had already co-founded the Chicano community newspaper La Raza and helped organize the weeklong East L.A. walkouts. The March 1968 demonstrations saw more than 15,000 Mexican American students walk out of seven different high schools in East Los Angeles to protest inequality in education.