Just News from Center X – June 19, 2020


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Teaching, Leading, and Social Justice

Supreme Court upholds DACA, protecting hundreds of thousands from deportation

Zandee Stavley, EdSource
Hundreds of thousands of “Dreamers” are breathing a sigh of relief, after a Supreme Court decision allows them to continue to work and be protected from deportation. The Supreme Court voted 5-4, with the four liberal justices and Chief Justice John Roberts saying that the decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, was “arbitrary and capricious.” The court’s decision, issued Thursday, leaves the door open for the administration to try again to end the program if they give a more detailed justification. It is unclear whether the White House would want to try again to end the program before the presidential election.
For DACA recipients who have been on edge for months, the decision is huge.
“I’m happy. This is a huge victory,” said Miriam González Ávila, a middle school teacher from Los Angeles and one of the plaintiffs who sued to keep DACA in place. “I think when I first saw the initial decision, I was like, ‘Am I reading what I think I’m reading?’”

DACA ruling makes America stronger

Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, Los Angeles Review of Books
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its torrent of untold disease and death, disrupting American communities and threatening to overwhelm our health care system, hundreds of thousands of doctors, nurses, technicians and other healthcare workers have put aside their fears and are placing themselves at risk to care for the sick and dying. Among these first responders, almost 30,000 are immigrants protected by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. They join tens of thousands of other DACA-eligible residents who, during the crisis, are putting their shoulders to the wheel in our warehouses, staffing our grocery stores and providing other essential services so the rest of us can hunker down to limit the virus’ spread.

WATCH: How the Supreme Court’s LGBTQ Ruling Impacts Education [VIDEO]

Emma Patti Harris, Education Week
The Supreme Court issued an important decision on LGBTQ rights in the workplace this week. Here’s how this sweeping decision could affect disputes over issues like bathroom access in schools and transgender athletes that are still boiling in the courts.

Teachers need opportunities to heal before the school year begins

Antero Garcia and Nicole Mirra, EdSource
As school districts and county offices of education make plans for safely reopening schools  in the fall and helping students cope with their trauma, it is urgent that they also recognize and make space for teachers to process and heal from their own feelings of loss and grief.
Nearly every teacher we have ever worked with puts their emotional needs aside in order to address the emotional needs of their students when tragedy inevitably occurs in our schools. We experienced this firsthand in our own classrooms when we were high school teachers. That capacity to harness deep empathy for others is one of the most admirable characteristics of teachers — but is also deeply damaging for their mental health in the long run without support.

Language, Culture, and Power

Americans broadly support legal status for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children

Jens Manuel Krogstad, Pew Research Center
About three-quarters of U.S. adults say they favor granting permanent legal status to immigrants who came illegally to the United States when they were children, with the strongest support coming from Democrats and Hispanics, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted June 4-10, 2020. As the U.S. Supreme Court weighs the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (or DACA), 74% of Americans favor a law that would provide permanent legal status to immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children, while 24% are opposed. As with other immigration issues, some of the sharpest differences in these views are between Democrats and Republicans. While 91% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents favor granting legal status to immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children, about half of Republicans and Republican leaners (54%) say the same.

High school students and alumni are using social media to expose racism

Taylor Lorenz and Katherine Rosman, The New York Times
Over the past few weeks, as the Black Lives Matter movement has grown following outrage over the killing of George Floyd, high school students have leveraged every social media platform to call out their peers for racist behavior. Students have repurposed large meme accounts, set up Google Docs and anonymous pages on Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, and wielded their personal followings to hold friends and classmates accountable for behavior they deem unacceptable. “People will post videos of people saying the N-word, or videos where they’re being racist or using derogatory words and stuff like that, and they go viral,” said Sophia Gianotti, 16, a sophomore at Whitesboro High School in Whitesboro, N.Y., where a teacher was recently criticized for stating that “all lives matter” in a virtual school event. (He later apologized.)

What anti-racist teachers do differently

Pirette McKamey, The Atlantic
Ask black students who their favorite teacher is, and they will joyfully tell you. Ask them what it is about their favorite teacher, and most will say some version of this: They know how to work with me. So much is in that statement. It means that these students want to work, that they see their teachers as partners in the learning process, and that they know the teacher-student relationship is one in which they both have power. In other words, black students know that they bring intellect to the classroom, and they know when they are seen—and not seen.

Whole Children and Strong Communities

Do police officers make schools safer or more dangerous?

Dana Goldstein, The New York Times
The national reckoning over police violence has spread to schools, with several districts choosing in recent days to sever their relationships with local police departments out of concern that the officers patrolling their hallways represent more of a threat than a form of protection. School districts in Minneapolis, Seattle and Portland, Ore., have all promised to remove officers, with the Seattle superintendent saying the presence of armed police officers “prohibits many students and staff from feeling fully safe.” In Oakland, Calif., leaders expressed support on Wednesday for eliminating the district’s internal police force, while the Denver Board of Education voted unanimously on Thursday to end its police contract.

For teen activists, defunding school police has been a decade in the making

Sonali Kohli and Howard Blume, The Los Angeles Times
In the midst of the 1980s war on drugs and in the wake of devastating mass school shootings throughout the country, bolstering school police in Los Angeles was seen as a safety imperative by many educators and parents. But for the last decade, a number of student advocacy groups have pushed the school board to reduce police presence in their schools, saying Black and Latino children are targeted for discipline more than others. The Los Angeles School Police Department now employs about 470 officers and civilians, including placement of an armed and uniformed officer at every high school. In a highly publicized turn last week, the leadership of the Los Angeles teachers union voted to support the elimination of the $70-million school police budget.

Reopening California schools is dangerous. But so is letting kids go a year without learning

The Times Editorial Board, The Los Angeles Times
With COVID-19 cases at very low levels within its borders, Israel fully reopened its schools in mid-May. By the end of the month, 130 students at a Jerusalem high school had tested positive for the virus, setting off a flurry of quarantines for people who’d had physical contact with the students and the closure of dozens of schools. This is the kind of outcome American parents dread as they contemplate sending their children back to school sometime this summer or fall. It’s a troubling scenario, but so is the remote-learning experience of the past three months. The reality is, more kids will do better if schools reopen than if they continue online-only classes. But regardless of how we proceed, we must do better.

‘Dear NPR’: In postcards from the shutdown, kids show us life — and learning

La Johnson and Steve Drummond, NPR
A few weeks ago, we asked parents to help us out. Have your kids draw or sketch or write us a postcard, we said, and send it to NPR (digitally, of course). And children from all over the country (and Mexico!) responded with drawings and dispatches from the home-school, online-class, mask-wearing, missing-my-friends world they’ve been living in for the past several months. So check it out: Here are some of our favorites, along with the notes that the kids wrote on the back of their postcards. (Thanks to the grownups for helping out sometimes!) And you can see all of the other great postcards we received, too.

Access, Assessment, and Advancement

Half of recent high school grads have changed their plans due to coronavirus

Michelle Fox, CNBC
The future is suddenly looking very different for new high school graduates thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, 49% of the Class of 2020 have changed their plans as a result of the crisis, according to a survey by Junior Achievement and the PMI Educational Foundation. Of those who made a shift, 36% said they will now work, 32% expect to delay their start date for college, and 16% changed the career path they wish to pursue. The survey, conducted by Wakefield Research between May 21 and May 29, polled 1,000 U.S. teens graduating high school in 2020.

How to achieve real diversity in higher education

Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post
For years, research has consistently shown that SAT and ACT test scores are largely a function oft family income, race and the mother’s education level. As a result, the University of California was applauded recently by many critics of high-stakes standardized testing for announcing that it would phase out the use of SAT and ACT test scores as admissions requirements over the next several years. But this post argues that eliminating those tests as admissions requirements doesn’t come close, by itself, to achieving a truly diverse college campus.

Lack of Juneteenth lessons highlights shallow depth of Black history curriculum

Shawna De La Rosa, Education Dive
As current events bring renewed attention to racial inequity, the organization Black Lives Matter at School provides curriculum resources to help educators dig deeper and provide students more context in Black history beyond just covering slavery and the Civil Rights Movement. Among the available resources is a starter kit, as well as teaching activities and lesson plans for all grades. David Trowbridge, director of African and African-American Studies at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, believes educators should use relevant, local history as a way to appeal to students. Teaching students about relatable historical characters and relevant content gives history more meaning so students should research and uncover their own data, he said. He also suggests using walking tours to bring the past to life.

Inequality, Poverty, Segregation

U of California regents endorse reviving affirmative action

Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, Education Dive
In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 209, which bars government entities from factoring race, sex and ethnicity in areas of education and employment. While the measure is broadly focused, debate on it has long centered around race-conscious college admissions policies. The UC system stopped using race, ethnicity and gender as admission considerations in 1995, which led to a sharp drop in the share of underrepresented students on its campuses — from 20% of admitted students in 1995 to 15% by 1998 — according to a memo from the office of UC President Janet Napolitano. The system’s most selective campuses, University of California, Berkeley, and University of California, Los Angeles, were most deeply affected, the memo notes.
Officials attempted to rectify the inequities. A program created in 2001 guarantees admission to one of the system’s campuses to the top 9% of students at participating high schools, no matter their background.

California foster youth face even more challenges amid pandemic

Ashley A. Smith, EdSource
For foster youth across California, the coronavirus pandemic has only made their situations worse. Some have found it challenging to transition to online classes. Others don’t have access to technology, and many have been unable to reconnect with their families. Advocates say the pandemic exacerbated the problems foster youth faced even before the coronavirus upended everyone’s lives. “A lot of foster youth are having trouble reaching out to biological parents or whoever they trust because the courts are down and social workers are hard to reach,” said Amal Amoora, 19, a foster youth advocate and Humboldt State University student. “The whole concept of making sure that youth don’t have their educational and technological rights overlooked, either innocently or not, is not happening because of the pandemic.”

School districts’ remote-learning plans may widen student achievement gap

Nat Malkus, Education Next
The rapid pace of Covid-19–related school closures forced districts to switch to remote-learning plans under incredible time pressure. This urgent instructional retooling led to wide variation in program quality across a number of factors—including when remote instruction actually began. While many districts responded quickly and began providing instruction almost immediately after school buildings were shuttered, others didn’t provide remote learning until weeks after closures began. Timing was just one small piece of the remote-learning puzzle districts had to solve, however. The Covid-19 Educational Response Longitudinal Survey, or C-ERLS, which I lead, has attempted to gauge the full spectrum of school districts’ efforts, including those related to technological supports and instructional platforms, over six waves of nationally representative data collected in 12 weeks. After a period of swift change through March and April, the data on remote-learning offerings stabilized in May, giving the opportunity to clearly compare variations between districts. Though the sample size is small, its statistical power can nonetheless detect substantial differences—many of which give cause for concern.

Public Schools and Private $

As pandemic tests public schools, Betsy DeVos pushes school choice

Laura Meckler, The Washington Post
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has long believed that the federal government should have little to do with education. This spring, with schools facing their most significant crisis in decades, DeVos has stuck to that core conviction. She hasn’t weighed in on how schools might teach remotely. She’s said little about what they should consider when reopening, beyond the need to consult health authorities. And through it all, she has pressed her central agenda: that students and families should have choices beyond their traditional public schools, and that tax dollars should follow those choices. She calls it “education freedom.”

Charter schools, some with billionaire benefactors, tap coronavirus relief

Erica L. Green, The New York Times
Charter schools, including some with healthy cash balances and billionaire backers like Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates, have quietly accepted millions of dollars in emergency coronavirus relief from a fund created to help struggling small businesses stay afloat. Since their inception, charter schools have straddled the line between public schools and private entities. The coronavirus has forced them to choose. And dozens of them — potentially more because the Treasury Department has not disclosed a list — have decided for the purpose of coronavirus relief that they are businesses, applying for aid even as they continue to enjoy funding from school budgets, tax-free status and, in some cases, healthy cash balances and the support of billionaire backers.

Rich kids are eating up the financial aid pot

Martin Kurzweil and Josh Wyner, The New York Times
In recent decades, many institutions of higher education have increasingly been awarding money to students who do not need that aid to afford college. More than half of the 339 public universities sampled in a paper published by New America at least doubled the amount they spent on so-called merit aid from 2001 to 2017; more than 25 percent quadrupled the amount. About two out of every five dollars these schools provided in institutional aid went to students the government deemed able to afford college without need-based aid. The schools do it because well-to-do families, overall, bring the institutions more tuition dollars than their lower income peers.

Other News of Note

The protests, the police, and Juneteenth: Robin Kelley [AUDIO]

Jon Wiener, Start Making Sense
Paul Gilroy and Gary Younge, University College London, Arts and Social Sciences
Paul Gilroy and Gary Younge, Professor of Sociology at Manchester University and distinguished journalist, reflect on Mark Twain’s reputed words ‘history doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes’, the first political memories that shaped them, and the potential in engaging sympathy and humour critically.

Energizing the civic engagement of youth from immigrant families: Veronica Terriquez

John Rogers and Veronica Terriquez, Just Talk from Center X
This week we are reposting an interview from June 2017 with Veronica Terriquez on the civic engagement of youth from immigrant families. Dr. Terriquez is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research examines youth transitions to adulthood, civic engagement, social inequality, and immigrant integration. Dr. Terriquez also has extensive experience working as a community organizer and volunteer for various education reform, immigrant rights, labor rights, and racial justice efforts.