Just News from Center X – March 18, 2016

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Teaching, Leading, and Social Justice

L.A. Unified teachers — but not administrators — will escape budget-related layoffs this year

Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times

No teachers in the L.A. Unified School District will get pink slips for cash flow reasons this year. That’s thanks in part to a one-time influx of cash from the state and Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget that allocates more funding to schools. The last time the district didn’t send teachers these notices was 2013.

Finding dollars in the state budget to help new teachers

Kimberly Beltran, Cabinet Report

From reimbursing student loans to establishing a statewide recruiting center, lawmakers this session are pushing several legislative proposals aimed at beefing up California’s qualified teacher pool. Among them are two bills that would establish separate grant programs – one for local education agencies that create teacher training “residencies” in high-need districts; another designed to help classified employees, or para-educators, earn a teaching credential.

Holding teacher preparation accountable: A review of claims and evidence

Marilyn Cochran-Smith, Rebecca Stern, Juan Gabriel Sánchez, Andrew Miller, Elizabeth Stringer Keefe, M. Beatriz Fernández, Wen-Chia Chang, Molly Cummings Carney, Stephani Burton, & Megina Baker, Boston College; National Education Policy Center

Teacher preparation has emerged as an acutely politicized and publicized issue in U.S. education policy and practice, and there have been fierce debates about the methods and reasoning behind it. Because of the importance of teachers and teacher education, policy should be driven by the best evidence based on high-quality research. In Holding Teacher Preparation Accountable: A Review of Claims and Evidence, four major national initiatives intended to improve teacher quality by “holding teacher education accountable” for arrangements and outcomes are explored. This new policy brief scrutinizes each initiative in light of the research evidence.

In bipartisan move, Senate confirms John King Jr. as U.S. Education Secretary

Emma Brown, The Washington Post

The Senate voted on Monday to confirm John King Jr. as U.S. Education Secretary, a move that shows that education has become a rare issue on which a polarized Washington can reach bipartisan compromise.

Language, Culture, and Power

The black girl pushout  

Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic

The “good girl” and “bad girl” dichotomy, as chronicled by Monique W. Morris in Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, is a condition that has plagued black girls and women for time immemorial. Society’s deeply entrenched expectations of black girls—influenced by racism and patriarchy—has led to a ritual whereby these young women are often mischaracterized, and mislabeled because of how they look, dress, speak, and act. In short, black girls are devalued based on how others perceive them.

The superior social skills of bilinguals

Katherine Kinzler, New York Times

Being bilingual has some obvious advantages. Learning more than one language enables new conversations and new experiences. But in recent years, psychology researchers have demonstrated some less obvious advantages of bilingualism, too. For instance, bilingual children may enjoy certain cognitive benefits, such as improved executive functioning—which is critical for problem solving and other mentally demanding activities. Now, two new studies demonstrate that multilingual exposure improves not only children’s cognitive skills but also their social abilities.

Access, Assessment, and Advancement

California moves to bring special education students ‘into the fold’ of mainstream education

Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource

Ordered by the federal government to elevate academics for students with disabilities, and by the state to raise low-income student achievement, the California Department of Education is working to create a unified system that will do both, a move that aims to bring special education students into every school district initiative to improve achievement.

State board gives green light to next phase of new science tests

Michael Collier, EdSource

The Next Generation Science Standards, the newest set of academic standards being implemented in California, have moved a step closer to when students will be tested on them. At its bimonthly meeting in Sacramento Wednesday, the board voted to designate three new end-of-year tests that are aligned with the science standards – one for 5th-graders, one for 8th-graders and one for high school students in either 10th, 11th, or 12th grades – and also to move forward with the design-phase of the test.

What exactly is a good school? California is trying to find out.

Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

George Green V, a 19-year-old student, wants you to know what it means to have a black teacher with dreadlocks like his. “When I see him teach, I’m looking at myself in the mirror,” he said. Green is studying at Sacramento Charter High School. He was diagnosed with depression at age 10, and feels comfortable talking about his feelings with his teacher, which helps him and his classmates stay engaged in school.

Some 11th graders not getting message about how much new Smarter Balanced tests matter

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC

The California State University is now using incoming freshmen’s test scores on the state’s new standardized tests to decide if students are ready for college level math and English or if they need to take remedial classes. The new requirement is leading CSU officials to urge 11th graders to take the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (Smarter Balanced) tests more seriously.

Inequality, Poverty, Segregation

New study reveals nuanced story behind wealth disparity across racial and ethnic groups in L.A.

Melany De La Cruz-Viesca and Erin Fogg, UCLA Newsroom

A report released today examining wealth inequality across racial and ethnic groups in Los Angeles shows substantial disparity with Japanese, Asian Indians, Chinese and whites ranking among the top, while blacks, Mexicans, other Latinos, Koreans and Vietnamese rank far behind. “The Color of Wealth in Los Angeles” is the first report to compile detailed data on assets and debts among people of different races, ethnicities and countries of origin residing in the Los Angeles area.

How perceptions about opportunity vary by race

Emily Deruy, The Atlantic

Black and white Americans have dramatically different views on whether all children have equal access to the same opportunities. While 77 percent of whites surveyed in an Atlantic Media/Pearson Opportunity Poll released this week think children of color in their neighborhood have access to the same opportunities as white children, just 41 percent of African Americans agree. More than 70 percent of Latinos and Asians polled agree with the statement, making the figure from black respondents the outlier, albeit not necessarily a surprising one.

Researchers link inequality to high school dropout rates

Cathaleen Chen, The Christian Science Monitor

Social scientists have long pointed to economic inequality as a prognosis for lowered social mobility, given the rate that students from low-income communities drop out of high school. But until now, researchers have been unable to establish the mechanisms that drive that correlation. A new paper presented by the Brookings Institute Thursday ties income inequality to reduced rates of upward mobility using empirical data, specifically examining the role of students’ perception of their potential future success in affecting their actual success.

60 years later, the Southern Manifesto is as alive as ever

Justin Driver, Los Angeles Times

On March 12, 1956, the majority of Southern senators and congressmen joined forces in Washington, D.C., to publicize the “Declaration of Constitutional Principles.” Now known by its more evocative label, the “Southern Manifesto,” this statement denounced the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Brown vs. Board of Education, which two years earlier had invalidated racial segregation in public schools. The nation will not celebrate Saturday’s 60th anniversary of the Southern Manifesto as it does civil rights victories — and for good reason. But we should not permit this crucial date to pass unacknowledged, because doing so invites the comforting delusion that the mind-set supporting the manifesto has been banished from polite society.


Public Schools and Private $

Bernie Sanders says he opposes private charter schools. What does that mean?

Anya Kamenetz, NPR

K-12 education hasn’t exactly been front and center in this presidential election, but Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders made some news on the topic this week. Here’s how he responded to a question about charter schools at a CNN televised Town Hall meeting: “I believe in public education and I believe in public charter schools. I do not believe in privately controlled charter schools.” Here’s the contradiction: Charter schools are all public. And, each has some element of private control.

Locating Chicago’s charter schools: A socio-spatial analysis

Other News of Note

‘Extensive’ hate graffiti found on high school campus in Pacific Palisades

Veronica Rocha, Los Angeles Times

After numerous hate-related symbols and messages were found spray-painted on Palisades Charter High School over the weekend, roughly 300 students and community activists gathered Monday morning to protest the vandalism.

Boston’s outrageously condescending response to high schoolers protesting education budget cuts

Casey Quinlan, Think Progress

After thousands of Boston public school students marched to protest school budget cuts last week, city officials and Boston media suggested the students are simply misinformed and don’t understand what they’re doing.

Saying no to hate: Meet the Chicago activists who forced Trump to cancel campaign rally

Democracy Now! Guests: Amalia Pallares and Yasmeen Elagha, University of Illinois at Chicago



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