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Teaching, Leading, and Social Justice
Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week
Education has played an unpredictable but sometimes dynamic role in the 2020 presidential campaign. We’ve seen impassioned exchanges about school segregation create a big early moment for two leading Democrats. Charter schools have proven a relatively complex and sometimes tricky issue for candidates, although whether a recent turn in the spotlight for charters helped the public’s understanding is up for debate. And of course, President Donald Trump, his education record, and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos are subjects for debate. It can be hard to keep track of it all and keep what you know in one place. But we’re here to help.
Jamal Watson, Diverse Issues in Higher Education
A federal court judge ruled on Tuesday to uphold Harvard University’s race-conscious admissions policy, dealing a stunning blow to anti-affirmative action proponents who had hoped that the case might be a defining issue in next year’s 2020 presidential race. Judge Allison Burroughs rejected the claim that Harvard had intentionally discriminated against Asian-American applicants and defended the use of race as a consideration in the admissions process, while also acknowledging that affirmative action may fade away in the not too distant future.
John Rogers, Educational Leadership
It should come as no surprise that students across the United States are concerned about gun violence. In the last 25 years, there have been more mass school shootings in the United States than in the rest of the world combined. An average of 20 students are killed each year on K–12 campuses, representing 1–2 percent of all youth homicides. And a recent analysis in the Washington Post found that between the school shootings in Columbine, Colorado, in 1999 and Parkland, Florida, in 2018, there have been shootings at 193 schools, directly affecting more than 187,000 enrolled students. Students are understandably afraid, and their feelings of distress about gun violence are heightened by the prevalence of media coverage of mass shootings. As noted by one Michigan principal I spoke with, “there’s something in the news” about “gun violence in schools … [just] about every week.”
Language, Culture, and Power
Audie Cornish, All Things Considered
While Kelly Lytle Hernández was growing up in San Diego near the U.S.-Mexico border in the late 1980s and early ’90s, she watched as people from her community, friends and neighbors, disappeared: Black youths disappeared into the prison system; Mexican immigrants disappeared through deportations. These experiences affected her deeply. “It was growing up in that environment that forced me to want to understand what was happening to us and why it seemed legitimate,” Lytle Hernández tells All Things Considered. “And I wanted to disrupt that legitimacy.” For answers to those questions, Lytle Hernández turned to the past. A historian and expert on immigration, race and mass incarceration, she is now a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is one of this year’s 26 MacArthur Fellows. “History is a narrative of the past. It is based upon the sources that we regard as relevant or that we can find,” she says.
And so her work includes tracking down records that reflect marginalized populations and finding new, rigorous ways to understand those records.
Nicole Phillip, The New York Times
A Florida instructor told a reader to pretend to be enslaved and use her nervousness as part of the character. In Illinois, a reader participated in a debate on slavery in which the pro-slavery side won. And a fourth-grade class in Virginia was given an assignment that referred to enslaved people as “African workers.” Inspired by Nikita Stewart’s essay for The 1619 Project on why slavery is taught so poorly in American schools, we asked readers to tell us about their own experiences learning this history. We received hundreds of responses depicting off-base and factually inconsistent lessons, as well as a few thoughtful approaches. Below is a selection, condensed and edited for clarity.
Risa Johnson, Palm Springs Desert Sun
Native American students in California’s public schools face higher-than-average suspension rates, according to a new report. A joint effort between California State University, San Diego, and the Sacramento Native American Higher Education Collaborative, the report outlines what it calls troubling trends regarding how school administrators discipline students. Racial disparities in school discipline, particularly for African American students, have been documented in numerous studies, but there has been little research on how Native American students are reprimanded.
Paul Thomas, National Education Policy Center
Public school enrollment has been majority “minority” since 2014. Yet roughly 80 percent of teachers are White. Although it’s not easy to get data on the racial makeup of local school boards, a 2010 survey suggests about 80 percent are White. State legislators, who typically call the shots on K-12 policy and funding, are also about 80 percent White. So how are educators and policymakers dealing with this glaring gap between the demographics of the people who implement and make education policy and the students who live its results? How are they handling the even bigger chasm between the societal and educational opportunities offered to White students versus students of color? In many cases, they’re not.
Whole Children and Strong Communities
Michael Burke, EdSource
The state’s largest school district on Tuesday approved an amended version of its 2019-20 school accountability plan, after a complaint was filed this summer about transparency and adequately serving high-needs students. The Los Angeles Unified District school board voted 6-1 to approve the district’s latest Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), which must be written every three years and updated annually in consultation with parents and the community.
Ashley Mackey, ABC7
“Kids are the future,” Celia Mendelsohn said. Celia Mendelsohn is an associate librarian at the Inglewood Public Library and she’s been helping with Bilingual Storytime for about 2 years now. “It’s important to be bilingual. The brain works better,” Mendelsohn said. “And many people in this community are interested in learning Spanish and probably other languages.”
Access, Assessment, and Advancement
Shaun M. Dougherty and Stephen L. Ross, The Conversation
Job prospects for young men who only have a high school diploma are particularly bleak. They are even worse for those who have less education. When young men experience joblessness, it not only threatens their financial well-being but their overall well-being and physical health.
Could a high quality and specialized technical education in high school make a difference?
Based on a study I co-authored with 60,000 students who applied to the Connecticut Technical High School System, the answer is: yes.
More California community college students entering, passing transfer-level math and english as result of landmark law
Ashley A. Smith, EdSource
More students, especially black and Latino students, are benefiting from the elimination of remedial classes in California’s community colleges, according to a new report. An analysis released today by the RP Group, a nonpartisan organization that provides research on behalf of the California Community Colleges system, found more students enrolling in courses that offer credits eligible for transfer to a four-year college and more African-American and Latino students passing those classes.
Teresa Watanabe, The Los Angeles Times
Half a century ago, the University of California helped catapult the SAT to a place of national prominence in the college admission process when it began requiring all applicants to take the test and report their score. Now the UC system, by its sheer size and influence as the nation’s premier public research university, is again poised to play an outsized role in the future of standardized testing in America as its leaders consider whether to drop both the SAT and ACT as an admissions requirement.
Inequality, Poverty, Segregation
Kenneth Shores and Matthew Steinberg, AERA Open
Substantial school spending cuts triggered by the Great Recession were associated with sizable losses in academic achievement for students living in counties most affected by the economic downturn, according to a new study published in AERA Open.
Linda Jacobson, Education Dive
Early-childhood programs — including center- and home-based settings — are twice as likely as kindergarten and 1st-grade classrooms to have all black or all Hispanic children. They’re also less likely to be “somewhat integrated” with 10-20% of children being black or Hispanic, according to a new Urban Institute study comparing segregation between K-12 schools and the variety of learning arrangements for children 5 and under.
Marcella Bombardieri, Politico
Last fall, when introductory biology professors at Pasadena City College erased a rule banning late assignments or makeup exams, their colleagues joked that students would soon have imaginary grandmas perishing every weekend. In years past, four in 10 Latino students and half of African American students in the class dropped out, failed or earned a D. The professors wondered whether they could improve students’ odds if they acknowledged that many of the students have jobs and other responsibilities that might interfere with a deadline, but shouldn’t make them question whether they belong in science or at this community college.
Public Schools and Private $
Howard Blume, The Los Angeles Times
Five schools, including three charters, share the Westchester High School campus, making for a potential headache when it comes to drop-off and pick-up, serving food and using the library and athletic fields. A plan unanimously approved Tuesday by the Los Angeles Board of Education won’t fix all the logistics at schools like Westchester, but it offers $5.5 million to make sharing campuses more manageable and collegial. The funding works out to about $100,000 for each of the 55 campuses that host one or more charters in the nation’s second-largest school system.
LAUSD abruptly cracks down on charter schools that took district classrooms, then didn’t use them all
Kyle Stokes, LAist
In Los Angeles’ tough real estate market, the operators of charter schools have to make do with whatever classroom spaces they can find: hospital daycare centers, downtown office suites, even churches and former Hebrew schools. Or they can simply claim space on an L.A. Unified School District campus. A state law known as Prop. 39 requires California school districts to offer classrooms at a relatively modest cost to any charter school that asks for them — and in L.A., many charters do ask. Roughly one out of every five charter schools in the city is “co-located” on an LAUSD campus.
Lauren Camera, U.S. News and World Report
SECRETARY OF EDUCATION Betsy DeVos tried to breath new life into the administration’s federal tax credit scholarship proposal Tuesday by calling out Republicans in Congress who have refused to entertain the idea and conservative education policy experts who’ve opposed the plan. “I remain dumbfounded that some conservatives who masquerade as education reformers criticize this proposal,” she said at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank in Washington, D.C. “Who would have thought that Ted Cruz or I would have been accused of trying to grow the federal government?” Cruz has been carrying the administration’s proposal in the Senate. The so-called Education Freedom Scholarship is a $5 billion tax credit scholarship that would help families cover the cost of private or public K-12 school of their choice, or pay for online classes, tutoring and after-school programs, among other things. The proposal provides a tax credit to individuals and businesses that contribute part of their taxable income to an organization that provides scholarships, mostly set aside for low-income students.
Other News of Note
Marina Franco, The New York Times
That weekend began like so many others in the southern Mexico town: The main square hosted a political rally and there was a soccer match nearby. Students from a rural teacher-training college were trying to secure buses for a trip to Mexico City. But what happened on that Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, has become a symbol of the violence, impunity and broken rule of law that plagues Mexico. By the end of the night, six people were dead, and 43 of the students, last spotted being forced into police trucks, had vanished. Five years on, their whereabouts are still unknown, their cases unsolved.