March 2018
  • EduClips: PR Passes Bill Allowing for Charters, Vouchers; Congress Passes Ed Spending Bill — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | 1 day ago

    EduClips is a roundup of the day’s top education headlines from America’s largest school districts, where more than 4 million students across eight states attend class every day. Read previous EduClips installments here. Get the day’s top school and policy news delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for the TopSheet Education Newsletter.

    Top Story

    EDUCATION SPENDING Congress dealt a blow to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s school choice agenda in a tentative spending bill released late Wednesday, rejecting her attempt to spend more than $1 billion promoting choice-friendly policies and private school vouchers.

    DeVos had sought to cut Education Department funding by $3.6 billion — about 5 percent. Among other cuts, she wanted to eliminate funding for after-school programs for needy youth and ax a grant program that helps low-income students go to college in favor of spending more than $1 billion to promote charter schools, magnet schools and private school vouchers. Her proposal also outlined cuts to the Office for Civil Rights because the office had grown more efficient, she said, a move that outraged Democrats and civil rights groups. Her budget also eliminated grant programs that supported student mental-health services — a move that received scrutiny in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. DeVos said her budget reflected her policy priorities and her attempts to roll back the role the federal government plays in schools.

    Instead, Congress is on track to increase department funding by $3.9 billion, with no funding for the school choice program DeVos envisioned. The spending bill, which must be passed by Friday to avoid another government shutdown, boosts investments in student mental health, including increasing funding by $700 million for a wide-ranging grant program that schools can use for counselors. The bill calls for an additional $22 million for a program to reduce school violence and $25 million for a Department of Health and Human Services program that supports mental-health services in schools. (Read at Washington Post)

    National News

    SCHOOL SHOOTINGS ‘You Have to Redefine Normal’: Leading Schools in the Aftermath of a Shooting (Read at Education Week)

    NATIONAL MARCH Buoyed by National School Walkout, Organizers Now Expect Student-led ‘March for Our Lives’ to Bring a Half-Million Protestors to Nation’s Capital (Read at

    DEVOS What Does Trump’s Volatile Relationship With His Cabinet Mean for Betsy DeVos? (Read at Politics K-12)

    District and State News

    PUERTO RICO Puerto Rico’s Lawmakers Pass Bill to Expand Choice and Revamp Public Schools (Read at Politics K-12)

    FLORIDA Proposal to allow a state charter school authorizer advances in Florida Constitution Revision Commission (Read at Tampa Bay Times)

    TEXAS This Texas school began arming teachers with guns in 2007. More than 100 other districts have followed. (Read at Texas Tribune)

    NEW YORK Science teacher behind disastrous experiment that burned students gets job teaching educators with big raise (Read at New York Daily News)

    FLORIDA School Board member term limits moves forward in Florida Constitution Revision Commission (Read at Tampa Bay Times)

    CALIFORNIA Anti-walkout teacher and school officials bring in facilitators to resolve controversy (Read at Mercury News)

    ILLINOIS CPS approves additional borrowing that district says will provide more resources for classrooms (Read at Chicago Tribune)

    NEVADA Superintendent says goodbye in final State of the Schools address (Read at Las Vegas Sun)

    NEW YORK Five graphs that show the challenges facing New York City’s ‘disconnected’ young adults (Read at Chalkbeat)

    CALIFORNIA California tops in suspension reform, but still not properly targeting disparities, report says (Read at EdSource)

    NEVADA Twist in feud between Nevada teachers union, Clark County local (Read at Las Vegas Review-Journal)

    TEXAS Opinion: Fixing school finance isn’t rocket surgery (Read at Houston Chronicle)

    Think Pieces

    YOUTH VOTE After Parkland, Young People Led the Way in Protesting Gun Violence. Now Some Are Saying We Should Let 16-Year-Olds Vote, Too (Read at

    MENTAL ILLNESS Opinion: We must stop the criminalization of mental illness in schools (Read at Hechinger Report)

    ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Elementary school teachers sometimes follow a class of students from year to year. New research suggests that’s a good idea. (Read at Chalkbeat)

    Quote of the Day

    “It sharpens and hones the purpose of our mission: serving students by meeting their needs. President Trump is committed to reducing the federal footprint in education, and that is reflected in this budget.” — U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, on the administration’s proposed education budget. (Read at Washington Post)

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  • Buoyed by National School Walkout, Organizers Now Expect Student-led ‘March for Our Lives’ to Bring a Half-Million Protestors to Nation’s Capital

    By Laura Fay | 2 days ago

    After the turnout at last week’s student walkouts, in which tens of thousands of students participated from more than 3,000 schools, organizers for this Saturday’s “March for Our Lives” are expecting more than half a million protesters to take to the streets in Washington, D.C., to demonstrate against gun violence.

    “We already expected the march on March 24 to be a big one,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Sarah Chadwick told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last week. “But I think after (the walkouts), it’s going to be massive. We’re expecting a lot more people to show up now. People are realizing that this isn’t just a one-time thing.”

    Led by students from Stoneman Douglas, Saturday’s march will begin at noon and proceed down Pennsylvania Avenue, ending with a rally featuring student speakers and music near the Capitol building.

    More than 800 sibling marches are planned in cities and towns across the country and the world.

    The marches are part of a movement that sprang up in the hours after the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, when student survivors started speaking out on social media and soon appeared on national news programs urging people to take action to prevent gun violence. Since then, they have inspired students around the country to become activists and organizers using the motto — and hashtag — “Never Again.” On March 14, hundreds of thousands of students walked out of school in demonstrations that observers say are the largest since the Vietnam War.

    During a forum at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Tuesday, some of the student leaders said they are inspired by the legacy of the Civil Rights movement and its leaders, especially Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, who some recently met on a trip to Washington, D.C. Lewis has expressed support for their movement.

    “What’s going to solve this is the same thing that helped promote the Civil Rights movement,” student David Hogg said at the forum. “It’s love and compassion for both sides, and seeing each other not as Democrats or Republicans but as Americans, for God’s sake.”

    The march has garnered high-profile support, with celebrities including Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, and Common slated to perform at the D.C. rally. The March for Our Lives organization has also received financial support from a number of celebrities, including Broadway stars Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt, who are donating proceeds from a new song, “Found/Tonight,” to the cause.

    D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, expressed her support for the march in a video with Justin Timberlake, and she said the city is putting extra safety and security precautions in place for the event. Additionally, the march has received financial support from the nonprofit group Everytown for Gun Safety.

    Marches are planned in every state and in several countries around the world. In Wisconsin, students have planned an extension event called 50 Miles More in which a group of students will march 50 miles from the state capital in Madison to Janesville, Wisconsin, Rep. Paul Ryan’s hometown, over three days starting Sunday.

    The reason for the march is to sustain national attention and inspire longer student marches in other states, said Katie Eder, a high school senior and one of the organizers.

    “We’re directing it at Paul Ryan to say, ‘You can’t ignore us anymore, and we want our message to be heard.’ But we’re really sending that same message to the entire country, to say we’re not going anywhere, and we’re going to continue to take action until change is made,” Eder said.

    Another school walkout is planned for April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. Lane Murdock, a 15-year-old student from Ridgefield, Connecticut, started that event because she wanted to create a way for students to be heard.

    “We don’t have much power because we can’t vote, so I started … to think about the power we did have, and that is, I think, our attendance in school,” Murdock told The 74. “I knew that …walking out of school was a really great way to show that we meant business, and this is not something that we are thinking of on a whim.”


    Inside the National School Walkout: What We Saw at 7 Very Different Marches Against Gun Violence

  • Lawmakers in Puerto Rico Approve Sweeping School Choice Bill Six Months After Maria, Creating New Voucher Program & Charter Schools

    By Mark Keierleber | 2 days ago

    Six months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, Puerto Rican lawmakers have approved a sweeping bill to reshape its education system through school choice options like private school vouchers and charters.

    Announced by Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló last month, the territory’s Senate approved the legislation Monday and the House gave it a nod on Tuesday. To address a crippling financial crisis, the island’s education secretary, Julia Keleher, has been working to reform the island’s school system since before the hurricane-ravaged public school system was shuttered last September. When all public schools were closed due to the storm, and thousands of students fled to the U.S. mainland, education reform — and a desire to boost chronically poor academic performance — became more urgent, she said.

    Among the proposals is a private school voucher program, capped at 3 percent of total student enrollment by a Senate amendment, and charter schools, capped at 10 percent of public schools. The government is also working to break its unitary education department into seven regions to increase local autonomy, and to establish a per-pupil spending formula.

    In January, Rosselló released a fiscal plan that would close 300 public schools and reduce education spending by $300 million. Last year, officials shuttered nearly 200 public schools amid a financial crisis that’s left the island’s bankrupt government with $123 billion in debt and pension obligations.


    Post-Maria, Puerto Rico Looks to Charter Schools, Vouchers as Part of New Education Reform Strategy

    As the island looks to inject school choice into its education system, Puerto Rican officials have sought advice from school choice advocacy groups on the U.S. mainland, including voucher proponents EdChoice, Chalkbeat reports. Keleher has also been in contact with Paul Pastorek, a former Louisiana superintendent of education who led state efforts to reform the school system in New Orleans, now run mostly by charters, after Hurricane Katrina struck the city in 2005.

    Although Keleher has made comparisons between Puerto Rico and New Orleans, she’s maintained in interviews with The 74 that her reform goals are more modest. Still, the government’s reform efforts have faced fierce opposition, including from teachers union leaders both locally and on the U.S. mainland. As lawmakers considered the legislation this week, teachers staged a strike and protested outside the capitol in San Juan.


    As Puerto Rico’s Governor Embraces Major School Reform Agenda, New Orleans Offers Inspiration, Caution

  • WATCH: Parkland Students Speak at Harvard University About How They’re Changing America’s Conversation About Guns

    By Laura Fay | 2 days ago

    Survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who are organizing a movement around gun control stopped to reflect on violence, activism and this Saturday’s national march at an event at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Tuesday.

    One of the students, Cameron Kasky, explained that he decided he and his classmates needed to speak out while listening to the radio in the car on the way home from school on the day of the Feb 14 shooting that left 17 dead.

    “I was looking at my phone, and seeing what was going on, and I started to realize, I’ve seen this before,” he said. “I’ve seen this happen countless times, and what happens is we get two weeks in the news, we get a bundle of thoughts and prayers, everybody sends flowers, and then it’s over. I said, ‘What’s different this time? What can we do differently this time?’”

    “We know that we can fix this, but we have to jump now. We have to start now,” he said.

    In addition to Kasky, the conversation included Ryan Deitsch, Matt Deitsch, Emma González, David Hogg, and Alex Wind, who are leading the “Never Again” movement and organizing Saturday’s March for Our Lives.

    The forum happened the same day a school shooting in Maryland left two students injured and a student gunman dead.

    At the Harvard event, one of the Parkland students, Ryan Deitsch, noted that the very forum in which they were participating was named for a man killed by a gun, President John F. Kennedy.

    “The bullet doesn’t discriminate,” he said.


    The Revolution Will Be Hashtagged. Social-Media-Savvy, Irreverent, and Maybe a Bit Entitled, Parkland Students Succeed Where Others Have Failed to Launch a National Movement Around Guns


    Gun Control Group Pledges $2.5 Million to Sponsor March for Our Lives Protests

  • EduClips: Harvey-Damaged Schools Get Reassurance from TX Lawmakers; Candidates for CA Schools Chief Stress Funding Transparency — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | 2 days ago

    EduClips is a roundup of the day’s top education headlines from America’s largest school districts, where more than 4 million students across eight states attend class every day. Read previous EduClips installments here. Get the day’s top school and policy news delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for the TopSheet Education Newsletter.

    Top Story

    DEVOS Four cabinet secretaries — but no teachers or other interested school parties — will be part of President Donald Trump’s new federal school safety commission that will begin hearings sometime soon, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Tuesday, as she called for more federal funding for school safety.

    DeVos was testifying Tuesday morning to a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee just as news emerged of yet another school shooting, this one reportedly having injured two students at Great Mills High School in southern Maryland. The shooter was killed after a school resource officer fired at him, though as of Tuesday evening it wasn’t clear whether the officer killed him or he was struck by his own bullet. After calls for action — much of it coming from the student survivors of the February 14 Parkland, Florida, school massacre — the White House announced earlier this month that DeVos will chair a school safety commission. The group will study several issues, including raising the age to buy guns, a ratings system for violent video games, and best practices for campus safety. (Read at

    National News

    DEVOS Betsy DeVos Still Challenged in Delivering Policy Message (Read at Education Week)

    SHOOTING Gunman Injures 2 Classmates at Maryland HS, Dies During Shootout With Deputy; At Least 30 Killed, 53 Hurt In School Shootings in 2018 (Read at

    DEVOS Democrats Tell DeVos Her ‘Head Is in the Sand’ on Racial Bias (Read at New York Times)

    District and State News

    TEXAS Harvey-hit schools get new assurances from Legislature (Read at Houston Chronicle)

    CALIFORNIA Candidates for California’s top school chief post call for more transparency in spending of state funds (Read at EdSource)

    FLORIDACharter schools firm asks districts to provide resource officers to all its campuses by April 1 (Read at Tampa Bay Online)

    PENNSYLVANIA The Sugar Fix: Philadelphia Pre-Schoolers Get Free Education Through Sugar Tax (Read at Stuff)

    NEW YORK Opinion: De Blasio’s discrimination against charter school kids (Read at New York Post)

    CALIFORNIA How Trump repeal of Obama-era school discipline guidelines could affect California (Read at EdSource)

    NEVADA Lawyer: Trustee Child to sue if Clark County School Board OKs settlement (Read at Las Vegas Review-Journal)

    HAWAII Teachers to lawmakers: Hawaii kids are taking too many standardized tests (Read at Hawaii News Now)

    Think Pieces

    MARCH FOR OUR LIVES Student Activists and Celebrity Donors: Who’s Behind the ‘March for Our Lives’ (Read at Education Week)

    DEVOS Education Secretary Betsy DeVos probably won’t be fired but she needs to resign (Read at USA Today)

    RACE Forget Wealth And Neighborhood. The Racial Income Gap Persists (Read at NPR)

    TESTING Waters: New Jersey’s New Governor Says He Wants to Scrap PARCC Tests but Doesn’t Know How. Here’s What It Would Take — and It’s Not Easy (Read at

    GIRLS IN SCIENCE Want More Girls in Science Fields? Check the Images on Your Classroom Walls (Read at Inside School Research)

    EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY Bids to bring fiber internet to schools are denied funding seven times more often than other projects (Read at Hechinger Report)

    Quote of the Day

    “It’s hard to believe that people who have been on the job for this long don’t have staff that understand how the system works. It is important to connect with the people who pay the bills.” ­— Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, Republican of New Jersey and the chairman of the appropriations committee, to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, on a ‘disconnect’ between the department and his office. (Read at New York Times)

    Want the day’s top school and policy news delivered straight to your inbox — for free? Sign up for the TopSheet Daybreak Education Newsletter.

  • Parkland Shooting Revives Calls to Roll Back Obama-Era Guidance on School Discipline, but the FBI Tells Lawmakers There’s ‘No Indication’ Issues Are Related

    By Mark Keierleber | 3 days ago

    Correction appended March 21

    The FBI’s deputy director acknowledged Tuesday that the agency failed to act on several tips it received about Nikolas Cruz, who is charged with shooting and killing 17 people last month at a high school in Parkland, Florida. But he said an Obama-era guidance document on school discipline, designed to reduce racial disparities and the reliance on police for nonviolent offenses, played no role in its efforts to prevent such attacks.

    “I don’t recall that guidance,” said David Bowdich during a House subcommittee hearing on law enforcement agencies’ response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, including tips the FBI and other law enforcement agencies received about Cruz before he opened fire on February 14. “We have no indication” investigators considered the guidance document when responding to tips about Cruz’s violent behavior, he said.

    The congressional hearing follows claims by Republican lawmakers and pundits that the Obama-era guidance, issued in 2014 by the Departments of Education and Justice, has pushed local school districts to reduce student punishments or else face the wrath of federal investigators, effectively making schools less safe. Proponents, meanwhile, maintain the guidance is an important backstop to ensure that schools don’t discriminate when doling out punishments.


    Is DeVos Near Ending School Discipline Reform After Talks on Race, Safety?

    A heated debate over the guidance ensued long before the Parkland shooting, leading Education Department officials to meet last year with proponents and critics of that directive.

    But the shooting has emboldened the document’s staunchest critics, who have called on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to slash the guidance. Among lawmakers who have attacked the guidance since Parkland is Sen. Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, who, in a letter to DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, said the directive “arguably made it easier for schools to not report students to law enforcement than deal with the potential consequences.” Last week, President Donald Trump said DeVos would head a school safety commission that would examine, among other items, a “repeal of the Obama Administration’s ‘Rethink School Discipline’ policies.”


    Teachers Urge DeVos Not to Scrap School Discipline Rules, as Civil Rights Commission Holds Hearing on Bias Against Disabled Students of Color

    Max Eden, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, is among the 2014 document’s staunchest critics. During the Capitol Hill hearing on Tuesday, Eden argued that Cruz, who had a history of acting violently, should have been unable to pass a background check to purchase a firearm. The Broward County school district implemented a discipline policy in 2013 that aimed to reduce its reliance on suspensions. That local policy ultimately helped inform federal guidance, Eden said.

    While acknowledging that the guidance doesn’t prevent officials from responding to violent offenses, Eden argued that the policy could have kept Broward County educators from flagging Cruz’s behavior over the course of several years.

    “This policy of explicitly trying to push these numbers down can inhibit the good and fair judgment of school resource officers to issue arrests where they may be warranted,” Eden said, adding that arrests “feed into the system in a way that could have been constructive” in the Parkland incident.

    But Kristen Harper, director for policy at the nonprofit Child Trends research center, noted that efforts to reduce racial disparities don’t contradict efforts to stop school violence. Racial disparities in school discipline are widespread among minor offenses, she said, but students across racial groups receive similar punishments for violent acts. Further, she said, the discipline guidance does not restrict schools or law enforcement from punishing students who are violent.

    “In fact, there is explicit language in the guidance that says we should train school personnel to be able to distinguish between violent and nonviolent behaviors, and to determine when law enforcement needs to be brought in,” she said.

    Rescinding the guidance, she said, could confuse school officials about their obligations under federal civil rights law, and would not result in improved student safety.

    “The research does not support the conclusion that additional law enforcement presence [in] schools makes them safer,” she added. “We do know that increased law enforcement presence in schools increases criminalization of student behaviors.”


    Civil Rights Leaders: Post-Parkland School Violence Bills Could Do More Harm Than Good

    The discipline guidance also came up during a separate congressional hearing in Washington on Tuesday. Rep. Katherine Clark, Democrat of Massachusetts, asked DeVos about racial disparities in school discipline and the potential consequences arming teachers or increasing law enforcement presence in schools could have on students of color.

    “I’m concerned about all students, students of color and all students,” DeVos replied. DeVos noted that the 2014 discipline guidance is under review, part of a Trump executive order to review all regulations within the Education Department.

    “The stated goal of the guidance is one that we all embrace, to ensure that no child is discriminated against,” DeVos said. “We are committed to reviewing and considering this guidance and taking appropriate steps, if any are warranted.”

    Carolyn Phenicie contributed reporting from Washington, D.C.

    Correction: A Broward County judge on March 14 entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Nikolas Cruz, 19, who is accused of killing 17 people in the Feb. 14 Parkland, Florida school shooting. Court documents show that Cruz confessed to the killings but did not enter a plea after prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty, Information about his plea was incorrect in an earlier version of the story.


    17 Minutes of History: Wednesday’s Walkout Part of Long Tradition of Students Speaking Out, From Tinker v. Des Moines to Black Lives Matter


  • New Study Warns the Push for More Math & Science Classes in High School Isn’t Yielding More College Students Pursuing STEM Careers

    By Kevin Mahnken | 3 days ago

    Expanding access to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses in high school doesn’t increase the number of students who attain college degrees in those subjects, a new study finds. Neither will adding more STEM classes at the high school level push black, Hispanic, and female students to become STEM majors at the same rate as the white and Asian men who currently predominate in those college disciplines. In fact, the authors add, it may only worsen existing gender and race disparities.

    Their conclusions throw cold water on recent campaigns to broaden the STEM talent pipeline in American schools. Persistently low rankings on international math assessments and chronic shortages of qualified instructors have fueled warnings of a STEM education crisis. Policymakers often perceive economic growth as dependent on breakthroughs in science and technology, and the Obama White House prioritized the expansion and diversification of the future science and technology workforce through its “STEM for All” campaign.

    The administration made both financial and symbolic gestures to emphasize the campaign’s importance; while securing $1 billion in new private funding for STEM education, the president also created the White House Science Fair. In his 2011 State of the Union address, the president set a goal of training 100,000 new elementary and secondary math and science teachers within a decade.

    The study, conducted by the University of Kentucky’s Rajeev Darolia and the University of Missouri’s Cory Koedel, compared academic records for 140,000 students in Missouri public colleges between 1996 and 2009 with data on course offerings in the roughly 500 Missouri public high schools they graduated from.

    Since students who declare a STEM major or graduate with a STEM degree generally enrolled in more STEM courses as teenagers, some have suggested that offering more of those courses in high schools could attract more students and prepare them to succeed in the subjects at the post-secondary level. In schools with high percentages of low-income or minority students, it is hoped that expanding STEM course access could yield pathways for underrepresented students to lucrative careers.

    The results from Missouri’s schools don’t support that theory. While the number of STEM majors at Missouri’s 14 public colleges and universities increased modestly over the period Darolia and Koedel studied, the number of STEM courses offered in high schools was about flat — and the number of science courses actually declined.

    Overall, students who attended high schools with broader STEM offerings were hardly more likely to major (or attain a college degree) in a STEM subject than those whose high schools offered fewer such courses. The authors estimate that offering one more STEM course per 100 students would increase college STEM enrollment and degree attainment by between .03 and .04 percentage points.

    What’s more, increasing access to STEM classes for female and minority students in high school doesn’t help them catch up to white and Asian men later on. It could even make those groups fall further behind.

    “The estimates suggest that post-secondary STEM outcomes for female and underrepresented minority students are less affected by access to STEM courses in high school than white male students,” they write. “The implication is that broad, untargeted efforts to expand STEM access in high school may modestly exacerbate current race- and gender-based imbalances in STEM fields.”

    Darolia and Koedel conclude by suggesting that improving the pool of STEM teachers, instructional methods, or curricular materials might be better paths to improvement than simply expanding access to existing resources. But it’s also possible that the academic inclination toward math, science, and technology is simply activated earlier in children’s schooling.

    In a highly publicized study from late 2017, renowned economist Raj Chetty demonstrated that children who later go on to become inventors were typically already performing well on third-grade math tests. They were also much more likely to come from high-income families, especially when one of their parents was also a patent holder.

    If childhood exposure to technological innovation is the most important factor in later-life technical success, offering more STEM classes to high schoolers simply might not make much difference.

  • Maryland Student Taken Off Life Support Following High School Shooting; At Least 31 Killed, 52 Hurt in School Shootings in 2018

    By Mark Keierleber | 3 days ago

    The 74 will be tracking gun-related injuries and deaths at schools throughout 2018. Bookmark this page for the latest reports, and see below for an interactive map of incidents involving the discharging of a firearm that causes a wound or fatality on school property.

    Updated March 23:

    Great Mills High School Student Jaelynn Willey, 16, who was critically injured in the shooting, has been taken off life support. 

    In 2018, at least 31 people have been killed and 52 have been injured in shootings at K-12 schools and universities. 

    Previous version: 

    A student gunman died and two of his classmates were injured in an early morning shooting at a Maryland high school Tuesday.

    Law enforcement officials said the suspect, 17-year-old Austin Wyatt Rollins, opened fire with a handgun about 8 a.m. in a hallway at Great Mills High School in Great Mills, Maryland. Rollins shot two classmates before an armed school resource officer confronted him in less than a minute, authorities said. He then engaged in a shoot-out with the officer, Deputy Blaine Gaskill, who was not injured.

    Although the school-based officer exchanged gunfire with the suspect, authorities did not specify whether Rollins died from a shot fired by Gaskill, according to The New York Times. Rollins was confirmed dead at 10:41 a.m.

    A 16-year-old female student was reportedly in critical condition and a 14-year-old male student was in stable condition. Although a motive had not been identified, officials said the gunman had a “prior relationship” with the female victim.

    So far this year, at least 30 people have been killed and 53 have been injured in shootings at K-12 schools and universities. Learn more about each incident with our interactive map:

    This map includes school shootings that took place on campus where a person was injured or killed. Incidents resulting in injury are labeled yellow, while incidents resulting in death are labeled red.

    Behind the numbers:

    Nationally, nearly 1,300 children (17 years old and younger) die from gunshot wounds each year, and 5,790 are treated for injuries, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. While unintentional firearm deaths and homicides of children have decreased in recent years, suicides have spiked.

    Among child gun deaths between 2012 and 2014, 53 percent were homicides, 38 percent were suicides, and 6 percent were unintentional.

    Less than 3 percent of youth homicides and less than 1 percent of youth suicides occur at school, according to a recent report by the National Center for Education Statistics.

    If we’ve missed a school incident you think should be included in our coverage, please send an email to [email protected], and bookmark this page for the latest reports of incidents involving the discharging of a firearm on school property that results in a wound or fatality.

  • EduClips: Commission Begins Examination of TX School Finance; Is Carranza Ready to Be Next NYC Schools Chief? — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | 3 days ago

    EduClips is a roundup of the day’s top education headlines from America’s largest school districts, where more than 4 million students across eight states attend class every day. Read previous EduClips installments here. Get the day’s top school and policy news delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for the TopSheet Education Newsletter.

    Top Story

    DEVOS — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will go before a House panel on Tuesday to defend her agency’s budget, including a sweeping overhaul of the Education Department that has strained relations within her agency and with Congress — and defies the White House’s budget office. In recent weeks, DeVos has clashed fiercely with department staff members over the plan, which they say she tried to withhold from Congress as she imposed on the department what they call an illegal collective bargaining agreement.

    DeVos will testify before the House Appropriations Committee, whose staff was told a week ago that her office had withheld vital information from it regarding the department’s budget for the fiscal year that begins in October. A career department official unveiled details of DeVos’s “Education Reform Plan” in an email to staff members on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. The email, obtained by the Times, said information driving budget decisions was omitted from budget justifications submitted to Congress. (Read at The New York Times)

    National News

    TEACHERS’ STRIKE — Their Pay Has Stood Still. Now Oklahoma Teachers Could Be the Next to Walk. (Read at The New York Times)

    SCHOOL CHOICE — School Choice: Classes or Commutes (Read at U.S. News and World Report)

    D.C. SCHOOLS — Facing a ‘Significant Lack of Trust,’ D.C. Council Seeks to Rehabilitate Scandal-Plagued School System (Read at the

    District and State News

    TEXAS Educators, Experts Call on Commission to Calculate True Cost of Educating Students (Read at Houston Public Media)

    NEW YORK — Is Richard Carranza Ready to Run America’s Biggest School System? (Read at The New York Times)

    CALIFORNIA Lots of talk but little action to help lowest-performing schools in Los Angeles and California (Read at LA School Report)

    NEVADA Disruption in the Desert: The Founding of The Public Education Foundation (Read at Education Week)

    TEXAS In new plan, Texas Education Agency vows special education overhaul with limited dollars (Read at The Texas Tribune)

    NEW YORK More students applied to Renewal high schools this year, but that won’t necessarily jolt sagging enrollment (Read at Chalkbeat)

    CALIFORNIA As a mega-landowner, L.A. Unified has lots to figure out, a new report says (Read at the Los Angeles Times)

    ILLINOIS Middle school students in Deerfield District 109 organize town hall on gun violence (Read at the Chicago Tribune)

    Think Pieces

    COLLECTIVE BARGAINING — Collective Bargaining Does Not Improve Teacher Pay, Study Finds (Read at Education Week)

    BLACK TEACHERS — ‘Disciplinarians first and teachers second’: black male teachers say they face an extra burden (Read at Chalkbeat)

    JANUS — Analysis: How Will a Janus Ruling Impact Teachers and Unions in Each State? Data & Interactive Maps Tell the Story (Read at

    EDUCATION POLITICS A Winning Political Issue Hiding in Plain Sight (Read at The New York Times)

    WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH Meet Lucy Wheelock: How an Early-20th-Century Educator Saved Kindergarten for Generations of U.S. Kids — and Founded Her Own College (Read at

    Quote of the Day

    “Just as New York City is on steroids in regards to the number of students, it’s probably on steroids with regards to the politics, as well.” —Aaron Pallas, chairman of the Department of Education Policy at Columbia University’s Teachers College, on the atmosphere as Richard Carranza prepares to become chancellor of New York City Schools. (Read at The New York Times)

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  • Facing a ‘Significant Lack of Trust,’ D.C. Council Seeks to Rehabilitate Scandal-Plagued School System

    By Carolyn Phenicie | 4 days ago

    Washington, D.C.

    Schools in the nation’s capital must work to restore trust — possibly with the aid of an outside agency to examine data — in the wake of back-to-back scandals, members of the D.C. City Council’s Education Committee said Monday.

    Washington, D.C., once a poster child for education reforms like mayoral control, charter expansion, test-based teacher evaluations, and open enrollment, has seen its star fall after months of scandals.

    In July 2017, The Washington Post found that district officials were not reporting all suspensions, making discipline rates look lower than they actually were. Other scandals followed, from an abuse of the city’s lottery system that ended with resignations by the chancellor and deputy mayor for education, to a bribery scheme involving special education.

    Perhaps the most glaring was the discovery that school officials had improperly allowed scores of students to graduate even though they had been absent from school more days than allowed by city policy. Last year’s graduation rate was 73 percent, but only 42 percent of the current senior class is on track to graduate on time with attendance rules enforced.


    Pomp & Circumvent: In Widening Scandal, Report Finds That a Third of D.C. Graduates Received Diplomas Despite Excessive Absences

    “We are facing a significant lack of trust from the public” about the true quality of public schools, said David Grosso, an at-large member of the city council and chairman of the Education Committee.

    “We owe it to the children of this city to be bold and swift about what changes must be made now,” he added at the first of several planned listening sessions and town hall discussions on the future of education reform in the city.

    Though D.C. has mayoral control of schools, and Mayor Muriel Bowser is up for re-election this year, so far no viable challenger has emerged. Nominating petitions for the city’s Democratic primary, essentially the whole election in such a liberal city, are due Wednesday.

    “We’re not getting a new mayor. If that is the only mechanism to hold a school system accountable, that means we need to look at other levers in our system,” said Eboni-Rose Thompson, chair of the Ward 7 Education Council.

    This series of hearings is aimed at creating “a next level of accountability” beyond the mayor without throwing out what has been successful so far, Grosso said.

    In her “State of the District” speech last week, Bowser acknowledged some “pretty significant bumps” in educational oversight and said trust in the schools needed to be rebuilt but offered no specific new policies, The Washington Post reported.

    Robert C. White, an at-large member of the council, suggested the city set up an independent body to report on school data and evaluate schools.

    “The reality is, with all of the false and misleading data that has come from our education agencies … it is not possible to move forward without re-establishing trust,” he said.

    Education agencies “toe a thin line” between reporting accurate data and scoring public relations points, he said. It would be better to have an agency that doesn’t “have an interest, either monetary or political,” in the outcomes of the data, White added.

    Council Member Mary Cheh, who represents the affluent Ward 3 neighborhoods in Upper Northwest D.C., suggested a number of changes, including a partnership with a local research university to study various city schools reforms.

    The council should also move quickly, members said.

    “The council cannot wait for the selection of a new chancellor to pursue new reforms to get the education system back on track,” Cheh said.


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  • Gun Control Group Pledges $2.5 Million to Sponsor March for Our Lives Protests

    By Kevin Mahnken | 4 days ago

    Wednesday’s 17-minute student walkout to highlight gun violence played out in over 2,500 high schools and colleges around the country. But more demonstrations will follow as winter turns to spring. The one grabbing the most headlines, the March for Our Lives, is expected to draw legions of K-12 students to Washington, D.C. on March 24.

    It’s also attracted a supporter with deep pockets.


    Why Some Colleges Are Reassuring High Schoolers: If You Walk Out Wednesday, Don’t Worry — Peaceful Protests Won’t Hurt Admissions

    Everytown for Gun Safety, America’s most prominent gun control advocacy group, has committed $2.5 million in grants to underwrite 500 “sibling marches” to echo the D.C. event in communities in every state and around the world. The grants of $5,000 will help defray the costs of transportation, permitting, and equipment rentals, the group said.

    When the march was announced in the days immediately following February’s massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, shooting survivor Cameron Kasky said that students would show up “in every city” to protest government inaction on gun control priorities. Over 700 smaller-scale demonstrations have since been scheduled — some as far off as India and the Philippines — to coincide with the main march, which will culminate directly in front of the Trump International Hotel on Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue.

    Sibling marches are planned around the country. (Source: March for Our Lives)

    The event’s set of demands include banning the sale of assault rifles and high-capacity magazines and closing the so-called “gun show loophole” that has allowed criminals to purchase firearms without background checks. Its student organizers have won the backing of celebrities like George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, each of whom has donated $500,000 to the cause.

    The March for Our Lives has found its most natural and potent ally in Everytown, which is principally financed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The group’s influence was felt most recently in last fall’s statewide elections in Virginia, where it gave $1 million to Democratic candidates. Around the same time, Bloomberg pledged to personally match every outside donation Everytown received.

    That has turned out to be an expensive proposition over the last few weeks, as cash has poured into the organization’s coffers in the wake of the Parkland shooting. The Everytown website is also selling specialty merchandise to commemorate the march. (T-shirts are already sold out in most sizes.)

    In the group’s statement, President John Feinblatt underscored Everytown’s support for the protesters.

    “Students are making history and demanding that our elected officials protect them,” Feinblatt said. “Everytown is proud to help them make their voices heard on March 24, and we look forward to more Americans following their lead to forge meaningful change to our country’s gun laws.”

    Disclosure: Bloomberg Philanthropies provides financial support to The 74.


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  • Civil Rights Leaders: Post-Parkland School Violence Bills Could Do More Harm Than Good

    By Mark Keierleber | 4 days ago

    Federal proposals to address school safety through measures such as school-based police and metal detectors are “knee-jerk reactions” that could have dire consequences for some students, a coalition of civil rights leaders warned Monday.

    Civil rights leaders point to federal data and other reports that indicate minority children and those with disabilities are disproportionately arrested by school-based officers. Black students are more than twice as likely as their white peers to be referred to law enforcement or arrested at school, according to the 2013–14 Civil Rights Data Collection, the most recent federal Education Department statistics.

    Increasing police in schools is a “knee-jerk” reaction that gives people “the perception of safety,” Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of the Advancement Project, a nonprofit that focuses on issues of racial justice, said during a call with reporters on Monday. For some students, she said, increased law enforcement presence results in fear and anxiety. Although the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education recommend that school-based officers receive specialized training to work with students, it isn’t required under federal law.

    “Police presence in schools leads to an increase in arrests for minor behavior,” she said. “Creating police states within schools and communities will not solve mass violence. In fact, it has only been a distraction from a discussion about gun control.”

    Since a former student shot and killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, calls for tighter gun control and other strategies to ensure schoolchildren are safe have taken center stage in Washington. One month after the fatal school shooting — among the deadliest in American history — the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the STOP School Violence Act of 2018, which would provide $50 million in federal money to help schools pay for security measures, including training programs that could help identify threats. Similar legislation with the same name is pending in the Senate. The Trump administration, meanwhile, is following suit. Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced plans to increase the presence of school police.

    Also up for debate are increases in security devices like locks on classroom doors and reinforced entryways. But their effects on disabled students should be weighed, said Curt Decker, executive director of the National Disability Rights Network. Some devices, he said, could make schools less accessible for students with disabilities.

    In order to promote school safety, the group said, educators and lawmakers should instead focus on implementing preventative measures like restorative justice and training teachers to avoid implicit bias. As schools explore safety policies, Decker said, they should refer to a 2014 guidance document the Obama administration produced to help reduce suspensions and arrests that disproportionately affect students of color and those with disabilities. Even before the Parkland shooting, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was in talks with critics of that Obama-era document, who argue that the guidance created “racial quotas” in school discipline and ultimately made campuses less safe.


    Is DeVos Near Ending School Discipline Reform After Talks on Race, Safety?

    Instead of leaning on cops, officials should instead increase funding for school counselors, mental health services, and social workers, said Todd Cox, director of policy at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

    “If Congress and the administration truly want our schools and students to thrive and be safe, the government must end the criminalization of our students of color and address excessive discipline that contributes to creating the school-to-prison pipeline,” he said.


    Exclusive — Data Shows 3 of the 5 Biggest School Districts Hire More Security Officers Than Counselors

  • EduClips: Texas Attorney General Accuses Schools of ‘Illegal Electioneering’; State Funding Problems Spark Teacher Unrest — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | 4 days ago

    EduClips is a roundup of the day’s top education headlines from America’s largest school districts, where more than 4 million students across eight states attend class every day. Read previous EduClips installments here. Get the day’s top school and policy news delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for the TopSheet Education Newsletter.

    Top Story

    TEACHER STRIKES — Teachers from Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona have staged strikes and demonstrations and have threatened walkouts over new proposals to install limits on pensions, wage increases, and benefits.

    One reason for the showdowns: Education spending is no longer sacrosanct, because of deep-seated funding problems that have roiled state budgets since the 2008 financial crisis. States spent 2 percent less on K-12 education in 2017 than they did in 2008, according to data from the National Association of State Budget Officers adjusted for inflation and population growth. That trailed a more robust recovery in other state spending. (Read at The Wall Street Journal)

    National News

    EDUCATION BUDGET — Betsy DeVos Is About to Defend Her Budget. Keep These Three Things in Mind (Read at Politics K-12)

    TEACHER SALARIES — The Fight Over Teacher Salaries: A Look at the Numbers (Read at NPR)

    CHARTERS — Charter Schools Are Public Schools, Should Be State-Funded, Louisiana Supreme Court Rules in Case That Threatened 18,000 Students (Read at

    SCHOOL SAFETY — Want Cameras and Bullet-Resistant Glass at Your School? They Aren’t Cheap (Read at Politics K-12)

    District and State News

    TEXAS — Texas AG Ken Paxton ramps up fight against schools’ ‘illegal electioneering’ (Read at The Texas Tribune)

    FLORIDA — Lawmakers took millions from big school districts and gave the money to smaller ones (Read at the Miami Herald)

    NEW YORK — Senator to introduce bill scaling back mayoral control over city school closures, changes (Read at the New York Daily News)

    CALIFORNIA — Map: these Bay Area schools have been hit by shooting threats in recent weeks (Read at the Mercury News)

    NEW YORK — De Blasio promises to fix admissions to NYC’s elite specialized high schools amid low diversity stats (Read at the New York Daily News)

    ILLINOIS — Illinois teachers union says 17th District state rep candidate Chow ‘deceiving voters’ with mailers indicating endorsement (Read at the Chicago Tribune)

    CALIFORNIA — Finally, enough beakers for everyone: Oakland teacher wins grant for state-of-the-art science lab (Read at EdSource)

    PENNSYLVANIA — Opinion: How trauma is shaping the way Philadelphia schools teach (Read at The Philadelphia Inquirer)

    Think Pieces

    INCOME MOBILITY — An NCAA Bracket for Income Mobility: If the Tournament Were About Moving Up the Economic Ladder, These Schools Would Make the Sweet Sixteen (Read at

    SCHOOL SAFETY — ‘This Is Not a Drill’: 11 Students on the Terror of Lockdowns (Read at The New York Times)

    NCAA — The Secret Behind the Greatest Upset in College Basketball History (Read at The Atlantic)

    SCHOOL SHOOTINGS — Rotherham: Even 1 School Shooting Is Too Many. But in Our Panic, We’re Missing a Far More Common Problem We Need to Solve (Read at

    IMMIGRANTS — Most immigrants outpace Americans when it comes to education — with one big exception (Read at The Hechinger Report)

    HIGH SCHOOL — A High School Diploma Ought to Mean Something (Read at Bloomberg)

    BULLYING — Student Bullying Is Down Significantly (Read at U.S. News and World Report)

    STUDENT WALKOUT — OPINION: Proud of your students for walking out? Here’s what to do when they walk back in (Read at The Hechinger Report)

    Quote of the Day

    “March Madness is indeed a great escape, but social mobility is the great escape.” —Jorge Klor de Alva, president of the Nexus Research and Policy Center, and Mark Schneider, vice president and Institute Fellow at the American Institutes for Research and the president of College Measures, who created an NCAA bracket for income mobility. (Read at

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  • The Week Ahead in Education Politics: DeVos Testifying on Ed Funding, the House Talks Apprenticeships, Dems Eye School Safety & More

    By Carolyn Phenicie | 6 days ago

    THIS WEEK IN EDUCATION POLITICS publishes most Saturdays. (See previous editions here.) You can get the preview delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for The 74 Newsletter; for rolling updates on federal education policy, follow Carolyn Phenicie on Twitter @cphenicie.

    INBOX: FUNDING – The ‘Groundhog Day’ loop that is federal government funding returns this week.

    Current allocations expire Friday, and after lawmakers reached a deal to raise the overall spending level for the next two years, Hill watchers are expecting a complete bill that funds the government for the rest of the year rather than another 11th-hour stopgap.

    Though there is more money to go around, there are “substantial competing claims” for those same dollars, including biomedical research and veterans’ health programs, David Reich, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said at a panel Friday.


    ‘It Is Very Hard to Swim Against the Current’: Advocates Fight for More Education Spending Amid Deep Budget Cuts

    Beyond tracking the usual marquee education programs, like Title I for low-income students and the grants that fund special education, education watchers will surely be looking to see if lawmakers increase funding for mental health programs, violence prevention, counselors, and school security upgrades in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, shooting.

    Sen. Lamar Alexander said earlier this month that more money could be coming through Education Department grants known as Title II, which pay for teacher training and salaries, and Title IV, a catchall provision for school funding programs. Other funding could come through Department of Justice grants.

    Also on the calendar: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday testifies before the House Appropriations Committee on the Trump administration’s fiscal 2019 budget. Her testimony to House and Senate funding committees last year primarily revolved around her proposal for a private school choice program and whether participating private schools would have to honor civil rights protections for students, particularly those with disabilities or LGBT kids.

    The administration this year asked for $1 billion in “opportunity grants” for private school scholarships even as it sought to cut the Education Department’s budget by 5 percent overall. Presidential budgets are messaging documents generally, but particularly this year, when Congress is unlikely to adopt the administration’s suggested reductions when it has agreed to a higher overall spending level.

    MONDAY: CITY SCHOOLS — The Council of the Great City Schools, which represents the country’s 70 largest school districts, holds its annual legislative conference in D.C. this week. Leaders will hear policy briefings on happenings on Capitol Hill and the Department of Education and will pay visits to congressional offices.

    TUESDAY: SCHOOL SAFETY — Democrats on the House Education and the Workforce Committee and members of party leadership will hold a forum on school safety. Members will hear from “experts and practitioners on research and best practices around promoting improved school climate through evidence-based preventative measures,” according to a release from members. The forum organizers have also invited DeVos to testify.

    TUESDAY: APPRENTICESHIPS — The House Small Business Committee will hold a hearing on apprenticeship initiatives for small businesses. It’s part of a series of hearings on “strategies to mitigate small business workforce challenges caused by the skills gap.”

    WEDNESDAY: INDIAN EDUCATION — The Senate Indian Affairs Committee looks at the fiscal 2019 budget proposal for Indian programs, which includes the Bureau of Indian Education. The administration proposed $741.9 million for the agency, some of which goes to management costs and postsecondary institutions. That would be $143.6 million less than current-year spending. It also proposed creating a public lands infrastructure fund to pay for sorely needed repairs at BIE schools as well as improvements to national parks and wildlife refuges.

    THURSDAY: WEST VIRGINIA STRIKE — Teachers and labor union leaders from West Virginia, where educators held a successful nine-day strike to call for increased pay, will discuss their efforts in a panel discussion at the Center for American Progress. Teachers in other states are considering following suit.

  • ‘It Is Very Hard to Swim Against the Current’: Advocates Fight for More Education Spending Amid Deep Budget Cuts

    By Carolyn Phenicie | 7 days ago

    There are a few possible bright spots in federal education funding, but over the years spending cuts have hurt education programs in particular, advocates said Friday.

    The so-called “sequester” capped federal spending beginning in 2013 and education programs were not spared, said David Reich, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank.

    “It is very hard to swim against the current” of lower funding and advocate for increased spending, even for popular education programs, he said at a panel event Friday. The panel was the final event of “Public Schools Week,” an advocacy effort by AASA, the school superintendents association, and other groups.

    Next week, Congress is expected to release a full bill funding the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year, after agreeing in February to a two-year deal that raises overall spending levels.

    In the past, the spending cuts have more heavily affected what are known as discretionary programs (those Congress has to fund every year) than mandatory ones (programs whose enacting law guarantees them funding, like Medicaid and Social Security).

    Programs aiding children are “disproportionately” discretionary, particularly compared to programs aiding the elderly, like Medicare, said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus, a nonprofit that advocates for children’s issues.

    Even as education funding has rebounded, it hasn’t returned to pre-sequester levels.

    Congress authorized $45.8 billion for education spending, excluding the Pell Grants that help low-income students pay for college, in fiscal 2017, below the $46.6 billion authorized in fiscal 2010, according to statistics from the Committee for Education Funding.

    The reduced federal spending isn’t being made up for at the state level: 29 states are spending less than they did before the recession, a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found.


    29 States Spending Less on Schools Than Before Recession, Report Finds

    Though the new budget deal will authorize more spending, there are plenty of programs, like veterans’ health, infrastructure, and biomedical research, that will be competing with education programs for that new money, Reich said.

    “There are substantial resources, but there also are substantial competing claims,” he said.

    The pending government funding bill could include more funding for mental health programs in schools, a response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, or additional dollars to help children deal with the opioid crisis, Lesley said.

    The deal also reauthorized for 10 years the Children’s Health Insurance Program after funding lapsed and it “really was on fumes,” he said.


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  • Gallup Poll: Most Educators Don’t Want to Be Armed With Guns

    By Kate Stringer | March 16, 2018

    President Trump and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos may support arming teachers, but the majority of educators are opposed to the idea of their colleagues having guns in the classroom, saying it would make them feel less safe.

    That’s according to a new poll released Friday from Gallup, which surveyed 497 K-12 educators this month about their attitudes toward guns in schools. Surveyors found that 73 percent of teachers opposed being trained to use firearms while 20 percent favored it.

    Meanwhile, 58 percent said arming educators would make schools less safe, even if teachers received firearm training. But 20 percent said it would make them more safe, and 22 percent didn’t think it mattered.

    Most teachers (71 percent) don’t think adding guns to classrooms would reduce the number of victims in a school shooting, while 29 percent said armed educators could help reduce casualties.

    But the general public is more supportive of these ideas, with 42 percent approving of training and arming teachers, according to another recent Gallup poll. The overwhelming majority of Americans approve of expanding background checks for gun buyers, more school officer training, and increased school security to help prevent gun violence.

    Since the start of 2018, 27 people have been killed and 46 injured during school shootings, according to tracking from The 74.

    Student activism after the February 14 Parkland shooting that killed 17 people has dramatically intensified the debate around preventing gun violence in schools. While White House officials and the National Rifle Association have said they would support giving guns to educators to prevent future shootings, student activists and teacher groups have made clear that they do not support these policies, instead advocating for expanding background checks for gun buyers and banning assault rifles.

    “I think the idea of arming teachers is frankly one of the dumbest policy ideas I have heard recently,” said Nate Bowling, Washington State’s 2016 Teacher of the Year and a gun owner, in an interview with The 74.

    An armed officer did little to assist during the Parkland school shooting, as reports revealed he stood outside while the massacre was taking place.

    The findings of Gallup’s poll are similar to those of a poll recently conducted by GBA Strategies for the NEA, the nation’s largest teachers union. The majority of teacher respondents (74 percent) opposed arming teachers, with 64 percent saying they would feel less safe and 23 percent saying they would feel safer if educators had guns.

    The nationally representative Gallup survey was conducted online March 5–12. The margin of error is ±7 percentage points.

  • State Overrules San Francisco School Board, Approves KIPP Charter Elementary School

    By David Cantor | March 15, 2018

    San Francisco’s rejection of a proposed charter school in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods was overturned by the state school board Wednesday, clearing the way for the school to open in the fall.

    The 11-member state Board of Education voted unanimously, with one abstention, to approve the proposal for a new elementary school submitted by charter standout KIPP, which operates three schools in the city and 12 in the Bay Area.

    The new school will serve the Bayview–Hunters Point area, home to “the vast majority” of roughly 150 parents who signed the organization’s petition to open the school, according to KIPP officials.

    The state also reversed the denial of a proposed KIPP high school in East San Jose.

    “We are honored to open these new schools in partnership with the Bayview–Hunters Point and East San Jose communities,” said Beth Sutkus Thompson, CEO of KIPP Bay Area Schools, who estimated that 25 to 30 supporters from each school traveled to Sacramento for the board meeting.

    “It was so incredible to see our parents and community members want to be there with us, to just be part of our effort,” she told The 74. “To see that they were heard and affirmed was just so exciting.”

    In November, the seven-member San Francisco Board of Education determined that KIPP was “demonstrably unlikely” to succeed and noted that KIPP’s other San Francisco schools had higher suspension rates than the district average.

    It did vote to renew the charter for KIPP San Francisco College Preparatory, one of the city’s highest-scoring high schools.

    Thompson vowed immediately to appeal the decision. “I absolutely do not believe the findings were sufficient to deny our charter under California charter law,” she said at the time.

    The board’s decision, which was unanimous, may have reflected the city’s strained finances and the hope of stanching attrition from district schools.

    The district did not respond to requests for comment.

    Learning gaps in San Francisco between white and Asian students, who comprise half the student population, and black and Hispanic students remain eye-popping: In 2016–17, 64 percent of low-income Asian students met standards in English, compared with 22 percent of low-income Latino students and 14 percent of low-income black students.


    San Francisco Failing to Serve Low-Income Students of Color, Report Says

    In math, 79 percent of non-low-income Asian students and 76 percent of non-low-income white students met standards, compared with 33 percent of their Latino peers and 21 percent of their black peers.

    The Los Angeles Times reported: “Black students in San Francisco would be better off almost anywhere else in California.” A local NAACP leader said that persistently low black achievement needed to be considered a “state of emergency.

    “San Francisco has always been a progressive city, but our numbers, as far as education, do not mirror that,” Geraldine Anderson, a parent activist, told The 74 last fall.


    My San Francisco Neighborhood Needs a Great Elementary School. On Tuesday, the School Board Can Vote to Give Us One

  • EduClips: Tens of Thousands of Students Across the Country Participate in National Student Walkout; FL District Chiefs Ask Governor for More School Funding — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | March 15, 2018

    EduClips is a roundup of the day’s top education headlines from America’s largest school districts, where more than 4 million students across eight states attend class every day. Read previous EduClips installments here. Get the day’s top school and policy news delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for the TopSheet Education Newsletter.

    Top Story

    NATIONAL SCHOOL WALKOUT — Tens of thousands of students across the country walked out of their classrooms Wednesday and onto athletic fields and city streets as part of a massive ­national protest on gun violence spurred by a Florida high school shooting a month ago that left 17 dead. The walkouts, which came 10 days before a march on Washington that could draw hundreds of thousands of students to the nation’s capital, are unprecedented in recent American history, not seen in size or scope since student protests of the Vietnam War in the late 1960s.

    Supporters say the walkouts and demonstrations represent a realization of power and influence in the hands of young people raised on social media who have come of age in an era of never-ending wars, highly publicized mass shootings, and virulent national politics. The protests unfolded in ­major cities across the country — New York, Washington, Chicago, Seattle — and hundreds of smaller towns and communities as well. (Read at The Washington Post)

    National News

    SCHOOL SHOOTINGS — Inside the National School Walkout: What We Saw Wednesday at 7 Very Different Marches Against Gun Violence (Read at The

    SCHOOL SAFETY — Senators Zero In on Law Enforcement, School Discipline in Hearing on Parkland Shooting (Read at Politics K-12)

    SCHOOL SHOOTINGS — Three Accidental School Shootings in One Week — the Latest by a Teacher in a Gun Safety Class (Read at

    SCHOOL SAFETY — House Passes STOP School Violence Act One Month After Parkland Shooting (Read at Politics K-12)

    PRIVACY — Privacy Advocates Brace for Shakeup at U.S. Education Department (Read at Education Week)

    DEVOS — DeVos defies White House in dismantling Education budget office (Read at Politico)

    District and State News

    FLORIDA — School superintendents ask Gov. Scott for a special session to boost education funding (Read at the Tampa Bay Times)

    ILLINOIS Illinois schools could soon see funding from new formula (Read at Fox Illinois)

    CALIFORNIA — State Board postpones vote on revising California’s education plan to meet federal requirements (Read at EdSource)

    NEW YORK — Fewer girls than boys accepted into top N.Y. high schools even though more of them tried out (Read at the New York Daily News)

    FLORIDA — Opinion: National Student Walkout: Our students are teaching us valuable lessons in democracy (Read at the Miami Herald)

    CALIFORNIA — California students join thousands nationwide in historic school walkout (Read at EdSource)

    NEW YORK — 100,000 New York City students walked out of schools to protest gun violence (Read at Chalkbeat)

    ILLINOIS — In Southern Illinois, Wednesday’s National School Walkout on gun violence took many forms (Read at The Southern Illinoisan)

    NEVADA — Las Vegas Valley students join walkouts over gun violence (Read at the Las Vegas Review-Journal)

    TEXAS — Spring break dampens Texas participation in student walkouts protesting gun violence (Read at the Texas Tribune)

    Think Pieces

    CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE — Pondiscio: Civil Disobedience Means Facing Consequences. School-Sanctioned Walkouts Rob Students of That Lesson (Read at

    NATIONAL WALKOUT — He walked out of his NC high school to protest gun violence. But he stood alone. (Read at The Raleigh News & Observer)

    SCHOOL DISCIPLINE — How Betsy DeVos should have answered 60 Minutes’s questions on school discipline (Read at Flypaper)

    Quote of the Day

    “Boo Guns! YES FLOWRS AND HEARTS.” —protest sign thought up by Lucia Snook-Dengat, a kindergartner who participated in the National Student Walkout with her mom in New Jersey. (Read at

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  • Three Guns Accidentally Fired In Schools In One Week; At Least 29 Killed & 51 Injured at Schools in 2018

    By Mark Keierleber | March 14, 2018

    Updated March 20

    In a strange bit of timing, a California high school teacher accidentally discharged a round from his handgun into the ceiling during a class on firearm safety Tuesday — one day before a massive national walkout by students to bring attention to school safety and gun violence.


    Walkout Highlights, Coast to Coast: Recapping the Student Protests and the Sights and Sounds That Helped #Enough Trend on Social Media

    It was the third accidental shooting at a school in a week — a perhaps alarming statistic as lawmakers in Washington consider arming teachers in the wake of the Feb. 14 school mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.

    Law enforcement officials say teacher Dennis Alexander, a reserve police officer and mayor pro tem of Seaside, was teaching a public safety class Tuesday afternoon when he pointed a handgun at the ceiling and accidentally discharged a round, causing debris to rain down on students. Although no student sustained gunshot wounds, three were reportedly injured — among them, a 17-year-old boy who got debris lodged in his neck.

    This map includes school shootings that took place on campus where a person was injured or killed. Incidents resulting in injury are labeled blue, while incidents resulting in death are labeled red. The most recent incident is indicated with a larger icon. Click on the icons to see details about each incident.

    Also on Tuesday, a school resource officer accidentally fired a gun while inside his office at a Virginia middle school, though no injuries were reported.

    So far in 2018, at least one person has been been killed and eight injured in school shootings deemed accidents. Nationally, nearly 500 people were killed as a result of accidental shootings in 2015, according to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics. That year, accidental shooting deaths accounted for just over 1 percent of all firearm-related fatalities.


    1 Teen Dead, Another Injured After Birmingham, Alabama, High School Shooting; at Least 27 Killed & 46 Injured at Schools in 2018

    Last Friday, a student in Kentucky accidentally shot himself with a handgun at Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington and sustained injuries that were not life-threatening. According to student reports, the student was playing around with a gun in a classroom when he accidentally shot himself in the hand. Two days earlier, a 17-year-old female student was killed and a 17-year-old male was injured in a shooting at Huffman High School in Birmingham, Alabama. Officials have also deemed that shooting an accident.

    On Feb. 15, a day after the tragedy in Parkland, a deputy with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Florida accidentally shot himself in the leg while responding to reports of gunfire at a school that turned out to be a false alarm.

  • EduClips: Students Across the Country to Walk Out of School to Push for Tighter Gun Laws; Gates Speaks to Sacramento Chief on Humanist Learning — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | March 14, 2018

    EduClips is a roundup of the day’s top education headlines from America’s largest school districts, where more than 4 million students across eight states attend class every day. Read previous EduClips installments here. Get the day’s top school and policy news delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for the TopSheet Education Newsletter.

    Top Story

    NATIONAL SCHOOL WALKOUT — Thousands of students, emboldened by a growing protest movement over gun violence, will stand up in their classrooms on Wednesday and walk out of their schools in a nationwide demonstration, one month after a gunman killed 17 people at a high school in Florida.

    The 17-minute protests unfolding at hundreds of schools are intended to pressure Congress to approve gun control legislation after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and will come 10 days before major protests in Washington and elsewhere. (Read at New York Times)

    National News


    17 Minutes of History: Wednesday’s Walkout Part of Long Tradition of Students Speaking Out, From Tinker v. Des Moines to Black Lives Matter (Read at

    Ahead of National Walkout, Students From Across the Country Call for Limits on Campus Cops, More Counselors (Read at

    The Revolution Will Be Hashtagged. Social-Media-Savvy, Irreverent, and Maybe a Bit Entitled, Parkland Students Succeed Where Others Have Failed to Launch a National Movement Around Guns (Read at

    SCHOOL SAFETY — Top Democrat Has ‘No Confidence’ in Betsy DeVos’ School Safety Commission (Read at Politics K-12)

    DEVOS — DeVos defends comments made on 60 Minutes (Read at USA Today)

    District and State News

    CALIFORNIA — A humanist approach to teaching kids (Read at*

    NEW YORK — ‘I can be part of this change’: New York City students prepare to join nationwide gun violence protest (Chalkbeat)

    CALIFORNIA — Milpitas: Superintendent says students will face ‘consequences’ for walkouts (Read at Mercury News)

    ILLINOIS — Central Illinois schools plan alternatives to National School Walkout Day (Read at Herald & Review)

    NEVADA — Clark County, UNLV students plan to join gun violence walkout (Read at Las Vegas Review-Journal)

    CALIFORNIA — California presses ahead with color-coded school reporting plan despite a dig from DeVos (Read at Los Angeles Times)

    NEVADA — Task Force Eyeing More Mental Health Services To Keep Schools Safe (Read at KUNR)

    TEXAS — In Texas, There’s No One-Size-Fits-All Strategy For Keeping Schools Safe (Read at KUT)

    NEW YORK — Assembly pushes for $1.5 billion boost to education spending (Read at Chalkbeat)

    Think Pieces

    NATIONAL WALKOUT — America Has Failed Its Kids on Guns. It’s Time to Let Them Lead. (Read at The New York Times)

    SCHOOL DISCIPLINE — When Chicago cut down on suspensions, students saw test scores and attendance rise, study finds (Read at Chalkbeat)

    NATIONAL WALKOUT — Rotherham: Students Walking Out of Class in Protest Have the Right Idea. It’s the Adults Who Are Messing It Up (Read at

    TEACHER STRIKES — Teacher Strike: 4 Common Questions (Read at Education Week)

    Quote of the Day

    “When young people are criticized just for the fact of their age, that just shows that people have a pretty weak critique of what’s going on.” — Mary Beth Tinker, whose Vietnam-era student protest sparked the landmark Supreme Court decision that upheld students’ First Amendment rights. (Read at

    *Disclosure: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supports The 74.

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