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August 2018
  • Citizenship as a Classroom Priority: New Gallup Poll Shows 74 Percent of Superintendents Say ‘Preparing Engaged Citizens’ Has Become a Major Challenge For Their Districts

    By Kate Stringer | August 30, 2018

    Three-quarters of district superintendents say preparing students to be engaged citizens is a challenge for schools.

    This is a huge jump over past years. In fact, the number of superintendents concerned about this rose by 24 points — from 50 percent to 74 percent — in just one year, according to an annual Gallup poll of nearly 2,000 U.S. district leaders.

    While the question didn’t dig into why superintendents responded this way, Tim Hodges, director of research at Gallup Education, said the reason might be the nation’s heated political climate combined with the wave of student activism that followed the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in February. In the months after the shooting, thousands of students across the nation walked out of their classrooms to protest gun violence.

    “I think superintendents are more acutely aware of students’ desire or potential to organize in ways that maybe we haven’t seen since Vietnam,” Hodges said.

    (Gallup)

    This finding is one of several from Gallup showing that superintendents continue to be most concerned about educating the whole child, and less concerned with the outcome of standardized test scores.

    When asked how they measured the effectiveness of the public schools in their communities, only 9 percent of superintendents said standardized test scores were very important, and 52 percent said they were somewhat important. Much more popular were measurements like students’ hope for the future, student engagement, and high school graduation rates, with 9 in 10 superintendents ranking those as very important.

    Other measures that received middle-of-the-pack support included the numbers of students who attended college, attended trade school, and started working immediately after high school.

    Since Gallup began polling district leaders in 2013, superintendents have never placed standardized testing at the top of the list. But even so, fewer are ranking it as very or somewhat important, and more are saying it’s not very or not at all important — from 2016 to 2018, these numbers saw a 10-point drop in importance and 10-point increase in nonimportance.

    (Gallup)

    These numbers can vary by geography, the poll found, as superintendents in suburban areas tend to place more value on standardized test scores than those in rural and urban areas. Meanwhile, in rural areas, superintendents are less likely to rate a measure like college enrollment as an important indicator of student success.

    Hodges said these findings seem to show that school leaders are moving away from a “fixation” on standardized test scores.

    “The pendulum continues to swing a bit away from that and more towards an appreciation for the needs of the whole child, not just what’s on the test,” he said. “Issues like hope and engagement, grit and resilience, and knowing students’ strengths — building a positive school culture seems to be really top of mind for school leaders.”

    Hodges cautioned that this doesn’t indicate that academics don’t matter, but rather that superintendents believe “just achieving an academic score isn’t sufficient in terms of preparing students for their future,” he said.

    Student engagement continues to be a problem as children progress through school. In a separate survey, Gallup found that 74 percent of fifth-graders say they are engaged, while only 34 percent of 12th-graders say so. This finding comes from a student survey service that schools can opt into, and while it’s not nationally representative, it does include responses from 3,000 public and private schools in the U.S.

    Superintendents also rank soft skills above academics as the most important supports for preparing students for college. Two-thirds of leaders said social skills like conflict resolution were the most important, followed by 29 percent who said financial assistance. College exam prep and academic support such as tutoring were ranked last, with 20 percent and 17 percent saying those were important.

    (Gallup)

    The majority of superintendents — 71 percent — also approve of being able to scale back curriculum and testing to make room for internships and job-shadowing opportunities for high schoolers. Many districts already have these types of opportunities for students, as the poll found that 73 percent of school leaders said their district partners with local businesses to promote career and vocational training.

    Hodges predicted that this type of career preparation will continue to be more popular in the future, especially as college costs rise.

    “More attention will be put on how we can smooth those transitions from high school to college and/or career,” Hodges said.

    Related

    ‘Boo Guns!’ — New Jersey Parents Sign Their Young Children Out of School for a Teachable Moment In Civic Engagement

    Faith in federal leadership in education continues to remain low but declined slightly from last year. The poll found that fewer than 13 percent said the federal government has done an excellent or good job in K-12 education policy over the past five years, and 86 percent said it has done a fair or poor job. This is still slightly higher than ratings under the Obama administration in 2015, when 10 percent of respondents said the government was doing an excellent or good job and 89 percent said it was fair or poor.

    The survey is an attempted census of U.S. superintendents — Gallup purchased a list of 12,445 K-12 district leaders and contacted them to participate in the survey. Fifteen percent, 1,892, responded to the request and answered the survey between June 25 and July 18, 2018.

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  • The 5 Ways DeVos’s Reported New Title IX Rules Would Change Sex Assault Investigations

    By Carolyn Phenicie | August 29, 2018

    The Education Department and Republicans in Congress have unwound a host of major Obama-era policies, from protections for transgender students to tough school accountability rules under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

    Now, according to The New York Times, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will make major changes to the way colleges — and K-12 schools — must respond to allegations of sexual assault and harassment under Title IX, which prohibits discrimination in education on the basis of sex.

    Critics have long said that the 2011 Obama administration guidance, which was made through a “Dear Colleague” letter, didn’t go through the proper rulemaking channels and, in encouraging schools to beef up investigations and protections for victims, unfairly tipped the scale against the accused. Women’s groups said undoing them would revert to a time when sexual assaults were swept under the rug.

    The proposed regulations, which the Times reported late Wednesday afternoon, come almost exactly a year after DeVos first announced, to much criticism from victims and feminist groups, that she would alter the standards and boost protections for alleged perpetrators.

    Related

    DeVos Vows to Overhaul Title IX Rules on Campus Sexual Assault, Stressing Protections for Accused

    “The truth is that the system established by the prior administration has failed too many students. Survivors, victims of a lack of due process, and campus administrators have all told me that the current approach does a disservice to everyone involved,” DeVos said last September when she announced changes were coming.

    Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, in a statement said it is “shameful and appalling” that DeVos would issue a rule that would make it harder for assault victims to seek justice.

    “Survivors spoke to Secretary DeVos and urged her to not allow campus sexual assault [to] be swept under the rug once again. It’s high time Secretary DeVos listen to them, abandon this plan, and start taking meaningful steps to address our nation’s campus sexual assault crisis,” Murray said.

    An Education Department spokesperson declined to comment to the Times Wednesday, saying officials are still deliberating and any information the paper had was “premature and speculative.”

    An interim policy, released last September, instituted perhaps the biggest change included in the new proposal: allowing schools to determine what level of evidence they’ll require to determine an assault occurred.

    Related

    DeVos Rescinds Obama Sex Assault Rules, Allows Schools to Choose Proof Standard Until New One in Place

    The now-overturned Obama-era regulations required schools to use a lower “preponderance of the evidence” standard, rather than a more stringent “clear and convincing” mandate.

    Changing evidentiary standards, particularly at the start of the school year, when most assaults occur, creates uncertainty for survivors of assault and could open the door to lawsuits by perpetrators who were convicted under different standards, experts told The 74 last year.

    Other changes, according to the Times, include:

    1. Only formal complaints must be investigated. Standards in place since 2001 required schools to investigate anytime the school knows, or reasonably should know, about harassment. The proposed regulations would require investigations only of complaints made to “an official who has the authority to institute corrective measures,” the Times reported, quoting the proposed regulations.

    2. Only events on campus must be investigated. The Obama administration required schools to investigate all allegations made by students, but the DeVos rules would require investigations only of events that occurred within their own programs or on their campuses.

    3. Victims and perpetrators could request information and cross-examine each other: The Obama administration had discouraged schools from allowing parties to question one another, arguing that it could be more traumatic for the victim.

    4. Mistreatment of the accused could constitute sex discrimination. Previously only schools’ mishandling of alleged victims could constitute a Title IX violation.

    The proposal would still have to go through a formal notice and comment period, after which the department would release a final version. There is at least one lawsuit, brought by women’s groups, attempting to block the department’s interim policy.



  • Student Injured in Shooting Outside Denver Middle School; At Least 43 Killed and 82 Injured at Schools So Far This Year

    By Mark Keierleber | August 29, 2018

    The 74 will be tracking gun-related injuries and deaths at schools throughout 2018. Bookmark this page for the latest reports, or sign up to receive updates straight to your inbox via The 74 Newsletter.

    One student was injured Tuesday afternoon in a shooting that unfolded outside a Denver middle school, causing the campus to go into lockdown near the end of the school day.

    The incident occurred directly outside DSST: Cole Middle School at about 2 p.m. on Tuesday, and one juvenile boy was transported to the hospital. Police haven’t identified a suspect.

    Although the incident didn’t take place inside the school building, the crime scene included a grassy area considered to be school grounds, said a spokesman at DSST Public Schools, a charter school network formerly known as the Denver School of Science and Technology. Although the victim was identified as a Denver public school student, the DSST spokesman declined to specify whether the victim attended Cole.

    The DSST spokesman said additional security measures were put in place at the school on Wednesday, but classes resumed as normal.

    In 2018, at least 43 people have been killed and 82 have been injured due to shootings on school property. 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 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.

    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 info@the74million.org, 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.



  • New Study: Suspending Students for Minor Infractions Like Cursing Hurts Kids but Benefits Nobody

    By Mark Keierleber | August 28, 2018

    This is the latest article in The 74’s ongoing ‘Big Picture’ series, bringing American education into sharper focus through new numbers, research, and reporting. Go Deeper: See our full series.

    Schools are increasingly suspending children for minor infractions like profanity, hurting their academic performance while offering no tangible benefits.

    That’s the key finding of a comprehensive new study on the effects of out-of-school suspensions on the academic performance of students who get in trouble, as well as their classroom peers. And while student test scores suffered as a result of the suspensions — both for serious and minor violations — the effects are more modest than previously understood. The study was published in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, a peer-reviewed academic journal.

    The study, conducted by researchers from Mathematica Policy Research and the University of Pennsylvania, comes amid a heated debate over school discipline reform. Responding to concerns that suspensions could harm students and cause them to disengage in class, districts and states across the country have created policies to reduce suspensions and implement alternatives such as restorative justice and instruction in emotional and behavioral competence. Meanwhile, critics have warned that reducing suspension rates could cause classroom disruptions, hampering the academic performance of students who are well behaved.

    Related

    Does **Restorative Justice** Work Better Than Traditional School Discipline?

    Amidst the controversy, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is weighing whether to rescind an Obama-era guidance document that called on districts to reduce their reliance on suspensions. Students of color and those with disabilities have long been punished at disproportionate rates, an issue the guidance document said could be evidence of a federal civil rights violation. The discipline debate also plays a prominent role in the fervor over school shootings. President Donald Trump has directed his Federal Commission on School Safety to explore the Obama-era guidance through the lens of school violence.

    “A lot of people can agree that there are some instances where suspensions are necessary in schools — when something violent happens, when a kid is a real threat to other kids or to teachers or to themselves,” said Johanna Lacoe, a researcher at Mathematica and co-author of the report. But an increasing share of suspensions stem from lower-level infractions like insubordination, she said. “It’s a big deal to be suspended for something that’s not a serious issue, and there’s no benefit to peers.”

    Lacoe teamed up with Matthew Steinberg, an assistant professor of education policy at the University of Pennsylvania, to explore student discipline data in Philadelphia during the 2011-12 and 2013-14 school years. Many studies have found correlations between suspensions and negative academic outcomes, but those studies didn’t adequately isolate discipline from other potential factors, said Steinberg, whose study uses two separate models to estimate the relationship between suspensions and test scores. Steinberg said these models together, which reached similar conclusions, allowed them to eliminate other potential factors behind test score declines, like traumatic events at home.

    Students who are suspended for serious and minor infractions experience a decline in math and English test scores at similar rates, the researchers found, and suspended students are between 2 and 9 percentage points less likely to achieve academic proficiency in math.

    “Some of these test score declines, especially the ones we see in math, result in declines in proficiency and [reduced] probability of passing exams,” Lacoe said. “That’s a much bigger deal than just a couple of points here or there on a test. That’s whether you are at grade level or not.”

    While the report added muscle to research on the effects suspensions have on disciplined students, it also explored the effects exposure to discipline has on peers who are not themselves in trouble. Exposure to out-of-school suspensions for minor infractions didn’t affect academic outcomes in peers, but exposure to discipline for more serious issues harmed performance among well-behaving classmates.

    One factor the study cannot answer, however, is whether the drop in peer academic performance is caused by student misbehavior or the resulting punishment. Therefore, Steinberg said, it’s difficult to tell whether increasing suspensions for serious infractions would result in better outcomes for well-behaved students.

    “What would happen to the achievement of kids who aren’t suspended if we just suspended more kids who are misbehaving, or alternatively if we suspended fewer kids?” Steinberg said. “That’s a question that has not yet been answered.”

    Given the limited effects of suspensions on student performance observed in the study, the policy debate over exclusionary discipline is remarkably heated, said David Griffith, senior research and policy associate at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a right-leaning education think tank. “I think it would probably behoove everyone to take a deep breath,” he said.

    But Lacoe said the effects aren’t small enough to ignore. Since students of color are disproportionately disciplined, she said, they’re also disproportionately affected by the consequences of those suspensions — working against efforts to close racial achievement gaps.

    “I don’t think anything good comes from just sending kids home without addressing what’s going on,” she said. “It’s just such a short-term solution to the issue. What would be much better, in my opinion, would be a school-wide approach that tried to prevent that misbehavior in the first place.”

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  • The Little-Known Education Legacy of John McCain, a ‘Great Champion’ of School Choice

    By Carolyn Phenicie | August 28, 2018

    Sen. John McCain, who died this weekend, was known to Americans for his wartime service and sacrifice as a POW, his devotion to defense and military issues, for his candid efforts to clean up campaign finance, and even for his showdowns with President Trump.

    Much lesser-known, but still important, advocates say, was his legacy on school choice.

    “Notwithstanding all of the other issues he worked on, it’s a great loss for school choice because he was a great champion,” John Schilling, president of the American Federation for Children, told The 74. “He cared deeply about, particularly, low-income kids not having access to better educational opportunities.”

    In recent years, he worked to expand education savings accounts to students attending long-underperforming Bureau of Indian Education schools, but in the past, McCain had used his perch as a senator and presidential candidate to press for expanded choice for all children.

    “It’s the civil rights issue of the 21st century. There’s no doubt that we have achieved equal access to schools in America after a long and difficult and terrible struggle. But what is the advantage in a low-income area of sending a child to a failed school and that being your only choice?” McCain said during a debate with then-candidate Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.

    McCain’s most recent work on school choice, providing education savings accounts to BIE students, was aimed at rectifying a kind of catch-22 for Native American children in his home state of Arizona.

    Lawmakers in 2015 had expanded eligibility for education savings accounts, which let parents pay for private school tuition, tutoring, or other expenses, for all children living on Native American reservations.

    Only those attending state-funded schools were eligible, however; McCain’s bill would have given the same options to children in BIE schools, which are federally funded.

    Related

    Inside Sen. McCain’s Fight to Correct a Catch-22 Holding Back Arizona’s Native American Students

    “I believe that parents should have a choice,” McCain told The 74 in 2016. “Why shouldn’t a person, an individual, who lives on an Indian reservation have that same opportunity?”

    Former Arizona state senator Carlyle Begay, who sponsored the bill expanding ESAs to tribal students, said McCain recognized there should be an effort made to expand options for Native American students.

    “He made it very clear, he made this very public, that no stone should be left unturned in our efforts to improve educational outcomes so that our Native American kids in particular are prepared for whatever they choose in life, for their goals and their aspirations,” he told The 74.

    The bill passed committee on a party-line vote but was never considered on the Senate floor. McCain, ever the straight shooter, acknowledged it, telling The 74 chances for its passage were “poor.”

    His work on education choice stretched back even further than the 2008 presidential election, to before his failed 2000 campaign.

    McCain in 1999 introduced the Educating America’s Children for Tomorrow Act. It covered a number of areas, including permitting the Education Department to create school-choice pilot programs in up to 10 states, with scholarships funded with at least $2,000 in federal funds and $1,000 in state or local matching funds.

    separate bill introduced later that same year focused just on creating a voucher program, tailored to low-income students in failing schools, with $2,000 in federal funds.

    During the 2008 campaign, he spoke to the NAACP in depth on education, calling for a long list of reforms: expansion of the federally funded D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program, alternative certification for teachers, federally funded tutoring, virtual schools, bonuses for high-achieving teachers based “on the success of their students” and those who “take on the challenge of working in our most troubled schools,” and “school choice for all who want it.”

    “Americans have heard a lot of tired rhetoric about education,” McCain told the NAACP. “We’ve heard it in the endless excuses of people who seem more concerned about their own position than about our children. We’ve heard it from politicians who accept the status quo rather than stand up for real change in our public schools. Parents ask only for schools that are safe, teachers who are competent, and diplomas that open doors of opportunity … No entrenched bureaucracy or union should deny parents that choice and children that opportunity.”

    Disclosure: The Walton Family Foundation provides funding to the American Federation for Children and The 74.

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  • Monthly QuotED: 9 Notable Quotes That Made Education Headlines in August, From Security to Suspensions — and the Proper Way to Order a Philly Cheesesteak

    By Andrew Brownstein | August 28, 2018

    QuotED is a roundup of the most notable quotes behind America’s top education headlines — taken from our daily EduClips, which spotlights morning headlines from America’s 15 largest school districts. Read previous EduClips installments here.

    “It’s not that they’re villains and they don’t care and they don’t want safe schools — I’m not trying to send that message. But they’re certainly opportunistic. At the end of the day, they’re looking for new revenue streams.” —Kenneth Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services, which consults districts on school safety planning, on the $3 billion school security industry. (Read at The74Million.org)

    A San Bernardino, California, police officer mans his position at a closed-off North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino on April 10, 2017, following a shooting at the school. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

    “The price of getting information about your child’s school should not be losing your privacy to online ad brokers.” —Douglas Levin, founder of EdTech Strategies, which conducts research and advises nonprofits and government agencies on using technology to improve schools. (Read at The New York Times)

    “The conditions and outcomes of Plaintiffs’ schools, as alleged, are nothing short of devastating. When a child who could be taught to read goes untaught, the child suffers a lasting injury — and so does society. … But the Court is faced with a discrete question: Does the Due Process Clause demand that a State affirmatively provide each child with a defined, minimum level of education by which the child can attain literacy? The answer to the question is no.” —U.S. District Judge Stephen J. Murphy III, ruling in a case brought by Detroit students who argued that the state violated their constitutional right to read by providing inadequate resources. (Read at The Washington Post)

    Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

    “The threat is real.” —Rebeca Shackleford, an education policy analyst with UnidosUS, on plans by the U.S. Department of Education to scrap the federal office of English-language acquisition. (Read at Education Week)

    “For me, it’s a no-brainer. This is going to be one of those cornerstone pieces in terms of how are we going to continue to transform this immense system to really, truly serve all students.” —New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, on the need for mandatory implicit-bias training for all district employees. (Read at The Wall Street Journal)

    New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza (left) with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (Ed Reed/NYC Mayoral Photography Office)

    “There’s not a shred of evidence that supports the idea that suspensions actually help students, but the spare-the-rod, spoil-the-child idea that you have to kick out the bad kids has been deeply entrenched ever since.” —Dan Losen, director of UCLA’s Center for Civil Rights Remedies. (Read at The74Million.org)

    “Think about, what if it was your kid? How would you feel?” —Stacey Burg, mother of Alex Howe, a transgender boy who complained about lack of access to the boys’ bathroom in high school. Under Secretary Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Department of Education has halted investigations into such complaints. (Read at Politico)

    “If we’re serious about educational equity, it seems to me that we need to get past religion in schools as a nonstarter.” —Dale Chu, a fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, on his hopes that Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, will help clear the way for greater taxpayer support of religious schools. (Read at The New York Times)

    “Wit/Witout: How to order fried onions on your cheesesteak, meaning with or without the onions. (Ex. Whiz wit means you will be getting a cheesesteak, smothered in cheese whiz and topped with fried onions.)” —from the School District of Philadelphia’s guidebook to “Philly slang” for first-year teachers. (Read at 3 CBS Philly)

    For a roundup of the day’s top education headlines from America’s 15 largest school districts, go to EduClips.

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  • New Poll: For First Time Ever, a Majority of American Parents Do Not Want Their Children to Become Public School Teachers

    By Kate Stringer | August 27, 2018

    This is the latest article in The 74’s ongoing ‘Big Picture’ series, bringing American education into sharper focus through new numbers, research, and reporting. Go Deeper: See our full series.

    “It’s a thankless job.”

    “Too much chaos in public schools.”

    “It’s dangerous being a teacher.”

    The majority of Americans do not want their children to become a public school teacher — and these quotes are just some of the reasons why. They come from the 50th annual PDK International Poll on public attitudes toward education, and it’s the first time that the majority of people — 54 percent — want their offspring to steer clear of a career in education.

    “The pay is low. The conditions are tough. It’s not that much of a surprise,” said Joshua Starr, CEO of PDK International.

    That’s not to say the public doesn’t like teachers — quite the opposite. The majority of poll respondents have confidence in teachers, want them to be paid more, and support their efforts to strike.

    (PDK International)

    But in an open-ended question, respondents listed several reasons they didn’t want their children to enter the profession, the most common being poor pay and benefits and the challenges of dealing with student behavior. Democrats were more likely to list pay, while Republicans were more likely to list behavior.

    “We cannot be comfortable with the stunning contradiction that a majority of Americans both recognize the importance of the teaching profession and want their own kids nowhere near it,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, in a prepared statement. “The recent series of teacher strikes and the public support for more should wake us up to the need to invest more purposefully and creatively in the professionals who do nothing less than build our collective future.”

    Not all parents felt this way, however. Hispanic parents were much more likely to want their children to become teachers, at 67 percent, followed by black parents, at 51 percent. Only 40 percent of white respondents wanted their children to be teachers.

    The PDK poll also saw a new high in the proportion of people who think teacher salaries are inadequate — at two-thirds. Only 6 percent think teacher salaries are too high, and one-quarter think they are just right. Three-quarters also said they’d support a teacher strike, though those who live in the South and the West are more likely to support walkouts than residents of the Midwest and the Northeast.

    (PDK International)

    Teachers across the country this past spring walked out of their classrooms demanding higher pay. A significant number are also running for office this fall to address years of declining funding for education. Starr noted a disconnect between how policymakers are funding schools and how the public feels about the importance of adequate funding.

    “Parents and the public feel in many ways very different than the discourse that’s happening today, which is a real concern for us,” Starr said.

    This poll’s findings are similar to those in the Education Next national poll released last week, which found a 13-point rise over the past year in support for increasing educator pay.

    Other PDK Poll findings include support for college affordability, with three-quarters of respondents favoring free tuition at community colleges and 68 percent supporting more federal funding for four-year schools.

    The poll also found that most Americans — 60 percent — think more funding should be spent on the neediest students, while 39 percent believe the same amount should be spent on every student.

    PDK previously released early poll results regarding school safety, which found that even though schools are safer than ever, the number of Americans who fear for their children’s safety has tripled over the past five years.

    The survey includes responses from a random national sample of 1,042 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 points. GfK Custom Research collected the data through an online survey and provided free Wi-Fi and devices to households that didn’t have internet connections.

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  • 1 Killed, 2 Injured in Florida Shooting, One of Three Recent Incidents of HS Football Violence; At Least 43 Killed and 81 Injured at Schools in 2018

    By Mark Keierleber | August 27, 2018

    The 74 will be tracking gun-related injuries and deaths at schools throughout 2018. Bookmark this page for the latest reports, or sign up to receive updates straight to your inbox via The 74 Newsletter.

    One person was killed and two others were injured in a Friday night shooting after a high school football game in Jacksonville, Florida — one in a trio of firearm incidents at high school football games over the course of a week. Local news outlets are reporting that the gunfire unfolded about 15 minutes after a game ended, as thousands of spectators were leaving the Raines High School stadium.

    A former Raines High School student was killed in the incident, officials said, and two current students at Robert E. Lee High School were injured. A suspected gunman has not been identified. The shooting reportedly unfolded near the main entrance to the stadium, outside of metal detectors that screen spectators.

    The shooting in Jacksonville comes a week after shots rang out at a high school football game in Wellington, Florida, injuring two. Meanwhile, a high school football game was cut short Thursday evening after shots were fired outside the Alabama State University stadium. No injuries were reported.

    In 2018, at least 43 people have been killed and 81 have been injured due to shootings on school property. 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 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.

    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 info@the74million.org, 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.



  • In McAllen, Texas, Hotbed of Immigration Enforcement, All-Latino District Gets an A on State’s New School Report Card

    By Beth Hawkins | August 26, 2018

    When the Texas Education Agency released its first, long-debated A-F report cards for school districts, no one cheered louder than the teachers and administrators in the McAllen Independent School District, located alongside the Rio Grande in the southernmost part of the state. The district earned 92 of 100 points on the new rating system, which translates to an A.

    In this border town — in the news recently as the scene of aggressive immigration enforcement — almost all district students are Latino, 71 percent are economically disadvantaged, and 35 percent are learning English. According to a state website intended to help parents and others interpret the new ratings, 72 percent of the district’s students in all grades made more than one year’s progress during the 2017-18 academic year.

    McAllen ISD

    “You guys knocked it out of the park,” Superintendent J.A. Gonzalez told teachers gathered for group training at Morris Middle School, which earned all seven possible state distinctions for different strengths. “That takes hard work. It doesn’t come easy, and everyone in this library made it happen.”

    Followed by a staff member posting to Facebook Live, the superintendent spent Monday delivering sheet cakes and speeches at McAllen schools. At Morris, teachers cheered when he busted out a signature move: throwing his arms up at an angle to mimic the gold A+ that takes the place of the A in the district logo.

    All told, 153 of Texas’s 1,187 districts earned As under the new accountability system, which incorporates student performance, academic growth, and progress toward closing achievement gaps. One of three districts with more than 20,000 students to earn the top grade, according to Gonzalez, McAllen got As for closing the achievement gap and growth, and a B for grade-level performance.

    Among other factors, Community Information Specialist Mark May credits district investments in challenging International Baccalaureate programming and schools featuring both STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts, and math — curriculum and a focus on emotional intelligence.

    McAllen ISD

    In total, 356 districts earned Bs, 247 Cs, 57 Ds, and 16 Fs; 92 districts affected by Hurricane Harvey that would have earned B through F grades were not rated this year. An additional 266 single-school districts did not receive letter grades.

    Seventy percent of a district’s score consists of either academic performance or student growth, whichever a school system scored higher in, with gap closure accounting for the rest.

    With Texas’s legislature meeting only every other year, the ratings system was several years in the making. Individual schools were not rated, in part to assuage fears about the high-stakes rankings.

    Related

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  • EduClips: LAUSD Teachers to Cast Ballots This Week in Strike-Authorization Vote; Hurricane Lane Forces School Closures in Hawaii — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | August 22, 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.

    Note: EduClips will be taking a short break for the Labor Day holiday. Regular postings will resume Tuesday morning, September 4.

    Top Story

    #EDlection2018 — Watching to see if a “blue wave” helps Democrats take control of one chamber of Congress next year? Don’t expect a lot of education talk to wash up on shore.

    Last week, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report worked with CMAG Kantar Media to study how often different issues like education, health care, immigration, and taxes, as well as President Donald Trump, were mentioned in House and Senate campaign ads from the start of 2018 through July.

    Mentioned by just 31,582 ads in 2018, education appeared in the second-fewest ads among the 11 issues and people Cook and CMAG Kantar studied. In fact, only House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi got fewer mentions in ads. By contrast, more than five times as many ads mentioned health care as the number that mentioned education. (Read at Politics K-12)

    National News

    ‘SOFT SKILLS’ — Schools Should Teach (and Measure) ‘Soft Skills,’ Parents and Educators Agree (Read at Education Week)

    CHILD TRAUMA — Why a Boston Teachers College Is Sending Its Students to Northern Ireland to Learn About a Child Trauma Program That Could Help U.S. Kids, Too (Read at The74Million.org)

    CHARTERS — 40 cities in 10 years: Leaked presentation offers more details on new group’s goals to spread charter (and charter-like) schools (Read at Chalkbeat)

    District and State News

    CALIFORNIA — LAUSD Teachers to Cast Ballots This Week in Strike-Authorization Vote (Read at NBC Los Angeles)

    HAWAII — Hawaii school closures due to Hurricane Lane (Read at KHON2)

    ILLINOIS — CPS to Require Background Checks for All Volunteers After Sex Abuse Scandal (Read at CBS Chicago)

    NEVADA — Teachers’ Union Recommends Local Districts Be Allowed to Raise Education Money (Read at Nevada Public Radio)

    FLORIDA — Teachers Leaving Classroom Based Partly on Low Pay (Read at NBC Miami)

    CALIFORNIA — California school’s no-shame dress code empowers students to wear what they want (Read at USA Today)

    ILLINOIS — New Chicago Public Schools policies may bar students from texting teachers, coaches — and vice versa (Read at the Chicago Tribune)

    NEW YORK — Hunter High School Is 9 Percent Black or Hispanic. Why Isn’t It Part of the Diversity Debate? (Read at The New York Times)

    FLORIDA — Miami-Dade Superintendent: Time to Shift Away From ‘Necessary Obsession’ With Security, Focus on Teaching (Read at Newsweek)

    TEXAS — Texas Education Agency Refuses to Monitor County’s Alternative Special Ed Schools Directly (Read at Houston Public Media)

    NEW YORK — How an Elite New York City Prep School Created a Safe Space for Angry Zionists (Read at HuffPost)

    TEXAS — More North Texas School Districts Turn to TRE for Funds (Read at NBC DFW)

    Think Pieces

    KINDERGARTEN — Does ‘Redshirting’ Benefit Kids? Kindergarten Decision Looms (Read at U.S. News and World Report)

    COMMON CORE — New Study Shows States That Veered From Common Core Adopted Weaker Academic Standards (Read at The74Million.org)

    MINORITIES — Study: Minorities Labeled Learning Disabled Because of Social Inequalities (Read at U.S. News and World Report)

    SCHOOL CHOICE — Public Opinion Shifts in Favor of School Choice (Read at The Atlantic)

    GATES — In Age of Trump, Bill Gates Uses Blog to Highlight Teacher Voice, Programs Helping Immigrant, Refugee Children (Read at The74Million.org)

    Quote of the Day

    “It was extremely re-traumatizing to me; and probably worse than the event itself was how poorly I was treated by CPS investigators, and how clear it was that there was such a lack of a system, or an outline, or anything.” —former Chicago Public Schools student and sex abuse survivor Morgan Aranda. (Read at CBS Chicago)

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



  • New Study Shows States That Veered From Common Core Adopted Weaker Academic Standards

    By Kevin Mahnken | August 22, 2018

    This is the latest article in The 74’s ongoing ‘Big Picture’ series, bringing American education into sharper focus through new numbers, research, and reporting. Go Deeper: See our full series.

    Academic standards for both math and English language arts have suffered in states that veered away from the Common Core, according to a new study. While standards across the country made progress over the past decade, the minority of states that have attempted to break from the controversial initiative have failed to improve upon it, the authors find.

    The lengthy study was released today by the Fordham Institute, a right-leaning think tank that has published previous reviews of state content standards. Those standards guide classroom instruction in a range of subjects by indicating specific knowledge and skills that should be mastered by various grade levels. Though the rigor of a given set of standards can be assessed from afar, the authors note that the quality of teaching depends ultimately on implementation by schools.

    For this report, Fordham commissioned two teams of experts — one for mathematics and one for reading — to study the quality of academic standards in states that either never adopted the Common Core or significantly altered them after adoption.

    Overall, the reviewers agreed, the Common Core remains the gold standard, receiving a 9/10 score for both math and English in content, rigor, clarity, and specificity. In no state did they judge the local alternatives superior to the Common Core in either math or reading. In fact, a majority of the 15 states that rejected the Common Core had installed standards that the reviewers found in some way deficient.

    Fordham Institute

    “It does seem like there are significant risks associated with trying to do better than the Common Core, and in general, states that decided to change [the standards] in most cases made things worse rather than better,” David Griffith, a Fordham policy associate and co-author of the report, told The 74 in an interview. “There’s a very delicate internal logic to the way that most state standards, including the Common Core, are laid out. It’s pretty dangerous for states to jump in and try to tinker with that, because in many cases, they don’t fully understand the consequences of the changes they’re making.”

    Developed as a nonpartisan initiative of the National Governors Association, the Common Core was originally seen as the culmination of a decades-old move toward a uniform set of rigorous content standards that grew out of the school accountability movement of the 1990s. When the Obama administration incentivized states to adopt the standards as part of its Race to the Top grant program, however, they became for many a symbol of federal meddling in state and local education efforts.

    Conservative politicians in many states began fulminating against the initiative, either pushing state governments to reject the Common Core standards outright or else repeal them if they had already been put into place. To take one example: Legislators in Missouri passed a 2014 bill, later signed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, to revise the standards after they had become enormously controversial; as in many states, activists characterized them as an expressly political Trojan Horse for, among other things, Islamic indoctrination.

    Today, Missouri is one of two states — along with Nebraska — whose math and English standards were separately rated as “weak” (in need of serious revisions) or “inadequate” (in need of a complete rewrite).

    Part of the problem, Griffith explained, is that the Common Core already expressed the consensus of experts in math and English. If lawmakers wanted to distinguish their own state standards from the maligned federal alternative, they would have to break with that consensus to some degree. Though some have complained about the complexity of certain Common Core-aligned math materials, particularly at the middle school level, Griffith identified that subject as a particular example of the perils of dumping the standards.

    “There’s a standard algorithm for division, there’s a standard algorithm for addition and subtraction,” he said. “And there’s a reason why that algorithm is standard — it’s because it’s the most efficient way to add or subtract or divide. And if you’re going to deviate from that, then you’re necessarily going to be moving toward something that’s more mathematically questionable, or at the very least, you’re going to be avoiding what pretty much everyone everywhere agrees is the right way to do subtraction. So it’s kind of a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.”

    Even after the massive backlash, the study finds that the nation’s Common Core ordeal unfolded largely for the greater good. Among the majority of states that either accepted the standards wholesale or made only minor changes, schools are working with much stronger academic guidelines than were in place a decade ago, Fordham argues. A few — the report singles out Massachusetts and California for special attention — have supplemented the standards with hundreds of additional grade-specific examples that can assist teachers.

    And states like Texas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, which never adopted the Common Core, have nevertheless implemented some of its elements, such as the Standards for Mathematical Practice. While both instructional teams still endorse the Common Core as the best example of statewide academic standards, they note several positive trends that have developed in states that moved away from them, like a heavier focus on writing and arithmetic in early grades.

    “In general, many of the ideas that are in the Common Core are bigger than the Common Core — they’re ideas about how math ought to be taught in the view of math experts,” said Griffith. “So you can talk about [the influence] of Common Core, but I would also say that, in some ways, the Common Core was just the result of a broader movement in both math and ELA toward some really commonsense, consensus views of the best way to do things. And so in that sense, you can see some of that consensus even outside the Common Core.”

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    Disclosure: Kevin Manhken was an editorial associate at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute from 2014 to 2016. 


  • In Age of Trump, Bill Gates Uses Blog to Highlight Teacher Voice, Programs Helping Immigrant, Refugee Children

    By Carolyn Phenicie | August 21, 2018

    Bill Gates, one of the largest sources of K-12 philanthropy in the country, is using his perch to highlight the importance of teacher voice and the value of educating immigrant students.

    He posted about 2018 Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning, who works at a center for new immigrant students at a high school in Spokane, Washington, as one of his “heroes in the field” on his Gates Note blog Tuesday.

    Manning told The 74 after her selection as Teacher of the Year in April that, since President Donald Trump was elected and has limited admissions of refugees and cracked down on undocumented immigrants, she has redoubled her efforts to make sure students know they’re welcome in her classroom.

    Related

    2018 Teacher of the Year Wants Her Refugee Students to Know They Are Wanted and Loved, to Give All Students and Teachers the Chance to Connect

    “Hearing Mandy talk about her students reminded me of one of the biggest strengths of America’s public schools: They are intended to help every child succeed. The fact that some places fall short of that ideal should not obscure the successes that are happening in Spokane and other cities across the country,” said Gates, whose foundation has funded efforts meant to reform public education.

    In education, as in other areas, such as world health, where he has brought his fortune to bear, Gates’s words are closely watched. Last year, the foundation announced it would spend $1.7 billion on education initiatives over five years, with a new emphasis on supporting innovative school networks and curricula, after less successful undertakings backing the Common Core State Standards and teacher evaluation systems tied to student test scores. The foundation remains a major funder of public charter schools, with its latest focus on those serving special education students. (The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also provides financial support to the The 74.)

    Related

    Gates Foundation Shifts Education Focus to Network Schools, Innovation, and Special Education Charters

    At one point in the video, Gates seeks a much broader assessment of K-12 education in America from Manning, almost echoing the challenges encountered by his own foundation.

    “If you look at education overall, do you feel like we are getting better?” Gates asks. “And what’s your thinking on what direction we should go?”

    Manning says she really thinks “our school system at its heart is doing what’s best for kids,” while acknowledging the importance of schools like her own being flexible and open to new ideas that can help “meet the needs of the kids.” She said teachers should have a voice in that process.

    The posts made no mention of Trump specifically or his immigration policies; video of Gates seeming to mock the president’s lack of knowledge about basic health care policy leaked earlier this year.

    Manning, in her own post on Gates’s blog, urged her fellow teachers to speak up about policy at all levels.

    “Educators need to be engaged in making policy — not just at the federal and state level, but at the local level too. Local rules generally dictate what actually occurs in our classrooms, and in my experience, it’s also where educators are most often left out,” she wrote.

    Manning made waves earlier this year when she used her time at an annual reception at the White House to raise with the president the issues her immigrant and refugee students, many of them trauma survivors, face, giving Trump letters they wrote.

    Related

    Teachers of the Year Bring Support for Marginalized Students, Concerns about Empathy to White House Visit With Trump



  • EduClips: Bill Comes Due for TX Special Education Funding; A Chaotic Year for Success Academy’s First High School — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | August 21, 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

    SCHOOL SECURITY — The response to the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was immediate. Students across the country, led by Stoneman Douglas survivors, walked out of school to call for gun control. President Donald Trump alternately mused about more gun control and the need to arm teachers. Major retail outlets stopped selling guns.

    In the halls of capitols across the country, lawmakers were opening state pocketbooks. Legislators in at least 26 states poured at least $950 million into school safety programs this year in the wake of the Parkland shooting and additional shootings in Maryland, Texas, and elsewhere.

    The amounts ranged widely by state, from $300,000 in Missouri to $400 million in Florida. They include only what’s being spent this year, though some states allocated a larger amount over a few years. Most of the money was spent on security upgrades and school resource officers, but the tally also includes funding allocated for mental health programs, violence prevention, emergency planning, and anonymous phone and texting tip lines. (Read at The74Million.org)

    National News

    COURTS — How Do You Get Better Schools? Take the State to Court, More Advocates Say (Read at The New York Times)

    POLL — In the Aftermath of Teacher Strikes, More Americans Support Educator Raises, Poll Finds (Read at The74Million.org)

    INTERNATIONAL COMPARISONS — Back to school: Is the United States falling behind on education? (Read at PolitiFact)

    MINECRAFT — Minecraft: Education Edition is coming to iPad (Read at TechCrunch)

    District and State News

    TEXAS — Texas Saved Billions Cutting Special Education. Now the Bill Comes Due (Read at Bloomberg)

    NEW YORK — Behind the scenes, Success Academy’s first high school spent last year in chaos. Can Eva Moskowitz turn it around? (Read at Chalkbeat)

    PUERTO RICO — Puerto Rico Opens First Charter School Amid Controversies (Read at NBC News)

    CALIFORNIA — Candidates pack field to replace former L.A. Unified school board member Ref Rodriguez (Read at the Los Angeles Times)

    PENNSYLVANIA — Philadelphia School District Helping First-Year Teachers Learn ‘Philly Slang’ in New Handbook (Read at 3 CBS Philly)

    NEVADA — Cellphones are a problem in Clark County classrooms (Read at the Las Vegas Review-Journal)

    NEW YORK — Richard Carranza’s back-to-school checklist: less paperwork, clearer lines of responsibility, and a hard look at gifted programs (Read at Chalkbeat)

    CALIFORNIA — California community colleges urged to plan now for fewer students in remedial courses (Read at EdSource)

    ILLINOIS — Illinois School Resource Officers to Undergo Training (Read at NBC Chicago)

    FLORIDA — Lawyers to get their 20 minutes in Florida’s long-running education equity suit (Read at the Tampa Bay Times)

    Think Pieces

    EDUCATION RESEARCH — New education research? A good chance it’s from North Carolina. (Read at Chalkbeat)

    DATA — Parton: 3 Ways States Are Committing to Using Data to Meet Their Education Goals for Students Under ESSA (Read at The74Million.org)

    GRADUATION — Cities where the fewest people graduate from high school (Read at USA Today)

    SCHOOL SUPPLIES — 5 Teachers Share What They Actually Buy for Their Classrooms (Read at the Huffington Post)

    HIGHER EDUCATION — It’s time to tell students what they need to know (Read at The Washington Post)

    Quote of the Day

    “Wit/Witout: How to order fried onions on your cheesesteak, meaning with or without the onions. (Ex. Whiz wit means you will be getting a cheesesteak, smothered in cheese whiz and topped with fried onions).” —from the School District of Philadelphia’s guidebook to “Philly slang” for first-year teachers. (Read at 3 CBS Philly)

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



  • In the Aftermath of Teacher Strikes, More Americans Support Educator Raises, Poll Finds

    By Mark Keierleber | August 21, 2018

    Following strikes this spring in which teachers in six states demanded higher salaries, a new poll finds a sharp uptick in Americans’ support for increasing educators’ pay.

    The national poll, released Tuesday by the journal Education Next, which has been surveying Americans on high-profile education issues for more than a decade, also found growing support for charter schools after a plunge last year, and a lack of support for federal intervention in school discipline reform. The shift in opinion around teacher pay was the survey’s most “striking finding,” said Marty West, editor in chief of Education Next and deputy director of Harvard University’s Program on Education Policy and Governance.

    “There is certainly stronger support than there has been in the past for increasing teacher pay,” West said. “In those states that experienced the walkouts, I think you saw elected officials of both parties feeling pressure to address the concerns that were raised.”

    After being informed of average teacher salaries in their states, 49 percent of poll respondents said education pay should increase, while just 7 percent said it should be cut. With a 13-percent jump over last year’s results, support for teacher pay raises increased among both Democrats and Republicans, though overall enthusiasm was much higher among Democrats. When poll respondents weren’t provided information about teacher salaries in their areas, they were even more likely to support pay raises.

    And in the six states that experienced teacher strikes or walkouts this year — Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and West Virginia — respondents were more likely than those from other states to support teacher raises, with 63 percent in favor. While several factors were likely at play, including an improving economy, West said teacher protests likely played a part in public support for pay raises nationwide.

    States that experienced teacher strikes this year also showed up in Education Next’s polling results from last year as having above-average support for educator raises, suggesting those states were “fertile ground for the protests,” West said. In those states, support for teacher raises continued to rise this year, while the poll didn’t identify any backlash against the teachers’ activism. Rather, West said, the poll found strong support among the public for teachers’ right to strike.

    “I think those two explanations, the walkouts and the strength of the overall economy, may work together,” West said. “The fact that the economy is growing and Americans’ wages are finally inching upward may have emboldened teachers to demand higher pay and also made the public more receptive to that appeal.”

    Strikes this year appeared to play a larger role in public opinion than they have in the past, West said. Although teachers have hit the pavement to protest working conditions in the past, including over teacher pay, those movements didn’t appear to affect outcomes in Education Next’s previous polling data. But past teacher movements haven’t been as widespread, West said, and have often focused on a range of grievances including school closures or testing.

    Both teachers and the general public expressed support for educator salary bumps in this year’s poll, but the two groups differ on details. Among the broader public, 48 percent said teacher pay should be “based on how much their students learn,” compared with 36 percent who oppose merit-based pay. Among educators, however, just 22 percent expressed support for merit-based pay, while 73 percent opposed the practice. The data were similar regarding perspectives on teacher tenure: Just 33 percent of the public supports the practice, compared with 62 percent of educators.

    “It would benefit teachers and unions to keep the conversations focused as much as possible on the level of pay as opposed to how pay will be allocated,” West said. “But members of the public would be even more enthusiastic about supporting pay increases if pay were tied in some fashion to performance.”

    Support for charters begins to rebound

    Beyond teacher pay, the Education Next poll offered insight into a handful of contentious education policy issues, from private school vouchers to the way schools discipline students.

    Last year, Education Next’s opinion poll found a significant drop in public support for charter schools — a shift attributed in part to negative attitudes toward President Donald Trump, who supports choice. But this year’s results found that support for charter schools has begun to rebound, a shift driven primarily by Republicans as the debate becomes increasingly polarized along party lines.

    “The news is certainly not altogether good for the charter school community, but I think it’s much better than a continued decline in overall support,” West said.

    This year, 44 percent of respondents say they support charter schools, a 5 percent increase over last year — but just a dent in the 13 percent hit support for the movement took in last year’s poll. Among teachers, support for charters took a 7 percent plunge this year, with 33 percent saying they support the schools.

    In analyzing the dip in support for charter schools, West pointed to both Trump and former president Barack Obama — both of whom have supported the schools. With the departure of a popular Democratic president who supported charter schools, West said, it is possible that left-leaning constituents who oppose them were more willing to be “forceful in their critique.”

    Meanwhile, support for universal private school vouchers has also experienced growth, according to poll results. Among respondents, 54 percent said they support universal vouchers that allow parents to “enroll their children in private schools … with government helping to pay the tuition,” a 9 percent increase over last year’s results, while opposition to vouchers has fallen from 37 percent to 31 percent. Again, growth in support was concentrated among Republicans. Approval for vouchers geared toward low-income children, however, remained unchanged at 43 percent.

    The poll also focused on racial disparities in school discipline, another high-profile education debate. As school districts decrease their reliance on suspensions and expulsions, the Obama administration sent districts a “Dear Colleague” letter in 2014 encouraging them to reduce their reliance on punitive discipline, noting that policies could violate federal civil rights laws if students of color are punished disproportionately.

    As Education Secretary Betsy DeVos considers rescinding that guidance, an Education Next poll question dug into the issue. Pollsters asked respondents whether they support school district or federal government policies that “prevent schools from expelling or suspending black and Hispanic students at higher rates than other students,” and results show that Americans overwhelmingly oppose such policies.

    But as is frequently the case with opinion polling, the wording of questions can affect the way people respond. Although the guidance said disparate discipline patterns could be cause for concern, it didn’t explicitly “prevent” schools from punishing students at different rates.

    Asked about the way the prompt was worded, West said it mirrored language from previous years’ surveys but “it’s an entirely fair question” as to whether it “exaggerates what the guidance actually says.” Still, West stood by the question in the poll.

    “Being informed that a pattern in the data is going to place you at risk of being found to have violated students’ civil rights is clearly a strong push to take action to ensure that students are not punished at disparate rates,” West said. “I certainly think school districts have experienced it as an attempt to prevent them from doing just that.”

    The polling firm Knowledge Networks administered the Education Next poll in May to a nationally representative sample of 4,601 adults. The survey had a margin of error of 1.4 percentage points on questions administered to the full sample.

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  • How Much More Money Are States Spending on School Security After the Parkland Shooting?

    By Carolyn Phenicie | August 20, 2018

    Following last winter’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the fallout was swift: The president quickly mused about arming teachers, students across the country walked out to call for greater gun control, and in the halls of state capitols across the country, lawmakers opened state pocketbooks.

    Legislators in at least 26 states poured at least $950 million into school safety programs this year in the wake of the Parkland shooting and additional shootings in MarylandTexas, and elsewhere.

    The amounts ranged widely by state, from $300,000 in Missouri to $400 million in Florida. They include only what’s being spent this year, though some states allocated a larger amount over a few years.

    Most of the money was spent on security upgrades and school resource officers, but the tally also includes funding allocated for mental health programs, violence prevention, emergency planning, and anonymous phone and texting tip lines.

    This overall calculation, based on a search of news articles and state budget documents, is a rough estimate that may have missed some grants and may include funding that can be used for higher education or other public buildings. Some states also would require matching grants from school districts.

    The calculation does not include tabulations of pre-Parkland school safety appropriations or dollars allocated for other purposes that schools now may use for school safety. Alabama lawmakers, for instance, in April passed a law that allows technology funding to be used for school safety, and in Maine, a new law gives priority to safety upgrade projects funded through the state’s school renovation fund.

    Still more funding could be coming: Massachusetts lawmakers, after hurriedly passing a delayed budget in late July, didn’t take up Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposal to add $72 million in new safety spending, though they could consider it later this year. And in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy has yet to decide whether to present voters with a proposal to float a $1 billion bond, $450 million of which would go to security upgrades.

    If both of those proposals are approved, the total spending nationwide would top $1.4 billion.

    Four state legislatures didn’t meet this year, including Texas, where Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May released a set of safety recommendations that he estimated will cost $110 million, $30 million of which will require new funding.

    The federal government poured money into school safety this year, too, and school districts have added their own dollars, with some even floating new bonds to do so.

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  • 2 Injured in Shooting During Florida High School Football Game; At Least 42 Killed and 79 Injured at Schools in 2018

    By Mark Keierleber | August 20, 2018

    The 74 will be tracking gun-related injuries and deaths at schools throughout 2018. Bookmark this page for the latest reports, or sign up to receive updates straight to your inbox via The 74 Newsletter.

    Two adults were shot and injured while attending a high school football game in Florida on Friday night. Police say two gunmen were involved in the shooting, and at least one of the victims was targeted in the shooting.

    The shooting unfolded in Wellington, Florida, at the Palm Beach Central High School stadium, where the school’s football team was playing a game against the William T. Dwyer High School team. Victims include a 39-year-old man and a 29-year-old man, who is reportedly in critical condition.

    “This was not a random act of violence and had no bearing on the Palm Beach Central or William T. Dwyer high schools, students, faculty, and/or staff,” a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach Sheriff’s office told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

    In 2018, at least 42 people have been killed and 79 have been injured due to shootings on school property. 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 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.

    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 info@the74million.org, 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: Nevada Has the Largest Class Sizes in the U.S., Study Finds; Houston’s Longest-Failing School Fell Short Again — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | August 20, 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

    TRANSGENDER STUDENTS — Alex Howe dreaded the long walk he had to take just to use the bathroom at his Texas high school — two unisex stalls in the middle of the sprawling building, far from his classrooms.

    Because he’s a transgender boy, his school district barred him from the much more convenient boys’ restrooms. Conservative parents told the debate coach they didn’t want Howe sharing a room with their sons on trips to competitions. The frustrated coach argued that Howe should be treated the same as the other kids, but school administrators sided with the parents and wouldn’t budge. He roomed alone, singled out again.

    After his graduation in 2017, Howe filed a complaint with federal civil rights officials at the Department of Education, hoping to ease the way for other transgender students at his school to use the bathrooms of their choice. But an examination of federal records by POLITICO shows that his complaint is one of at least five involving transgender students denied bathroom access that were thrown out by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has halted such investigations. (Read at Politico)

    National News

    IMMIGRATION — Living in Deportation’s Shadow: How One Los Angeles Charter School Grapples With Immigration Enforcement (Read at The74Million.org)

    RACISM — ‘You are animals who disgust me’: A school board candidate’s history of racist Facebook posts (Read at The Washington Post)

    District and State News

    NEVADA — Study: Average Class Sizes in Nevada Are Largest in the U.S. (Read at U.S. News and World Report)

    TEXAS — HISD’s longest-failing school fell short again. Will 2018-19 be different for Kashmere? (Read at the Houston Chronicle)

    NEW YORK — In a wide-ranging interview, Carranza takes issue with admissions to New York City’s gifted programs (Read at Chalkbeat)

    TEXAS — Houston School Removes Sexist Quote From Hallway Amid Outrage (Read at HuffPost)

    CALIFORNIA — San Jose district draws the line — to no avail — on adding another charter school (Read at EdSource)

    FLORIDA — Miami-Dade County schools welcome back students, teachers — and police officers (Read at the Miami Herald)

    CALIFORNIA — A quiet and important fight is brewing over how much must be spent on California’s schools (Read at the Los Angeles Times)

    NEW YORK — Schools for scandal: The city’s too-sluggish review of scofflaw yeshivas (Read at the New York Daily News)

    ILLINOIS — Gov. Rauner axes three education bills approved by Illinois General Assembly (Read at the Chicago Sun-Times)

    FLORIDA — Here’s how cash-strapped teachers find a way to pay for classroom supplies (Read at the Miami Herald)

    NEVADA — Report by Clark County teachers union proposes local tax (Read at the Las Vegas Review-Journal)

    ILLINOIS — Morton School District breaks record with 37 new faculty hires (Read at the Peoria Journal Star)

    Think Pieces

    TEACHING – Renewing a Teaching License Doesn’t Help With Professional Growth, Report Finds (Read at Education Week)

    CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION — Sahm: New NYC Computer HS Pairs Charter School Flexibility With Career & Technical Education. Charter Leaders Should Take Notice (Read at The74Million.org)

    SCHOOL LUNCH — The Problem With School Lunch: How the Wealth Gap Is Shaming Students (Read at HuffPost)

    RACISM — 5 Steps for Liberating Public Education From Its Deep Racial Bias (Read at Education Week)

    Quote of the Day

    “Think about, what if it was your kid? How would you feel?” —Stacey Burg, mother of Alex Howe, a transgender boy who complained about lack of access to the boys’ bathroom in high school. Under Secretary Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Department of Education has halted investigations into such complaints. (Read at Politico)

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  • Plaintiff Oliver Brown Would Have Been 100 Years Old This Week: 8 Ways America’s Schools Have (and Haven’t) Changed Since the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board Verdict

    By Kevin Mahnken | August 19, 2018

    This is the latest article in The 74’s ongoing ‘Big Picture’ series, bringing American education into sharper focus through new numbers, research and reporting. Go Deeper: See our full series.

    Rev. Oliver Brown, born Aug. 19, 1918, became a household name in May 1954 when he led a group of plaintiffs in a Supreme Court victory over the Topeka, Kansas, Board of Education.

    Filed three years prior, the class action lawsuit called on the school district to reverse its long-standing policy of racial segregation, through which elementary schools in the state were permitted to maintain separate facilities for children of different races.

    On May 17, 1954, legal segregation in American schools came to an end, as the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Oliver Brown, et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, et al. that state laws mandating separate public schools for black and white students were unconstitutional.

    Earlier this year, on the anniversary of that verdict, I took a look back through the research and Census data to get a sense of how America’s public education system has (and hasn’t) changed in the 64 years since the pronouncement. You can see my full analysis — and all the eye-opening charts — right here.

    But for those who’d prefer the CliffsNotes version, eight takeaways every parent should know:

    Brookings Institution

    1 Integrated Classrooms: Two big steps forward for white-black exposure — but, after 1990, another big step back:

    Most of that progress in white-minority exposure has come from the enormous increase in the number of Hispanic and Asian-American students. Consequently, the percentages of both black and white students attending schools almost exclusively populated by members of their own race have plummeted since 1970. By contrast, black-white exposure (the percentage of black students attending predominantly white schools) peaked around 1990 and has declined significantly over the past three decades. (Read my full analysis)

    2 Expiring Desegregation Orders: Courts started releasing districts from legal requirements

    So why did progress toward racial diversity in public schools hit its high-water mark in the late ’80s and early ’90s? Some experts point to the Supreme Court’s ruling in 1991 that federal desegregation orders were never meant to continue in perpetuity and that some districts could be released from them. Since then, hundreds of those orders have been dismissed, mostly in the South. (Read my full analysis)

    3 Academics: The racial achievement gap has widened over the past 30 years

    In terms of performance in school, historical trends among black and white achievement closely mirror those of black-white exposure. After steadily closing in the first few decades after Brown, disparities between black students and white students on standardized tests strongly reasserted themselves in the 1990s. The black-white gap in reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, commonly referred to as the Nation’s Report Card, was reduced by more than half between 1971 and 1988. Since then, it has inflated by nearly one-third — though that development is largely a reflection of a sizable, and puzzling, drop in black scores between the years 1988 and 1996. (Read my full analysis)

    4 Attitude Gap: Many Americans have positive views of their local schools — but not black families

    The inequities in education are reflected in public opinion. While Americans are notorious for insisting that their local schools are shining stars in an otherwise failing education system, blacks believe the opposite. A poll from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that over 30 percent of blacks believe that their local schools are worse than in other places, while about 20 percent think that they are better. (Read my full analysis)

    Vox.com

    5 Discipline Gap: Not just more discipline, but harsher discipline

    Stark as these realities are, it actually gets worse: Study after study has shown that black students are not only much more likely to get into trouble than white students — they are more likely to incur harsher punishments for the exact same infractions. White and Asian students are less likely to be sent to the principal’s office, suspended, or expelled for committing the same offenses as black and Hispanic students. (Read my full analysis)

    Urban Institute

    6 Teacher Diversity: Majority-minority school districts, but 80 percent of teachers are white

    Discipline is clearly more severe for students of color — which is perhaps a logical consequence of the racial mismatch between teachers and students in the classroom. Although whites make up slightly less than half of all K-12 students, they occupy nearly 80 percent of all teaching jobs. Students of color — and especially Hispanics, whose ranks have exploded in recent years — too seldom see their ethnicity reflected back at them from the professionals leading their classrooms. (Read my full analysis)

    7 The Next Generation of Integration: How schools will change over the next 5 years

    According to research from Pew, the percentage of nonwhite students in K-12 schools is already over 50 percent, and it will increase to roughly 55 percent by 2022. But that growth isn’t powered by a boost from the number of black students, which is projected to shrink. Instead, growing numbers of Hispanic, Asian, and mixed-race children will fill more and more desks and classrooms as the U.S. continues down the road to becoming a majority-minority nation. (Read my full analysis)

    8 In Depth: How the diversity of America’s student body compares with the country’s teachers

    Earlier this month at The 74, Laura Fay published an extensive deep-dive into the current racial makeup of America’s public school system. Included in the series: the statistics that reveal our majority-minority student body, the current racial breakdown of our teaching force, a survey of how many more Hispanic students have joined the system over the past decade, and her analysis of experts’ reactions to the differing trends between students and their instructors. (Read Laura’s full analysis: “The State of America’s Student-Teacher Racial Gap: Our Public School System Has Been Majority-Minority for Years, but 80 Percent of Teachers Are Still White”)

    Go Deeper: This is the latest article in The 74’s ongoing ‘Big Picture’ series, bringing American education into sharper focus through new numbers, research and reporting. See our full series here. Three recent posts in the series:

    — New Finding: Most States Don’t Test New Teachers on ‘Science of Reading’ (Read the full story)

    — In the Aftermath of Katrina-Inspired School Reforms, Report Shows New Orleans Students Are Now More Likely to Attend — and Graduate From — College (Read the full story)

    — Study: As Catholic Options Dwindle, Middle Class Retreats From Private Schools (Read the full story)



  • ‘The Safest School in America’ Deploys a Range of Sophisticated Security Technology. Is It a National Model?

    By Mark Keierleber | August 16, 2018

    Inside what’s been dubbed “the safest school in America,” teachers wear panic buttons that can set off an alarm and notify police. Law enforcement officers monitor security cameras in real time. Should a shooter arrive on campus, police can deploy smoke cannons hidden inside the school’s ceiling.

    On Thursday, the Indiana school’s high-tech security features were highlighted in Washington during a meeting of the Federal Commission on School Safety.

    But are the security measures at the Shelbyville, Indiana, school a model for the nation? Max Schachter thinks so. Schachter is CEO of Safe Schools for Alex, a foundation he created after his son was killed in February’s mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida. On Thursday, he outlined to Trump administration officials the promises of next-generation school security technology.

    Max Schachter speaks during a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission meeting in Sunrise, Florida, on June 7, 2018. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    “If the door to Alex’s classroom had ballistic-hardened glass, he would still be alive today,” Schachter said during the meeting. After the shooting, he said, he traveled the country to see what other schools were doing to protect students, and the Indiana campus stood out. “In the 19 years since the Columbine tragedy, we have focused most of our efforts on mental health and prevention. School hardening has been at the bottom of the list. Visiting that school in Indiana convinced me that it is time to bring hardening up to the top.”

    President Donald Trump created the commission after the February school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and Thursday’s meeting, led by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, was titled “Creating a Citadel of Learning: New Tools to Secure Our Schools, Inside and Out.” Commission meetings have focused on a range of issues related to school violence, and Thursday’s event homed in on school security measures, the role of school-based police, active-shooter training, and threat assessments.

    Following the mass shooting in Parkland, school districts across the country have moved to place additional security features in their buildings, and security companies have ramped up efforts to promote emerging products, such as surveillance cameras with facial recognition technology.

    In the aftermath of mass school shootings like the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado and the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the presence of school-based police and technology like surveillance cameras has surged. For example, just 19 percent of schools were equipped with security cameras during the 1999-2000 school year, according to the most recent National Center for Education Statistics data; by the 2015-16 school year, 81 percent of schools had video surveillance.

    Related

    Inside the $3 Billion School Security Industry: Companies Market Sophisticated Technology to ‘Harden’ Campuses, but Will It Make Us Safe?

    Also, 48 percent of public schools reported having a sworn law enforcement officer on campus in 2015-16, compared with 36 percent in 2005-06.

    In 2017, school security was a $2.7 billion business, according to an analysis by IHS Markit, a market-research firm. Still, the $400,000 security system installed at Southwestern High School in Shelbyville, Indiana, remains one of a kind. In fact, the Shelbyville district hasn’t outfitted its other schools with similar features.

    School leaders from across the country frequently cite cost as a leading concern when weighing potential security features. But in Shelbyville, the high-tech security system was funded in part by Net Talon, a security company behind the design.

    Despite the proliferation of school security technology, little academic research exists to show whether the products prevent school violence. And despite the heightened fear Parkland and other school shootings generate, school shootings are statistically rare and campuses have actually become safer in recent years.

    A contentious debate over school security has played out in Broward County, Florida, since the district was shaken by the Parkland tragedy. Among new measures, the campus has additional armed security staff, upgraded surveillance cameras, and classroom doors that lock automatically. But the district ultimately decided against adding metal detectors, a decision that’s garnered pushback from some parents.

    For school districts, Schachter acknowledged that security like bulletproof doors is expensive. “It would take a million dollars just to put these doors in Marjory Stoneman Douglas,” he said. “That’s just one high school in America. If you have a limited budget, you have to make those hard decisions.”

    Beyond cost, some education leaders have raised concerns about the effects surveillance could have on campus climate. JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, took issue with the title of Thursday’s event, noting that “citadels” don’t make great learning environments. “We can’t harden schools to the point of compromising the reason schools exist to begin with,” she tweeted.

    In a statement, Bartoletti said schools should prioritize creating a single point of entry onto campuses before focusing on entertaining “controversial discussions like arming teachers or million-dollar classroom retrofits with bulletproof doors.”

    Asked by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar how schools can balance security with maintaining an inviting campus climate, Schachter refuted the notion that the Indiana school looks like a fortress.

    “We interviewed children, we interviewed teachers, administrators, and everyone said they felt safer being in this environment,” he said.

    Related

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  • EduClips: LAUSD Chief Outlines Possible Deal With Teachers Union; NYC Schools Plan Mandatory Implicit-Bias Training — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | August 16, 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

    FUNDING — While military and health care costs have received plenty of airtime in recent years, the federal education budget hasn’t gotten a thorough vetting on the Senate floor since 2007. That will change if the Senate takes up later this week a massive $856.9 billion spending bill for the departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and a smattering of smaller agencies.

    In the 11-year stretch since the full Senate last debated education appropriations, the Great Recession came and went, exploding the number of students finding themselves either out of work or in need of retraining.

    As tuition and other higher education expenses ballooned in tandem, Congress also loosened the federal purse strings, including making it easier to qualify for Pell Grants, which help nearly 7.5 million predominantly lower-income students afford college. (Read at Roll Call)

    National News

    #EDLECTION2018 — #EDlection2018: In Connecticut Primaries, Acclaimed Teacher Jahana Hayes Handily Wins Democratic Nomination for Congress (Read at The74Million.org)

    KINDERGARTEN — Practicing Kindergarten: How a Summer Program Eases Kids Into Learning (Read at Education Week)

    SPECIAL EDUCATION — When Higher Functioning Follows Form: Special-Needs Students Flourish in Sensory-Designed Schools (Read at The74Million.org)

    District and State News

    CALIFORNIA — Supt. Austin Beutner meets with head of L.A. teachers union, outlines possible deal (Read at the Los Angeles Times)

    NEW YORK —New York City Education Department Plans Mandatory Implicit Bias Training (Read at The Wall Street Journal)

    PUERTO RICO — Clash of Visions as New School Year Opens in Storm-Bruised Puerto Rico (Read at Education Week)

    ILLINOIS — IEA Says Illinois Bills Won’t Solve Teacher Shortage (Read at WSIU)

    FLORIDA — Florida Board of Education supports funding flexibility as it discusses budgets (Read at the Tampa Bay Times)

    TEXAS — Texas school districts receive first official A-F grades. Look up how your district did here. (Read at the Texas Tribune)

    CALIFORNIA — Unexpected Student-Discipline Trends in California: Suspensions Peak in Middle School, Black Kids More Likely to Be Disciplined in Segregated Schools & More (Read at The74Million.org)

    ILLINOIS — New data pulls back curtain on Chicago’s high school admissions derby (Read at Chalkbeat)

    NEVADA — EDITORIAL: A disruptive learning environment (Read at the Las Vegas Review-Journal)

    NEW YORK — City completes probe of yeshiva teaching standards, but still mum on conclusions (Read at the New York Daily News)

    NEVADA — Why students need stronger career and technical education (Read at the Las Vegas Sun)

    Think Pieces

    VOUCHERS — Don’t divert taxpayer money to vouchers. It does much more good at public schools. (Read at USA Today)

    KINDERGARTEN — Full-day kindergarten is great for kids, so why isn’t it required? (Read at The Hechinger Report)

    Quote of the Day

    “For me, it’s a no-brainer. This is going to be one of those cornerstone pieces in terms of how are we going to continue to transform this immense system to really, truly serve all students.” —New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, on the need for mandatory implicit-bias training for all district employees. (Read at The Wall Street Journal)

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