Noteworthy headlines from the education wire
  • Suspect Detained in South Dakota School Custodian Shooting; At Least 31 Killed and 56 Injured at Schools in 2018

    By Mark Keierleber | May 15, 2018

    Correction appended May 16

    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.

    Police say they have detained a suspect in a late-night shooting in early May at a reservation school in northeast South Dakota that injured a 19-year-old custodian.

    The shooting occurred at about 10 p.m. on May 3 at the Enemy Swim Day School just north of Waubay on the Lake Traverse Reservation. Authorities say the custodian was shot in the chest outside the school. The victim was transported to a local hospital. Authorities detained the suspect on May 9.

    Sisseton-Wahpeton Police Chief Gary Gaikowski did not identify the suspect, who has not been formally charged with a crime. Gaikowski didn’t provide details about a potential motive for the shooting.

    In 2018, at least 31 people have been killed and 56 have been injured due to school shootings. 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 [email protected], and bookmark this page for the latest reports of incidents involving the discharging of a firearm on school property that results in a wound or fatality.

    Correction: The original headline to this story incorrectly stated that the suspect in this case had been arrested. The suspect was detained.

  • EduClips: Education Plays Key Role in CA’s Gubernatorial Primary; Parents of 2 Murdered Parkland Teens Run for School Board — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | May 15, 2018

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

    Top Story

    TEACHERS — Pencils, pens, crayons, construction paper, T-shirts, snacks, and, sometimes, a pair of shoes: The costs add up for public school teachers who reach into their own pockets for classroom supplies, ensuring their students have the necessities for learning.

    Nearly all teachers are footing the bill for classroom supplies, an Education Department report found, and teachers in high-poverty schools spend more than those in affluent schools.

    The report, prepared by the National Center for Education Statistics and released Tuesday, is based on a nationally representative survey of teachers during the 2015–16 school year. It found that 94 percent of teachers pay for classroom supplies, spending an average of $479 a year. About 7 percent of teachers spend more than $1,000 a year. (Read at The Washington Post)

    National News

    TEACHER STRIKES — With North Carolina Teachers Rallying This Week, a Look Back at a Season of Strikes: What Teachers Asked For and What They Received (Read at

    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Exclusive: Former for-profit college executive shaped Education Department policy that could benefit former employers: Documents (Read at ABC News)

    CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION — Trump Taps Former Community College Official for Career and Technical Education Post (Read at Politics K-12)

    TEACHERS — Teachers’ group seeks to stop Oklahoma anti-tax question (Read at The Washington Post)

    District and State News

    CALIFORNIA From Voters to Donors, Education Emerging as Key Issue in California’s Gubernatorial Primary; While Newsom Leads, Cox & Villaraigosa Fight for 2nd (Read at

    FLORIDA — 2 parents of murdered Parkland teens run together for Broward school board (Read at Politico)

    ILLINOIS — Parents Call for Chicago Public Schools to Fix Special Education Program (Read at CBS Chicago)

    NEVADA — Nevada charter school fights back against possible closure (Read at the Las Vegas Review-Journal)

    NEW YORK — City may consider more than just test scores in controversial Upper West Side integration proposal (Read at Chalkbeat)

    CALIFORNIA — A few rich charter school supporters are spending millions to elect Antonio Villaraigosa governor (Read at the Los Angeles Times)

    NEW YORK — Is Betsy DeVos visiting a Jewish school in Manhattan Tuesday? Officials won’t say (Read at Chalkbeat)

    TEXAS — TEA head Mike Morath discusses the future of HISD (Read at Chron)

    PENNSYLVANIA — A new Board of Education is coming; but responsibility for schools is still shared | Opinion (Read at The Philadelphia Inquirer)

    NEVADA — School districts increasingly hiring foreign teachers to fill shortages (Read at Fox News)

    TEXAS — Texas ranks 36th nationally in per-student education spending. Here’s how much it spends. (Read at The Texas Tribune)

    Think Pieces

    COMMON CORE — Here’s what annoyed high school students most about the switch to Common Core (Read at Chalkbeat)

    EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS — The Value of a Video (Read at U.S. News and World Report)

    CHARTER SCHOOLS — Robin Lake: 4 Ways a Big New Study on School Districts, Finances & Charter Schools Is Misleading California Parents & Communities (Read at

    SEGREGATION — Any educational reform that ignores segregation is doomed to failure (Read at The Hechinger Report)

    NC TEACHERS — Here’s Why Thousands of North Carolina Teachers Are Taking a Personal Day This Week (Read at Education Post)

    Quote of the Day

    “People may say they’re going to be the ‘education governor,’ but in California every governor is going to be the education governor. In California, so much of the funding in our 40-year, post–Proposition 13 world is driven not by local funding but by state funding. That for so many voters is what the government is about: taking care of schools.” —Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California. (Read at

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  • With North Carolina Teachers Rallying This Week, a Look Back at a Season of Strikes: What Teachers Asked For and What They Received

    By Laura Fay | May 14, 2018

    After seeing their counterparts win raises and education spending hikes in West Virginia, Arizona, and elsewhere, teachers in North Carolina are set to rally this week. Thousands of teachers there have requested Wednesday off so they can rally at the capitol in Raleigh.

    The announcement caused several school districts to announce closures for the day, canceling class for as many as 70,000 students.

    In what some have called a “red state revolt,” teachers around the country have taken to the streets to demand higher salaries, more state spending on education, and better working conditions for educators and staff. What started as a nine-day wildcat strike in West Virginia in March quickly spread to Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, and the not-so-red Colorado. The demonstrations also touched a nerve in Indiana and Mississippi.

    As we look ahead to Wednesday’s rally, The 74 also takes a look back at previous walkouts to compare what teachers asked for and what they ultimately received before returning to the classroom.

    North Carolina

    What’s happening: Educators are planning a one-day event called March for Students and Rally for Respect on May 16 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Teachers are using personal days to take off, but at least 20 districts have announced closures because so many teachers have requested time off. State Superintendent Mark Johnson has said he does not condone the strike but supports teachers.

    What teachers want: The North Carolina Association of Educators released a list of priorities Monday that included: raising per-student spending and teacher salaries to the national average within four years; hiring at least 500 additional school nurses, counselors, and social workers; using a $1.9 billion construction bond to improve school buildings and decrease class sizes; and not having any corporate tax cuts until per-student spending and teacher pay reach the national average.

    In 2017, per-student spending in North Carolina was $9,329, which ranked 39th nationally, according to National Education Association data. The national average was $11,642. Average teacher pay in North Carolina for 2016–17 was $49,970, which is $9,690 short of the national average.


    Exclusive: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper: More Than Low Tax Rates & Quality of Life, CEOs Care About Education and a Skilled Workforce

    West Virginia

    What happened: The wave of teacher activism started in West Virginia in late February, and the strike was statewide, closing schools in all 55 of the state’s counties for nine school days.

    What teachers wanted: Teachers demanded a 5 percent raise and refused to end the the strike until the governor locked the raise in by signing it into law.

    What teachers got: A 5 percent raise, about $6,000 per year, for teachers and all other state employees was passed into law and signed by Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, before teachers went back to class. Justice also promised to set up a task force to address teachers’ concerns about rising health care costs.

    The success teachers found in West Virginia inspired teachers in a number of other states, who did not always reach such clear victories.


    What happened: In Oklahoma, much of the organizing happened at a grassroots level online, casting the union in a support role. Teachers called for a $200 million increase in school funding over three years plus additional funding for health care. They staged a walkout that came to an anticlimactic end after nine school days without much concrete progress to celebrate — and no clear plan to increase education spending.

    What teachers wanted: They were looking for higher pay for teachers and support staff, more funding for public education and other services, and a cost-of-living increase for retired teachers, according to the state teachers union website.

    What teachers got: The biggest change came before the strike began, when the legislature passed a salary increase worth about $6,000 per year. Several teachers also filed to run for public office during the strike, which coincided with the candidate filing window at the capitol, reported.

    Public school teachers and their supporters protest against a pension reform bill at the Kentucky state capitol in Frankfort on April 2, 2018. (Credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)


    What happened: After staging a series of protests during sickouts and spring break, teachers forced more than 30 districts to cancel classes while they rallied at their state capitol April 13 for more school funding. Teachers there opposed a pension reform bill but did not ask for salary increases.

    In a controversial interview, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin blamed teachers for children being exposed to sexual abuse, drugs, and poison on their days off during the walkout. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle condemned the comments, and he later apologized.

    What teachers wanted: Teachers were angry about a plan created by the Republican-controlled legislature to change the state’s pension system. Educators also urged state lawmakers to increase education spending.

    What teachers got: The pension overhaul was enacted against teachers’ wishes, but Republican lawmakers overrode the governor’s veto of their budget, which will now increase education spending by raising taxes. Bevin called the budget irresponsible.


    What happened: The movement in Arizona was largely led by a grassroots group called Arizona Educators United, with some support from the state teachers union, the Arizona Education Association.

    Teachers rallied at the state capitol for six days, forcing schools in at least 100 districts to close. During the protests, Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, did a number of media appearances to promote his plan to give teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020. Critics of the governor’s plan said the funding was based on overly optimistic revenue projections.

    What teachers asked for: Organizers demanded higher pay for teachers and support staff and urged lawmakers to return education spending to 2008 levels and refuse to cut taxes until per-student spending reaches the national average. Arizona’s per-pupil spending in 2017 was $7,501, about $4,000 below the national average, making it 48th in the nation, according to National Education Association data.

    What teachers got: After a late-night legislative session, Ducey signed a plan May 3 to give teachers a 20 percent salary increase by 2020. Although teachers wanted more funding for their schools, some saw the strike as a win because educators put enough pressure on lawmakers to enact some change immediately and laid groundwork for future activism.


    What happened: Teachers from several districts used personal time off to rally at the capitol throughout April, which forced some districts to close for a day or more.

    What teachers wanted: Teachers wanted the state to fully fund schools, which have been underfunded by $822 million per year since 2009, according to The Denver Post. The full funding would allow for higher teacher pay, alleviate teacher shortages, and decrease class sizes.

    What teachers got: Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, acknowledged teachers’ concerns at a rally and said he would work to improve education funding, but he didn’t offer specifics.


    Exclusive: Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper on School Safety, Turnarounds & Showing Taxpayers a Return on Their Education Investment

    Teachers from Colorado’s Pueblo City Schools district staged a genuine strike that lasted five days and officially ended Sunday after teachers secured a 2 percent raise, The Denver Post reported.

    Teachers also demonstrated in Puerto Rico in April to protest a plan to close hundreds of public schools and convert others into charter schools.


    Understanding Janus: 7 Articles to Read as Supreme Court Hears Pivotal Case on Public Worker Union Dues

  • EduClips: Chicago Special Ed Overhaul Violated Law, State Says; Teachers, Student Activists Mobilize for Midterm Elections — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | May 14, 2018

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

    Top Story

    DEVOS — U.S. Secretary Betsy DeVos’s team is mulling a significant reorganization of the office of elementary and secondary education or OESE, the main K-12 arm of the U.S. Department of Education.

    The effort would be part of the Trump administration’s overall push to “streamline” government. The department signaled earlier this year that it would merge the OESE, which oversees programs like Title I grants to help districts serve disadvantaged students, with the office for innovation, which deals with charters, programs for private schools, and more.

    As part of that merger, the department is considering a reshuffling of OESE itself. It could mean consolidating and reconfiguring the eight smaller offices within the broader OESE, according to a draft plan explaining the changes. Those are: the offices of academic improvement, early learning, Impact Aid, Indian education, migrant education, safe and healthy students, school support and rural programs, and the office of state support. (Read at Politics K-12)

    National News

    MIDTERM ELECTIONS — David Hogg Wants to Knock NRA-Backed Candidates Out of Office. His Biggest Obstacle? The Lackluster Voting Habits of His Young Peers (Read at

    CHARTERS — Two former staff members at Families for Excellent Schools planning a new pro-charter org (Read at Chalkbeat)

    MIDTERM ELECTIONS — Teacher Activists Take Fight to the Polls (Read at Education Week)

    District and State News

    ILLINOIS — State: Chicago Special Education Overhaul Violated Law (Read at U.S. News and World Report)

    FLORIDA — Nearly half of Florida’s VPK students not ready for kindergarten (Read at Herald-Tribune)

    TEXAS — Texas schools chief to get $750K in wake of bullying claims (Read at WRAL)

    CALIFORNIA — Talking schools with L.A. Unified’s new superintendent (Read at Los Angeles Times)

    NEW YORK — In New York High Schools, the Sound of Music Is Muted (Read at New York Times)

    FLORIDA — Florida group sues Collier schools over unbalanced science books (Read at ABC 7)

    VIRGINIA — ‘It’s tragic’: Students go hungry in Northern Virginia (Read at Washington Post)

    NEVADA — Opinion: CCSD must honor deal it made with its teachers (Read at Las Vegas Sun)

    CALIFORNIA — The rise of restorative justice in California schools brings promise, controversy (Read at EdSource)

    NEW YORK — At West Prep Academy, officials say the Upper West Side integration debate misses the larger issue: how students are sorted into middle schools (Read at Chalkbeat)

    Think Pieces

    BROWN’S LEGACY — How America’s Schools Have (and Haven’t) Changed in the 64 Years Since the Brown v. Board Verdict — as Told in 15 Charts (Read at

    COLLEGE APPLICATIONS — 5 High Schoolers and Their College Application Essays About Work, Money and Social Class (Read at New York Times)

    SPECIAL EDUCATION — Veteran policymaker says 80 percent of special-ed kids don’t need that label (Read at Washington Post)

    SCHOOL SAFETY — Rotherham: School Shootings Are Rare. We Need to Dial Back the Fear So Students Can Engage on the Issue of Guns in Society (Read at

    LEARNING — Students Learn Less When They Sense Teacher Hostility (Read at Education Week)

    EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS — Are educational videos leaving low-income students behind? (Read at Hechinger Report)

    CHARTERS — Charter Schools Point toward a Better Education for All (Read at National Review)

    PROJECT-BASED LEARNING — Project-based learning and standardized tests don’t mix (Read at Hechinger Report)

    Quote of the Day

    “If you’re interested in ‘Will young organizers make a difference in this election,’ I think the answer is yes. But if you’re interested in ‘Do young people really participate in our democracy,’ then I think the answer is basically no. And that’s a bad thing.” — Peter Levine, who studies youth civic engagement and is the associate dean for research at the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. (Read at

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  • How America’s Schools Have (and Haven’t) Changed in the 64 Years Since the Brown v. Board Verdict — as Told in 15 Charts

    By Kevin Mahnken | May 13, 2018

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

    Thursday marks the 64th anniversary of the Supreme Court abolishing segregated schools in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case. That means a generation of Americans has been born, attended public schools, matured into adulthood, raised children of their own, and now reached retirement age — all outside the shadow of America’s own system of legal apartheid.

    This year’s commemoration will be bittersweet for many education activists: Linda Brown — who was in third grade when her father sued the Topeka Board of Education, seeking to force her enrollment in a nearby all-white school — died in March at the age of 75.


    America Remembers Linda Brown, 75, the Third-Grader Who Became The Face of ‘Brown v. Board of Education’ And Overturned School Segregation

    It was in her name that the court voted unanimously to uproot racial bias from education, precipitating a long-delayed social and political movement to fulfill the promises of the Founding Fathers.

    Brown v. Board of Education was a necessary victory,” Brown said in a lecture decades later. “It might have been a little flame, but it served to set off a mighty flame.”

    But is the fire ebbing in 2018? De jure segregation may be a thing of the past, but each day, some facet of racial inequity seems to emerge in our media, politics, or culture. In fact, the question of whether America offers everyone a fair deal may be the central question of our time. Particularly since the 2016 election, our narrative of progress and justice for all citizens is increasingly viewed with a jaundiced eye.

    It can be difficult to quantify the milestones on the path to higher ground — imagine a mostly flatlined chart depicting the growth of black presidents that spikes in 2009 — but social science can give us a clearer picture of the trends shaping the United States more than half a century after Brown v. Board of Education.

    The images attempt to capture how far we’ve come in the past 64 years, in the classroom and society at large — and what lies ahead.

    Segregated Schools: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

    One of the hottest debates in education policy today centers on the ultimate legacy of Brown: whether public schools have succeeded in bringing together white and minority students.

    Some scholars and activists say that, following an energetic (if controversial) campaign of busing during the 1970s and ’80s, schools around the country have begun to resegregate, with white and black students growing more isolated from one another. Skeptics respond by citing demographic changes that have made the American education system more diverse overall, shrinking the number of majority-white schools to integrate.

    From left, Harry Briggs Jr., Linda Brown Smith, Spottswood Bolling, and Ethel Louise Belton Brown at a press conference at the Americana hotel on May 27, 1984. Briggs’s parents were the impetus to the famous Brown v. Board of Education lawsuit. (Photo by Jerry Engel/New York Post Archives /(c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)

    A separate dustup has developed around school choice: Media analyses over the past few years have asserted that urban charter schools, which often enroll huge populations of black and Hispanic students, have made racial segregation worse. Charter defenders certainly haven’t taken well to that line of reasoning, and many counter that charter schools have largely appeared in neighborhoods already sharply divided by race.


    Lake: In a Deeply Flawed ‘Analysis,’ the Associated Press Blames Public Charter Schools for America’s Segregated Cities

    Russ Whitehurst, an expert in education research and the founding director of the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education, has explored the question of resegregation in a series of reports for the Brookings Institution. He argues that, contrary to the most pessimistic assertions of some commentators, school segregation has declined on the whole since the civil rights era.

    Source: Brookings Institution

    That said, 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. The problem of racial isolation is exacerbated by district lines, he notes, which often divide cities and neighborhoods fairly neatly by race.

    The question is: Why did progress toward racial diversity in public schools hit is 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.

    Source: Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis

    Predictably, the weakening or elimination of court orders mandating integration has led to major reversals. The University of California’s Civil Rights Project has shown a receding tide of black students enrolled at majority-white schools in Southern states. From the mid-’60s to the late ’80s, the region made by far the greatest strides in the country in ending segregation. (They had the most ground to make up, of course.) But schools there are now “substantially more segregated” than they were in the 1970s, the researchers claim.

    Source: Civil Rights Project, UCLA

    Academics: The Stubborn Gap

    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.

    Source: National Assessment Governing Board

    The uneven academic playing field is reflected in terms of coursework as well. Though they make up a declining segment of the overall school population, white students still make up a disproportionate segment of those enrolled in advanced classes in K-12 schools. A 2016 report from the Obama administration revealed that just over half the percentage of black students are enrolled in AP classes, or in gifted and talented programs, as white students. Hispanic students are similarly underrepresented.

    Source: Civil Rights Data Collection

    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.

    Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

    And all this doesn’t touch upon perhaps the most controversial way in which the experience of black and white students differs: school discipline.

    Missing school because of a suspension — and certainly being expelled from school or arrested for a classroom offense — is one of the worst things that can happen to a student. It disrupts their learning and brands them with a disciplinary record for the rest of their student careers. And black students are, by far, the most likely group to experience the adverse consequences of punishment in school.

    A report from the Government Accountability Office showed that, in the 2013–14 school year, white students were the most underrepresented racial group in terms of suspensions, corporal punishment, referrals to law enforcement, and school-related arrests. Black students were the most overrepresented in all categories.

    Source: United States Government Accountability Office

    Stark as those 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.

    Source: Vox

    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. While whites still make up roughly 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.

    Source: Urban Institute

    Beyond the Classroom

    In spite of the stunted pace of change in the academic sphere, some of the broader realities of black life in America have unambiguously improved since the mid-1950s. To take one example, a persuasive case can be made that the standard of living for black Americans has ticked upward over the past few decades. While blacks are statistically much more likely to live in poverty than whites, the percentage dropped by roughly one-third between 1963 and 2011. (It should be noted that poverty rates for both blacks and whites have climbed noticeably since 2000.)

    Source: Pew Research Center

    Meanwhile, the formerly yawning gap in life expectancy between black and white citizens has narrowed significantly. Black men in particular now live about a decade longer than they did in the Brown era.

    Source: The New York Times

    Beyond the physical and economic conditions of day-to-day life, Americans themselves have tended to characterize the relationships between races as improving — until recently. Just 28 years ago, only about 40 percent of whites and 30 percent of blacks said that race relations between the two groups were good. Toward the end of the Obama presidency, roughly 60 percent of both demographics said that they were.

    Source: CBS/New York Times poll

    Still, those kinds of perceptions are subject to wild fluctuations. The presidency of Donald Trump has altered the picture in just its first few years, according to polling from YouGov. While whites are more than twice as likely to say that race relations are better under Trump than under Obama, blacks are more than twice as likely to say that they have gotten worse.

    Source: YouGov

    What’s Around the Corner?

    The past 64 years have seen large numbers of black citizens living longer and more prosperous lives, and a widespread acknowledgement among both blacks and whites that they are living together more harmoniously. At the same time, hard-won inroads in academic performance and school integration have leveled off or declined over the past few decades. So what’s coming next?

    The actuarial tables make one thing clear: In the coming years, the population of America’s schools will be less white. And less black.

    Source: Pew Research Center

    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 minority-majority nation.

    That means that more power and influence will gradually be held by people who haven’t historically enjoyed it. By the calculations of the Brookings Institution, white people will constitute a minority of the middle class within the next 25 years.

    Source: Brookings Institution

    If that projection is borne out, by the time Brown v. Board of Education approaches the century mark, the main group driving consensus in both the American democracy and the American economy will be monolithically … diverse. It’s hard to believe that Linda Brown, or the nine white men who heard her case in 1954, could have seen that coming.


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  • The Week Ahead in Education Politics: Petitions to Protect DACA & Reinstate Net Neutrality as Congress Weighs School Safety, Data Privacy & More

    By Carolyn Phenicie | May 12, 2018

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

    INBOX: IMMIGRATION & NET NEUTRALITY Two petitions are circulating in Congress that would allow Democrats to circumvent Republican opposition to force votes on immigration and net neutrality, two issues that touch education. Prepare for this to get a little wonky.

    In the House, Democrats are pushing a petition that would get around House Speaker Paul Ryan to bring to a vote four immigration proposals: one each backed by the Trump administration, House Democrats, and Ryan, and then a bipartisan measure. The proposal that received the most votes would be adopted. Each would deal, to a different degree, with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

    The Obama-era program provided legal status and work permits to young people brought to the country illegally as children, so long as they met certain requirements. The Trump administration ended it as of March, but court rulings have meant that current recipients may renew their status, and the administration may be forced to accept new applications, too.

    The petition would require the support of all the chamber’s Democrats and 25 Republicans; as of Friday afternoon, 18 Republicans and one Democrat have signed. The chamber can only consider the petition on the first or third Monday of a month when the House is in session; the next time that is planned is June 25, the Los Angeles Times reported.

    Ryan has said forcing a vote in this manner would be a “spectacle” that ends with a bill President Trump would veto, and members should instead work in a bipartisan manner to draft a bill that can become law, CBS reported.

    In the Senate, Democrats are pushing for the chamber to consider a measure that would, in effect, reinstate the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rule. The FCC in December 2017 overturned an Obama-era rule barring internet providers from slowing down or blocking access to certain content, or providing faster content to other types that pay for the privilege.

    The new rules go into effect June 11. The actual impacts to users, including schools, aren’t clear, but it could mean higher internet bills and less access to innovative education technology if startups can’t pay for premium access to consumers, for example.

    The Democrats’ petition is running through the same Congressional Review Act process that Senate Republicans used last year to kill Obama-era rules governing implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act. It is nearing majority support, and a vote is likely this week, Gizmodo reported.

    Although support in the House is less clear, some advocates believe House Republicans can be persuaded to back it because of the strong public support for net neutrality.

    ICYMI: The House Armed Services Committee didn’t include a proposal by Rep. Jim Banks to provide education savings accounts to the children of some active-duty service members in the annual defense authorization during markup this week. Advocates hope to add it to the bill when the full House considers the measure later this month, Education Week reported.

    MONDAY: BROWN V. BOARD ANNIVERSARY — Journey 4 Justice, an educational advocacy group aligned with teachers unions, will release a report, “Failing Brown v. Board,” to highlight how public education remains inequitable across racial lines. They’ll also hold a rally with union leaders and other education advocates on the steps of the Supreme Court.

    TUESDAY: SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS — The House will consider a bill requiring the Justice and Education departments, within a year, to survey every public elementary and secondary school on whether they have a school resource officer, and whether the officer or officers work full or part time. The bill is being considered under suspension of the rules, a parliamentary procedure used for uncontroversial legislation that speeds up debate but requires support of two-thirds of members to pass.

    The placement of law enforcement on campus has come to the fore as schools grapple with safety issues in the wake of mass shootings, but advocates have also warned it could put more young people, particularly young men of color, in the criminal justice system unfairly. Many big-city districts have more school resource officers on campus than counselors.

    TUESDAY: FOSTER CARE Casey Family Programs, a foundation focused on foster care, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and families affected by the opioid crisis and the child welfare system hold a briefing on the recently passed Family First Prevention Services Act. The legislation, which was included in a February budget deal, changes some federal financing systems by paying for substance abuse treatment, mental health counseling, and parent skills training with the aim of preventing children from entering foster care.

    WEDNESDAY: SECURE SCHOOLS The House Homeland Security Committee will consider the “Secure Our Schools Act.” The bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to develop a strategy to secure schools and colleges from “acts of terrorism, active shooters, and other homeland security threats,” according to the committee’s website.

    WEDNESDAY: INDIAN EDUCATION The Senate Indian Affairs Committee holds a hearing on safety and security at Bureau of Indian Education schools. The federally funded system, serving about 48,000 students in 183 schools, has long been plagued by neglect and mismanagement. The same panel dressed down agency leaders for failures in a similar hearing exactly a year ago.

    THURSDAY: DATA PRIVACY The House Education and the Workforce Committee holds a hearing on data privacy and “exploring how schools and states keep data safe.” Schools are facing new data security concerns, like when the Leominster Public Schools in Massachusetts earlier this month paid $10,000 in bitcoin to hackers who wiped the school system’s data and held it for ransom. Attempts to rewrite the decades-old federal laws governing student data, the Education Sciences Reform Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, have stalled in recent years.

    THURSDAY: FCC A Senate Appropriations subcommittee holds a hearing on the 2019 budget requests for the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission. In addition to the net neutrality issue, the FCC runs the E-Rate program, which provides low-cost internet to schools. The FTC has, with the Education Department, looked into privacy issues in ed tech.


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  • 1 injured in California School Shooting on Friday; At Least 31 Killed and 55 Injured at Schools in 2018

    By Mark Keierleber | May 11, 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.

    A high school student was injured in a campus shooting near Los Angeles on Friday morning after a dispute with a classmate turned violent, the Los Angeles Times reports. Police detained the 14-year-old suspect, who has not been identified, in a nearby parking lot shortly after the incident.

    The shooting at Highland High School in Palmdale, just north of Los Angeles, unfolded just after 7 a.m., before classes had begun. The 14-year-old victim, who was shot in the arm, was transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Authorities say the rifle used in the shooting was recovered off campus.

    In 2018, at least 31 people have been killed and 55 have been injured due to school shootings. 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 [email protected], and bookmark this page for the latest reports of incidents involving the discharging of a firearm on school property that results in a wound or fatality.


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  • EduClips: Harvey Waivers Could Stave Off Accountability in Houston, Nevada Reconsiders TFA, ‘Minimum Grading’ in Florida — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Steve Snyder | May 11, 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

    HOUSE TO VOTE ON SCHOOL CHOICE AMENDMENT? — Advocates’ push to expand federally backed school choice under the Trump administration has pretty much fallen flat this Congress — but a House vote later this month might give them some hope. Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., has introduced legislation to create education savings accounts using a relatively “small portion” of federal Impact Aid, which helps districts whose tax base is impacted by government activities — think military bases. (However, the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools, which opposes the bill, says the Banks plan could ultimately divert a relatively large portion of Impact Aid’s Basic Support payments, up to $450 million, into education savings accounts.)

    Typically, these accounts can be used for a variety of K-12 expenses, from textbooks to tutoring services. Supporters, including the Heritage Foundation, say the legislation would expand education options to an important population of students and would help military retention rates. They had hoped to attach Banks’s bill to the National Defense Authorization Act as an amendment during a House hearing on the NDAA Wednesday. However, that push failed, so supporters are now aiming to use the House floor debate on the NDAA to pass Banks’s plan through the amendment process — Banks himself said this was his plan earlier this week. (Read at Education Week)

    National News

    BEST OF THE BEST — America’s best high schools in 2018, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report (Read at USA Today)

    GIFTED EDUCATION — Why So Many Gifted Yet Struggling Students Are Hidden in Plain Sight (Read at NPR)

    District and State News

    TEXAS – TEA commissioner: Harvey waivers could stave off HISD accountability sanctions (Read at the Houston Chronicle)

    FLORIDA — Some Lee County teachers using ‘minimum grading’ to boost low grades (Read at Fox 4 Now)

    NEVADA — Clark County trustees to reconsider Teach for America contract (Read at the Las Vegas Review-Journal)

    CALIFORNIA – On California campaign trail, a push to strip school funding for undocumented students (Read at EdSource)

    NEW YORK – Here are the more than 100 New York City schools with pre-K waiting lists this year (Read at Chalkbeat)

    ILLINOIS – Illinois bill would add school bus service to high-crime neighborhoods (Read at KSDK)

    FLORIDA – Civil rights groups urge U.S. Education Secretary DeVos to reject Florida’s latest accountability plan (Read at the Tampa Bay Times)

    CALIFORNIA – State Board of Education President Mike Kirst retires — and reflects on changes he has led (Read at EdSource)

    NEW YORK – Program to Help Minority Students Fell Short of Some Goals, Study Finds (Read at The Wall Street Journal)

    Think Pieces

    SCHOOL DESIGN — Can a school save a neighborhood? (Read at The Hechinger Report)

    PERSONAL CHOICE — Cynthia Nixon’s education equality act, denying others choices (Read at the New York Daily News)


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  • New Survey Shows Nearly Two-Thirds of Likely Voters Support School Choice — but ‘Trump Effect’ Has Emboldened Opposition

    By Laura Fay | May 9, 2018

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

    Public support for school choice has taken a small hit but remains high among likely November voters, according to a survey gauging public support for a range of school choice options. The survey was discussed at the recent conference of the American Federation for Children.

    The poll found that 63 percent of likely November voters support school choice, with 41 percent saying they “strongly agree.” The question was put to voters this way: Generally speaking, would you say you favor or oppose the concept of school choice? School choice gives parents the right to use the tax dollars designated for their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school which best serves their needs. (The question has been tweaked slightly from previous years: Previous polls described the funding as “dollars associated with their child’s education” and used the word “better” instead of best.)

    Source: Beck Research LLC

    The Federation, an advocacy group that seeks to expand school choice and was founded by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, commissioned the fourth annual study.

    The decrease, which continues a trend that started last year, could be a “Trump effect,” with more voters viewing school choice unfavorably because of President Donald Trump’s support for the policies, the president of the research firm that did the survey, Deborah Beck, told Education Week.

    Support for school choice appears to be bipartisan: 75 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of Independents, and 54 percent of Democrats reported that they support choice. A 2017 Gallup poll found that federal funding for school choice programs was one of only four out of 15 policy actions or proposals associated with Trump that a majority of Americans supported.


    What Do Americans Think of School Choice? Depends on How You Ask the Question

    While overall support for choice dipped this year, the popularity of education savings accounts has increased, with 74 percent of voters supporting the idea, up from 69 percent last year. For the first time, the poll asked specifically about support for education savings accounts for children from military families, which 77 percent of respondents supported. Education savings accounts hold public dollars that families who take their children out of public school can use for costs such as private school tuition, online courses, tutoring, counseling, books, or other education-related expenses. They may be available for certain groups, such as students with special needs or who attend a failing school, depending on state laws.

    Source: Beck Research LLC


    Hard Battle Lines Drawn as Congress Considers Using $1.4B in Federal ‘Impact Aid’ to Expand School Choice for Military Families

    That a majority of Americans continue to support school choice policy is a relief for advocates like Tommy Schultz, director of communications at the American Federation for Children. Over the past year, Schultz told The 74, the school choice movement has faced attacks from teachers unions and negative media attention that threatened to sink public opinion. Instead, respondents showed they still support the policies, with 86 percent showing support for at least some form of private school choice through scholarships, vouchers, or education savings accounts.

    “Month in and month out in 2017, we saw these salacious headlines and attacks coming from various corners of the education establishment, and the poll numbers show that the attacks didn’t stick, and that parents still believe that they deserve to have some measure of educational freedom and choice for their child,” Schultz said.

    Beck Research LLC, a Democratic polling firm, conducted the survey by phone in both English and Spanish January 8–13, 2018, among 1,100 likely November 2018 voters; the margin of error is +/- 3.5%.

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


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  • Braun Scores Upset Victory in Indiana GOP Senate Primary, Besting School Choice Advocates Rokita, Messer

    By Carolyn Phenicie | May 9, 2018

    Indiana businessman and self-styled outsider Mike Braun won the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, beating out well-known Republican congressmen Todd Rokita and Luke Messer in a costly and vitriolic race.

    Though Rokita and Messer, both strong school choice advocates, had substantive K-12 education records, the race didn’t focus on the issue. The three GOP candidates disagreed little on policy; instead, they sniped at one another over residency, treatment of staff, and past ties to Democrats. Each tried to outdo the other in proving his fealty to President Donald Trump.


    K-12 Education Policy Heavyweights Squaring Off in ‘Nasty’ Indiana GOP Senate Primary

    Braun, who self-funded a large portion of his campaign, ran ads portraying Rokita and Messer as indistinguishable politicians, long focused on winning, while he had real-life business experience.

    Braun will face Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in November. Donnelly is widely considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats, and control of the Senate could very easily come down to one or two seats.

    The noxious tone of the primary is already affecting the general election: a Democratic super PAC released an ad last night with video of Messer and Rokita accusing Braun of buying the seat, The Indianapolis Star reported. With Braun leading the way, the candidates spent millions on ads, most of them negative, in the most expensive race in the country this year.

    Braun won with about 41 percent of the vote, with Rokita taking 30 percent and Messer 29 percent.

    With their terms up in the House, Rokita, who chairs of the House subcommittee covering K-12 education, and Messer, who founded the Congressional School Choice Caucus, will depart Congress at the end of the year. Messer was just honored as a “charter champion” by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.


    Exclusive: 20 Bipartisan ‘Charter Champions’ Honored by National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Sen. Orrin Hatch Receives ‘Lifetime Achievement’ Award


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  • Under Shadow of Online Charter School Scandal, Mike DeWine & Richard Cordray Win Primaries in Race for Ohio Governor

    By Kate Stringer | May 9, 2018

    Old political rivals will face off once again after Ohio’s attorney general, Republican Mike DeWine, and his predecessor, Democrat Richard Cordray, won their parties’ primaries for governor Tuesday night.

    Many are calling the upcoming campaign a rematch of the 2010 race for attorney general, which DeWine won by a small margin.

    Cordray, who headed the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under President Barack Obama, defeated former Cleveland mayor and congressman Dennis Kucinich, earning 63 percent of the vote. DeWine bested Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor with 59 percent.

    Now, the two have their work cut out for them, convincing voters that they will address some of Ohio’s top issues, including the opioid crisis, mounting student debt, and unemployment compensation, the Dayton Daily News reported.

    Although Ohio’s legislature and governor’s office have been controlled by Republicans for 20 of the past 24 years, some have called this year the best chance for Democrats to retake the governor’s seat, especially as the party tries to capitalize on anti-Trump sentiment in major elections this fall.

    An unexpected education scandal could make this reality even likelier. Ohio’s largest — and now shuttered — online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), allegedly overcharged the state millions of dollars for its students. An anonymous whistleblower claimed that the school’s leaders used software that intentionally miscounted attendance. Those same leaders have donated millions to Republican candidates, making the scandal a major problem for the GOP in the November elections.


    EDlection 2018: Could an Online Education Scandal in Ohio Cost the GOP the Governor’s Office?

    “The ECOT thing is going to be a huge issue in the fall — not just for the governor’s race, but almost every other race that’s out there,” said education commentator Stephen Dyer, “because there are such close connections from this school to nearly every Republican candidate who’s run for state office since, basically, 2004. And all those guys are running now.”

    President Donald Trump was quick to congratulate DeWine on Twitter and accuse Cordray of being a socialist.

    In a speech after his win, DeWine highlighted improving the state’s education system, preparing its future workforce, and fighting illegal drugs as issues he’d address as governor, reported. “Republicans, Independents, Democrats, come with us,” DeWine said. “We need you to be part of this, to be part of creating our new future, this new Ohio that we will forge together.”

    Cordray used his victory speech to portray himself as a candidate for the working class while painting DeWine as a politician for the wealthy, reported. “I congratulate Mike DeWine tonight for winning one of the ugliest campaigns I’ve ever seen,” Cordray said after the results were in. “We now have a clear choice in November, and the things we stand for cannot be more different.”


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  • EduClips: Discipline Program Failed to Intercept Parkland Shooter, Critics Say; LAUSD Averts Strike With Service Workers — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | May 9, 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

    SUPERINTENDENTS — Nearly everywhere, it seems, new superintendents have been sought recently.

    The country’s three largest school districts — New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago — have all seen new leaders appointed since the start of the year. School boards in Seattle and Las Vegas just picked new leaders, and the top job in Washington, D.C., has been open since February. Two of the most challenging districts in New Jersey, Newark and Camden, are also on the market.

    But that churn, and the oft-cited statistic that superintendents on average stay on the job for only three years, may be an anomaly, according to a new report from the Broad Center released Tuesday. The three-year figure is for superintendents currently on the job, but a survey of all the superintendents who have served in the 100 largest school districts since 2003, including many who have since left, found that they had been in office an average of six years when they departed. (Read at

    National News

    GRADUATION CONTROVERSY — Faculty Member Shoves Black Graduates Offstage, and the University of Florida Apologizes (Read at The New York Times)

    ELECTION — Two School Choice Champions in Congress Squared Off for a Senate Seat. Both Lost. (Read at Politics K-12)

    PHILANTHROPY — Gates, Zuckerberg team up on new education initiative (Read at The Washington Post)*

    ROBOTICS — FIRST Robotics Championship Boosts Diversity (Read at U.S. News and World Report)

    District and State News

    FLORIDA — Did discipline diversion program fail Parkland? Superintendent vows improved policies. (Read at the Miami Herald)

    CALIFORNIA — LAUSD reaches contract deal with SEIU, avoids strike (Read at ABC 7)

    PENNSYLVANIA — Toxic City: Cleaning up Philly’s contaminated schools has a huge price tag | Editorial (Read at the Philadelphia Inquirer)

    NEW YORK — Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza gets Twitter support for stance on integration (Read at the New York Daily News)

    CALIFORNIA — GOP candidates for governor say California schools need changes, not more funding (Read at EdSource)

    NEVADA — Gubernatorial candidates spar over education funding at bipartisan forum (Read at the Las Vegas Sun)

    NEW YORK — A $24 million New York City program was supposed to prepare more black and Latino men for college. But a new study found it didn’t. (Read at Chalkbeat)

    TEXAS — Fort Worth ISD using billboards to recruit Oklahoma teachers (Read at Fox 4 News)

    ILLINOIS — Illinois bill looks to expand enrollment at high school (Read at the Seattle Times)

    Think Pieces

    DUNCAN AND SPELLINGS — What ails education? ‘An absence of vision, a failure of will and politics’ (Read at The Washington Post)

    FIGURE SKATING — Figure Skating Program Transforms Black and Latina Girls From Harlem and Detroit Into Champions on Ice & in School — and Beyoncé’s a Fan (Read at

    BOOK CONTROVERSY — Parents Are Divided Over a Book in a Popular Student Reading Program in Oregon (Read at The New York Times)

    ABSENTEEISM — Why are these Mississippi students missing so much school? (Read at The Hechinger Report)

    TEACHERS — In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, 8 essays from educators who raised their voices this year (Read at Chalkbeat)

    RACISM — The National Memorial for Peace and Justice is a lesson students sorely need (Read at The Hechinger Report)

    Quote of the Day

    “I was shocked. He literally wrapped his arms around me. I didn’t understand what was going on.” —Oliver Telusma, a University of Florida graduate, one of several students who was yanked off stage by a faculty marshal after dancing onstage at the school’s recent graduation ceremony. (Read at The New York Times)

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

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  • Exclusive: 20 Bipartisan ‘Charter Champions’ Honored by National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Sen. Orrin Hatch Receives ‘Lifetime Achievement’ Award

    By Kate Stringer | May 9, 2018

    As the longest-serving U.S. Republican senator heads to retirement at the end of this year, he’s receiving a tip of the hat for his support of charter schools.

    On Wednesday, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools — a nonprofit that supports charters — announced that it is honoring Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah with an inaugural Lifetime Achievement Champion for Charters award for supporting funding of the federal Charter Schools Program and advising his legislative colleagues on how to best address financing and facilities issues for charters.

    Hatch’s honor is one of 20 the alliance is celebrating this week as part of its annual Champions for Charters awards. State, local, and federal politicians on both sides of the aisle are being recognized for advancing the cause of charter schools, which have now grown to serve 3.2 million students in 44 states and Washington, D.C.


    Nina Rees: National Charter Schools Week, a Time for Celebrating Great Public Schools — and the Teachers Who Make Them Possible

    “For 12 years, we have been honoring lawmakers at all levels of government who are making a difference for students by supporting high-quality charter schools,” Nina Rees, president and CEO of the alliance, said in a press release. “Each year, I am grateful for the ways these elected officials have been responsive to the students and families they serve by promoting more public school options. Without their support, the charter school movement would not be where it is today. This year’s honorees have fought for our students and deserve our gratitude and praise.”

    Among this year’s federal honorees are Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, both Democrats, and two Republicans — Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas.

    “I am honored to be recognized by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools as this year’s Charter School Champion,” said Coons in a statement. “I have been a steadfast supporter of promoting high-quality charter schools in Delaware and increasing funding for all public schools so that our children and teachers have the tools they need to succeed.”

    The awards this year also include an inaugural recognition for an emerging leader, dubbed a Rising Champion for Charters. U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat of New York is this year’s designee, spotlighted for his work supporting additional funding for charter schools in the 2018 federal budget. His district includes Harlem, East Harlem, northern Manhattan, and the northwest Bronx.

    “It remains critical that we continue to lend our support as well as federal resources to ensure that successful public charter schools are able to thrive and help enrolled students succeed,” Espaillat said in a statement. “Public charter schools are responsible for educating more than 3.2 million students in nearly 7,000 schools around the nation.”

    Policymakers from California received the most nods from the alliance. The Golden State is home to the largest number of charter schools in the nation, with 630,000 students enrolled in 1,275 schools. Gov. Jerry Brown is being honored for his school finance reform that helped create equitable funding for charters and traditional public schools. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo is being recognized for his advocacy for charter schools at local school board meetings and in written letters of support.

    The 2018 awardees:

    Lifetime Achievement Champion for Charters

    Sen. Orrin Hatch (R), Utah

    Rising Champion for Charters

    Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D), New York

    Federal Charter Champions

    Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D), Arizona

    Sen. Chris Coons (D), Delaware

    Rep. Luke Messer (R), Indiana

    Sen. John Cornyn (R), Texas

    State and Local Champions

    Gov. Jerry Brown (D), California

    State Sen. Steve Glazer (D), California

    Mayor Sam Liccardo (D), San Jose, California

    Assemblymember Blanca Rubio (D), California

    Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D), California

    State Sen. Owen Hill (R), Colorado

    State Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D), Colorado

    State Rep. Lang Sias (R), Colorado

    State Sen. Angela Williams (D), Colorado

    Gov. Dannel Malloy (D), Connecticut

    State Rep. Judy Boyle (R), Idaho

    State Sen. Lori Den Hartog (R), Idaho

    State Sen. Bob Nonini (R), Idaho

    Gov. Susana Martinez (R), New Mexico

    Disclosure: Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Doris & Donald Fisher Fund, The Walton Family Foundation, and the William E. Simon Foundation provide financial support to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and The 74.


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  • EduClips: Texas Special Ed Reform Faces Mistrust; LAUSD: Suggestions for New Chief Beutner’s To-Do List — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | May 8, 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

    TEACHERS — The extraordinary wave of teacher strikes highlights these crucial but often forgotten facts: In number, teachers are the largest profession in the United States. And collectively, they have the power to demand and win changes to funding and salaries. It’s a stark reminder in an era characterized by diminishing labor influence. And yet political scientists, researchers, and labor watchers say it’s tough to predict how teachers’ reawakened activism will continue to evolve.

    “Teachers are very humble. They just go about their business — we do the best with what we have and we don’t complain,” said Alberto Morejon, a teacher and the grassroots organizer of the Oklahoma walkout last month. But now, “People are finally realizing what we’re dealing with. … They didn’t know the truth, and now they know the truth. It’s slowly going to spread around the country.”

    Perhaps, but there are other possibilities, too. The activism could fade slowly away, as Occupy Wall Street and other protest movements of the past decade did. Or it could find a more permanent channel for its energy, perhaps through the regeneration of teachers unions — which are facing the probable loss of dollars and members as the result of an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision. (Read at Education Week)

    National News

    TEACHER APPRECIATION DAY — More Than Just a Job: Stories of Teachers Who Deserve an A+ (Read at NPR)

    FIRST LADY — Melania Trump Unveils Initiative to Bolster Emotional Health, Combat Bullying and Opioid Crisis (Read at Politics K-12)

    ESSA — Betsy DeVos Greenlights ESSA Plans for Alabama, Colorado, and Kentucky (Read at Politics K-12)

    TEACHER APPRECIATION DAY — Teacher Appreciation Day: A Look Back at 18 Incredible (and Inspiring) Ways Students & Schools Celebrated Their Teachers Over the Past Year (Read at

    District and State News

    TEXAS — Texas Special Education Reform Comes With Mountain of Mistrust (Read at Texas Public Radio)

    CALIFORNIA — Analysis: What should top Austin Beutner’s to-do list (Read at LA School Report)

    TEXAS — Feds Expand Investigation of Dallas County Schools (Read at NBC Dallas–Fort Worth)

    NEW YORK — Teacher evaluation fight spills into New York’s Board of Regents meeting (Read at Chalkbeat)

    PENNSYLVANIA — Landmark Pa. school-funding suit clears legal hurdle (Read at the Philadelphia Inquirer)

    NEW YORK — Asked about a ‘divisive’ tweet about segregation, Carranza directs an Upper West Side parent to implicit bias training (Read at Chalkbeat)

    CALIFORNIA — Opinion: Could Beutner’s Lack of Ed Background Become His Greatest Asset at LAUSD? (Read at City Watch)

    NEVADA — Déjà vu: Clark County schools face $60M-plus budget deficit (Read at the Las Vegas Review-Journal)

    ILLINOIS — Illinois Lawmakers Consider Change for Physical Education Requirements (Read at NPR Illinois)

    Think Pieces

    DENVER REFORM — Analysis: In Denver, Rising Expectations, a Generational Divide, and a New Education Reform Revolution on Its Way (Read at

    POLITICS — How social pressures drive the partisan education gap (Read at The Hill)

    CHARTER SCHOOLS — Nina Rees: National Charter Schools Week, a Time for Celebrating Great Public Schools — and the Teachers Who Make Them Possible (Read at

    TEACHER APPRECIATION DAY — So This Is What You Call ‘Teacher Appreciation’? (Read at Education Post)

    Quote of the Day

    “It’s really too little, too late. Especially [for] those children who needed early childhood intervention. You can’t get those years back.” —Jill Goolsby of San Antonio, Texas, on the state’s attempt to make reforms after the U.S. Department of Education found it had illegally barred tens of thousands of children with disabilities, including her son, from a free and appropriate education. (Read at Texas Public Radio)

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  • Teacher Appreciation Week: A Look Back at 18 Incredible (and Inspiring) Ways Students & Schools Celebrated Their Teachers Over the Past Year

    By Taylor Swaak and Laura Fay | May 7, 2018

    Classrooms nationwide on Tuesday will celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day. While teachers do important — and often thankless — work every day, this day is set aside to honor the nation’s estimated 3.6 million teachers for their endless contributions to schools and communities around the country. In ways both profound and silly, students and their communities have been sharing the love for their teachers. From students buying their teacher a new puppy to parents doling out personalized bottles of wine, here’s a roundup of 18 of our favorite moments of the past year.

    1. Whittling down the bucket list: Texas students help sick teacher raise money to see the redwoods — and splash in the Pacific — before it’s too late.

    Michelle Wistrand, a middle school English teacher, was dying of terminal cancer. But she had a bucket list, including a desire to see the Redwood Forest and swim in the Pacific Ocean. Eager to help a teacher they loved, her Texas students raised more than $10,000 on GoFundMe for her trip. Wistrand was able to visit several bucket list destinations before she died last month.

    “I just feel loved and humbled by it and so extremely grateful I have these people in my life,” Wistrand said. (Read more at ABC 13)

    2. ‘We are going to carry you’: Ohio students promise to save their wheelchair-bound teacher in the event of a school shooting.

    The deadly Valentine’s Day massacre in Parkland, Florida, sparked difficult conversations among teachers and students around the country. What would they do if a shooter came into their classrooms? But for Marissa Schimmoeller, a high school English teacher in Ohio, there was an added level of anxiety: She uses a wheelchair. When her students asked what they should do if a shooting breaks out at school, Schimmoeller explained that their safety is her main concern; if they have a chance to escape, they should take it, she said — even if she doesn’t make it.

    What happened next brought her to tears. She described it on Facebook: Slowly, quietly, as the words I had said sunk in, another student raised their hand. She said, ‘Mrs. Schimmoeller, we already talked about it. If anything happens, we are going to carry you.’” (Read more at

    Today was really hard for me. Today was the first time I had to teach the day after a mass school shooting. I dreaded…

    Posted by Marissa Schimmoeller on Thursday, February 15, 2018

    3. ‘We knew she loved us’: Fifty years later, Nashville students throw a party for their favorite teacher.

    There are some teachers you never forget, no matter how long you’ve been out of school. Marie Wiggins, 96, of Nashville, is one. The students she taught in the 1960s remembered that Wiggins had been there for them in difficult times, had helped them put on plays, respected them, and loved them — without putting up with their nonsense. Recently reconnected on Facebook, they organized a reunion to honor her.

    “She was so precious,” one student remembered. “We had her respect, and we knew she loved us. She was like our little mother.”

    “My sixth-grade year in school, President Kennedy was assassinated,” another said. “[Mrs. Wiggins] was there with us, I remember that we talked, I remember I felt safe and I felt calm.” (Read more at The Tennessean)

    4. In her first major post–White House speech, Michelle Obama credits educators with having ‘a far bigger impact on our kids’ lives than any president.’

    If you ask Michelle Obama, teachers basically run the world.

    In her first major post–White House speech in February, the former first lady gave a reminder that real change doesn’t happen “from the top down in Washington.”

    “It happens on the ground, in classrooms, in those face-to-face and heart-to-heart interactions between our kids and caring educators and counselors,” she told the audience at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., assembled for the School Counselor of the Year ceremony. “The men and women on this stage … have a far bigger impact on our kids’ lives than any president or first lady.” (Read more at Bustle)

    Start watching at 05:10 to hear Obama’s thoughts on teachers’ meaningful contributions to students’ lives:

    5. Two astronauts are bringing the ‘lost’ lessons of fallen teacher and Challenger astronaut Christa McAuliffe to life.

    Christa McAuliffe, tapped to become the first teacher in space, died when the space shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986. Her lesson plans — which would have been filmed in space for students on Earth — faded into oblivion. But in January, the Challenger Center, an educational nonprofit created after the disaster, announced that astronauts Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold, both former educators, would use McAuliffe’s writings and notes to bring four of her six “lost lessons” to life.

    The pair planned to record the lessons on the International Space Station over several months, with video postings on the Challenger Center website slated for spring. McAuliffe’s lesson plans delve into topics such as liquids and Newton’s laws of motion.

    “We look forward to helping inspire the next generation of explorers and educators,” Acaba said during the January announcement. (Read about McAuliffe’s “lost lessons” here)

    6. Maybe their son didn’t drive his teachers to drink, but these Ohio parents knew he wasn’t the best-behaved. So they gave his teachers the perfect gift: personalized bottles of wine.

    For Christmas last year, the parents of Ohio eighth-grader Jake Sommers wanted to give his teachers something more than a stereotypical coffee mug. Since Jake has been a bit of a “school clown” since kindergarten — as his mother Mary Sommers affectionately told BuzzFeed News — alcohol seemed appropriate.

    So 10 of Jake’s teachers received a bottle of chardonnay with his face smack-dab on the label. The corresponding message read: “Our child might be the reason you drink so enjoy this bottle on us.”

    Jake’s mom told BuzzFeed News that “none of the teachers were shocked” by the gift. (Read more at BuzzFeed News)

    7. Chance the Rapper has given millions to Chicago schools. Now he’s heading a teachers awards show in June.

    Chicago teachers will be getting the all-star treatment this June, with rap icon and Chicago native Chance the Rapper spearheading a new awards ceremony to recognize “teachers, parents, principals, and students that convey leadership” in area schools.

    The annual “Twilight Awards” show, first announced in September, will feature special guest performances. CBS late-night personality James Corden will host.

    Chance is a known education advocate. His nonprofit, SocialWorks, allotted $100,000 grants to 20 Chicago public schools last year. (Read more at Pitchfork)

    Watch here, with mention of the Twilight Awards at 17:30:

    8. Indiana teacher receives the gift of color — with a Harry Potter–themed twist.

    When Beau Scott’s Indiana students made him dress like he was getting ready for a Quidditch match out of the Harry Potter books, he had no idea they had something truly magical in store. Scott’s students knew he was colorblind, so they pitched in $5 to $10 each for a $300 pair of special glasses to allow him to see colors.

    When Scott put on the fancy “Quidditch goggles” his students gave him, he saw colors for the first time — an experience he described as “awesome.” (Read more at U.S. News)

    9. This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown gives thanks to his high school advisor — ‘the first adult who spoke to me about life’ — at TIME 100 gala.

    Sterling K. Brown has made a name for himself, starring in the NBC drama This Is Us and nabbing a historic Emmy win in 2017. But at the TIME 100 gala in April, Brown took a moment to honor his high school adviser and middle school algebra teacher.

    Barbara Jenkins Bull taught him the ins and outs of the stock market. She’d encouraged him to explore other countries. She cheered him on at every football and basketball game.

    “She influenced the trajectory of my life in ways she and I could never have imagined,” he said. “I felt like I could run through a brick wall, and I wanted to do it for her.” (Read more at TIME)

    Watch the video starting here:

    10. Students wanted to honor a Harvard educator who loves Sesame Street. So they transformed him into a muppet.

    A few students in Harvard’s Graduate School of Education wanted to thank professor Joe Blatt last June for bolstering the school’s relationship with Sesame Workshop, a Sesame Street–based nonprofit that supports children’s educational development.

    Nothing seemed more fitting than a look-alike muppet. So they reached out to Sesame Workshop CEO Jeffrey Dunn and commissioned the professorial miniature — complete with a balding head, fluffy white mustache, rimmed glasses, and red tie.

    “Joe was such an inspiration to us this year; he has done so much to bring the Sesame relationship back to Harvard,” one student presenter said at the muppet’s unveiling. Another added jokingly, “When [the Sesame Workshop team] got the pictures, they said, ‘He already looks like a muppet.’” (Read more at

    Watch the unveiling and Blatt’s reaction here:

    The Joe Blatt Muppet unveiling!

    Posted by Harvard Graduate School of Education on Thursday, June 29, 2017


    11. Puppy love: Alabama teacher’s class buys him a dog after he loses his.

    Troy Rogers, a high school teacher in Athens, Alabama, told his students in December that his dog of 11 years had run away, probably to die. After hearing the news, his senior class pooled their money and surprised him with a new puppy because they knew how much their teacher missed his old dog. Rogers named the puppy Clementine.

    “I love these kids. There are no words,” Rogers wrote in a Facebook post. “I will consequently be adding the estimated cost of the puppy to the senior fund, out of my pocket.” (Read more at Fox 13)

    I cannot brag on my students and the Clements family enough. As all of you know, my 11.5 year old Golden, Chip, ran off…

    Posted by Troy Rogers on Friday, November 17, 2017

    12. ‘This is everything’: Utah teacher breaks down when a former student shows up at her door after four decades.

    Utah teacher Margaret Foote had an unanticipated visitor last May: a former student from four decades prior, bearing a bouquet of red roses and a tiered, personalized cake.

    In 1978, Foote was a pillar of support for Cindy Davis, a Salt Lake City third-grader struggling with her mother’s remarriage, a recent move, and a lack of friends. Davis is now an educator herself.

    “All throughout my career I have remembered you and thought about what a great teacher you were to me,” Davis told Foote. “I’ve tried to pay it forward.”

    Foote was moved to tears. “You don’t know what this means to me, as a teacher,” she said. “This is everything.” (Read more at

    Watch their reunion here:

    13. Rhode Island teacher’s dream comes true when high schoolers create prosthetic arm for her son.

    All Rhode Island middle school math teacher Nicole Mancini wanted was for her 9-year-old adopted son, Olly — born without a lower left arm — to have a semblance of normalcy and independence. Last December, a group of Scituate High School students gave him just that, manufacturing a plastic prosthetic arm with a 3-D printer.

    The arm is green and purple, Olly’s favorite colors. In a Providence Journal video, Olly, sporting a huge grin, curled his new fingers a few times and leaned over to give his mom a hug.

    “This is the greatest gift anyone could have given me,” Mancini told the Journal. “Olly is blessed to have these kids in his corner.” (Read more at the Providence Journal)

    See the gallery here, and watch the video of Olly trying on his new arm:

    14. New Mexico students surprise their teacher with a Christmas gift for his sick son.

    Widowed math teacher Nathan Neidigk, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, didn’t think he’d be able to afford Christmas presents for his son, who is struggling with leukemia and has required frequent hospital visits. His students surprised him, chipping in for a Nintendo Switch gaming console. The high schoolers also set up a GoFundMe page to help with other health care costs. (Read more at

    15. Avengers’ Chris Hemsworth asks Twitter to support ‘the real superheroes’ — teachers like his mom.

    Avengers franchise star Chris Hemsworth, a.k.a. Thor, whose mom was a teacher, took to Twitter on April 30 to promote a partnership between Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War and Ziploc, which has pledged $100,000 in funding for classroom projects.

    Those who purchase Ziploc’s superhero-themed bags and containers that celebrate the film’s release will help support the donation, part of Ziploc’s #MoreThanATeacher initiative.

    “As the son of a teacher, I know that educators like my mom are the real superheroes,” said Hemsworth. “My mom taught me everything I know, and I continue to learn from her every single day.” (Read more about the initiative at TriplePundit)

    16. Fairbanks, Alaska, Girl Scouts give their highest honor to a retired — and beloved — Fairbanks teacher and Girl Scout leader. 

    Claudia Pierson, a retired teacher who has worked with Girl Scouts in Fairbanks for decades, recently received the highest award the organization bestows on a volunteer, the Thanks Badge II, for dedicated service to the organization. A self-described “volunteer addict,” Pierson led her daughter’s Girl Scout troop in the 1980s and now leads her granddaughter’s. She also volunteers at a youth homeless shelter and at her granddaughter’s school, organizes a Christmas charity event, and hands out food boxes at her church. (Read more at the Daily News-Miner)


    Despite her credentials, [Pierson] is a humble volunteer, willing to do what needs to be done, whether it is moving a Coke machine, fixing a bulletin board, selling tickets for charity or cleaning up after a charity event.
    —the Daily News-Miner

    17. A sweet gesture: Huntsville, Alabama, student gives her ice cream money to teacher to help pay for father-in-law’s funeral.

    Price Lawrence was teaching his sixth-grade students one morning when they noticed something was off. He explained that he was worried about his wife because her father had recently died. When class ended, one student slipped a piece of paper and some coins in Lawrence’s hand. The note said “I’m sorry.” The coins were the student’s ice cream money for that day.

    “This is for your wife. I know it was real expensive when my daddy died and I don’t really want ice cream today anyways,” the student said. Price shared the touching story on Facebook, where it was shared more than 250,000 times. (Read more at

    This morning, during first period, my kids could tell that I was a little off. When they asked why I wasn’t acting…

    Posted by Price Lawrence on Tuesday, February 20, 2018

    18. Students throw surprise party for Iowa teacher who’s been in the same district for 50 years.

    David Houseman has been teaching in southern Iowa’s Moulton-Udell School District for 50 years, and he still hasn’t updated his chalkboard to a SmartBoard. His former students, some of them teachers themselves now, recently reunited for a party to celebrate his half-century in the classroom. Houseman, who has no plans to retire, said his students keep him coming back.

    “I think the kids are actually better, a lot of people think kids are worse,” Houseman said. “Maybe I’m just more liberal or more tolerant. … At M-U, and Moulton, I think the kids … and the community has an appreciation for education. And that’s one reason why I like this school district.” (Read more at the Daily Iowegian)

    Best. Teacher. Ever. So glad I went to this!

    Posted by Leah Ann Scott on Tuesday, May 1, 2018


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  • $14 Million From Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Will Nearly Double Personalized Learning in Chicago Public Schools

    By Kate Stringer | May 7, 2018

    The number of personalized learning schools in Chicago will nearly double with a $14 million grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to expand the student-centered approach in America’s fourth-largest district.

    Most of the money will be spent on professional development for teachers, with some going toward technology for classrooms. Chicago Public Schools will receive $4 million, and LEAP Innovations, a national personalized learning organization that has worked closely with Chicago to develop its student-centered learning models, will receive $10 million.

    “The goal of this grant is to expand the number of schools that are getting access to personalized learning,” said Phyllis Lockett, founder and CEO of LEAP Innovations. “This opportunity for equity is really huge, just from the standpoint of personalized learning meeting kids where they are and valuing differences.”


    New Analysis of Personalized Learning Programs Shows Reading Gains for Chicago Students

    Personalized learning in Chicago is opt-in, meaning principals and teachers can choose to adopt the approach. LEAP helps support those schools. Lockett said there’s great demand from Chicago schools, making the extra funding critical for expansion. Nearly 100 schools will be added to the 120 that already have personalized learning models.

    LEAP’s work will center on redesigning traditional teaching and learning practices, which includes professional development sessions throughout the school year, in-school job coaching, classroom resources, technology, and social-emotional support. The personalized learning model involves more student agency over classwork, collaboration with other students during the day, and teachers working in tandem with their peers and having more one-on-one time with students.

    Though not every district has $14 million to spend on personalized learning support, Lockett said the approach is still scalable. She pointed to a recent report showing that although upfront costs in Chicago ranged from $338,000 to $780,000 per school, they decreased over five years to become 2 percent of a school’s budget.

    “We’re partnering with Chicago Public Schools and LEAP Innovations to redesign learning environments and put far better tools in the hands of teachers — helping them do the work of their lives and provide transformative and personalized learning experiences that let students unlock their potential,” said Jim Shelton, president of education for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, in a press release. “We’re proud to support CPS and LEAP’s efforts to help educators understand and meet the needs of each and every student.”


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    Disclosure: LEAP Innovations and The 74 both receive funding from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

  • EduClips: In TX Courts, Questions About Whether Charter Schools Are Private; New LAUSD Chief Beutner Faces Tough Road Ahead With Teachers — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | May 7, 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

    OHIO — No matter the outcome of Tuesday’s primary vote in the 2018 Ohio governor’s race, already one of the most closely watched in the country, the electorate won’t be greeted with any fresh faces.

    Democrat Richard Cordray and Republican Mike DeWine, the state’s two most recent attorneys general, have emerged as frontrunners after decades in the public eye. To win, they’ll have to fend off challengers with comparable or greater name recognition. Former Cleveland mayor and eight-term congressman Dennis Kucinich has needled Cordray from the left, while Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor’s Trumpian bid has clearly spooked DeWine, the veteran of seven statewide races.

    All four candidates have built lengthy careers in anticipation of an opportunity like this. But their time on the stage is quickly being overshadowed by a far-reaching scandal that has developed right alongside them — one that makes Ohio the rare state in which education could sway the outcome in several major elections. That’s why a race occurring in the aftershock of Donald Trump’s historic 2016 victory, featuring a cameo by a Middle Eastern dictator, may hinge on the most parochial of concerns: a shuttered charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT); its political patrons, including most of the notable Republicans in the state; and the money that passed between them. (Read at

    National News

    AZ TEACHERS’ STRIKEIn aftermath of #RedForEd walkout, Arizona teachers vow to continue political activism (Read at USA Today)

    SCHOOL SAFETY — AP review: More than 30 mishaps from armed adults at schools (Read at the San Francisco Chronicle)

    IMMIGRATION — Pending Tennessee Law Could Lead Children of Immigrants to Leave School, Advocates Fear (Read at Nashville Public Radio)

    ESSA — ESSA: Which States Are Eschewing School Grades? (Read at Politics K-12)

    VAPING — ‘Juuling’ Craze: Schools Scramble to Deal With Student Vaping (Read at Education Week)

    District and State News

    TEXAS — Are charter schools private? In Texas courts, it depends why you’re asking (Read at The Texas Tribune)

    CALIFORNIA — Austin Beutner’s got his work cut out for him if he wants to win over LAUSD teachers (Read at the Los Angeles Times)

    NEVADA — New Clark County schools chief faces angst over selection process (Read at the Las Vegas Review-Journal)

    CALIFORNIA — L.A. Unified school bus drivers and teacher assistants are planning a daylong strike (Read at the Los Angeles Times)

    NEW YORK — A month into the job, it’s clear Chancellor Carranza isn’t Carmen Fariña version 2.0 (Read at Chalkbeat)

    ILLINOIS — Will Illinois Be the Next State to Require Public Schools to Teach LGBT History? (Read at Education Week)

    FLORIDA — Parkland students face dilemma over standardized tests (Read at Sentinel Source)

    NEW YORK — New York’s top policymakers leave open questions about testing, teacher evaluations (Read at Chalkbeat)

    FLORIDA — With fewer teachers around, some schools find backups from far away (Read at the Tampa Bay Times)

    Think Pieces

    SCHOOL SAFETY — Pache & Rotherham: Being Prepared for a School Shooting Doesn’t Mean Scaring Kids. It Just Means the Adults Have to Be Ready (Read at

    MATH — Why U.S. Students Are Bad at Math (Read at U.S. News and World Report)

    FREE SCHOOL LUNCH — Free school lunch for all, meant to reduce stigma, may also keep students healthier (Read at Chalkbeat)

    AP CLASSES — Eighth-graders taking Advance Placement language classes? Sí. (Read at The Washington Post)

    TEACHING — 20 judgments a teacher makes in 1 minute and 28 seconds (Read at The Hechinger Report)

    SCHOOL SAFETY — Threat assessments crucial to prevent school shootings (Read at The Conversation)

    TEACHING — 11 Teachers Who Aren’t Afraid to Keep It Real (Read at Education Post)

    Quote of the Day

    “This ECOT thing is going to be one of those local issues that trumps national issues. No pun intended.” —Stephen Dyer, an education fellow at the progressive think tank Innovation Ohio, on the role that a scandal stemming from an online charter school called the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow could play in Ohio’s gubernatorial election. The state’s primary is Tuesday. (Read at

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  • The Week Ahead in Education Politics: SCOTUS Rulings Coming Soon, Melania Trump’s Latest Projects, Food Stamps vs. School Lunch & More

    By Carolyn Phenicie | May 4, 2018

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

    INBOX: SCOTUS WATCH BEGINS The Supreme Court wrapped its oral arguments for this term last week, and there are several important education-adjacent cases pending before the justices.

    On unions, justices will in the coming weeks decide Janus v. AFSCME, a case that challenges a 40-year-old precedent that permits dissenting public employees to opt out of the political portion of union dues but requires them to pay “agency fees” that fund contract negotiations and similar activities. Those employees say that in the realm of public sector employment, everything is inherently political, and forcing them to pay for advocacy they disagree with violates the First Amendment. Unions say requiring those fees prevents free riders from benefiting from union contracts without paying for them.

    Justices will also decide whether the Trump administration’s ban on travelers from some Muslim-majority countries is unconstitutional. The so-called Travel Ban 3.0, which is currently in effect, bans travelers from Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, North Korea, and Venezuela. Challengers have said that given President Trump’s campaign pledge to ban immigration by Muslims, it amounts to an unconstitutional breach on religious freedom; the government says it’s a lawful way to keep the country safe.

    Higher education advocates have also weighed in on the travel ban case, saying it limits colleges’ ability to attract international scholars.

    Rulings on the Janus case and the travel ban case are due before the end of the court’s term next month; announcements on decisions begin May 13.

    Several cases concerning the DACA program are also pending. A federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled that the Trump administration must keep the program in place while court challenges proceed.

    Seven states, meanwhile, sued in Texas federal court last week to stop the program immediately. The Supreme Court has so far refused to hear the case, but if judges in Texas order the Trump administration to stop the program, that would set up dueling orders that would have to be resolved by the high court, Bloomberg reported.

    IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Before their week-long recess last week, Senate leaders cut a deal to vote, at a time to be determined, on the nomination of Mitchell Zais to be deputy secretary of education. That vote will come after 10 hours of debate, down from the 30 hours Democrats could have forced Republicans to burn. The Education Department ranks among the lowest Cabinet-level agencies in terms of confirmed nominees, even after Carlos Muñiz was confirmed as general counsel last month.

    MONDAY: FIRST LADY — First Lady Melania Trump will announce several new initiatives during remarks in the Rose Garden. She will focus on challenges facing children, including social media, health, and the opioid epidemic, NPR reported. She has previously said she’d focus on cyberbullying.

    TUESDAY: FOOD STAMPS The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, holds a discussion on House Republicans’ efforts to reform the food stamp program, currently known as SNAP. Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Conaway gives remarks. The proposal would expand work requirements. Democrats and progressives say it could imperil children’s access to the school lunch program, for which children whose families receive food stamps are automatically eligible.

    TUESDAY: BABY INVASION — Infant and toddler advocacy group ZERO TO THREE holds “Strolling Thunder,” a gathering of babies and families from across the country at the U.S. Capitol to encourage policymakers to focus on babies when making policy.

    WEDNESDAY: SKILLS GAP — A House Education and the Workforce subcommittee holds a hearing on private sector solutions to closing the skills gap.

    FRIDAY: HATE CRIMES — The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights holds a day-long meeting on the federal government’s role in responding to hate crimes, including “the role of the Education and Justice departments in prosecution and prevention of these heinous acts.”


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  • NYC Delays Releasing Teacher Misconduct Records for Two Years Despite Public Records Reforms

    By David Cantor | May 3, 2018

    New York City education officials missed a deadline again this week for providing teacher misconduct records, pushing The 74’s wait for the documents, which are public, past the two-year mark.

    In a March 2 letter, the Department of Education set a date for providing remaining materials in response to a submission made under the state’s Freedom of Information Law 23 months earlier.

    Owing to “the age of your request” and because the records office recently completed “several voluminous requests,” a DOE letter said, the agency would be able to provide “a final response” on April 30, 2018 — 508 business days after The 74 asked for the information.

    Officials previously missed a January 31 deadline set by the DOE general counsel.


    467 Days & Counting: Despite New Rules and a Promise by Its Top Lawyer, New York City Continues to Withhold Teacher Misconduct Records

    In March, as in some previous instances, the DOE provided a disk with a portion of the requested files, though it wasn’t possible to know how much remained outstanding.

    Another letter arrived on the April 30 due date. It said that “additional time is required to respond substantively to your request. Accordingly a further interim response is currently anticipated by May 16, 2018.” (Underscore in original.)

    The DOE declined to respond to a request for comment this week about the latest missed deadline or answer questions on how it is handling public records requests like this one that preceded reforms it instituted last year. The changes were put in place after the department was widely criticized — and sued — for its lack of transparency.

    Observers of the agency’s procedures for handling FOIL requests have hoped its practice of repeatedly extending time limits was past. In settling a New York Post lawsuit last month — the tabloid accused agency officials of engaging in a “pattern and practice” of “gifting themselves more time” — lawyers negotiated changes to FOIL policy that now oblige the records office to provide a “date certain” for requests that require more than 20 days. (The city denies that the Post litigation played a significant role.)


    NYC Education Dept. and NY Post Settle Case That Post Says Was Real Reason Behind City Reforming Public Records Rules

    This provision was already enshrined in the law, but DOE administrators interpreted it as allowing them to reset timetables within 20 days after an existing deadline and for no longer than an extra 20 days — a practice that sometimes recurred for years.

    The agency’s failure to honor January and April deadlines — explicitly described that way, not merely as extensions — may indicate that the new regulations are ineffective. Another possibility: the revamped approach only applies to submissions after November 29 of last year, when the changes went into effect.

    The city says 570 FOIL requests were open at the time. These may remain subject to the old regime, in which “the only certainty” was “another monthly Form Delay Letter,” as the Post alleged in its lawsuit.

    Past statements by the DOE suggest the answer is somewhere in between, at least at the moment.

    “The DOE’s FOIL Unit is working diligently to implement the new regulation across all open FOIL requests, including requests pre-dating the new regulation,” DOE spokesman Douglas Cohen said in March. “Because of the large number of existing requests, and an increase in new requests since the regulation was adopted, implementation remains ongoing.”

    In April 2016, The 74 asked the DOE for decisions in teacher disciplinary hearings dating back to the start of 2015. A new teachers contract negotiated in 2014 was more detailed than past agreements in defining misconduct.

    Investigators substantiated 59 misconduct charges of an undisclosed nature against pre-K staff in 2015 and 2016, according to the Special Commissioner of Investigation. Across all grades, investigators substantiated 131 misconduct charges that included “a sexual component” between 2014 and 2016.

    The outcomes of these cases, which The 74 was seeking and which have not been made public, could range from termination to little or no punishment. It was unclear whether some of the sexual allegations involved pre-K students and whether the 2014 contract revisions affected how cases were decided.


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  • Florida School Board Rejects 2 Proposed Charter Schools to Protest New State Laws

    By Beth Hawkins | May 3, 2018

    In a move intended to send an angry message about new state laws governing the creation and funding of new charter schools, Florida’s Leon County School Board recently voted unanimously to reject applications from two groups hoping to open new schools in the Tallahassee area.

    “It is time for the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Legislature to fix this flawed system,” Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna wrote in a commentary published in the Tallahassee Democrat. “Until then, I will not be recommending the approval of any new charter school applications.”

    The vote, which took place at a contentious meeting April 24, is the latest in a series of protests by traditional districts against a new Florida law, House Bill 7069, that facilitates the expansion of the charter school sector. A number of districts have pushed back against the law’s provision requiring them to share local tax revenue raised for building and maintaining schools.

    Earlier last month, a Leon County Circuit Court judge dismissed a suit filed by several districts challenging provisions of the law, which also grants charter schools more autonomy from the traditional districts where they are located. Though Leon County Schools was not among the plaintiffs, Judge John Cooper made reference to Hanna’s opinion piece during the April 4 hearing at which he issued his ruling.

    Initial denials of charter school applications are common in states where traditional school districts are the first stop for would-be school founders. But district overseers or board members typically cite deficiencies when rejecting applications, even if hostility to competition from charter schools is a driving factor.

    District reviewers raised questions about some aspects of the applications for the two new charters, Tallahassee Classical School and Plato Academy, ultimately recommending them for approval. But in his request that the school board override the recommendations, Hanna did not cite those concerns. Instead, he noted that Florida had denied the district permission to build new facilities, and he decried the state and federal per-pupil dollars the district will no longer receive if the charters are allowed to open.

    “It’s simple economics,” he said. “There is only so much money to go around.”

    Backers of the two charters have 30 days to petition the Florida Department of Education. Tallahassee Classical is an independent nonprofit organization. Plato Academy would be the newest outpost of the for-profit Superior Schools.

    Supporters of the charters counter that the funds don’t belong to the district. “The money follows the child, as do the expenses associated with educating that child,” said Jana Sayler, Tallahassee Classical’s board chair. “We see a distinct need for a classical public education option in Leon County.”

    In his formal recommendation to the school board, Hanna cited the department’s 2016 denial of Leon County Schools’ request to build a new facility. If the state did not see a need for more district capacity, he reasoned, there is no need for additional seats in charter schools.


    Florida Judge Throws Out Suit Challenging Equitable Funding for Charter School Students

    When the applications were submitted in February of this year, Hanna described charter school expansion as “unregulated” and referred to a screening at Leon High School of the controversial documentary Backpack Full of Cash, which depicts charters as a means of transferring public dollars to private concerns.

    Tallahassee has four public charter schools and a pent-up demand for a classical-style option, said Sayler. She said the charter’s backers have heard from more than 165 families seeking a public classical school.

    Critics note that one of the school’s board members is married to Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, an architect of House Bill 7069.


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