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  • EduClips: Chicago’s Emanuel Calls for Universal, Free Pre-K; Post-Shooting, TX Governor Unveils School Safety Plan — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | May 31, 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

    IMMIGRANT STUDENTS —As Dennis Rivera-Sarmiento sat in a detention center 80 miles away from his Texas home this past winter, clad in a blue inmate uniform, he could see his high school diploma slipping further from his reach. Graduation was in June, but a schoolyard scuffle with a girl who he said had called him a racial epithet had gotten him arrested by his high school’s police officer.

    Then a state law that required the Harris County Sheriff’s Office to cooperate with federal immigration officers flagged him for deportation, back to his native Honduras, from which he and his family had fled five years ago. The case of the “quiet kid who was good at soccer” hauled from high school to a deportation center turned Mr. Rivera-Sarmiento into a cause célèbre in Houston, a textbook case of what immigration advocacy groups fear could happen as schools tighten discipline in the wake of school shootings, the police ratchet up sweeps for gang members, and local law enforcement draws closer to the federal immigration authorities.

    No one is sure how many students like Mr. Rivera-Sarmiento have been channeled from the principal’s office to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. A spokesman for ICE said that the agency cannot track the number of students detained based on school arrests because it does not record how undocumented immigrants are originally arrested. (Read at The New York Times)

    National News

    TX SCHOOL SHOOTING — Gov. Abbott wants more marshals, increased mental health screening to make schools safer (Read at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

    TEACHER PAY — Teachers Find Public Support as Campaign for Higher Pay Goes to Voters (Read at The New York Times)

    WALMART — Walmart to offer employees a college education for $1 a day (Read at The Washington Post)

    SCHOOL SAFETY — Amid fear of shootings, parents and students count down till school’s out for summer (Read at NBC News)

    FL SENATE RACE —Education Issues, Control of the U.S. Senate Loom Large in Florida Senate Race Between Gov. Rick Scott and Longtime Democratic Incumbent Bill Nelson (Read at The74Million.org)

    District and State News

    ILLINOIS — Emanuel calls for free full-day public preschool for 4-year-olds (Read at the Chicago Tribune)

    NEW YORK — With School Visits, Chancellor Signals a Softer Stance on Charters (Read at The New York Times)

    ILLINOIS — Illinois lawmakers pass $40,000 minimum wage requirement for teachers (Read at Illinois News Network)

    FLORIDA — Florida teachers union grades lawmakers on education issues (Read at the Tampa Bay Times)

    NEW YORK — Carranza didn’t expect ‘screening’ comments to create such an uproar (Read at Chalkbeat)

    CALIFORNIA — In race for California schools chief, candidates are buoyed by big money from charter supporters and unions (Read at the Los Angeles Times)

    PUERTO RICO — Months After a Devastating Hurricane, Puerto Rican Schools Turn to the Sun (Read at EdSurge)

    CALIFORNIA — California governor’s race: Dems agree on child care, higher spending; differ on districts rejecting charters based on financial impact (Read at EdSource)

    TEXAS — Transgender Teen Wins Battle for Chosen Name at Graduation in Texas (Read at the Huffington Post)

    PENNSYLVANIA — Opinion: Billions of your tax dollars feed growing school reserve funds | John Baer (Read at The Philadelphia Inquirer)

    Think Pieces

    STUDENT CONCENTRATION — Is It Actually Smart to Sit Still? (Read at The New York Times)

    TENURE — Can Ending Teacher Tenure Improve Student Achievement? A Case Study in Florida Yields Important Results (Read at The74Million.org)

    SCHOOL COUNSELORS — School counselors keep kids on track. Why are they first to be cut? (Read at The Hechinger Report)

    ARTS EDUCATION — The ‘shadow education system’: How wealthier students benefit from art, music, and theater over the summer while poor kids miss out (Read at Chalkbeat)

    INEQUALITY — Education Won’t Solve Inequality (Read at Slate)

    TEACHING SCHOOLS — Don’t Rate Teaching Schools Based on Student Test Scores, Study Warns (Read at The74Million.org)

    ANTI-BIAS EDUCATION — Should All Americans Receive Anti-Bias Education? (Read at The New York Times)

    Quote of the Day

    “I actually don’t think this is real. I never thought I’d be graduating. I thought I would be in Honduras right now.” —Dennis Rivera-Sarmiento, a 19-year-old undocumented immigrant now in an immigration detention center following a schoolyard scuffle. (Read at The New York Times)

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  • Can Ending Teacher Tenure Improve Student Achievement? A Case Study in Florida Yields Important Results

    By Kevin Mahnken | May 30, 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.

    Florida’s controversial move to end teacher tenure and tie educator pay to student performance in 2011 likely caused a modest improvement in student test scores, according to research published by the Brookings Institution this month. While the overall benefits of the policy were slight, the authors conclude, the lowest-performing students experienced the greatest gains in achievement.

    The study is the latest to examine the effects of paring back employment protections for school employees, who have traditionally enjoyed rare job security. Studies of tenure reform in huge school districts like Chicago and New York City have shown that allowing principals more leeway to fire teachers in their probationary period (typically the first three years of employment), or to extend that period rather than grant tenure so quickly, can lead to a decline in teacher absenteeism and prod lower-performing educators to leave the profession.

    On the other hand, a study of similar policy changes in Louisiana found that making tenure harder to achieve and easier to lose may have led to the exit of more than 1,500 teachers. Some have also argued that offering administrators the right to fire ineffective employees doesn’t mean they’ll exercise it, and that retaining the best teachers is more important than counseling out the worst ones.

    Related

    Study: Weakening Tenure in Louisiana May Have Caused Thousands of Teachers to Quit

    The Brookings report, written by Northwestern professor David Figlio, University of Tennessee professor Celeste Carruthers, and Georgia State professor Tim Sass, studied student performance on standardized tests following the 2011 passage of Florida’s Student Success Act.

    Before the adoption of SSA, teachers in Florida were fireable without cause within the first 97 days of employment; if they received satisfactory evaluations over their first three years (99.7 percent were rated satisfactory in 2009), they were signed to a “professional services contract” that made them difficult to terminate. The new law mandated annual contracts for teachers hired after July 1, 2011, with renewal conditioned on regular evaluations that are weighted heavily toward measures of student test score growth on state exams.

    Using statewide scores from the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (the state’s primary assessment until 2015) between the 2007–08 and 2012–13 academic years, the researchers compared student performance at schools more affected with those less affected by the SSA. Though all schools across Florida were subject to its requirements, some employed relatively more rookie teachers — whose employment status would hinge the most on the new reforms — and some evaluated a higher percentage of their teachers in the initial years.

    Overall, the study found that in schools where the SSA was felt more forcefully, students performed incrementally better in math and reading on the FCAT test. Scores on the test were declining for all schools in the years before the law’s implementation and recovered ground after 2011 — though the authors note that these trends were small enough that they could simply represent a smoothing-out of data over time.

    In schools that evaluated more teachers, and in those with relatively more rookie teachers (7.6 versus 3.2 on average), improvements in scores were proportionally larger than schools less affected by the SSA. Schools that employed higher percentages of rookies, whose overall student performance had lagged those with more experienced teachers in the years before the change in law, outperformed them in the years immediately following the end of tenure.

    Brookings Institution

    What’s more, students who had previously performed the worst on the test made the biggest improvements. When sorted by scores into separate quintiles, the differences in scores between the most- and least-impacted schools were the largest among students in the bottom quintile.

    The authors do caution that the picayune size of the effects should be taken into account.

    “Even for the bottom quintile of students, the evident gain in achievement is not large — less than 1 percent of a standard deviation,” they write. “That said, this pattern of findings makes us somewhat more comfortable that the post–tenure reform results may be genuinely due to tenure reform.”

    The findings are especially bullish when viewed alongside Florida students’ eye-opening growth on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which has occurred at almost exactly the same time that the SSA has taken effect. While national NAEP scores have remained disappointingly flat over the past decade, Florida has won the kudos of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for its decade of improvement.

    Related

    A ‘Lost Decade’ for Academic Progress? NAEP Scores Remain Flat Amid Signs of a Widening Gap Between Highest and Lowest Performers

    Education figures to be a defining issue in this fall’s U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and his challenger, Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who pushed to pass the SSA in the first months of his administration. Scott has been quick to take credit for Florida’s recent gains, though he has also been bitterly criticized by the state’s largest teachers union.

    In the meantime, national reformers will debate the results of the Brookings study, and particularly the use of test scores as an achievement metric. Any improvement to student performance will be welcomed regardless of its size, though the controversy attached to changing public employee contracts makes it a politically costly tactic. And other new research indicates that limiting job security could make teaching a less attractive career.

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



  • Monthly QuotED: Of Childish Gambino, Starbucks, and Midnight Tweets — 9 Notable Quotes That Made Education Headlines in May

    By Andrew Brownstein | May 30, 2018

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

    “I will always pay more attention in the future when I re-tweet to make sure the language that is automatically generated in the retweet is something I would say.” —New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, on his sharing of a tweet at 1 a.m. that read, “WATCH: Wealthy white Manhattan parents angrily rant against plan to bring more black kids to their schools.” (Read at CBS)

    “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 the74Million.org)

    “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 receiving a free and appropriate education. (Read at Texas Public Radio)

    Dawn Penich-Thacker

    “This cross-state communication is happening because of hashtags. The reason the tactics look the same is because we’re all looking at one another’s pictures and saying, ‘Oh, that looks super cool, all that red.’ We’re just stealing good ideas from each other.” —Dawn Penich-Thacker, communications director at Save Our Schools Arizona, on the national teacher strike movement. (Read at The74Million.org)

    “These amendments should be assigned to the ash heap of history.” —U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, on the so-called Blaine amendments that prohibit taxpayer funding of sectarian activities such as religious schools. (Read at Politics K-12)

    Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is sworn in before testifying before the House Education and the Workforce Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on May 22, 2018. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

    “Sir, I think that’s a school decision. That’s a local community decision. And again, I refer to the fact that we have laws and we also are compassionate, and I urge this body to do its job and address or clarify where there is confusion around this.” —U.S. Secretary of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos answering, incorrectly, a question from Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) about whether schools can decide to report undocumented students to immigration enforcement officials. (Read at The Washington Post)

    “It’s typically not a proactive call, it’s a reactive call. I think that speaks volumes.” —Jennifer Moore, a former middle school teacher who now leads racial bias trainings through her organization, Initiate Equity, on how such trainings typically get started. Starbucks closed the majority of its locations on the afternoon of May 29 to engage in similar trainings. (Read at The74Million.org)

    “My first indication is that our policies and procedures worked. Having said that, the way things are, if someone wants to get into a school to create havoc, they can do it.” —J.R. “Rusty” Norman, president of the district board of trustees that oversees Santa Fe High School in Texas, where a student gunman killed 10 and injured 13 people. (Read at The Washington Post)

    “They gave more care to the gun than they did to the victim, which I thought was very interesting. And my teacher didn’t point that out, I did. Which was pretty cool.” —Kenny Shirley, 14, a student in Nathan Tanner’s history class at Northwest Middle School in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” video. The class is one of many in the U.S. to use the video to explore issues of race, gun violence, and history. (Read at The74Million.org)

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

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  • EduClips: Special Ed Advocate: Chicago Sought ‘Ways to Reduce the Level of Service’; Santa Fe High School Students Return to Class — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | May 30, 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

    TEACHER STRIKES —This spring’s historic teacher uprising, which emptied classrooms and rocked statehouses for three months, just claimed its first political casualty.

    In Kentucky’s state legislative elections last week, House Majority Leader Jonathan Shell — a promising young Republican who enjoyed the patronage of U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell — was defeated in the GOP primary by Travis Brenda, a high school math instructor and political unknown. Shell had spearheaded a controversial law to trim teacher retirement benefits, which led thousands of protesters to descend on the state capitol in April.

    Captured in Twitter posts and videos on Facebook Live, the spontaneous demonstration unfolded as just one of a relay-style procession of labor actions that hasn’t been seen in recent decades. Beginning in late February, and heading straight into the end of the school year, a torch has been passed from West Virginia to Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina: Teachers have walked off the job, pulled on red T-shirts, headed for their state capitols, and extracted significant concessions.

    Other than perhaps the groundswell of activism around gun control following February’s Parkland massacre, it is the biggest education story of the year. But could it become part of the biggest political story of the year? (Read at The74Million.org)

    National News

    TX SCHOOL SHOOTING — Less than two weeks after Santa Fe shooting, Gov. Greg Abbott to announce school safety plan Wednesday (Read at the Texas Tribune)

    TEACHER PAY — As Educators Across America Demand Better Pay and Greater Education Spending, Delaware Has a Novel Proposal: Money to Help Teachers With Their Student Loans (Read at The74Million.org)

    DEVOS — State Restrictions on School Choice Earn Betsy DeVos’s Ire (Read at Education Week)

    TX SCHOOL SHOOTING — Texting About His Day at School, a Santa Fe Student Describes a ‘Nervous’ Return (Read at The New York Times)

    UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS — Civil Rights Groups Are Pressing Betsy DeVos to Affirm a Supreme Court Decision That Protects Undocumented Students’ Education. Here’s the Backstory on Plyler v. Doe (Read at The74Million.org)

    District and State News

    ILLINOIS — Ahead of state report, special ed advocate says Chicago Public Schools sought ‘ways to reduce the level of service’ (Read at the Chicago Tribune)

    NEW YORK — Violence-plagued Bronx high school looks to Craigslist for security help (Read at the New York Daily News)

    FLORIDA — Florida prepares suspicious activity reporting app for schools (Read at the Tampa Bay Times)

    CALIFORNIA — Candidates for governor of California share their thoughts on education (Read at EdSource)

    ILLINOIS — Suburban districts spending millions on lobbying organizations (Read at the Chicago Daily Herald)

    HAWAII — Volcanic Ash Swamps Hawaii School, Turning Tennis Court Gray (Read at the Associated Press)

    PENNSYLVANIA — Charter school staffer suspended after bringing gun to school (Read at The Philadelphia Inquirer)

    FLORIDA — A Coral Gables High student made threats posing as a classmate, police say (Read at the Miami Herald)

    NEVADA — Editorial: Competitive pressures and the Clark County School District (Read at the Las Vegas Review-Journal)

    VIRGINIA — Virginia student sues school system, alleging mishandling of sexual assault report (Read at The Washington Post)

    CALIFORNIA — Parents to Keep Kids Out of School to Protest SDUSD Sex Ed Course (Read at NBC Los Angeles)

    NEVADA — Opinion: 3 ways to fix collective bargaining (Read at the Las Vegas Review-Journal)

    Think Pieces

    UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS — Children belong in school. You’d think the education secretary would know that (Read at The Washington Post)

    STUDENT MOBILITY — Lost in the Shuffle: Student Turnover in the Era of Grading Schools (Part I) (Read at WABE)

    VOUCHERS — D.C.’s private school voucher program hurt low-income students’ math test scores, according to federal study (Read at Chalkbeat)

    INTEGRATION — Meet the Women Who First Integrated America’s Schools (Read at NPR)

    SCHOOL DISCIPLINE — 7 Suggestions for Better School Discipline (Read at Education Week)

    Quote of the Day

    “This cross-state communication is happening because of hashtags. The reason the tactics look the same is because we’re all looking at one another’s pictures and saying, ‘Oh, that looks super cool, all that red.’ We’re just stealing good ideas from each other.” —Dawn Penich-Thacker, communications director at Save Our Schools Arizona, on the national teacher strike movement. (Read at The74Million.org)

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



  • From Noblesville to Parkland, These Classroom Heroes Saved Students’ Lives During School Shootings

    By Mark Keierleber | May 29, 2018

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

    If not for the bravery of science teacher Jason Seaman, authorities say the school shooting at a middle school in Noblesville, Indiana, could have been much more grave.

    On Friday morning, a male student walked into Seaman’s classroom at Noblesville West Middle School near Indianapolis and opened fire. Springing to action, Seaman, a former college football player, tackled the shooter to the ground and halted the gunfire. Before subduing the suspect, Seaman was shot three times. Also injured in the shooting was 13-year-old student Ella Whistler, who was transported to a hospital in Indianapolis and remained in “critical yet stable” condition Tuesday, the girl’s family told the Indianapolis Star.

    Noblesville police say a student asked to leave the classroom and “returned armed with two handguns” before opening fire. Police say they received reports of the shooting just after 9 a.m., on Friday, and an officer stationed at the school responded quickly to detain the gunman. Authorities have not identified the suspected shooter.

    “My actions on that day, in my mind, were the only acceptable actions I could have done given the circumstances,” 29-year-old Seaman, a seventh-grade science teacher, said during a press conference on Monday. “I deeply care for my students and their well-being. That is why I did what I did.”

    Seaman is among several educators, school resource officers, and students who’ve taken bold actions in recent months to thwart shootings at schools. Here are several recent school shootings that could’ve been much worse without swift action from campus heroes:

    Santa Fe, Texas

    On May 18, a 17-year-old student opened fire at Santa Fe High School in Texas, fatally shooting 10 people and leaving another 13 injured. But John Barnes, a school resource officer who responded quickly to the incident, has been deemed a hero. Barnes and another officer quickly responded to reports of the attack and contained the shooter in a classroom, drawing his attention and gunfire away from other students. After being shot in the arm by a shotgun, which left him in critical condition, Barnes instructed the other officer to leave him behind to ensure students’ safety.

    “Officer Barnes is a hero,” Sheriff Henry Trochesset said. “The two officers that engaged that individual within four minutes, or approximately four minutes — they’re heroes. They contained him in that one area, isolated to them and engaging with them, so he did no more damage to other classes.”

    Related

    7 Updates on Santa Fe High School Rampage: Here’s What We Know So Far About Mass Shooting That Left 10 Dead

    Dixon, Illinois

    School resource officer Mark Dallas was deemed a hero after thwarting a school shooting in Illinois this month before the suspected gunman was able to injure any students.

    Matthew Milby, a 19-year-old former student, is suspected of opening fire at Dixon High School near a school auditorium as students gathered to rehearse their graduation ceremony. After spotting the armed suspect at the school, Dallas reportedly confronted the former student, prompting a shoot-out between the officer and the suspect. Dallas shot Milby and took him into custody. Nobody else was injured in the shooting.

    “I could not be more proud of the police officer and the way he responded to the situation. With shots ringing out through the hallways of the school, he charged towards the suspect and confronted him, head on,” Police Chief Steven Howell said. “Because of his heroic actions, countless lives were saved. We are forever indebted to him for his service and his bravery.”

    Parkland, Florida

    Seventeen people were killed in the February 14 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Though it was among the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history, actions by several students and educators were credited for saving countless lives.

    Among them is 15-year-old student Anthony Borges, who was shot five times as he used his body as a human shield to protect his classmates from gunfire.

    Although Borges lived to tell his story, assistant football coach and security guard Aaron Feis did not. The 37-year-old used his body to shield students from gunfire, an act that cost him his life.

    The Cut at New York magazine offers an extensive roundup of the educators, janitors, and students whose heroism helped save lives at Marjory Stoneman.

    Behind the numbers:

    In 2018, at least 41 people have been killed and 71 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.

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

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

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

    If we’ve missed a school incident you think should be included in our coverage, please send an email to info@the74million.org, and bookmark this page for the latest reports of incidents involving the discharging of a firearm on school property that results in a wound or fatality.

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  • Civil Rights Groups Are Pressing Betsy DeVos to Affirm a Supreme Court Decision That Protects Undocumented Students’ Education. Here’s the Backstory on Plyler v. Doe

    By Taylor Swaak | May 29, 2018

    Last week, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos asserted before a House committee that reporting undocumented students to authorities is “a school decision,” prompting impassioned retorts from civil rights groups, lawyers, and educators and a co-signed letter Tuesday from more than 170 organizations demanding clarification of her comments.

    The issue at hand is Plyler v. Doe, a 1982 Supreme Court case that established the precedent that all children — independent of legal status — have the right to a public education. As education powerhouses such as New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and former education secretary John King Jr. pointed out last week, this means schools cannot deny their enrollment, or adopt policies that might discourage or hinder enrollment.

    “It is imperative that you immediately make clear publicly … [that] schools may not do anything to deny or chill access to that constitutional right,” the letter read. DeVos has not made a public clarification so far, though department spokeswoman Elizabeth Hill told outlets such as NBC News last week following mounting criticism that “the secretary’s position is that schools must comply with Plyler and all other applicable and relevant law.”

    While scores of recent articles have name-dropped Plyler v. Doe, the case’s backstory remains less known.

    The story of the case began when the Texas legislature revised the state’s education laws in 1975, withholding state funds from local school districts for students enrolled who were not “legally admitted” into the U.S. and authorizing schools to bar such students. In response, Tyler Independent School District in northeast Texas — under the direction of superintendent James Plyler — adopted a policy two years later that required each undocumented student to pay an annual tuition of $1,000.

    As a result, a group of children of Mexican origin were unable to attend school.

    A class action lawsuit in U.S. district court, brought on behalf of four families, followed. The court allowed the families to be identified by pseudonyms — hence, “John Doe” — and deduced that the statute didn’t serve “the purpose or effect of keeping illegal aliens out of the State of Texas” or improve the quality of education. The school district took the case to an appeals court, and it later filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The Supreme Court’s 5–4 decision on June 15, 1982, upheld prior rulings and found the policy in violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, which declares that “no State shall ‘deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.’ ” Many justices also believed the revisions imposed “a lifetime hardship” on children who had no control over their circumstances, and that “by denying these children a basic education, we … foreclose any realistic possibility that they will contribute in even the smallest way to the progress of our Nation.” The dissenting opinion suggested that the court “abuses” the 14th Amendment, adding, “By definition, illegal aliens have no right whatever to be here, and the state may reasonably, and constitutionally, elect not to provide them with governmental services.”

    For attorneys Jessica Hanson and David Hausman, the ruling made no exceptions: Reporting undocumented students produces a “chilling effect” and can deter parents from enrolling their children — thus violating federal law. Hausman, a Skadden Fellow with the ACLU immigrants’ rights project, noted that the precedent is bolstered by 2014 Education Department guidance; a 2012 federal court ruling that deemed the Alabama practice of collecting and reporting students’ immigration status unlawful; and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which prohibits schools from disclosing any student’s personal information to outside parties without a judicial court order.

    Someone who is reported, in fact, could feasibly sue the school and bring a case to court, Hanson added.

    “The biggest concern is that families are going to hear [DeVos’s statement] and pull their kids out of school,” said Hanson, a Skadden Fellow for the National Immigration Law Center. She cited an April scenario in Tennessee in which more than 500 students skipped school the day after a local Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid. “With every wave of immigration enforcement, we have seen that. It is dangerous when leaders in our government make statements that directly cause that chilling effect.”

    Related

    New Research Shows Aggressive Immigration Enforcement Deeply Affecting Students — Immigrant and Citizen, Alike — and Their Teachers

    Although immigration and the rights of undocumented immigrants have been a heated sociopolitical issue for decades, tensions have festered under President Donald Trump’s administration. The president has referred to some immigrants as drug dealers and “rapists,” and he has unsuccessfully tried to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects nearly 700,000 undocumented people from deportation. Recent MS-13 gang violence in Long Island, New York, has also fueled Trump’s efforts to curtail immigration.

    Nonetheless, Hausman stressed, the right of undocumented students to a public education is still very much protected.

    “The most important thing is to counter the message of fear … and to really emphasize that statements [like DeVos’s] are flatly contradicted by the administration’s own policy,” he said. “School is still a safe place for undocumented students.”

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  • Don’t Rate Teaching Schools Based on Student Test Scores, Study Warns

    By Kevin Mahnken | May 29, 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.

    How do you rate a teacher prep program?

    About 2,000 of them exist across the United States — mostly degree-focused departments within colleges and universities, but also “alternative” programs operated by Teach for America or for-profit companies like Kaplan. They assign coursework, give aspiring teachers experience in the classroom, and send their graduates into schools. So how do we know which ones do the best job of equipping future educators with the skills they need?

    According to research published in the journal Education Next, there’s one clear way not to do it: using student test scores. Reviewing studies that examined teaching programs in six locations, University of Texas professor Paul T. von Hippel writes that rankings based on “value added” models — complex measurements of growth on standardized test performance — essentially spit out random results.

    The finding is noteworthy, since the federal government has spent the past few years wrestling with the question of how to improve teacher quality. In the waning days of the Obama administration, the Department of Education issued a mandate for all states to classify their teacher preparation programs using certain metrics of student outcomes, and particularly student value-added scores. Last year, the Senate voted 59–40 to block the rule, with a large number of Democratic defectors from states that President Trump won in 2016.

    Teachers unions applauded the reversal, saying that drawing conclusions from test scores would penalize teachers who work in disadvantaged schools (and the programs that those teachers attended). Still, some 21 states and the District of Columbia have announced that they would “collect and publicly report data that connect teachers’ student growth data to their preparation programs.”

    Related

    Arnett: Trump May Have Stripped Back Regulations on Teacher Preparation, but Many States Are Moving Forward

    That’s a bad mistake, says von Hippel. With co-author Laura Bellows, he writes that the original DOE rule and state-level efforts to replicate it are wrongheaded efforts to glean information from unreliable sources.

    For one thing, there are very few studies pointing to meaningful differences between different teacher prep programs — whether at a university education department, at a for-profit enterprise, or within the umbrella of a municipal “teaching fellowship” — based on student test scores. Von Hippel notes that neither the DOE officials who drafted the short-lived regulation, nor the union voices that vociferously opposed it, cited existing research to make their cases.

    In fact, he writes, there are so many possible variables in measuring teaching programs (the strength of an individual class of future teachers, the schools to which they are later assigned, and the makeup of their own students, to name just a few) that it is nearly impossible to assess the success or failure of a program based on student test scores.

    “The errors we make in estimating program differences are often larger than the differences we are trying to estimate,” von Hippel and Bellows write. “With rare exceptions, we cannot use student test scores to say whether a given program’s teachers are significantly better or worse than average.”

    Education Next

    To illustrate the point, von Hippel charts the value-added scores of students taught by graduates of Texas’s roughly 100 teaching programs, sorted from lowest to highest. He then overlays another distribution of the programs — this one counting all of them as identical, except for random estimation errors. The two charts look almost completely the same.

    He then examines previous studies that focused on teacher preparation in Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas, Washington State, and New York City, reanalyzing using the same statistical methods.

    “In every state,” he writes, “the differences between most programs were minuscule. Having a teacher from one program or another typically changed student test scores by just .01 to .03 standard deviations, or 1 to 3 percent of the average score gap between poor and non-poor children.”

    Too little hard information, lost amid far too much statistical noise, makes program rankings like the ones recommended by the DOE next to useless, von Hippel and Bellows conclude. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore the question of how teachers are prepared for the classroom, especially since a significant body of research indicates that teacher quality is the single most important ingredient to student success.

    Principal evaluations are one possible alternative, but they are also biased in ways that are unfair to teachers of disadvantaged students. Teachers can also be asked to rate the programs they graduated from, though that presents the opportunity for bias to creep in as well.

    The best existing proposal, the authors argue, is to measure programs based on the percentage of their graduates who are hired and retained as teachers. Given the relatively large number of teaching school graduates who never take classroom roles, or who leave the profession within a few years, programs’ records of placing their graduates in schools long-term may be the best reflection of their success.

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    Go Deeper: This is part of The 74’s ongoing ‘Big Picture’ series, bringing American education into sharper focus through the newest research, data, and surveys. See our full series.



  • EduClips: Some Parkland Victims Slam District as Unsupportive; NYC Schools That Cater to Students Who Have Fallen Behind Undergoing ‘Systemic’ Transformation — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | May 29, 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

    STARBUCKS RACIAL BIAS TRAINING — They were educators, not baristas, and copies of How Bear Lost His Tail lined the wall rather than promotions for the Ultra Caramel Frappuccino. But on a recent Friday afternoon, the staff of Coney Island Prep Elementary School in Brooklyn engaged in the same activity nearly 175,000 Starbucks employees will participate in today: racial bias training.

    After students left for the day, nearly three dozen staff gathered in Room 446, sat in tennis-ball-bottomed chairs, and shared how they — just like everyone else — had occasionally and unintentionally offended by making assumptions based on race. Many had been on the receiving end of such offenses. They happen in schools, offices, Starbucks — everywhere, in other words. (Read at The74Million.org)

    National News

    GAY STUDENTS — Catholic School Rejected Its Gay Valedictorian’s Speech. So He Gave It With a Bullhorn. (Read at The New York Times)

    TESTING — Can Districts Use the SAT or ACT for School Accountability Without State OK? (Read at Politics K-12)

    RURAL SCHOOLS — A rural school turns to digital education. Is it a savior or devil’s bargain? (Read at NBC News)

    District and State News

    NEW YORK — Behind the scenes, New York City schools that serve students who have fallen behind are undergoing a ‘systemic’ transformation (Read at Chalkbeat)

    CALIFORNIA — Fueled by unlimited donations, independent groups play their biggest role yet in a California primary for governor (Read at the Los Angeles Times)

    FLORIDA — Some Parkland victims slam school district as unsupportive: ‘They know I am broken’ (Read at the Sun Sentinel)

    TEXAS — Twice a week, these Texas students circle up and talk about their feelings. It’s lowering suspensions and preventing violence. (Read at The Texas Tribune)

    PENNSYLVANIA — Philadelphia school returns donated iPads for strange reason (Read at Metro)

    CALIFORNIA — California schools are short of teachers. One reason? They’re going to Texas (Read at The Sacramento Bee)

    FLORIDA — The Sunshine Economy: State of Teachers’ Unions (Read at WLRN)

    NEW YORK — NYC pols, advocates urge education officials to offer more social workers for homeless students (Read at the New York Daily News)

    TEXAS — Texas education agency penalizes testing vendor over STAAR glitches (Read at KTSM)

    Think Pieces

    SCHOOL TEMPERATURE — Higher temperatures equal lower test scores — study confirms that students learn less in overheated classrooms (Read at Chalkbeat)

    ENGLISH — ‘OMG This Is Wrong!’ Retired English Teacher Marks Up a White House Letter and Sends It Back (Read at The New York Times)

    DEVOS — OPINION: Did Betsy DeVos just suggest that schools roll back students’ civil rights? (Read at The Hechinger Report)

    ELECTION — Can Ms. Hayes go to Washington? A national teacher of the year explains why she’s running for Congress (Read at Chalkbeat)

    PERSONALIZED LEARNING — Analysis: Through Co-Teaching, Team Teaching, and Collaboration, These Pioneering Schools Are Rethinking How to Best Deliver Personalized Learning for Students (Read at The74Million.org)

    KINDERGARTEN — Money makes the difference for kindergarteners in the summer (Read at The Hechinger Report)

    Quote of the Day

    “It’s typically not a proactive call, it’s a reactive call. I think that speaks volumes.” —Jennifer Moore, a former middle school teacher who now leads racial bias trainings through her organization, Initiate Equity, on how such trainings typically get started. Starbucks is closing the majority of its locations today to engage in similar trainings. (Read at The74Million.org)

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  • Watch: 7 of This Year’s Most Memorable — and Inspiring — Graduation Speeches

    By Laura Fay | May 23, 2018

    This article is one in a series at The 74 that profiles the most inspiring things happening at schools all across America. Read more of our recent inspiring headlines at The74Million.org/Inspiring.

    As graduates around the country receive their diplomas, pose for photos, and make plans for their futures, they will likely listen to a series of long commencement speeches. This is when celebrities, students, and faculty celebrate their accomplishments. Pursue your dreams, they’ll say. Reach for the stars.

    But each year, there are always a few speeches that reach past the clichés to comment on current events, offer rare advice, and make people laugh.

    We collected a few of the season’s best:

    Oprah Winfrey at USC: In an Era of Cynicism, ‘Exemplify Honesty’ — and Vote

    In the words of Oprah Winfrey, graduates are being “catapulted into a world that appears to have gone off its rocker.” In a speech at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Winfrey asked graduates to declare war on cynicism and embrace honesty.

    Winfrey made only a passing reference to politics, encouraging graduates to vote.

    “So, I hesitate to say this, because the rumors from my last big speech have finally died down, but here it is. Vote. Vote. Vote.” (See the transcript here.)

    Hillary Clinton at Yale: The Speech With the Hat

    Other speakers made more specific political references.

    Hillary Clinton brought out a Russian hat during her speech at a graduation event at Yale.

    “If you can’t beat them, join them,” she joked.

    Jimmy Carter at Liberty University: A Jab at Trump

    Former president Jimmy Carter bragged that the crowd to see him at Liberty University was bigger than the one that gathered to see President Donald Trump give the commencement address there last year.

    “I don’t know if President Trump would admit that or not,” Carter said.

    Boston University’s Yasmin Younis: Daughter of Iraqi Immigrants Reclaims Her Name

    Yasmin Younis, a student speaker at Boston University’s commencement and the daughter of Iraqi immigrants, spoke about how she reclaimed her name when she arrived at the school. Before college, she used an anglicized pronunciation of her name and neglected her middle name. But as an undergraduate, she started to proudly refer to herself in full: Yasmin Liwa Younis. She compared her identity struggle to other hardships she and her classmates faced — Boston winters, difficult classes, and social adjustments.

    “Every struggle we overcame added to our story. It helped us figuratively reclaim our names, like my struggles pushed me to literally reclaim mine.” (Read more about Younis here.)

    Chadwick Boseman at Howard: A Wakanda-Flavored Call to ‘Savor the Taste of Your Triumphs’

    At Howard University, alumnus Chadwick Boseman of Black Panther fame remembered his own time on campus, crossing paths with Muhammad Ali and participating in student protests. He praised graduates for their own activism this year and explained how his time protesting as a student prepared him to deal with discrimination later in his career. Boseman also encouraged students to appreciate their graduation experience.

    “Invest in the importance of this moment, and cherish it. … Savor the taste of your triumphs today, don’t just swallow the moment whole without digesting what has happened here.”

    He ended the speech with a “Wakanda salute” from Black Panther, saying “Howard forever.”

    Actor Chadwick Boseman gives a Wakanda salute to the crowd as Howard University holds its commencement ceremonies on May 12, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

    Soccer Star Abby Wambach at Barnard: It’s OK to be Disappointed

    Retired soccer star Abby Wambach spoke to graduates at Barnard College about the expectations women face in the workplace, the power of learning from failure, and the importance of lifting up other women.

    Wambach compared the commencement to being honored at the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards after her retirement from professional soccer in 2015.

    “Here’s what’s important,” she said. “You’re allowed to be disappointed when it feels like life’s benched you. What you aren’t allowed to do is miss your opportunity to lead from the bench. … If you’re not a leader on the bench, don’t call yourself a leader on the field.” (See the transcript here.)

    Ronan Farrow at Loyola Marymount: How He Almost Gave Up on the Harvey Weinstein Investigation That Won Him the Pulitzer

    Ronan Farrow, who wrote one of the Pulitzer Prize–winning stories that brought down Harvey Weinstein and electrified the #MeToo movement last year, spoke to graduates at Loyola Marymount University about the process of investigating and writing about Weinstein — and the moment he almost gave up. Farrow told graduates he hoped they, too, would persist when they faced obstacles in their work.

    “I didn’t stop. Because I knew I’d never be able to live with myself if I didn’t honor the risks those women had taken to expose this. But also, less nobly, because I really had gambled too much and there was no way out but through.” (See the transcript here.)

    Columnist Mitch Albom Hears ‘the Best Commencement Speech of the Year’ — in a Phone Call

    Author and columnist Mitch Albom wrote in The Detroit Free Press that he heard “the best commencement speech of the year” — not at a high school or college graduation, but in a phone call.

    The “speech” came when Albom interviewed a local high student, Sean English, who lost his leg a year ago when hit by a car; the accident occurred while English was on the side of the road helping a family that had car trouble. Another woman who had stopped to help was killed. When Albom talked to English, the student had recently attended his prom and participated in a track meet with his prosthetic leg. Yet English was relentlessly positive.

    “I mean, life can always be worse. You can go to your local hospital and see people in positions much worse than what you’re experiencing. So you should always remember to be grateful for that,” English said. (Read the full column here.)

    Go Deeper: This article is one in a series at The 74 that profiles the most inspiring things happening at schools all across America. Read more of our recent inspiring headlines at The74Million.org/Inspiring.

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  • With Easy Primary Win, Stacey Abrams Moves Closer to Becoming Nation’s First Black Woman Governor

    By David Cantor | May 23, 2018

    Former Georgia lawmaker Stacey Abrams cruised to a lopsided victory in the state’s Democratic gubernatorial primary Tuesday, becoming the first black woman ever to be nominated for governor by a major party.

    Abrams won nearly 76 percent of the vote and will face the winner of a July 24 runoff between two current state GOP officeholders. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who led candidates in both parties in polls and fundraising throughout the race, failed to win a majority against a crowded primary field, attracting 39 percent of Republican voters.

    In a year when Democratic office seekers in conservative districts have tried to distance themselves from the party’s liberal leadership, Abrams campaigned as an unapologetic progressive, aiming to mobilize non-participating and unregistered voters, particularly in black and Hispanic communities.

    Her “new Democratic majority,” as a supporter called it, won the support of the Bernie Sanders wing of the party, as well as celebrities ranging from Meryl Streep to Cardi B and organizations like Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List. Profiles of Abrams appeared in every national news outlet, both legacy and online, sometimes several times.

    “Having interviewed Stacey Abrams back in the day,” said Rachel Maddow, the popular left-leaning MSNBC news personality Tuesday night, “I found her to be one of the most charismatic politicians of her generation.”

    Abrams easily defeated her more moderate Democratic rival, Stacey Evans. If Cagle emerges from the GOP runoff in July, the two will compete to succeed outgoing Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who pursued several education-reform-minded initiatives during his two terms.

    Deal helped pass a 2012 constitutional amendment allowing the state to authorize charter schools, which Abrams voted against. She also objected to Deal’s signature 2016 proposal: a so-called Opportunity School District for chronically low-performing schools. The schools, which enrolled 68,000 students at that time, Deal said, would be run by the state. Voters rejected the plan by a 60–40 voter margin. The Georgia Federation of Teachers still felt that Abrams, as House minority leader, didn’t do enough to get her caucus to defeat the Opportunity School District before it could get to voters and endorsed Evans.

    Abrams supported 2011 legislation, advanced by Deal, that raised academic eligibility requirements for the state’s HOPE college scholarships. Evans had argued that poorer students are being hurt, which data bear out. Abrams said she saved the scholarship from further cuts and negotiated added benefits. Abrams has promoted early education, improved social-emotional learning, and increased school funding. She believes quality day care needs to be part of the solution and opposes private school vouchers.

    Cagle, the leading Republican, supports voucher expansion and charter schools, along with prep programs that prepare students for study at one of Georgia’s 22 technical colleges.

    Cagle wrote a 160-page book, Education Unleashed, blurbed by former U.S. secretary of education William Bennett, that functions as a campaign manifesto. He decries “the compliance mentality of our state’s educational bureaucracy” and calls for empowering local districts, even allowing them to design their own assessments.

    Back in January, Georgia voters identified education as the state’s most important issue. Whether that will hold true through the general election remains to be seen, as does whether Abrams’s electoral strategy will work beyond Democratic voters. Donald Trump won Georgia modestly — by 5 points — but his approval ratings have climbed. And Georgians haven’t elected a Democrat to statewide office in two decades.

    As with Democrat Doug Jones in his successful U.S. Senate race in Alabama — which comes up often in interviews with Abrams supporters — she will need a large turnout, particularly in Atlanta and the state’s relatively few other urban areas.

    Preliminary reports indicated voter turnout was low Tuesday.

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  • EduClips: Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Transgender Student in Bathroom Case; TX Governor Touts Plan to Stop School Shootings — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | May 23, 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.

    EduClips will be going on vacation until after the Memorial Day holiday. We will return Tuesday morning, May 29.

    Top Story

    TRANSGENDER BATHROOMS —A federal judge in Virginia has found in favor of a transgender student whose efforts to use the boys’ bathrooms at his high school reached the Supreme Court and thrust him into the middle of a national debate about the rights of transgender students. In an order handed down on Tuesday, Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia denied a motion by the Gloucester County school board to dismiss the lawsuit brought by the student, Gavin Grimm.

    The school board had maintained that Mr. Grimm’s “biological gender” was female and had prohibited administrators from allowing him to use the boys’ restrooms. He sued the school board in July 2015, alleging that its policy violated Title IX as well as the equal protection clause of the Constitution. The board had argued in essence that its policy was valid because Title IX allows for claims only on the basis of sex, rather than gender identity, and that its policy did not violate the equal protection clause.

    But Judge Wright Allen disagreed, writing that Mr. Grimm’s transgender status constituted a claim of sex discrimination and that the bathroom policy had “subjected him to sex stereotyping,” violations of the law. (Read at The New York Times)

    National News

    DEVOS TESTIMONY

    From School Safety to Discipline Guidance: 8 Subjects DeVos Addressed in Wide-Ranging First Appearance Before House Ed Committee (Read at The74Million.org)

    ‘Astounding ignorance of the law’: Civil rights groups slam DeVos for saying schools can report undocumented students (Read at The Washington Post)

    TEACHER GRANT PROGRAM — Education Secretary DeVos Acknowledges Problems With Teacher Grant Program (Read at NPR)

    SCHOOL SAFETY — Arne Duncan Is Serious: Americans Should Boycott School (Read at The Atlantic)

    TEACHER PAY — Democrats: Boost Teacher Pay Instead of Giving Tax Cut to ‘Richest Americans’ (Read at Politics K-12)

    SCHOOL SAFETY — ‘All of These Tweets Are People’s Futures’: After Texas Tragedy, Hashtag #IfIDieInASchoolShooting Gives Voice to Students’ Despair (Read at The74Million.org)

    APPRENTICESHIPS — Trump’s Apprenticeship Task Force Sheds No New Light on High School Expansion (Read at Education Week)

    District and State News

    TEXAS — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott touts immediate plans to stop school shootings, but avoids talk of a special session (Read at The Texas Tribune)

    ILLINOIS — Editorial: When Chicago schools close: How to help students thrive (Read at the Chicago Tribune)

    NEW YORK — Charter schools advocates’ next push: Funding for school security (Read at Chalkbeat)

    TEXAS — Opinion: Something Has Changed in the Gun Debate in Texas (Read at the Texas Observer)

    CALIFORNIA — Modesto taps Sacramento educator as next schools leader. Board member resigns. (Read at the Modesto Bee)

    NEW YORK — Another integration plan for Upper West Side middle schools is met with some support, but also familiar concerns (Read at Chalkbeat)

    CALIFORNIA — Latinos, African-Americans have less access to math, science classes, new data show (Read at EdSource)

    Think Pieces

    CHICAGO SCHOOLS — Study: CPS 2013 closings didn’t keep promises of better academic opportunities (Read at The Chicago Sun-Times)

    EDUCATION REFORM — Bailey: Student-Centered Education Reforms + Time to Let Them Work = Progress. Need Proof? Look at Florida’s NAEP Scores (Read at The74Million.org)

    GENDER EQUALITY — Gender equality in schools is hiding disadvantages for both boys and girls (Read at Quartz)

    GRADING — Has video killed the red grading pen? (Read at The Hechinger Report)

    Quote of the Day

    “Sir, I think that’s a school decision. That’s a local community decision. And again, I refer to the fact that we have laws and we also are compassionate, and I urge this body to do its job and address or clarify where there is confusion around this.” —U.S. Secretary of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos answering, incorrectly, a question from Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) about whether schools can decide to report undocumented students to immigration enforcement officials. (Read at The Washington Post)

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  • Police Officer Thwarts School Shooting in Illinois After Exchanging Gunfire, Injuring Attacker; At Least 41 Killed and 70 Injured at Schools in 2018

    By Taylor Swaak | May 22, 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 school shooting in northern Illinois last week ended without harm to students or staff when a school resource officer shot and injured the gunman.

    Seniors at Dixon High School were having a graduation rehearsal on May 16 when the suspect, identified as Matthew Milby, 19, of Dixon, opened fire shortly after 8 a.m. Mark Dallas, the school’s resource officer for five years, promptly confronted Milby and chased him out of the school and down a nearby street, according to The New York Times.

    Milby — identified by most media outlets as a former student — shot a few rounds at the officer but missed, law enforcement reports stated. Dallas then shot back, hitting Milby. After being treated for non-life-threatening injuries, the suspect was taken to Lee County Jail the next day and charged with three counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm, with bond set at $2 million, the Times reported. Police said the weapon, a 9-millimeter semiautomatic rifle, belonged to Milby’s mother.

    Authorities and politicians alike have praised Dallas for his bravery, hailing him as a “hero.” He was placed on administrative leave afterward, in accordance with policy.

    “I could not be more proud of the police officer and the way he responded in this situation,” Dixon Police Chief Steve Howell told reporters. “Because of his heroic actions, countless lives were saved. We are forever indebted to him for his service and his bravery.”

    Politicians such as Illinois governor Bruce Rauner also took to social media to express their gratitude.

    The May 16 shooting was one of three school shootings in an eight-day span, with a non-fatal attack on May 11 in Palmdale, California, and the massacre in Santa Fe, Texas, on May 18 that left 10 people dead. In 2018, at least 41 people have been killed and 70 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 info@the74million.org, and bookmark this page for the latest reports of incidents involving the discharging of a firearm on school property that results in a wound or fatality.

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  • ‘All of These Tweets Are People’s Futures’: After Texas Tragedy, Hashtag #IfIDieInASchoolShooting Gives Voice to Students’ Despair

    By Taylor Swaak | May 22, 2018

    If Twitter user @chad_williams05 dies in a school shooting, he wants someone to tell his siblings he loves them.

    User @ianquick wants someone to put his body in the NRA parking lot. And @Faaabbbuloousss wants people to know she “wasn’t surprised” it happened.

    Since Sunday, tweets with the hashtag #IfIDieInASchoolShooting have flooded Twitter, as students’ fear, desperation, and anger over gun violence — the most recent case being Friday’s attack at a Santa Fe, Texas, high school — has once again reached a fever pitch. The hashtag had been tweeted nearly 50,000 times as of Monday, joining a string of viral school-shooting-linked hashtags such as #NeverAgain and #EnoughIsEnough, which gained traction following February’s Parkland, Florida, massacre.

    Related

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

    Eighteen-year-old Andrew Schneidawind started the hashtag on Sunday with no expectations but with a hope: to “shame the people who are not doing anything into possibly changing their minds.”

    “All of these tweets are people’s futures; they’re people’s families that they want to have, things they want to do,” Schneidawind, a freshman at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia, told the 74.

    The notifications quickly started piling up — more than 1,500 retweets and 6,100 likes on his initial post, as of Tuesday — including from Parkland student activists such as Emma González, who responded, “#IfIDieInASchoolShooting I’d get to see Carmen again,” referencing one of the Parkland victims.

    With the hashtag clearly striking a chord on social media, Schneidawind said he intends to physically send some of the tweets to legislators in the coming weeks.

    “I hope others send [tweets] too, and maybe a few [legislators] will be so uncomfortable that they’ll change their minds just to make it stop,” he said. “If that’s what it takes, we’ll have to do it. That’s how desperate we are.”

    Here’s a roundup of some of the most powerful #IfIDieInASchoolShooting tweets we’ve seen so far — including those from teachers and onlookers:

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  • EduClips: District School Chiefs Sue IL for $7.2 Billion; Top KS Court Hears Arguments in School Funding Case — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | May 22, 2018

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

    Top Story

    TEXAS SCHOOL SHOOTING — When Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this week convenes the first of his planned roundtable discussions to come up with laws to protect people from gun violence, it could mark a turning point for the state.

    Texas has some of the most lenient gun laws in the country. A shooting at a small Texas church in November that killed 26 and injured 20 others didn’t prompt changes in state legislature or public rhetoric. And the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., in February that killed 17 and brought gun-control measures to the forefront elsewhere also didn’t lead to changes here. Earlier this month, Dallas hosted the largest National Rifle Association convention ever, and Mr. Abbott was among the speakers.

    But since Friday’s shooting at Santa Fe High School near Houston that left 10 dead and 13 injured, Mr. Abbott and other high-level officials have spoken out and taken to social media to talk about gun control. (Read at The Wall Street Journal)

    National News

    TEXAS SCHOOL SHOOTING

    — Will the Texas Shooting Prompt Action From Trump’s School Safety Commission? (Read at Politics K-12)

    — Since Parkland, 14 states have introduced 25 measures to arm teachers and staff. Only 1 has passed (Read at CNN)

    — The US has had 57 times as many school shootings as the other major industrialized nations combined (Read at CNN)

    — Texas lieutenant governor calls for ‘hardening’ of schools (Read at PBS)

    TEACHER GRANTS — Education Department Launches ‘Top-To-Bottom’ Review Of Teachers’ Grant Program (Read at NPR)

    KANSAS FUNDING — Top Kansas court to hear arguments on school funding (Read at Washington Post)

    DC SCHOOLS — Why does Bowser keep saying D.C. is the ‘fastest improving’ school district in the country? (Read at Washington Post)

    District and State News

    ILLINOIS — School Supts Sue State For $7.2 Billion (Read at NPR Illinois)

    FLORIDA — Florida Department of Education prepares rules to govern scholarships for bullied students (Read at Tampa Bay Times)

    NEW YORK — NYC’s first citywide Student Voter Registration Day draws teens looking to stop school gun violence (Read at New York Daily News)

    ILLINOIS — CPS promised better academic opportunities, but students saw test scores drop (Read at Chicago Sun Times)

    CALIFORNIA — Charter backers outspend teachers in 2 California races (Read at Education Week)

    NEVADA — Clark County School Board approves $2.4B budget (Read at Las Vegas Review-Journal)

    CALIFORNIA — Push underway to increase California school funding by billions (Read at EdSource)

    NEW YORK — Success Academy COO leaving for another charter network (Read at Chalkbeat)

    Think Pieces

    ‘THIS IS AMERICA’ — From Viral Video to the Classroom: Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ Spurs Discussion on Race, Gun Violence, and History (Read at The74Million.org)

    TEACHER PAY — Pay Teachers More—but Make Sure They Earn It (Read in The Wall Street Journal)

    TEACHERS’ UNIONS — Exclusive: Ahead of a Key Supreme Court Decision, America’s Largest Teachers Union Slashes Budget by $50 Million, Projects That 300,000 Members May Leave (Read at The74Million.org)

    TEACHERS — Democrats have a better deal for teachers and our kids, too: Chuck Schumer & Nancy Pelosi (Read at USA Today)

    DRESS CODES — Dress codes can’t cover for bad teaching (Read Hechinger Report)

    PROFICIENCY STANDARDS — States Are Raising the Bar for Their Students, New Report Shows, but Higher Standards Are Not Driving Higher Test Scores (Read at The74Million.org)

    INSTRUCTION TIME — How do Mississippi’s requirements for instructional time compare to the rest of the country? (Read at Hechinger Report)

    Quote of the Day

    “They gave more care to the gun than they did to the victim, which I thought was very interesting. And my teacher didn’t point that out, I did. Which was pretty cool.” — Kenny Shirley, 14, a student in Nathan Tanner’s history class at Northwest Middle School in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Childish Gambino’s “This is America” video. The class is one of many in the U.S. to use the video to explore issues of race, gun violence and history. (Read at The74Million.org)

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  • States Are Raising the Bar for Their Students, New Report Shows, but Higher Standards Are Not Driving Higher Test Scores

    By Kevin Mahnken | May 22, 2018

    States are setting higher expectations for student academic performance, according to a new report in the journal Education Next. The authors find that proficiency standards on state tests have grown more stringent over the past few years, defying worries that they would be dumbed down as the federal government took a more detached approach to school accountability. But higher standards don’t seem to have yielded higher performance.

    The report, written by Education Next editor and Harvard professor Paul Peterson, is the latest installment in the journal’s ongoing effort to track standards over time.

    Since 2005, the journal has regularly measured the percentage of students rated as “proficient” — i.e., on track for college — on their respective states’ standardized tests. That proportion is then compared with the percentage rated proficient on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a rigorous test seen as the gold standard among education experts. If states set their proficiency bar high, the difference between their own tests and NAEP should be small.

    For years, those disparities were instead gaping. In 2009, the difference was 37 percentage points on average. Because so many states set low standards for student performance, millions of parents believed that their own children were well prepared for life after high school, when according to NAEP, they were actually falling behind. The phenomenon was known as the “honesty gap.”

    Education Next

    That all changed after 2009, when the Department of Education under President Obama offered financial incentives to states to adopt the Common Core State Standards (or else design local versions derived from them). Over the past decade, as dozens of states have lifted their own proficiency standards, the honesty gap has shrunk by about three-quarters.

    But then the Common Core proved politically radioactive as a coalition of teachers unions, anti-testing parents, and conservative activists pushed to eliminate them. After the passage of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015, which explicitly barred the federal government from incentivizing states to alter their academic standards, some feared that state standards would once again be weakened. After all, with a lower bar comes more students who can vault over it (and more happy news reports about improved performance).

    But that hasn’t happened. Even as the federal Department of Education has taken a decidedly lighter touch, states haven’t rushed to reopen the honesty gap.

    “The standards could easily have slipped, because the new law doesn’t allow the federal government to do anything to sustain them, and there’s been a lot of political opposition,” Peterson told The 74. “You would have thought some states would have backed away.”

    Indeed, some 43 states received a B-minus grade or better from Education Next on their standards, while 16 states and the District of Columbia earned either an A or an A-minus. By comparison, only two states received a grade of B or better just nine years ago.

    But more rigorous standards have not led to higher performance. Federal NAEP scores for both reading and math have been essentially flat over the past decade, even as states were adopting Common Core and making their own standardized tests more difficult. Just as other school reforms haven’t moved the needle on NAEP results, higher proficiency standards haven’t either.

    Related

    A ‘Lost Decade’ for Academic Progress? NAEP Scores Remain Flat Amid Signs of a Widening Gap Between Highest and Lowest Performers

    “We find no correlation at all between a lift in state standards and a rise in student performance, which is the central objective of higher proficiency bars,” Peterson writes in the report. “While higher proficiency standards may still serve to boost academic performance, our evidence suggests that day has not yet arrived.”

    A few states, such as Tennessee and Georgia, have seen bumps to their NAEP performance after adopting tougher proficiency requirements. But others, such as Kansas and Maryland, have made similar strides while experiencing no growth — or even a decline — in test scores.

    Education Next

    “The first result from the test score information is sort of concerning,” he said. “Because if you don’t see any correlation between a lifting of standards and a lifting of performance, you wonder just how useful those standards are.”

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  • Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan Endorses ‘Provocative’ Call to Curb Gun Violence: A School Boycott

    By Taylor Swaak | May 21, 2018

    Former education secretary Arne Duncan is making media waves touting an unorthodox proposal to end gun violence in schools: taking children out of class.

    Speaking on CNN’s New Day on Monday, Duncan maintained that a “provocative measure” like a school boycott is needed amid the country’s seemingly stagnant response to school shootings — the latest at a Santa Fe, Texas, high school Friday that left eight students and two teachers dead and 13 others injured.

    “We as parents have failed to keep our kids safe, and we need to create a tension,” said Duncan, who has school-age children. A good time for the movement, he noted, would be when many schools traditionally start classes after the Labor Day holiday.

    Duncan first retweeted the idea — piggybacking off of Education Post executive director Peter Cunningham, who worked under Duncan in the Obama administration — hours after Friday’s shooting, calling the strike proposal “brilliant, and tragically necessary.” Duncan was education secretary from 2009 to 2015, and he acts as managing partner of Chicago Cred, an organization working to curb gun violence in the city. He’s also active on social media, retweeting activists and Parkland, Florida, shooting survivors David Hogg and Emma González as they call for increased youth voter registration.

    Duncan was not available Monday for comment.

    Cunningham, who called his former boss an “outstanding, long-standing proponent“ for gun reform, told The 74 he was inspired to circulate the idea because he believes parents can have sizable clout as contentious political races approach.

    “We need voting-age people to tell members of Congress, ‘This is going to be a voting issue this fall,’ ” Cunningham said. “And if [Republican] control of Congress is at risk, maybe they’ll act.”

    Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has not weighed in publicly on the proposal, but after Friday’s tragedy she affirmed in a written statement that the recently created Federal Commission on School Safety is “working to identify proven ways to prevent violence and keep our students safe.” She’d met with past school shooting victims and their families the day before.

    Many social media users have enthusiastically embraced the prospect of a strike, including education leaders such as Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

    Efraín Martínez, principal of José Clemente Orozco Academy in Chicago, taught for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) while Duncan was superintendent from 2001 to 2009. As the principal of about 550 students from pre-K to eighth grade — and the father of two elementary schoolers — Martínez said he’s tired of feeling powerless. So when he saw Duncan’s retweet, he thought the same thing: “Brilliant.”

    “The people who are supposed to fix it are not fixing it, so people like us, we need to move something,” he said. “Because these are our children. These are our futures. … We are an embarrassment right now in terms of how many shootings happen in comparison to what we have done to solve it.”

    Others have offered hesitant optimism, pointing to possible truancy or the financial burden a boycott could place on families who work.

    Duncan admitted to The Washington Post that a parent strike would be “wildly impractical and difficult.”

    “I’m open to other ideas, I’m open to different ideas,” he said. “But I’m not open to doing nothing.”

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  • From Viral Video to the Classroom: Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ Spurs Discussion on Race, Gun Violence, and History

    By Taylor Swaak | May 21, 2018

    English teacher Natasha Akery eased into a recent lesson for her ninth-graders with a simple task: Answer a few generic questions about music.

    “Why do you like the music that you do? Is it because of the way it sounds? The lyrics? The artist? Explain,” the prompt read. All of her roughly 60 students answered that it was about the beat.

    Soon after, they listened to and watched Donald Glover’s “This Is America,” which has captured the attention of millions for a completely different reason.

    The song and accompanying video, headlined by Glover’s alter ego Childish Gambino, has blown up in the past two weeks — not for its melding of choral and trap music beats, but for the elusive and provocative ways it alludes to America’s tangled history with race and gun violence. Among the viral video’s more than 130 million viewers are scores of teachers, who are using it to engage students in conversations on history, symbolism, and the power of self-expression.

    “I was immediately like, ‘I’m going to do a lesson plan on this,’ ” said Akery, who teaches at Military Magnet Academy in North Charleston, South Carolina. She first caught wind of the video when her Twitter feed blew up the day after the song’s May 5 debut on Saturday Night Live.

    Nathan Tanner, who teaches history at Northwest Middle School in Salt Lake City, Utah, had the same gut reaction. Gleaning inspiration and ideas from a #HipHopEd teacher forum on Twitter, he crafted a 50-minute lesson plan that began with placing five stanzas from the song without context on posters around class, and asking students to speculate about the lyrics’ meaning.

    After students analyzed the lyrics and heard the song, Tanner played the video twice, hoping to spur conversation on historical symbolism and the rapper’s depiction of life in America. During the video, a shirtless, dancing Glover moves through peaceful scenes — a man playing a guitar or a choir singing — only to burst into disturbing acts of sudden violence. The acts strike a chord in the era of mass shootings, such as last Friday’s massacre at a Texas high school, but also have rich historical overtones.

    Tanner highlighted a few symbols that stood out, such as Glover’s gray pants, a possible reference to attire worn by Confederate soldiers. Students took the reins from there.

    “As soon as you show students something that they can connect to, they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, that totally makes sense!’ ” he said.

    Thirteen-year-old Cass Mo’unga was largely drawn to references to Jim Crow, the 19th and 20th century segregation laws thought to be named for minstrel shows in which a white actor caricatured black movements, because the class is learning about freed slaves’ oppression during Reconstruction. Early in the video, for example, she noticed that Gambino assumes a hunched posture that mimics a minstrel pose when he shoots and kills a black man.

    “You wouldn’t normally see those kinds of messages in that kind of video,” she said.

    Kenny Shirley, 14, zeroed in on how the guns Glover wields — one an AK-47, commonly used in mass shootings — are delicately handed off and placed in a cloth after each murder, while the victims’ bodies are left on the ground or dragged away.

    “They gave more care to the gun than they did to the victim, which I thought was very interesting,” Shirley said. “And my teacher didn’t point that out, I did. Which was pretty cool.”

    That blatant violence was “heavy,” Tanner said. He admitted to having initial reservations about showing the video — there has been pushback in other cases — and gave students a warning and a choice about whether to watch. Only three students out of about 100 opted out.

    Eighth-grade history students in Salt Lake City, Utah, offer their thoughts on the meaning behind a stanza in Donald Glover’s new song “This Is America.” (Credit: Nathan Tanner)

    The level of engagement, paired with students’ ability to draw connections to history, exceeded all expectations, he said.

    “It was great for me as a teacher, too, because on their way out I heard students talking to each other like, ‘Wow, that was a great lesson.’ I mean, I never get talk like that,” he said, laughing.

    Akery, the South Carolina English teacher, felt similar energy in her classroom. Her lesson, like Tanner’s, analyzed the lyrics before the class watched the video, but focused less on history than on spotting literary devices such as metaphor repetition, imagery, and symbolism.

    One particular metaphor had the class hooked: the group of students who dance jubilantly behind Glover throughout the video, even as a suicide, fires, police chases, and other chaos ensues behind them. Class opinion split between those who thought the students embodied youthful lack of awareness and those who thought their obliviousness was purposeful — a method of self-preservation.

    “When one of my students brought up that the students in the music video were distracting themselves from what’s going on around them intentionally, I hadn’t thought about that,” Akery said, noting how the conversation widened her own perspective. “I’d thought it was the students [in the video] being ignorant to what was going on around them.”

    Her students also enthusiastically responded to cameos of music icons such as R&B singer SZA, who they thought symbolized the Statue of Liberty. In the video, SZA’s hair is divided into high buns, appearing to mimic the statue’s crown.

    Akery’s lesson later segued into an assigned literary essay. But for Alyssa Bigbee, who teaches dance at West Philadelphia High School in Philadelphia, a student-inspired performance seemed a more fitting way to explore the video’s meaning.

    The dance integrates six hula hoops, she explained, with each hoop representing a student take on an aspect of the Glover video: depression, gun violence, superficiality, insecurity, poverty, and homophobia. During the dance, there is one student in each hoop, she continued. While the song plays in the background, the students take turns stepping outside their hoops. When they do, tragedy befalls them: They’re shot, or grabbed and taken away. The other students briefly notice, only to become distracted.

    “I wanted them to be able to put what they observed [from Glover’s video]” into the dance, she said. “I wanted them to have control of that. I just serve as a guide.”

    For sophomore Dorien Harris, who portrays “gun violence” in the dance, Glover’s video spoke to him on a personal level about how society can distract itself from reality. Although Harris hasn’t directly experienced gun violence or police brutality, such conflicts are not unheard of in his neighborhood, he said.

    “Everything [Glover] showed … it made me woke a little bit,” said Harris, 16. “I knew these things were going on, but it brought the story together.” He added that he hopes the dance, which the students intend to perform publicly as part of their end-of-the-year showcase, makes people “look at what’s going on in their life and try to relate it to what we’re doing in the dance, to see what’s actually going on in America.”

    The lesson’s outcome has reinforced one thing for Bigbee: Don’t shy away from broaching a charged and complex topic in class.

    Our students are very much aware of what’s going on” in the world, she said. “They just need the space to voice their opinions.”

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  • EduClips: Safety Precautions Failed to Stop Texas School Shooting but Might Have Prevented a Worse Tragedy; IL Lawmakers Allow Medical Marijuana in Schools — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

    By Andrew Brownstein | May 21, 2018

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

    Top Story

    TEXAS SCHOOL SHOOTING — They, like so many others, thought they had taken the steps to avoid this.

    The school district had an active-shooter plan, and two armed police officers walked the halls of the high school. School district leaders had even agreed last fall to eventually arm teachers and staff under the state’s school marshal program, one of the country’s most aggressive and controversial policies intended to get more guns into classrooms.

    They thought they were a hardened target, part of what’s expected today of the American public high school in an age when school shootings occur with alarming frequency. And so a death toll of 10 was a tragic sign of failure and needing to do more, but also a sign, to some, that it could have been much worse. (Read at The Washington Post)

    National News

    TEXAS SCHOOL SHOOTING:

    — Everything About the Texas School Shooting Seems Horribly Familiar (Read at The New Yorker)

    — Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change (Read at The Washington Post)

    — Advocates to Betsy DeVos: Give Educators ‘Meaningful Opportunities’ to Inform School Safety Work (Read at Politics K-12)

    — Police search for motive in Texas school shooting (Read at The Associated Press)

    DEVOS — Five Things to Watch for When Betsy DeVos Makes Rare Visit to Capitol Hill (Read at Politics K-12)

    District and State News

    HAWAII — Amid Explosions and Lava Flow in Hawaii, One Charter Leader Offers Her School a Steady Hand (Read at The74Million.org)

    GEORGIA — Diverse field in Gwinnett school board race could bring a first (Read at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

    CALIFORNIA — Charter Backers Outspending Teachers in California Races (Read at NBC 4)

    ILLINOIS — Illinois lawmakers vote to let kids take medical marijuana in school (Read at the Herald & Review)

    PENNSYLVANIA — Warrant issued for fake Alicia Keys DJ who duped Philadelphia school officials (Read at The Philadelphia Inquirer)

    NEW YORK — How NYC protects principals accused of sex harassment (Read at the New York Post)

    CALIFORNIA — Innovative high school for new immigrant students a model in California (Read at EdSource)

    NEW YORK — Principal who challenged parents at desegregation meeting speaks up (Read at NY1)

    Think Pieces

    SCHOOL SAFETY — 2018 has been deadlier for schoolchildren than service members (Read at The Washington Post)

    TEACHERS — Two studies point to the power of teacher-student relationships to boost learning (Read at The Hechinger Report)

    SCHOOL SAFETY — How Congress Has Dithered as the Innocent Get Shot (Read at The New York Times)

    SCIENCE — They’re the Brainstorming Smarties, and they have their work down to a science (Read at The Washington Post)

    LEARNING — When the future of learning prompts uncomfortable discussions (Read at The Hechinger Report)

    IMMIGRANT STUDENTS — SPLC demands equal education for immigrant children (Read at the Southern Poverty Law Center)

    Quote of the Day

    “My first indication is that our policies and procedures worked. Having said that, the way things are, if someone wants to get into a school to create havoc, they can do it.” —J.R. “Rusty” Norman, president of the district board of trustees that oversees Santa Fe High School in Texas, where a student gunman killed 10 and injured 13 people Friday. (Read at The Washington Post)

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  • 7 Updates on Santa Fe High School Rampage: Here’s What We Know So Far About Mass Shooting That Left 10 Dead

    By Taylor Swaak | May 18, 2018

    Updated May 20:

    Eight students and two teachers were killed in Friday’s massacre. At least 13 people were injured, including 2 law enforcement officers.

    The suspect, 17-year old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, an honor-roll student and former football player, reportedly confessed to the rampage and told authorities that he spared students he liked so that “he could have his story told.” The family of Shana Fisher, a 16-year old student who was among those killed Friday, told the Los Angeles Times that they believe their daughter was targeted because she repeatedly rejected the gunman’s attempts to date her.

    The gunman surrenderedapparently abandoning a plan to kill himself, about a half hour after entering an art classroom armed with a .38 caliber and Remington shotgun, said Galveston County Judge Mark Henry. While Pagourtzis faces charges of capital murder and aggravated assault on a peace officer, he cannot face the death penalty.

    Nine students and one teacher were killed Friday when a gunman opened fire at about 7:45 a.m. in a first-period art class at Santa Fe High School near Galveston, Texas. At least 10 people sustained injuries, according to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott — including two officers.

    Here’s what we know so far:

    1 Suspect is in custody, but motive is not yet known.

    Media outlets such as NBC News reported Friday afternoon that the suspect in Friday’s shooting is 17-year-old student Dimitrios Pagourtzis. Pagourtzis reportedly had at least three firearms on him: a shotgun, an assault-style rifle, and a pistol. The shotgun and revolver were legally owned by the suspect’s father, Abbott said in an afternoon press conference.

    Fellow student Dustin Severin, 17, told local NBC affiliate KPRC that he’d seen the suspect in a trench coat shortly before the attack. Pagourtzis’s social media posts — circulated widely on Friday — show the teen recently wearing a T-shirt with the words “Born to Kill,” along with photos of guns and a jacket with Nazi regalia. His Facebook page has since been deleted.

    2 There is a possible accomplice.

    While Pagourtzis is the primary suspect currently, authorities this morning also detained a second “person of interest” — an 18-year-old male — who they believe might have acted as an accomplice. No name has been released.

    3Little is known (yet) about the identities of the victims.

    Nine students and one teacher were reportedly killed, but no names were officially released as of Friday afternoon.

    Some information was provided about the injured, however. A Santa Fe Independent School District (ISD) resource officer, John Barnes, was reportedly shot in the upper arm and is undergoing surgery, according to ABC13. And David Marshall, the chief nursing officer at the University of Texas Medical Branch, said in a press conference that two adults and one minor were receiving treatment at that facility. The minor is a 16-year-old male in stable condition with a gunshot wound to the leg.

    4 Police found explosives at the school.

    While combing the area in and around the school after the shooting, officials found explosive devices such as pressure cookers and pipe bombs, reports stated.

    “There have been explosive devices found in the high school and surrounding areas adjacent to the high school,” Santa Fe ISD said in a tweet. “Because of the threat of explosive items, community members should be on the look-out for suspicious packages and anything that looks out of place.”

    Friday afternoon, police were searching Pagourtzis’s home — reportedly less than three miles from the school — for more explosives, according to CBS.

    5 Nearly 3 months ago, officials placed the school on lockdown after reports of gunshots.

    Shortly after shots began ringing out on Friday, students barricaded the classroom doors and hid — just as they’d done nearly three months ago.

    On February 28, the school was on lockdown for two hours after police received reports of what sounded like gunshots outside the school. The lockdown was lifted when investigators failed to pinpoint an imminent threat.

    6 There are “thoughts and prayers” — and some pushback.

    As the country reels from this latest tragedy, many officials, including President Donald Trump, began offering condolences and prayers:

    But many politicians — including Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings and Texas Gov. Abbott — are denouncing the “thoughts and prayers” approach.

    No one seemed more frustrated Friday than students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who lost 17 students and teachers in a February mass shooting. It was the last day of class for Stoneman Douglas seniors as they watched events unfold in Texas.

    “Get ready for two weeks of media coverage of politicians acting like they give a shit,” senior and gun reform advocate David Hogg tweeted.

    7 The shooting occurred just a day after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos held a “closed” meeting with survivors of previous mass shootings.

    The education secretary met Thursday with survivors of the Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and Parkland shootings, along with their family members. The closed meeting hoped to “give us a clear-eyed look at what has gone wrong in the past, the lessons learned and areas where we continue to fall short as we work to keep our nation’s students and teachers safe at school,” DeVos said in a written statement.

    After Friday’s shooting, she tweeted, “We simply cannot allow this trend to continue.”

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  • Amid Explosions and Lava Flow in Hawaii, One Charter Leader Offers Her School a Steady Hand

    By Laura Fay | May 18, 2018

    The headlines have been dramatic, declaring that homes on Hawaii’s Big Island are engulfed by lava and calling the damage heartbreaking and surreal. Hundreds have been displaced by recent explosions from the Kilauea volcano, which have unleashed flowing lava, toxic gas, and ash.

    But Susie Osborne, head of school at Kua O Ka Lā New Century Public Charter School in Pahoa, Hawaii, is careful not to be alarmist when she talks about what’s happening. Since the lava started flowing on Hawaii’s Big Island — bursting through cracks on the street where she lives — she’s had to evacuate her home in a hurry, relocate her school, and support 10 staff members and more than 60 students who are also displaced.

    “We just wanted to make [it] through the remainder of the year in just a one-time stable shot and just get that taken care of immediately,” she said of the decision to move classes to facilities in Hilo, about a 40-minute drive from the school’s permanent location. Students in kindergarten through fourth grade are now having class at a local church there, and fifth- through 12th-grade students have been relocated to a nearby Boys and Girls Club.

    In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, a lava flow moves on Makamae Street after the eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano on May 6, 2018, in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii. The governor of Hawaii has declared a local state of emergency near the Mount Kilauea volcano after it erupted following a 5.0-magnitude earthquake, forcing the evacuation of nearly 1,700 residents. (U.S. Geological Survey via Getty Images)

    Hawaii’s Department of Education does not have a count of how many students or educators have been displaced by the ongoing crisis, a spokesperson told The 74 in an email. No district schools have been damaged, and in most cases, classes have continued as usual throughout the crisis. There were two days when three schools had to close in the area, but all have since reopened, the spokesperson said.

    The picture could become more dire if, as some have predicted, the volcano erupts again with greater force.

    Although having a place for her students to attend school for the remainder of the year, which ends May 31, is a priority for Osborne, she has bigger concerns. Her charter school relies on per-student funding, so if displaced families decide not to return, Osborne will have to manage on a much tighter budget. Because her school is small — only about 240 students — every dollar counts. Even with fewer students, Osborne needs most of the same staff and resources she has now to keep the school going — and to maintain stability.

    “I can’t, for example, tell 10 of my teachers who don’t have homes, I’m sorry you don’t have a job next year,” she added.

    Despite her concerns, Osborne said the Hawaii Charter School Commission has recently committed to “authorizing with aloha” — love, respect, and compassion — and she is hopeful the governor and the commission will ensure her school and the eight other charters in east Hawaii have the money and support they need to operate next year.

    When lava flowed toward Pahoa in 2014, Osborne said, her school and others in the area struggled because many students were displaced and did not return to school, forcing her to let go of half her staff. “This is a different era,” though, she said, and she is hopeful everything will be stable again soon. For now, the students are happy to be back in class, and the east Hawaii community is working together to weather the crisis.

    “We’re a very resilient, loving community. It’s sort of amazing what is happening,” she said.

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