EduClips: CA’s High School Grad Rate Drops with New Methodology; IL Embraces the SAT — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts


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

CIVIL RIGHTS — As an elementary school student, Ken Marcus once wandered down a street just outside his predominantly Jewish hometown of Sharon, Massachusetts, when a group of children spotted him.

“They started throwing rocks and yelled for me to go back to my ‘Jew town,’” he recalled in an interview this week.

The episode, Marcus said, shaped his view on the need for greater civil rights protections — and particularly for a more vigorous battle against anti-Semitism in the U.S.

In Marcus, the Trump administration has chosen an outspoken activist against faith-based discrimination, in line with its agenda to elevate religious freedom as a civil rights concern. Critics say his focus is too narrow and elevates the rights of students who haven’t traditionally faced the most ostracism in schools. (Read at The Wall Street Journal)

National News

SPORTS — Competitive Kids Are Specializing in One Sport at Early Ages, Raising Injury Risks (Read at Education Week)

HIGHER EDUCATION — DeVos to Announce New Push for Deregulation, Innovation (Read at Inside Higher Ed)

District and State News

CALIFORNIA — California high school grad rate drops with new methodology (Read at EdSource)

ILLINOIS — Illinois has embraced the SAT, and the ACT is mad about it (Read at Chalkbeat)

TEXAS — Study: Texas students don’t gain much by taking college courses in high school (Read at the Houston Chronicle)

FLORIDA — And Then There Was One: 3 Things to Know About Florida’s Stalled Education Plan — and Why the State Could Be Risking $1 Billion in Federal Funds (Read at The74Million.org)

CALIFORNIA — LeBron James Family Foundation’s I Promise school opens Monday with hopes of changing public education (Read at the Los Angeles Times)

NEW YORK — How the city is failing my special-education students (Read at the New York Post)

FLORIDA — Clashes emerge on education amendment — two decades later (Read at Florida Politics)

HAWAII — Big Island Charter School Buried in Lava Finds New Home (Read at Hawaii Public Radio)

NEVADA — Clark County schools get à la carte budget docs in autonomy test run (Read at the Las Vegas Review-Journal)

GEORGIA — Gwinnett continues to outpace state in Milestones tests (Read at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Think Pieces

COMMON CORE — The mysteries of the classroom: What works, what doesn’t and why (Read at The Washington Post)

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES — Study: Washington State Charters Enroll Higher Percentages of Special Needs Students Than Traditional Schools (Read at The74Million.org)

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE — How artificial intelligence could help teachers do a better job (Read at The Hechinger Report)

HAPPINESS — To Focus on Students’ Emotional Well-Being, India Tries ‘Happiness Classes’ (Read at NPR)

DENVER — Elevating Expectations in the Mile High City: How Tom Boasberg Reshaped Denver’s Schools (Read at The74Million.org)

Quote of the Day

“I know these kids basically more than they know themselves. I walked the same streets. I rode the same bikes on the streets that they ride on. I went through the same emotions. The good, the bad, the adversity. Everything these kids are going through, the drugs, the violence, the guns, everything they’re going through as kids, I know.” —Basketball star LeBron James, in opening the I Promise School, a public non-charter elementary school, in Akron, Ohio. James’s foundation was the school’s top donor. (Read at the Los Angeles Times)

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