EduClips: From an End to Student Searches in L.A. to a New Law Helping Illinois Kids Avoid Gang Territory, School News You Missed This Week From America’s 15 Biggest Districts

EduClips is a roundup of the week’s top education headlines from America’s 15 largest school districts, where more than 4 million students across eight states attend class every day. Read previous EduClips installments here.

Hawaii — ACLU Says Hawaii Schools Are Suspending Too Many Students: Since the most recent federal school discipline data were released, Hawaiian educators have expressed concerns about a sizable racial disparity among school suspensions, showing that Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are more likely to be removed from class. But, as Honolulu Civil Beat reports, “the sheer number of instructional days missed in Hawaii as the result of school suspensions and arrests [is] drawing the attention of a national civil liberties group in the wake of the federal data.” (Read at Honolulu Civil Beat)

California — L.A. Unified Board Votes to End Random Student Searches: This week’s meeting of the L.A. Unified School District board was overrun with activists, many of them students, who attended to speak out against the city’s policy of student searches. As the Los Angeles Times reports, “School leaders voted Tuesday to end a policy of randomly searching students with metal detectors during the school day, a decades-old practice that a coalition of students and advocates has been trying to eliminate for years.” (Read at the Los Angeles Times)

New York — Some Students Get Extra Time for New York’s Elite High School Entrance Exam. 42 Percent Are White: The stakes are high when New York City’s middle school students sit down to take an exam that will determine who is admitted into the top public high schools. As The New York Times reports: “Those students have three hours, a race against the clock to answer questions on subjects like trigonometry and to analyze reading passages. But a few hundred students have double the time to take the exam, and there appears to be a racial disparity in who is receiving this special accommodation, which is covered under a federal designation known as a 504 … White students in New York City are 10 times as likely as Asian students to have a 504 designation that allows extra time on the specialized high school entrance exams. White students are also twice as likely as their black and Hispanic peers to have the designation. Students in poverty are much less likely to have a 504 for extra time.” (Read at The New York Times)

Illinois — New Illinois Law Allows Schools to Offer Kids Bus Rides Around Gang Territory: The state of Illinois is beginning to implement a 2018 law giving districts new authority to help students avoid dangerous commutes. “Schools across the state of Illinois will now have the option to put kids on the school bus so they don’t have to walk through gang territory,” reports The Center Square. “Under the plan, schools will work with parents and local police departments to map blocks where school kids shouldn’t walk. Then the district would figure out how to get those kids on a school bus.” (Read at The Center Square)

Florida — Florida Lottery Concerned Gambling Warning Labels Could Impact Education Funds: Gov. Ron DeSantis is considering new legislation that would add labels to the front of lottery tickets, warning purchasers about gambling addiction, the Pensacola News Journal reports. “An initial projection about the bill’s impact on education funding was made in March. But, appearing Wednesday before state economists, Florida Lottery Director of Product Shelly Gerteisen said officials have subsequently learned that the warning labels could affect the state’s participation in multi-state games such as Powerball and Mega Millions and end scratch-off games that feature the TV shows The Price Is Right and Wheel of Fortune and board games Monopoly and Scrabble.” (Read at the Pensacola News Journal)

Kansas — State Supreme Court Lets Legislature Off the Hook on K-12 Funding … For Now: Kansas has been engaged in a legal showdown over education spending for more than 30 years. Now Education Week’s Daarel Burnette II reports that the state’s top court has offered a temporary reprieve: “Kansas’ supreme court said Friday that the state was on track to provide an adequate education for its public school students under a long-running school finance lawsuit. But while the court said that the $90 million extra the state set aside for its schools during this year’s legislative session was a step in the right direction, it did not permanently close the case known as Gannon v. Kansas. That leaves the possibility of future battles between the state’s high court and the legislature over how Kansas should fund its schools.” (Read more at Education Week)

Philadelphia — Parents Fuming After Their Kindergartners Are Booted From South Philly Elementary to Make Room for Kids From Wealthier School: “Some South Philadelphia schools are bursting at the seams, increasingly filled with middle-class families choosing to stay in Philadelphia and invest in its public school system,” reports The Philadelphia Inquirer. “But a Philadelphia School District move to give away kindergarten seats at George W. Nebinger School, a diverse and largely low-income elementary school, to overflow children from its neighboring William M. Meredith School, a whiter and wealthier elementary school, has sparked controversy since the affected families received notice this week.” (Read at The Philadelphia Inquirer)

National — Watchdog Warns Education Department Should Remedy Underreporting of Seclusion and Restraint Data: The department should take immediate action to remedy underreporting of seclusion and restraint in federal civil rights data, a government watchdog said in a report released Tuesday. Carolyn Phenicie reports that 70 percent of districts reported no incidences of seclusion and restraint in the 2015-16 Civil Rights Data Collection, but an analysis indicates that it likely didn’t capture all data. (Read more at The74Million.org)

Noteworthy Essays & Reflections

INEQUALITY — Better Schools Won’t Fix America (Read at The Atlantic)

SCHOOL DISCIPLINE — If You Won’t Do Restorative Justice Right, Don’t Do It (Read at Education Week)

FACT CHECK — Where Have You Gone, Cory Booker? (Read at The74Million.org)

POLITICS — The Precarious Position of the Charter School Sector (Read at U.S. News & World Report)

ACTIVISM — Strikes, pay raises & charter protests: America’s teachers’ exhausting, exhilarating year (Read at USA Today)

Quotes of the Week

“I think that the message out of OCR, since the Trump administration took office, is we’re a law-and-order division on those issues we care about, and everything else can go to hell.”—Brett Sokolow, president of the Association of Title IX Administrators, on efforts to scale back Title IX enforcement. (Read at The74Million.org)

“You can’t hold a phone and hold a drill at the same time.” —Marjorie Schulman, executive director of Brooklyn Boatworks, which is working with middle school students to build handmade, full-size wooden boats. (Read at The New York Times)

“One size doesn’t fit all — support West Virginia schools. Keep up the great work @WVGovernor Big Jim Justice — I am with you.” —President Donald J. Trump, stepping into the middle of a skirmish between Justice and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. (Read on Twitter)

“The party elites are polarized, and the voters who are going to be choosing the Democratic candidate are not moderates. This isn’t 1992, and the Democratic primary nominees aren’t looking for a ‘Sister Souljah moment.’ There’s nothing to be gained by showing that you’ll take a stand against your party’s conventional position.” —Michael Hartney, a professor of political science at Boston College. (Read at The74Million.org)

“Part of what the far right is doing in every domain is trying to push that line of what’s acceptable. The N-word has become one of the skirmishes in this larger war. Harvard is pushing back and saying, ‘Nope, that’s not acceptable behavior.’” —Jessie Daniels, a sociology professor at Hunter College, on Harvard University’s decision to rescind its acceptance to Parkland shooting survivor Kyle Kashuv for what it described as racist exchanges on Twitter. (Read at NPR)

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