NewsfeedEduClips: Today's Top Education News  

EduClips: From NYC’s Plan to Develop New Schools With XQ to a Possible Teacher Strike in Chicago, the Education News You Missed This Week From America’s 15 Top Districts

By Laura Fay | October 4, 2019

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 10 states attend class every day. Read previous EduClips installments here.

ILLINOIS — District Teachers and Support Staff Set October Strike Date: The Chicago Teachers Union, school support staff and park employees will go on strike Oct. 17 if they do not reach contract deals with the city by then, the Chicago Tribune reports. During previous teacher strikes, some parents have sent their children to the parks, which is why the three organizations are working together, a union official said. The joint strike date “is about taking away that avenue and forcing [employers] to negotiate in good faith. … They want to pit workers against each other,” said Jeffrey Howard, a vice president for the union that represents school custodians, special education aides and other support staff in addition to many park employees. Ninety-four percent of teachers in the union voted in favor of the strike authorization last week. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and schools chief Janice Jackson said schools will remain open for the city’s 360,000 students if the strike happens, staffed by principals and nonunion employees. “It’s clear the two sides remain far apart, with both accusing the other of stalled responses to demands and offers,” according to the paper. A strike would mean about 35,000 public employees walking off the job. Both sides have said they will continue negotiating. (Read at the Chicago Tribune)

NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio to Partner with XQ America, Robin Hood to Open New Schools and Restructure Others: New York City will use money from XQ America, an education organization founded by Laurene Powell Jobs, and Robin Hood Foundation, an anti-poverty philanthropy organization based in New York City, to open or restructure 40 schools, The New York Times reports. Teams of students and educators will propose ideas for their schools and for new schools, and winners will receive grant funding to bring their ideas to life. Though de Blasio has previously criticized the presence of private money in education, the mayor “is now borrowing from the playbook of his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg, whose overhaul of the education system relied in part on donations from major private institutions and prominent benefactors,” according to the Times. XQ will contribute $10 million to the project, with Robin Hood adding $5 million to open new schools in low-income neighborhoods and $1 million for teacher training. The city will match those gifts with an additional $16 million to open or restructure 10 other schools. (Read at The New York Times)

NATIONAL — ‘Shooting People Is De-escalation’: Three Days With Teachers Training to Use Guns in Schools: Meet Angie, a fifth-grade teacher in Ohio who had never used a gun before this summer, as she visits a shooting range and trains to carry on campus. She learns how to shoot the gun and does target practice, but she’s also gathering tips unique to her profession, such as how to hug students without them noticing the weapon. “Cause we’re huggers,” she said. “You have to get them from this side … You have to retrain a lot of things that you do.” The number of districts allowing staff to carry guns has nearly doubled since the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting in 2018, according to data from Vice News. The training required varies by state and even by district, with some places requiring no training at all. Angie receives training from FASTER Saves Lives, “a course developed by an Ohio-based firearms association after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” WHYY reports. (Read at WHYY)

NEVADA — No Bad Principals in Clark County, Evaluators Say: None of the more than 300 principals in Clark County School District, which includes Las Vegas, has been rated “ineffective” in the past four years. Only one has been rated in the second-lowest category, “developing,” in that time. “Meanwhile, the district has consistently had more than 100 one- and two-star schools, the lowest tiers in the state’s academic performance standards,” reports the Las Vegas Review Journal. At the same time, “an unknown number” of principals have quietly taken leave, been demoted or retired while under scrutiny, leaving parents and communities with little information. The district is taking steps to improve professional development and evaluation, officials said. Additionally, the teachers union has created a new internal system that “seeks to bring attention to principals who have persistent issues with school staff and climate.” (Read at the Las Vegas Review Journal)

HAWAII — Teachers Say Low Pay Makes It Tough to Stay in the Classroom: Hawaii is so desperate for educators that one Maui high school recently said it will accept applications from high school graduates for substitute teaching positions — no other qualifications needed. One of the reasons for the dearth of educators is the low pay for teachers in the nation’s most expensive state. “While Hawaii’s average teacher pay of $60,000 is higher than the national average, it is considered the lowest in the country when adjusted for cost of living,” the Honolulu Civil Beat reported. The state department of education recently conducted a listening tour to learn how pay contributes to teacher attrition in the state. “There’s a disconnect here with the political system, a complete, utter discontent,” said one Maui teacher. “I just don’t see this ever being solved, with the history, with the lack of empathy from legislators, from governors, with just the pure utter disconnect in our communities.” The Civil Beat also recently reported that a Hawaii program offering free tuition to prospective teachers is struggling to fill its openings this year. (Read at the Honolulu Civil Beat)

FLORIDA — Enrollment Keeps Falling at Many Florida Public Schools: Enrollment is flat or declining at three of Florida’s biggest school districts, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. (Those districts are respectively the fifth-, seventh- and 11th-largest districts in the U.S.) The South Florida Sun-Sentinel offers two reasons for the decreasing number of students: an increase in the number of families turning to charter schools and an influx of empty nesters in South Florida. Parents with children in charter schools said they worried that nearby public schools were overcrowded or overwhelming. “I felt my son would get lost. At the charter school, everybody knows everybody. The principal knew him by name in the first week,” said one parent in Broward County. (Read at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

CALIFORNIA — Can Charter and Public Schools Share Space Without Fights? LAUSD’s $5.5 Million Solution: District and charter schools that share space in Los Angeles will soon receive new money to help repair and improve their campuses, thanks to a new plan unanimously passed by the Los Angeles Board of Education. Fifty-five district schools that share space with one or more charters will get $100,000 each to deal with facilities challenges such as installing a new sound system for a common auditorium or repairing a gate, the Los Angeles Times reports. The funding will come from “voter-approved school construction bonds set aside for charters,” a district official told the Times. Two influential board members, charter supporter Nick Melvoin and charter critic Jackie Goldberg, collaborated on the plan, which they say will ease cooperation between charter and district schools. “We can help the day-to-day operations run a little smoother, and maybe even promote a new spirit of collaboration,” Melvoin said. (Read at the Los Angeles Times)

Noteworthy Opinion & Analysis

PARENT VOICE — My Son Didn’t Get Into Any of the Schools He Wanted. My Disappointment Made Me Realize I’d Been Hoarding Opportunity (Read at Chalkbeat)

TECH — Is the Era of the $100+ Graphing Calculator Coming to an End? (Read at The Hustle)

STUDENT VOICE — Kid Chess Champions Share Their Secrets (Watch at The Atlantic)

POLITICS — How a Kids’-News Outlet Is Explaining Impeachment (Read at The Atlantic)

ASSESSMENT — It’s Time to End Timed Tests (Read at Education Week)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE — More Than 30,000 Children Under Age 10 Have Been Arrested in the U.S. Since 2013, FBI Reports (Read at ABC News)

Quotes of the Week

“It feels like a superficial way of getting to the root of the problem.” —Philadelphia public school teacher Kathryn Sundeen, on Democratic proposals to raise teacher pay. (Read at Huffington Post)

“Where we’re talking about a cost to a school of maybe $2,500 to $5,000 [for services], school districts in Texas will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to basically appeal these cases so that not only are attorneys not willing to take them, it chills other parents who would like for these services to be provided to their child. The goal becomes, how do we run the family out of money, or make the appeal process so long and arduous that parents just give up and leave the system.” —Texas attorney Catherine Michael, on the state’s lax response to a federal mandate on special education services. (Read at The74Million.org)

“A lot of these kids suffer horrible trauma on the journey to the United States. Some were sexually abused. Others were almost murdered by a gang or left in the desert.” —Perla Banegas, who until recently taught newcomers at Minnesota’s Worthington High School, part of a district that has received more unaccompanied minors per capita than almost anywhere in the country. (Read at The Washington Post)

“We know the legal question of affirmative action is one that has been roiled up consistently over the past 30 years. It’s worth remembering that every time we make it to the United States Supreme Court, affirmative action survives.” —Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (Read at The74Million.org)

“We understand there will be consequences and we’re prepared to take responsibility for them. We know that it will take time to heal, and we hope and pray that the boys, their families, the school and the broader community will be able to forgive us in time.” —a statement from the grandparents and guardians of a sixth-grade girl at the Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia, who now says she falsely accused three white male students of forcibly cutting her hair on a school playground. (Read at The Washington Post)

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