EduClips: LAUSD Seeks to Help Neediest Schools Through State Budget; GAO Finds Racial Disparities in School Discipline — 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

SCHOOL DISCIPLINE — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, mulling whether to scrap an Obama-era guidance document designed to reduce racial disparities in student discipline, held “listening sessions” Wednesday with stakeholders on both sides of the heated debate.

DeVos heard from proponents who say the guidance helps at-risk youth avert the school-to-prison pipeline and those who call it a “top-down” mandate that has made schools less safe. The secretary spoke to organizations, educators, and parents on all sides of the ideological divide. While those present say DeVos did not tip her hand, at least one participant said she made a “real connection” between the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination Wednesday and the racial disparities that exist in school discipline.

Those conversations may have been overshadowed, however, by the release of a report Wednesday from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the government watchdog agency, that appears to affirm much of the rationale behind the 2014 letter. In its analysis of the 2013-14 school year, the most recent year for which there is data, the GAO found that black students, boys, and students with disabilities are disproportionately disciplined compared to their white, non-disabled peers. (Read at The74Million.org)

National News

EDUCATION DEPARTMENT LEAKS — Inspector General: Ed. Dept. Should Put in New Controls to Stop Leaks (Read at Education Week)

TEACHER WALKOUTS — Teachers, Oklahoma lawmakers at odds as walkout rolls on (Read at USA Today)

BUDGET — ‘Hail Mary’ Budget Move Could Throw Federal Education Spending Into Question (Read at Politics K-12)

District and State News

CALIFORNIA — As Gov. Brown allocates more education funding, LA Unified moves to make sure its neediest schools benefit the most (Read at LA School Report)

NEW YORK — Mayor de Blasio’s to-do list for Richard Carranza: Sell my agenda and boost literacy (Read at Chalkbeat)

TEXAS — Education secretary Betsy DeVos is coming to Dallas on Thursday, and not everyone’s happy about it (Read at Dallas News)

FLORIDA — Opinion: Let parents and students decide if they want clear backpacks for safety (Read at Miami Herald)

TEXAS — Some Oklahoma teachers find the grass really is greener in Texas (Read at Reuters)

NEVADA — Governor candidate Laxalt unveils education plan for Nevada (Read at Las Vegas Review-Journal)

NEW YORK — Meet a top New York state policymaker working to integrate the state’s severely segregated schools (Read at Chalkbeat)

CALIFORNIA — L.A. school board member Ref Rodriguez is arrested on suspicion of public intoxication (Read at Los Angeles Times)

Think Pieces

SUPERINTENDENTS — Wanted: Big City School Superintendents (Read at U.S. News & World Report)

TEACHER STRIKES — What striking teachers teach us (Read at The Washington Post)

MLK ANNIVERSARY — Fuller: To Truly Honor Dr. King, Teachers Must Fight for Justice Beyond the Schoolhouse Doors for Their Poor Black Students (Read at The74Million.org

BEYOND THE CLASSROOM — Building Skills Outside the Classroom With New Ways of Learning (Read at New York Times)

LOS ANGELES SCHOOLS — Lake: Los Angeles Doesn’t Need a Superhero Superintendent. It Needs Empowered Principals to Make Decisions for Their Schools (Read at The74Million.org)

CLASSROOM DESIGN — Using creative classroom design to promote instructional innovation (Read at Hechinger Report)

Quote of the Day

“These jobs are difficult. They take a real toll on people. They are extremely demanding and whoever takes them has precious little in the way of personal and family time.” — Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, a coalition of the country’s largest urban public school systems, on the difficulty of being a big city school superintendent. (Read at U.S. News & World Report)

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