EduClips: Many CA High Schoolers Felt Unprepared for College, Study Finds; NY and VA to Require Teaching Mental Health — 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

ESSA BLOCK GRANTS — Many districts are about to get a big boost in funding for the most flexible piece of the Every Student Succeeds Act: the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, better known as Title IV of the law. The program just got a big, $700 million boost from fiscal 2017 to fiscal 2018, bringing its total funding to $1.1 billion. And it could get even more money next year, because the House appropriations subcommittee in control of federal education spending is seeking $1.2 billion for the program in new legislation.

Districts can use Title IV funding for a wide range of activities that help students become safer and healthier, more well-rounded, or make better use of technology. And districts have a lot of leeway to customize Title IV to their needs. However, districts that get $30,000 or more must do a needs assessment and spend at least 20 percent on an activity that makes students safer and 20 percent on something that makes kids more well-rounded.

Three education groups — AASA, the School Superintendents Association, the National Association of Federal Program Administrators, and Whiteboard Advisors — surveyed districts to find out. Since May, 622 districts have responded to the survey. A majority of the districts surveyed, 63 percent, said they wanted to spend at least a portion of their Title IV funds on making students safer, with school counseling the second-most popular choice at 43 percent. (Read at Politics K-12)

National News

MENTAL HEALTH — Many Recommend Teaching Mental Health in Schools. Now Two States Will Require It. (Read at HuffPost)

SUICIDE — What Educators Need to Know About Suicide: Contagion, Complicated Grief, and Supportive Conversations (Read at Education Week)

SAT SUBJECT TESTS — Fewer students are taking them. Few colleges require them. So why are SAT Subject Tests still needed? (Read at The Washington Post)

SCHOOL CHOICE — Betsy DeVos Touts School Choice Opportunities in the U.K., Netherlands (Read at Politics K-12)

District and State News

NEW YORK — NYC Mayor on Diversity Problems With City’s Elite Public High Schools (Read at NPR)

CALIFORNIA — Many California High Schoolers Felt Unprepared for College Process: Study (Read at U.S. News and World Report)

NEVADA — New Clark County schools superintendent faces trust-building challenge (Read at the Las Vegas Review-Journal)

TEXAS — State of Texas: Going beyond thoughts and prayers (Read at KXAN)

FLORIDA — Florida Influencers rank inequality and education as most pressing 2018 election issue (Read at the Miami Herald)

ILLINOIS — CPS workers to undergo fresh background checks before start of next school year (Read at the Chicago Tribune)

CALIFORNIA — California School to Be Named After Undocumented Immigrant Who Won Pulitzer Prize (Read at Newsweek)

NEW YORK —NYC Teachers Who Lost Their Jobs but Remain on the Payroll Receive Big Raises as Budget Watchdogs Call to Reform $136M Absent Teacher Reserve (Read at The74Million.org)

VIRGINIA —Fairfax Co. school district passes proposals to modify sex ed, dress codes (Read at WTOP News)

NEVADA — A Q&A with the new superintendent of Clark County schools (Read at the Las Vegas Review-Journal)

ILLINOIS — Board of Education would receive $68.4M for capital projects under Rauner budget (Read at the Prairie State Wire)

Think Pieces

TEACHER PAY — In female-dominated education field, women still lag behind in pay, according to two new studies (Read at Chalkbeat)

CHARTER SCHOOLS — Nearly 750 charter schools are whiter than the nearby district schools (Read at The Hechinger Report)

DIVERSITY — ‘I Live in the Same Space as You’: As Districts Nationwide Struggle With Diversity, How One L.A. School Network Is Recruiting Teachers Who Look Like the Classrooms They Lead (Read at The74Million.org)

VIRTUAL ADMISSIONS — Virtual Advisers Help Out With College Admissions (Read at NPR)

CHARTER SCHOOLS — Rees: 4 Ways America’s Charter Schools Must ‘Dream Big and Act Big’ to Keep Making Progress for All Students (Read at The74Million.org)

Quote of the Day

“We teach them how to detect the signs of cancer and how to avoid accidents, but we don’t teach them how to recognize the symptoms of mental illness. It’s a shame because, like cancer, mental health treatment is much more effective if the disease is caught early.” —Dustin Verga, a high school health teacher in Clifton, New York, and an early advocate of the state’s new law requiring mental health instruction. (Read at HuffPost)

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