EduClips: State of Special Ed in Houston ‘Grave,’ Panel Says; Many Obstacles in the Way of Teacher Raise Agreement in L.A. — 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 —A new report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights indicates that education is the top ongoing civil rights priority for many of those on the group’s state advisory commissions.

A survey that heard from just over a quarter of the state commission members found that education is “the topic of highest importance” and should be prioritized in the next year, among continuing issues such as housing, criminal justice, and health care. And emerging civil rights topics in education that respondents highlighted include equity, racial disparities in school discipline, and teacher shortages.

Civil rights in education has been a major area of recent political conflict. The Obama administration’s initiatives involving transgender students and school discipline have come under fire since President Donald Trump took office; Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has rescinded the former and is considering revoking the latter. DeVos has also changed how the U.S. Department of Education conducts civil rights probes. If Democrats take control of the House next year, DeVos’s handling of civil rights will be a top area for oversight in education. (Read at Politics K-12)

National News

SCHOOL SECURITY — Can Federal ‘School Safety’ Funds Be Used for Surveillance Tech? Congress Is Looking Into It. (Read at EdSurge)

DEVOS — Do you miss the drama of Betsy DeVos’s confirmation hearing? You can catch it on stage. (Read at The Washington Post)

District and State News

TEXAS — Panel: State of special education still ‘grave’ in Houston ISD (Read at Chron)

CALIFORNIA — At LAUSD, making a deal on teacher raises is easier said than done (Read at the Los Angeles Daily News)

ILLINOIS — Illinois officials zero in on shortages of special education, bilingual teachers (Read at Illinois News Network)

NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio Wants to Diversify New York City Schools, Chancellor Richard Carranza Wants to Desegregate. Is That a Problem? (Read at The74Million.org)

FLORIDA — Students Hospitalized After Being Brutally Beaten at Biscayne Bay School (Read at NBC Miami)

NEW YORK — ‘I’m proud that I’m fighting for other kids’: New York City students sue for equal access to sports (Read at Chalkbeat)

CALIFORNIA — California board candidate quits race after trans comments (Read at Education Week)

NEVADA — Clark County school support staff may get long-delayed pay bumps (Read at the Las Vegas Review-Journal)

GEORGIA — Students take action after classmate flashes gun at Gwinnett high school (Read at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

TEXAS — Texas considering cutting high school cosmetology courses (Read at the Texas Tribune)

Think Pieces

DIVERSITY — Does Teacher Diversity Matter in Student Learning? (Read at The New York Times)

SCHOOL FUNDING — Study Shows Boosting Funds to Poor School Districts Lifts Student Achievement but Fails to Narrow Racial & Socioeconomic Achievement Gaps (Read at The74Million.org)

READING — Scientists Use DNA Testing to Seek Answers for Reading Problems (Read at Education Week)

PARENTS — One Mom’s Fear: Is My Child Already Behind on Day One of School? Probably Not, but It’s the First Thing to Talk About With His Teacher on Back-to-School Night (Read at The74Million.org)

Quote of the Day

“We often hear of politics referred to as theater. Why not use the platform of theater … to get to know the issues on the table and how government works?” —Broadway producer Fran Kirmser, on plans to turn the confirmation hearings of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos into a theatrical performance. (Read at The Washington Post)

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