EduClips: Florida Scraps Common Core, Puerto Rico Struggles to Open Schools After Quakes, NYC Now Spending $28,000 Per Student & More Education News You Missed From America’s Top 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 10 states attend class every day. Read previous EduClips installments here.

FLORIDA — Governor Scraps Common Core, Announces New Florida School Standards: Gov. Ron DeSantis promised to unveil new academic standards for Florida students soon. Known as the BEST Standards — for Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking — the new guidelines are meant to “go back to the basics” of math instruction and will include American history and civics content at every grade level, report Emily L. Mahoney and Jeffrey S. Solochek for the Tampa Bay Times. “It goes beyond Common Core to embrace common sense,” DeSantis said. (Read at the Tampa Bay Times)

PUERTO RICOPuerto Rico Opens Only 1 in 5 of Schools Three Weeks After Strong Earthquake: “Puerto Rico opened only 20 percent of its public schools on Tuesday following a strong earthquake that delayed the start of classes by nearly three weeks as fears linger over the safety of students,” the Associated Press reported this week. Just 177 schools have been able to reopen since the Jan. 7 quake. Engineers found at least 50 that were too unsafe to reopen, leaving about 240,000 students out of school. Another 51 schools are slated to reopen Feb. 3. “Experts say that some 500 public schools in Puerto Rico were built before 1987 and don’t meet new construction codes,” and the fixes are estimated to cost up to $2.5 billion, the AP reports. (Read at Time)

ILLINOIS — Can Chicago Design a Better School Ratings System? Principals, Parents and Teachers Think So: Money, school environment and pressure around test scores were a few of the things that parents, educators and community members discussed at a recent meeting about Chicago’s school ratings system. The district implemented changes to the system in 2019 and now appears to be seeking community input to improve the system further. Critics including Chicago’s teachers union say the current system relies too heavily on test scores and attendance. “Exactly what the school board plans to do with what it learns from its meeting isn’t quite clear — the district is also trying to drum up participation in a citywide survey on the topic and said there would be future public discussions — but members said they would weigh what they heard,” reports Cassie Walker Burke for Chalkbeat. (Read at Chalkbeat)

NEW YORK — NYC Spends a Record $28K Per Student, but the State Is Footing a Smaller Portion of That Bill: Gov. Andrew Cuomo has touted New York’s “record-high spending on education during his administration,” but the state has been paying a smaller portion of the bill for New York City schools, reports Reema Amin for Chalkbeat. A new report shows that New York City has been paying a higher share of school funding while the share paid by the state has fallen by more than 11 percentage points in the past 30 years, according to a new report by the city’s Independent Budget Office. (Read at Chalkbeat)

TEXAS New Standards for Charter Schools Likely to Be Adopted by State Education Agency: The Texas Education Agency is expected to approve new standards for charter schools this spring. The new scoring system would have three tiers and evaluate schools on academics, finances and compliance with state rules and regulations. Under the new system, it will be easier for networks in the top tier to open new schools, reports Phil Prazan for Austin station KXAN. Opponents say encouraging charter school expansion comes at the expense of traditional district schools, which could see enrollment decline as a result. (Read at KXAN)

CALIFORNIA — Children’s Mental Health a Cause for Concern in Report on California Youth Policies: A new report issued by the Oakland-based nonprofit Children Now gives California a grade of C- for its care of children and young people. The state received a failing grade for youth mental health because of its high ratios of students to counselors, psychologists, social workers and nurses at schools and high rates of depression and mental health hospitalizations among students, reports Carolyn Jones for EdSource. Children Now also pointed out some bright spots, including growth in the share of children who have health insurance and declining suspension rates at the state’s schools. (Read at EdSource)

Noteworthy Opinion & Analysis

STUDENT VOICE — I’m a Student-Activist. Stop Turning Us Into Props (Read at Education Week)

FUNDING — Blue States Are Burying Damning Data About School Funds. Red States Are, Too (Read at The New York Times)

STUDENT HEALTH — Why are school nurses disappearing? (Read at Good Housekeeping)

STANDARDS — People Keep on Saying They’re Killing the Common Core. How Dead Is It? (Read at Education Week)

RESEARCH — High School GPAs Are Stronger Predictors of College Graduation than ACT Scores (Read at Inside Higher Ed, AERA)

What Else We’re Reading

IMMIGRATION — The Cheer Team Caught Between Two Worlds (Read at The Marshall Project)

IOWA — Teen Voters Could Swing the Outcome of the Iowa Caucuses (Read at Teen Vogue, Education Week)

MIDDLE SCHOOL — The Outsize Influence of Your Middle-School Friends (Read at The Atlantic)

HIGH SCHOOL — High School Starts at 3 p.m. for These Michigan Students (Read at NPR)

HIGHER ED — Look Who’s Talking About Canceling Debt: How a Fringe Idea Went Mainstream (Read at The Chronicle of Higher Education)

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