The Wildfires' Ripple Effect on California's Schools

Debra Sanders has spent the past five years providing guidance and comfort to Sonoma County’s homeless students, helping them navigate the school system and claim their rights to an education. Then, last week, she became homeless herself. Sanders, her husband, and her 11-year-old son lost their home in the fires that roared through the Wine Country. Like many of the students she serves, she and her family are now living “doubled up” with another family because they lack a home of their own. “Sometimes we can only relate to what we’ve experienced ourselves,” she said. “But for us, this is all temporary. It will resolve. For so many families who were renters or already living on the margins, it’s not going to resolve. At least not anytime soon.” (Atlantic)


The Problem With the “Pipeline”: A pervasive metaphor in STEM education has some serious flaws.

If you’ve spent any time listening to conversations about STEM education, you’ve surely heard about the pipeline. Different groups talk about variations of the pipeline. Some describe a pipeline from science education to a STEM career, or as a way to describe a treacherous path through such an education that loses many female, black, Latino, or American Indian people along their educational careers. But the variations are all based on an idea that impacts entire sectors of our 21st-century economy: the preschool-to-Ph.D. pipeline. (Slate)


Educator: Schools shouldn’t merely allow students to protest. They should support them.

Students have protested a range of things at their public schools in recent years. Some have protested standardized tests, miserable building conditions — and now, some are acting in solidarity with players in the National Football League who are taking a knee during the national anthem to protest systemic racism in the United States. Schools officials are reacting in different ways to the protests — some pressuring students not to do it, while others promise to protect their First Amendment rights — but this post suggests a reaction that is markedly different from most of what we see. What if schools actually encouraged and supported student engagement with challenging issues? (Washington Post)


Schools Mount Fight Against Chronic Absenteeism

The elementary school in Oregon's Willamina district set out last year to pick apart a complicated problem that would ultimately require an equally complicated solution: Many of its Native American students failed to show up on a regular basis. Addressing that chronic absenteeism was like untangling a rope, loosening knotted-up, long-established habits, cultural issues, and the persistent barriers of poverty that can keep children out of school, leaders in the district of 835 students said. There was no one answer. The work includes home visits with parents, constant encouragement for students, and lots of listening. (Education Week)


Thank you, Vince Reed, Washington’s education hero

Opinion: A hero of mine — and of many, many other Washingtonians — died Tuesday.  In the late 20th century, Washington had two great school superintendents, Vincent Reed and his dear friend and successor, Floretta McKenzie. Let me tell you about Vince. The 14th of 17 children in a family in St. Louis, Vince was captain of the football team at West Virginia State University before coming to Washington as a graphic arts teacher. He was smart, hard-working and a born leader; he worked his way up through the system and became the first African American principal of Woodrow Wilson High School. Before long, he was the assistant superintendent of schools. (Washington Post)


In Italian Schools, Reading, Writing and Recognizing Fake News

ROME — After reading the horrors in Dante’s “Inferno,” Italian students will soon turn to the dangers of the digital age. While juggling math assignments, they’ll also tackle worksheets prepared by reporters from the national broadcaster RAI. And separate from the weekly hour of religion, they will receive a list of what amounts to a new set of Ten Commandments for the digital age.

Among them: Thou shalt not share unverified news; thou shall ask for sources and evidence; thou shall remember that the internet and social networks can be manipulated. (New York Times)


Betsy DeVos releases her priorities for U.S. Education Department grants. Guess what’s No. 1.

The Education Department released a list of 11 priorities Thursday that Secretary Betsy DeVos wants to set for the agency’s competitive grant program to fulfill her “vision for American education.” Can you guess what her No. 1 priority is? It’s school choice, of course, given that DeVos has made it crystal clear that her chief priority as education secretary is to promote school choice (unlike every other education secretary before her). DeVos says she just wants to give parents a choice of schools for their children, while her critics say she is determined to push the privatization of public education. (Washington Post)


Illinois steers funding toward struggling school districts

Illinois has revamped state education funding to provide extra support to economically challenged K12 districts. Evidence-based funding, which goes into effect in 2018, considers each district’s needs and local funding resources when allocating state aid, with extra emphasis placed on high-poverty districts. Previously, nearly two-thirds of funding for each district—compared to a national average of 45 percent—came from local property taxes. This generally benefited districts in wealthier communities. Opponents of the new structure say it forces those more affluent districts to support struggling systems. (District Administration)


Florida’s schools — once integration’s great hope — are resegregating

In the years after the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, many Southern states revolted against school desegregation orders. Not Florida. There, leaders accepted them. Florida witnessed more dramatic integration than other states, in part because desegregation was allowed — and then embraced — by LeRoy Collins, who was Florida’s governor in the late 1950s. The state’s school systems are also organized by county — encompassing cities and their whiter, more affluent suburbs — making it easier to create demographically balanced schools. (Washington Post)


Why NC charter schools are richer and whiter

Charter schools in North Carolina are more segregated than traditional public schools and have more affluent students.  Most charters have either a largely white population or a largely minority population, according to a News & Observer analysis. On the whole, charter schools are more white and less Latino than schools run by local districts. In North Carolina school districts, slightly more than half the students come from low-income families. But in charter schools, one in three students are low-income. (News & Observer)


Failing Charter Schools Have a Reincarnation Plan

This past June, Florida’s top education agency delivered a failing grade to the Orange Park Performing Arts Academy in suburban Jacksonville for the second year in a row. It designated the charter school for kindergarten through fifth grade as the worst public school in Clay County, and one of the lowest performing in the state. Two-thirds of the academy’s students failed the state exams last year, and only a third of them were making any academic progress at all. The school had had four principals in three years, and teacher turnover was high, too. “My fourth grader was learning stuff that my second grader was learning — it shouldn't be that way,” said Tanya Bullard, who moved her three daughters from the arts academy this past summer to a traditional public school. “The school has completely failed me and my children.” (ProPublica)


Independent Charter Schools Aim to Elevate Their Status

Students dressed in uniforms standing in military-straight lines under a dangling line of college pennants. An ethos of "no excuses" for low academic achievement. That, perhaps, is the most popular notion of what makes a charter school. And that's because a relatively small number of charter networks—KIPP, Success Academy, and YES Prep to name a few—dominate the sector in ways that over the last decade or so have shaped the national debates and policy agendas around charters. (Education Week)


Betsy DeVos Finds 'Bully Pulpit' No Easy Perch

Late last month, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave a high-profile speech at Harvard University on school choice—her number-one policy priority. But afterward, all anyone could seem to talk about were the protestors yelling, "This is what white supremacy looks like!" The problem for DeVos—arguably the best-known and most controversial secretary in the department's 30-plus-year history—is that her public appearances also provide a platform for her harshest critics, even months after her rocky confirmation process made her a social-media sensation. (Education Week)


In Puerto Rico, a Daunting Effort to Reopen Schools, Headed by a Determined Leader

Can Puerto Rico’s schools get back on their feet in just over a month after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria? The U.S. territory’s top school official has an urgent need to do just that. There's been little sleep for Puerto Rico's Secretary of Education as she and her staff work the phones and back channels from a busy command center here to get as many schools open as possible within the next two weeks. Doing so could bring much-needed solace and stability to the commonwealth's 700,000 students and their families in the aftermath of one of the worst storms to hit the commonwealth in recent memory. (Education Week)

Related story:

> New York Times: After Hurricanes, Schools Accommodate Puerto Rican Students


The College Board earns over half of all its revenues from the courses—and, in an uncertain environment, students keep being suckered.

Fraudulent schemes come in all shapes and sizes. To work, they typically wear a patina of respectability. That's the case with Advanced Placement courses, one of the great frauds currently perpetrated on American high-school students. That's a pretty strong claim, right? You bet. But why not be straightforward when discussing a scam the scale and audacity of which would raise Bernie Madoff's eyebrows? The miscellany of AP courses offered in U.S. high schools under the imprimatur of the College Board probably started with good intentions. (Atlantic)


Ohio: Massive Theft of Public Funds! Legislators Shrug.

Opinion: Bill Phillis of the Ohio Coalition of Equity and Adequacy reports that the Electronoc Classroom of Tomorrow has received $121 million from the Columbus School District, while providing an online program of low quality. He writes: “ECOT has drained $121,655,364.35 from one Ohio school district-for what? “The ECOT business plan puts a heap of money into the private companies involved in this operation. Over the years, considerable wealth has been accumulated by the ECOT Man. Remember that over several years, ECOT has collected a billion dollars on the basis of enrollment and NOT student participation in the “program.” (Diane Ravitch)


The Arts Have Much More to Teach Us

Opinion: Fifty years ago, a small group of scholars joined together to launch Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The philosopher Nelson Goodman christened the interdisciplinary team "Project Zero" to convey that while there was plenty of useful lore in education in the arts, there was little systematic knowledge. Through much of the 20th century, it's fair to say that artistry had not been taken seriously in American social science. (Education Week)


School funding still inadequate and unfair, Kansas Supreme Court rules

In a case with potentially hundreds of millions of tax dollars at stake, the Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that the Legislature’s latest efforts to provide adequate and fair funding for schools still falls short. The decision that the current system is unconstitutional will send the issue back to the Legislature with orders to add more funding to school district budgets statewide next year. (Wichita Eagle)


Here's What a 'Kindness Curriculum' Looks Like

Scientists want to make kindness as integral to the curriculum as reading or math. Researchers at University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center for Healthy Minds have created a "kindness curriculum" which they have tested in six schools in that city. The curriculum is available online for free and has so far been downloaded 7,300 times. Twice a week for 20 minutes during pilot testing of the curriculum, pre-kindergartners did activities aimed at helping them to pay attention, regulate their emotions, and practice kindness. Past studies have shown that children who learn these skills tend to become healthy adults who continue their education and end up financially stable. The skills may also better equip them to deal with future life stress. (Education Week)


Huge Stakes for Teachers' Unions as Fees Case Reaches High Court

In a case with enormous financial implications for teachers' unions, the U.S. Supreme Court once again has agreed to take up a dispute that threatens a 40-year-old precedent giving unions the right to collect fees from nonmembers. The justices last week granted review in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31, which could affect the treasuries and political might of all public-employee unions, including the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and their state and local affiliates. (Education Week)


Parents Square Off Over School Vaccine Rules

Every state requires children to be vaccinated before they attend school, but many offer exemptions for religious, personal, or philosophical reasons. However, high-profile outbreaks of preventable diseases, like the 2015 Disneyland measles outbreak, have led states like Vermont and California to tighten their restrictions for opting out of vaccination. (Education Week)


What's Lost When Only Rich Kids Play Sports

As a child in the 1970s, Kathleen Castles lived across the street from her elementary school, and most mornings she got up at dawn to horse around the playground. She loved sports. The gym teacher, Ken Kuebler, would allow Castles to make use of the gym before classes started while he readied for the day.  He knew that Castles’s family was poor. Kuebler, who also coached track and cross country at the local high school, eventually started a before-school running group for the elementary-schoolers. (Atlantic)


The Limits of Education's Promise of Success

One of the most commonly taught stories American schoolchildren learn is that of Ragged Dick, Horatio Alger’s 19th-century tale of a poor, ambitious teenaged boy in New York City who works hard and eventually secures himself a respectable, middle-class life. This “rags to riches” tale embodies one of America’s most sacred narratives: that no matter who you are, what your parents do, or where you grow up, with enough education and hard work, you too can rise the economic ladder. (Atlantic)


Disasters: Pairing Prevention With Preparedness in the Classroom

This September, across Texas, Florida, the Caribbean, and South Asia, great winds howled while all the rain in the world seemed to fall all at once and all in one place. Out west, a blistering sun turned the smoke-clogged dome of the sky into a blast furnace. The parched plains got no relief. And in Mexico, the earth shook, sending homes, buildings, and at least one school crashing down on people's heads. Isn't it fitting, then, that September is National Preparedness Month? (Education Week)


Boys Are Not Defective

Jordan has never had a female minister of education, women make up less than a fifth of its workforce, and women hold just 4 percent of board seats at public companies there. But, in school, Jordanian girls are crushing their male peers. The nation’s girls outperform its boys in just about every subject and at every age level. At the University of Jordan, the country’s largest university, women outnumber men by a ratio of two to one—and earn higher grades in math, engineering, computer-information systems, and a range of other subjects. (Atlantic)


South Carolina 5th Graders Are Asked to Explain K.K.K.’s Thinking

“You are a member of the K.K.K.,” the fifth-grade homework assignment read. “Why do you think your treatment of African-Americans is justified?” The work sheet, given on Thursday as part of a lesson on the Reconstruction period, caused an outcry after one student’s uncle, Tremain Cooper, posted a photo of the assignment on Facebook. “This is my little 10-year-old nephew’s homework assignment today,” he wrote. “He’s home crying right now.” Mr. Cooper identified the teacher as Kerri Roberts of Oak Pointe Elementary School in Irmo, S.C., a suburb of Columbia, and added, “How can she ask a 5th grader to justify the actions of the KKK???” (New York Times)


Hurricane-Ravaged Schools Turn to Tech to Keep Students on Track

As high school students in South Carolina's coastal Beaufort County schools waited for the winds of Hurricane Irma to die down, floodwaters to recede, and their schools to re-open, many of them were also able to do their school work—with the help of technology. Officials in the 1-to-1 device district scrambled ahead of the storm to distribute laptops to its 6,000 high school students and had virtual meetings with teachers, telling them to make assignments as they would if school were open. While schools were closed, two technology coaches were available by phone and text and on Facebook to provide support for teachers and students, said Christine Robinson, the director of educational technology for the 22,000-student district. (Education Week)


Report: Arizona charter schools widely abuse public funding

A report by an Arizona think tank found that most charter schools in the state abused public funding by engaging in business transactions that involved their owners, board members or their families. The Grand Canyon Institute report indicated that 77 percent of all Arizona charter schools engaged in some form of related-party transactions, and that the state's regulatory system failed to ensure that tax dollars given to the schools are primarily used for the education of students, The Arizona Daily Star reported on Monday. (Miami Herald)


While the rest of the world invests more in education, the U.S. spends less

Opinion: The world’s developed nations are placing a big bet on education investments, wagering that highly educated populaces will be needed to fill tomorrow’s jobs, drive healthy economies and generate enough tax receipts to support government services. Bucking that trend is the United States. U.S. spending on elementary and high school education declined 3 percent from 2010 to 2014 even as its economy prospered and its student population grew slightly by 1 percent, boiling down to a 4 percent decrease in spending per student. (Hechinger Report)


The Controversy Behind Chicago's Diploma Mandate

When students start school in the United States, they tend to proceed along one of two paths. For many, college is the assumed destination from their earliest days in the classroom, reinforced progressively at every step of their education. The only mystery is what higher-education institution they’ll attend. But for a vast set of students, there is no assumed destination except adulthood—school will be a fact of life until it simply isn’t any longer, and at that point, they’ll have to figure out what comes next. (Atlantic)


States Adjust Course on School Turnaround Districts

In the waning years of the No Child Left Behind Act, school turnaround districts became a solution du jour for many state legislatures: Take all of your worst-performing schools, place them in their own state-controlled district, and either run them directly or hand them over to a charter school operator. A network of autonomous, independently-run schools was seen as a route to swift, efficient, and inspirational improvement. To date, six states have experience with some form of turnaround district, their startup costs paid in a variety of ways, including by philanthropists, state funding, and federal ... (Education Week)


In front of kids, Betsy DeVos says school is too often a ‘mundane malaise’

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, in Wyoming on Tuesday to begin a six-state “Rethink School” tour, welcomed young students at a learning center in Casper — but it was hardly a typical back-to-school speech. DeVos called school a “mundane malaise” for too many kids and said that it must be reinvented so that the country can get out of “the mess we’re in.” (Washington Post)


After More Than 20 Years, Newark to Regain Control of Its Schools

NEWARK — In 1995, when Marques-Aquil Lewis was in elementary school, the State of New Jersey seized control of the public schools here after a judge warned that “nepotism, cronyism and the like” had precipitated “abysmal” student performances and “failure on a very large scale.” For more than 20 years, local administrators have had little leverage over the finances or operations of the state’s largest school district. Choices about curriculum and programs were made mostly by a state-appointed superintendent, often an outsider. The city could not override personnel decisions. (New York Times)


Schools reopen in Houston, buoying hope for recovery

HOUSTON — Terra Black, 11, awoke on her first day of sixth grade on a cot in the middle of a sprawling convention hall in downtown Houston, the place she has called home since escaping neck-deep floodwater that threatened her family’s apartment. Here, in bathrooms she shares with about 1,400 other evacuees, she got ready for school, styling her hair and slipping on a pink T-shirt her mother had snatched from a donation pile.  “I’m a little nervous,” Terra said later, grinning widely as she munched on a breakfast sandwich at a nearby Walmart. “It’s a new year, a new learning experience.” (Washington Post)

Related story:

> New York Times: After the Storm, It’s Finally the First Day of School in Houston


Why Teachers Need Their Freedom

My co-teacher and I met in the parking lot before school and stared into my car trunk at the costumes and props we had gathered over the weekend. We were giddy with excitement and nervous because neither of us had tried anything like this before. We also taught in the kind of school where one wrong move in the classroom could lead to disastrous results because of our students’ intense behavioral and learning needs. The co-teacher, Alice Gnau, had found a book called Teaching Content Outrageously by Stanley Pogrow, which explained how secondary classrooms can incorporate drama into any content to engage students in learning—incorporating the element of surprise, for example, or developing role-play or simulation experiences to teach content and standards. (Atlantic)


School-readiness boosters for kids with learning and attention issues

For kids with special needs, the idea of heading back to school is both fun and fraught. Keeping up with academics, staying on top of tasks, and managing relationships each offer challenges and opportunities. Apps can help kids practice skills – from reading and math to making friends – in a supportive environment. Check out these tools to see which ones might help boost your kid’s success, and explore our guide, which features even more resources. (Salon)


The sad story of public education in St. Louis

“This is a disaster.” Walker Gaffney and I were at the entry of Cleveland High School in St. Louis. Broken glass speckles the floor. Black mold crawls up the sides of the stone walls. Rotted plaster hangs from the high arched ceiling. “It’s worse every time I come here,” said Gaffney, who is the school district’s real estate director. “I once found a dog-fighting operation in one of these old schools.” Gaffney led the way, first to the majestic swimming pool with its ornate tiled walls smeared with graffiti – the Olympic-size pool shrunk to a black, fetid puddle in the deep end. (Washington Post)


Senate panel rejects Trump’s proposed federal education cuts

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted overwhelmingly Thursday to approve a spending bill that rejects President Trump’s proposed cuts to education funding for fiscal year 2018 and, for now at least, derails the administration’s goal of directing federal dollars toward promoting and expanding school choice and private school vouchers. The 29 to 2 vote on the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill further illustrates the president’s difficulty in moving his education agenda through Congress despite Republican control of the House and Senate. (Washington Post)


Who Benefits From the Expansion of A.P. Classes?

Laura Fuchs has been teaching Advanced Placement U.S. government and politics at H.D. Woodson High School in Washington for six of her 10 years there. She is in her early 30s, wears her hair pulled back in a bun and has a no-nonsense way of dealing with her students. But that apparent sternness belies a genuine love of teaching and a deep well of patience, two qualities that have prepared her for teaching a college-level course at a school like Woodson. (New York Times)


New York City Offers Free Lunch for All Public School Students

Lunch at New York City public schools will be available free of charge to all 1.1 million students beginning this school year, Carmen Fariña, the schools chancellor, said on Wednesday in the basement cafeteria of a Hell’s Kitchen elementary school. The new school year begins on Thursday. “This is about equity,” Ms. Fariña said. “All communities matter.” This move has been long sought by food-policy advocates and many members of the New York City Council, who said that some students would prefer to go hungry rather than admit they cannot afford to pay for lunch. Nationally, the practice of “lunch shaming” — holding children publicly accountable for unpaid school lunch bills — has garnered attention. (New York Times)

Related story:

> Mother Jones: New York City Puts an End to School-Lunch Shaming


The Department of Justice Is Overseeing the Resegregation of American Schools

On weekends, North Smithfield Manor smells like freshly cut grass, as men venture out under the Alabama sun to tend to their lawns. Kids race their bikes up and down the neighborhood’s hilly streets. Leslie Williams, a 34-year-old mother of three, lives in her childhood home in this secluded subdivision, perched atop a ridge five miles north of downtown Birmingham. The neighborhood hasn’t changed much since Williams was growing up. She remembers riding her bike over the same hills, admiring the men with their lawn mowers, and hanging out in the small park that serves as the community’s heart. (Nation)


Information literacy lost: Most CPS schools no longer have librarians

Students in three out of four Chicago Public Schools won't have access to a librarian this fall — one result of years of budget cuts. The district has budgeted for fewer than a third as many librarians in 2017-18 as it did in 2012, when nearly every school library was staffed. The district budgeted for about 454 librarians in 2013, but only 139 for the 2017-18 school year, according to CPS data. It's difficult to pinpoint how many librarians work in CPS because the district and the Chicago Teachers Union count that work differently. CPS spokesman Michael Passman said the district's library staffing numbers are "conservative" because they do not account for all teachers and assistants who also work in library support roles. (Chicago Tribune)


Americans Have Given Up on Public Schools. That’s a Mistake.

Public schools have always occupied prime space in the excitable American imagination. For decades, if not centuries, politicians have made hay of their supposed failures and extortions. In 2004, Rod Paige, then George W. Bush’s secretary of education, called the country’s leading teachers union a “terrorist organization.” In his first education speech as president, in 2009, Barack Obama lamented the fact that “despite resources that are unmatched anywhere in the world, we’ve let our grades slip, our schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short, and other nations outpace us.” (Atlantic)


Trump Cancels DACA, Impacting Tens of Thousands of Students and Teachers

President Donald Trump will end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era program that gives protection to an estimated 800,000 immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the order to end DACA Tuesday morning at the U.S. Department of Justice. The decision leaves the undocumented residents, an undetermined number of whom work and learn in the nation's K-12 schools, in a state of limbo. The Washington-based Migration Policy Institute estimates 250,000 school-age children have become DACA-eligible since President Barack Obama began the program in 2012. (Education Week)

Related stories:

> Chronicle of Higher Education: Trump Will End DACA in 6 Months, Confirming Dreamers’ Fears and Putting Onus on Congress

> Chronicle of Higher Education: What Major Universities Had to Say About Trump’s Move to Roll Back DACA


In Harvey's Wake, a Rough Road Ahead for Schools

Educators in school districts serving about 1 million students along the Texas coast are picking up the pieces after Hurricane Harvey pummeled the area during what was supposed to be the first days of the new school year. Some of the roughly 220 affected school districts still planned to open right after Labor Day, others in a matter of weeks, but for school administrators who have survived other devastating natural disasters, they know the road to normalcy can take years. In the immediate aftermath of such a natural disaster, several school leaders who've experienced similar events said the immediate priority should be making sure students, teachers, and school staff are safe and sound. (Education Week)

Related stories:

> KOSU: Houston School Superintendent Says A Lot Of Work Ahead To Open Schools

> Houston Chronicle: Houston area schools, universities working to re-open after Harvey


There Trump goes again bashing public schools — and why it matters

He can’t seem to help himself. Just about anytime President Trump talks about or does something in regard to public schools, it is in a disparaging manner. He did it at his January inauguration — saying America has “an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.” In February, he invited 10 teachers and parents to the White House, but less than one-third were involved in traditional public schools, which educate the vast majority of America’s children. (Washington Post)


Public Support for Charter Schools Plummets, Poll Finds

President Donald Trump’s vocal support for charter schools and private-school vouchers has had some school choice supporters wringing their hands over whether it will have a negative impact on the policies they champion. This is particularly true for charter school backers who, over time, have built up bipartisan support. Now a new public opinion poll from Education Next, a journal published by Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, is providing insights into whether the president—as well as the broader political dynamics in play—have swayed the public’s views on school choice. (Education Week)


Why Suburban Schools Are Inflating Kids' Grades

PITTSBURGH—Monet Spencer remembers traveling to affluent suburban high schools when she was a member of the marching band at Brashear High School in this city’s low-income, high-crime Beechview neighborhood. The suburban band members’ uniforms were brand new, Spencer noticed—not passed down and worn-out like hers. So were their instruments, unlike the scratched and tarnished castoffs her school loaned her and her bandmates, including the secondhand flute she played. (Atlantic)


Educator slams Betsy DeVos for ‘woefully insufficient’ response to Charlottesville violence

How did Education Secretary Betsy DeVos react to the weekend violence when white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members staged a march and fought with counterprotesters, leaving one woman dead and many injured? The Education Department did not respond to a query about whether any other statement was available. So that appears to be the extent of her comments about an act of domestic terrorism on a college campus. In this post, an African American educator blasts her for what he calls a “woefully insufficient” response and why it matters. (Washington Post)


The Nation's Teaching Force Is Still Mostly White and Female

Teachers tend to be white, female, and have nearly a decade and a half of experience in the classroom, according to new data released Monday by the federal government. But there are signs that the nation’s teaching force is gradually growing more diverse. It is also more heterogeneous: The nation’s charter school teachers look significantly different from teachers in traditional public schools. The U.S. Department of Education has been collecting data on schools, teachers, and administrators through its Schools and Staffing Survey every four years since 1987. (Education Week)


This ALEC state report card speaks volumes about Betsy DeVos’s education agenda

Quoting from the late British Prime Minister Margaret “Iron Lady” Thatcher, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently said that there is “no such thing” as society, trashed the federal government and hailed the spread of school “choice.” She was speaking at the annual conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and espoused a philosophy that mirrored that of the powerful conservative organization. If you don’t know about ALEC, you should. It is a member organization of corporate lobbyists and conservative state legislators who craft “model legislation” on issues important to them and then help shepherd it through legislatures. It describes itself as being dedicated to promoting “limited government, free markets and federalism,” though the New York Times called it essentially a “stealth business lobbyist.” (Washington Post)


DeVos Invested More Money in 'Brain Performance' Company, Despite Weak Evidence

Since being confirmed as U.S. secretary of education in February, Betsy DeVos has significantly increased her family’s financial stake in a company that makes questionable claims about its treatment for conditions such as anxiety, autism, depression, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The new investments in the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Neurocore could total as much as $5.5 million. The investments were reported on two separate financial disclosure forms that DeVos filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics in April and June. That office certified both forms. (Education Week)


The 'Trump Effect' on Canada's Classrooms

Standing at the front of her classroom this past February, the public high-school English teacher Jana Rohrer wrote the words “American Flag” on the board and asked her ninth-grade students to tell her what came to their minds. Over the past six years Rohrer has used the exercise as part of a lesson to help explain symbolism in Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird. And over the past six years, the students’ answers had become routine: Freedom. Independence. Patriotism. This time, there were new words mixed among the more familiar responses: Hate. Racism. Danger. (Atlantic)


What should America do about its worst public schools? States still don’t seem to know.

Two years after Congress scrapped federal formulas for fixing troubled schools, states for the most part are producing only the vaguest of plans to address persistent educational failure. So far, 16 states and the District of Columbia have submitted proposals for holding schools accountable under the 2015 law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act. With few exceptions, the blueprints offer none of the detailed prescriptions for intervention, such as mass teacher firings or charter-school conversions, that were once standard elements of school reform. (Washington Post)


Why the NAACP said 'enough' to school privatization

The reaction to the NAACP’s hard-hitting new report  on charter schools, calling for tighter regulation and an end to for-profit schools, was swift and furious. Charter advocates and school choice proponents painted the NAACP as out of touch, or worse, doing the bidding of the teachers unions. These critics are missing what’s most important about the civil rights group’s strong statement. School privatization has allowed state governments to avoid their obligation to educate children of color, especially the poor. The NAACP said “enough” this week. (Salon)



University of Detroit Jesuit, Detroit, Michigan
Orchard Lake St. Mary's Preparatory, Orchard Lake, Michigan
Novi Detroit Catholic Central, Novi, Michigan
Brother Rice High School, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Birmingham Public Schools, Birmingham, Michigan
Westwood Community School District, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Inkster, Michigan
The Roeper School, Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Cranbrook Schools, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Marian High School, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Academy of the Sacred Heart, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Mercy High School, Farmington Hills, Michigan
Notre Dame Preparatory, Pontiac, Michigan
Regina High School, Warren, Michigan
Ladywood High School, Livonia, Michigan
Grosse Pointe Public School System, Grosse Pointe, Michigan
Oakland Accelerated College Experience, Oakland County, Michigan
Oakland Opportunity Academy, Oakland County, Michigan
Oakland Schools Technical Campuses, Oakland County, Michigan
Virtual Learning Academy Consortium, Michigan
Bloomfield Hills Schools, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Comprehensive education at its finest.
Everest Collegiate High School and Academy. Clarkston, Michigan. An Authentic Catholic School of Distinction.
Oakland Christian School, Auburn Hills, Michigan. Oakland Christian School engages students in a rigorous and relevant education
Greenhills School, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Academic foundation for success.
Utica Community Schools, Image the Potential.
Lake Orion Community Schools, Lake Orion, Michigan. Providing an exemplary education for all learners
Shrine Catholic Schools, Royal Oak, Michigan. Faith. Family. Future.
Berkley School District, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Oak Park, Michigan. Engage. Inspire. Achieve.
AIM High School, Farmington Hills, Michigan. Aim High is a 6th-12th grade, tuition-based private school that provides an educational alternative
Parkway Christian School, Sterling Heights, Michigan. Challenging Minds. Capturing Hearts. Cultivating Gifts.
Franklin Road Christian School, Novi, Michigan. a K-12, coeducational, college-preparatory school with a nondenominational Christian philosophy.
Southfield Christian, Southfield, Michigan. Pursuing Excellence for the Glory of God.
Plymouth Christian, Canton, Michigan. A non-denominational, college preparatory Christian school