What Decades Of Covering School Shootings Has Taught Me

I remember back during the 1997-98 school year when we were all stunned by five school shootings within a period of eight months in places few Americans had heard of: Pearl, Miss., West Paducah, Ky., Jonesboro, Ark., Edinboro, Penn., and Springfield, Ore.

Then there was Columbine the following year, April 20, 1999, at a high school in Littleton, Colo. It became a pivotal event that started a national debate about school security, police tactics in response to a shooting and the shooters themselves — their psychological state, their upbringing, their families and of course, their access to guns.

There was even talk about creating a government agency that would deal with school shootings the same way FEMA responds to natural disasters.

Full story at npr.org

How To Talk With Kids About Terrible Things

For the more than 3,000 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Wednesday’s mass shooting was terrifying and life-changing. But what of the tens of millions of other children, in schools across the country, who have since heard about what happened and now struggle with their own feelings of fear, confusion and uncertainty?

For their parents and teachers, we’ve put together a quick primer with help from the National Association of School Psychologists and Melissa Reeves, a former NASP president and co-author of its PREPaRE School Crisis Prevention and Intervention curriculum.

Full story at NPR

President’s Budget Expands Education Freedom, Protects Vulnerable Students

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Education today released the Administration’s budget request for the 2019 fiscal year. The budget builds upon President Donald J. Trump’s commitment to expand education freedom for all families and return power to local leaders.

“The president’s budget request expands education freedom for America’s families while protecting our nation’s most vulnerable students,” said Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “The budget also reflects our commitment to spending taxpayer dollars wisely and efficiently by consolidating and eliminating duplicative and ineffective federal programs that are better handled at the state or local level. I look forward to working with Congress to pass a budget that puts students first and returns power in education to where it belongs: with states, districts and families.”

Full story at ed.gov

Inside The Virtual Schools Lobby: ‘I Trust Parents’

A free day at the aquarium! For Marcey Morse, a mother of two, it sounded pretty good.

It was the fall of 2016, and Morse had received an email offering tickets, along with a warning about her children’s education.

At that time, Morse’s two kids were enrolled in an online, or “virtual,” school called the Georgia Cyber Academy, run by a company called K12 Inc. About 275,000 students around the country attend these online public charter schools, run by for-profit companies, at taxpayers’ expense.

Full story at npr.org

Secretary DeVos Announces New Student-Centered Funding Pilot Program

Washington — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced new flexibility for school districts to create equitable, student-centered funding systems under a pilot program authorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

“This is a great opportunity for local district leaders to put students first,” said Secretary DeVos. “Instead of relying on complex federal rules to allocate funds, local leaders can use this flexibility to match funds—local, State or Federal—to the needs of students.”

The flexibility will allow school districts to combine eligible Federal funds with State and local funds in order to allocate resources to schools based on the number of students and the corresponding level of need. This type of system, often called “student-centered funding” or “weighted student funding”, is widely considered to be a modern, transparent and quantifiable way to allocate resources to the students most in need.

Full story at ed.gov

What The Screen Time Experts Do With Their Own Kids

Parents today struggle to set screen time guidelines.

One big reason is a lack of role models. Grandma doesn’t have any tried-and-true sayings about iPad time. This stuff is just too new.

But, many experts on kids and media are also parents themselves. So when I was interviewing dozens of them for my book The Art of Screen Time, I asked them how they made screen time rules at home.

None of them held themselves up as paragons, but it was interesting to see how the priorities they focused on in their own research corresponded with the priorities they set at home.

Full story at NPR

Teach Students To Use Social Media (The Right Way) And The Possibilities Are Endless

CJ Marple wanted to teach his young students how quickly information can spread on the Internet.

So earlier this year, the third-grade science teacher wrote up a tweet with the help of his students, asking for other users to retweet the message, or even reply to the message with their location.

The Kansas teacher says he expected 1,000 or so retweets, but within days the tweet went viral and gained more than 227,000 retweets and 75,000 replies from users all over the world. His students, who are probably a little too young for their own social media accounts, learned a lot that week about the power of social media. If used right, Marple says, “The possibilities are endless.”

Full story at npr.org

U.S. Department of Education Launches New English Learner Data Story

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Education launched a new interactive web page dedicated to data on English Learner students (ELs). The site uses colorful maps, bar graphs and charts to provide a clearer understanding of America’s diverse ELs population in a “data story” format based on data from the Common Core of Data (CCD).The data story shows nearly every state has at least one school district where the EL population has increased by more than 50% since the 2010 school year and answers three main questions – Who are ELs? Where are ELs? And what languages do ELs speak?

The Data Story Includes:

  • A state by state chart of the most common non-English languages spoken by ELs, highlighting the more than 400 different languages spoken across the country.

Full story at ed.gov

Students Across D.C. Graduated Despite Chronic Absences, An Investigation Finds

A high-level investigation into chronic absenteeism in Washington, D.C., high schools has found that students across the city graduated despite missing more than 30 days of school in a single course, in violation of district policy.

The findings today follow an investigation late last year by WAMU and NPR Ed into widespread violations of this policy at Ballou High school. That reporting has led to two investigations and the placement of the school’s principal, Yetunde Reeves, on administrative leave. Results from the other inquiry are expected later this month.

The report focused on Ballou High School but also reviewed absenteeism and graduation policies system-wide. It found that in recent years, the number of chronically absent students has increased and that more of them are graduating, despite.

Full story at NPR

Student Loan Defaults On The Rise, Texas Special Education, And Other Education News

Hello! Money is on our minds in this mid-January edition of the Weekly Roundup.

Student loan default is a “crisis,” report says

Almost 40 percent of students who entered college in the fall of 2003 may default on their student loans by 2023. That is the conclusion of the Brookings Institution, which analyzed 20 years of federal data for two groups of student borrowers. Previously published data from the Department of Education looked at default rates just three to five years after borrowing. The new, long-term analysis found that for-profit college students and African-American college students had the highest rates of default. For black students who attended for-profits starting in the 1990s, two out of three eventually defaulted on their loans.

Full story at NPR