California Becomes First U.S. State To Mandate Later School Start Times

Some California schoolchildren will soon get to sleep later in the mornings, thanks to legislation signed into law on Sunday by Gov. Gavin Newsom that mandates later start times at most public schools.

The new law, which acknowledges research showing that teens perform better when they start later than schools now typically begin, will make California the first U.S. state with this requirement once the law is fully implemented, the Los Angeles Times noted.

Impacted schools will need to begin the new start times — 8 a.m. or later for middle schools and 8.30 a.m. or later for high schools — by July 1, 2022, or the date of expiry of the school’s three-year collective bargaining agreement with its employees, whichever is later.

Full story at HuffPost

U.S. Department of Education Announces New Grant Awards to Address School Safety and Improve Access to Mental Health Services

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced $71.6 million in new funding to enhance safety in schools and improve student access to mental health resources. The U.S. Department of Education made the awards under four grant programs, which support recommendations identified in the final report issued by the Federal Commission on School Safety.

“Our nation’s schools must be safe places to learn, where students feel connected and supported,” said Secretary DeVos. “These grants allow local leaders to tailor their approach to school safety and mental health in ways that meet their students’ individual needs and their particular school’s unique challenges.”

Full story at Department of Education

Ed-Tech Usage Levels Are Low: What Should Schools Do?

Evaluating the usage of ed-tech products is tricky, complicated, and oftentimes confusing. But it can be done.

Consider the case of the Granite County school district in Utah. It partnered with a company called LearnPlatform to measure whether time spent on three particular pieces of software led to a bump in student achievement.

The district found that one program had great results for English-language learners and Native American students. Another seemed to get results when students used it as often as the manufacturer suggested, but going beyond that didn’t lead to better outcomes. A third was barely used at all, and the district is considering nixing it.

Full story at Education Week

Kids in poor, urban schools learn just as much as others

Schools serving disadvantaged and minority children teach as much to their students as those serving more advantaged kids, according to a new nationwide study.

The results may seem surprising, given that student test scores are normally higher in suburban and wealthier school districts than they are in urban districts serving mostly disadvantaged and minority children.

But those test scores speak more to what happens outside the classroom than how schools themselves are performing, said Douglas Downey, lead author of the new study and professor of sociology at The Ohio State University.

“We found that if you look at how much students are learning during the school year, the difference between schools serving mostly advantaged students and those serving mostly disadvantaged students is essentially zero,” Downey said.

Full story at Science Daily

What’s the Best State for Teachers? This Year’s Answer Might Surprise You

Seeking a stable teacher salary and a healthy work environment? A new analysis suggests heading north.

This year, North Dakota took first place in personal finance site WalletHub’s annual ranking of the best and worst states to be a teacher.

The other states rounding out the top five spots this year?

  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Wyoming
  • Connecticut 

The ranking is based mostly on what the website calls “opportunity and competition”—factors including the average salary and starting pay for teachers, potential for income growth over the course of a career, pension, tenure protections, and job competition in the state. Scores on these metrics make up 70 percent of a state’s rating. 

Full story at Education Week

New Mexico Unveils Plan To Give Students Free College Tuition Regardless Of Income

New Mexico has announced a plan to make public college and university free for all residents in the state, a proposal considered one of the most ambitious attempts to make higher education more accessible.

The plan, if approved by the state’s Democratic-controlled legislature, would allow students, regardless of household income, to attend any of the 29 state’s public colleges and universities. State officials estimate that the program, officially called the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship, will help 55,000 students each year attend college.

Calling the plan “the moonshot for higher education,” New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the initiative on Wednesday at the New Mexico Higher Education Summit in Albuquerque.

Full story at NPR

Trump to HBCU Leaders: No One Has Done More for You Than Me

PRESIDENT TRUMP, IN A strained, 30-minute speech, told hundreds of leaders of historically black colleges and universities who were gathered for an annual conference that no other administration has done more for them than his.

The president called HBCUs “pillars of excellence” and “engines of advancement,” and said his administration was “protecting and promoting and supporting HBCUs like never before.”

“Bigger, and better and stronger than any administration, by far,” he said Tuesday afternoon at a hotel in downtown Washington, where HBCU officials and advocates gathered for the 2019 National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week Conference, hosted annually by the White House.

Full story at US News

School District Secessions Accelerate School Segregation

THE PHENOMENON IN WHICH wealthy communities take their schools and their tax base and splinter off from larger districts to form their own education systems is promoting racial segregation, according to a first-of-its-kind study published Wednesday.

Since 2000, school district secessions in the South have increasingly filtered white and black students, and white and Hispanic students, into separate school systems, according to new research published in “AERA Open,” a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.

“Secession may reflect this narrowing concept of public schools and who the public schools are for,” Erica Frankenberg, a professor of education and demography at Pennsylvania State University and coauthor of the study, says. “Are they for educating everyone, or just kids who look like my kids?”

Full story at US News

Families, Not Just Students, Feel The Weight Of The Student Loan Crisis

For many college students settling into their dorms this month, the path to campus — and paying for college — started long ago. And it likely involved their families.

The pressure to send kids to college, coupled with the realities of tuition, has fundamentally changed the experience of being middle class in America, says Caitlin Zaloom, an anthropologist and associate professor at New York University. It’s changed the way that middle class parents raise their children, she adds, and shaped family dynamics along the way.

Zaloom interviewed dozens of families taking out student loans for her new book, Indebted: How Families Make College Work at Any Cost. She defines those families as middle class because they make too much to qualify for federal aid — but too little to pay the full cost of a degree at most colleges. For many, the burden of student debt raises big questions about what a degree is for.

Full story at NPR

Not just Capital One, Equifax: Data breaches at school, risking your family’s security

Districts maintain reams of sensitive information about employees, students and families, all of it online and accessible to varying degrees to hundreds or thousands of employees – not all of whom were paying particularly close attention in this year’s mandatory cybersecurity webinar. With annual budgets in the tens or hundreds of millions, their pockets are deep, at least in theory, for the purposes of paying ransom.

And they can’t very well afford not to retrieve their data.

“On the list of things that keep me up at night, it’s a high one,” said John Miller, director of technology, data and program evaluation at the Hilton Central School District, about 20 miles north of Rochester, New York.

“If you ask any tech-related person in the field, they’ll tell you the same thing. … None of us want this to happen to us.”

Full story at USA Today