Chicago Teachers Will Go On Strike, Capping Years Of Social Justice Activism

For the second time in seven years, Chicago Public Schools teachers will be on strike starting Thursday, walking out of class, they say, in the name of better schools.

Gathered on the stage of the union hall on Wednesday, the Chicago Teachers Union said its delegates were in full support of moving forward with a strike. Delegates had already authorized the walkout and set a date so it would have taken a reversal to cancel the strike.

“We have not achieved what we need to bring justice and high quality schools to the children and teachers of Chicago,” said CTU President Jesse Sharkey. “We need to have the tools we need to do the job at our schools. We need pay and benefits that will give us dignity and respect. We are on strike until we can do better.”

Full story at NPR

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

The Things Parents Don’t Talk About With Their Kids … But Should

A majority of parents rarely if ever discuss race/ethnicity, gender, class or other categories of social identity with their kids, according to a new, nationally representative survey of more than 6,000 parents conducted by Sesame Workshop and NORC at the University of Chicago. The researchers behind Sesame Street say the fact that so many families aren’t talking about these issues is a problem because children are hardwired to notice differences at a young age — and they’re asking questions.

” ‘Why is this person darker than me?’ ‘Why is this person wearing that hat on their head?’ ” These are just some of the social identity questions parents might hear, says Tanya Haider, executive vice president for strategy, research and ventures at Sesame Workshop. “We sometimes are scared to talk about these things. If the adults stiffen up and say, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t say that loudly,’ that’s sending [children] a cue that there’s something wrong.”

Full story at NPR

Georgia Professor Holds Student’s Baby, A Life Lesson Bundled On Her Back

When a student at Georgia Gwinnett College couldn’t find a replacement babysitter in time for her anatomy and physiology class earlier this month, she did what student-parents sometimes have to do – she brought her child to class with her.

Ramata Sissoko Cisse, an assistant professor of biology for anatomy and physiology, had scheduled an important lecture for that day. It focused on the integumentary system — the organ system comprised of the skin, hair, nails and glands. For Cisse, the lecture went beyond biology.

Cisse said she wanted her student to focus on the meaning of the lecture, a task often difficult in a three-hour class, but made even more challenging when note taking has to be balanced with holding a child.

Full story at NPR

U.S. Department of Education Finalizes Regulations to Protect Student Borrowers, Hold Higher Education Institutions Accountable and Save Taxpayers $11.1 Billion Over 10 Years

WASHINGTON—Today, the U.S. Department of Education finalized regulations that will protect student borrowers, hold higher education institutions accountable and provide financial protections to taxpayers. The Institutional Accountability regulations, posted on the Department’s website today, come after more than two years of deliberations, public hearings, negotiated rulemaking with a wide variety of higher education stakeholders and careful consideration of tens of thousands of public comments.

“If a school defrauds students, it must be held accountable,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “There is no place for fraud in higher education, and it will not be tolerated by this Administration. From the recent college admissions scandal and intentional misrepresentations by schools to boost their U.S. News & World Report rankings to fraudulent marketing practices from proprietary intuitions, too many institutions of higher education are falling short. The new regulations are aimed at preventing this behavior because students deserve better, and all institutions must do better.

Full story at the US Department of Education

The Case For Summer Vacation

Put down those popsicles. No more sleeping in. Beach time is over.

Economists have long hated summer vacation. All those wasted school facilities! All that educational backsliding! Kids are getting dumber!

The conventional wisdom is that summer vacation is a relic of agricultural times, when kids had to help out their parents on the farm. But the economist William Fischel says that story is completely wrong.

“When the U.S. was a farming country, in the 1800s, kids went to school during the summer and winter,” he says. Rural kids had to take fall off for the harvest and spring off for planting. In other words, summer vacation would have “actually worked against the rhythms of agriculture.”

Full story at NPR

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Calls on National Education Association to Drop Lawsuit that Puts Financial Aid for Students in Jeopardy

WASHINGTON—U.S.Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos called on the National Education Association (NEA) today to drop its politically-motivated lawsuit and stop standing in the way of students working to complete their post secondary education program.

The NEA recently sued the department over its delay in implementing Obama-era rules that govern state standards for online education. The rules require, among other things, that all institutions providing distance education to students in another state document that the state has a process for those students to complain against that institution.

Unfortunately, not all states have the required complaint processes or interstate agreements in place. As a result, the 2016 regulation would deny federal aid to a number of students receiving distance education because their institutions cannot meet the complaint process requirement in one or more states.

Full story at ed.gov

California Parents Home-School Kids to Bypass Mandatory Vaccination Law

CALIFORNIA PARENTS ARE increasingly exploiting a loophole in the state’s mandatory vaccination law that allows their children to forgo vaccines if they are home-schooled.

In 2016, California implemented one of the strictest vaccination laws in the country, requiring all children be vaccinated, despite personal or religious beliefs, in order to attend school unless a doctor deemed it unsafe because of a medical condition. The legislation also allowed schools to deny admittance to unvaccinated students.

However, parents began enlisting health care professionals to provide medical exemptions that may not have been warranted. The Sacramento Bee reported in April on the surge in exemptions, stating that doctors in the state have broad power to grant exemptions for required vaccines, and some providers give them out in exchange for cash.

Full story at US News

Textbook Giant Pearson Makes Major Shift Away From Print to Digital

CALLING IT A “generational business shift,” textbook publishing giant Pearson announced Tuesday that all future updates to its 1,500 U.S. titles will occur digitally, a move company officials say will push the academic publishing industry into the 21st century and save students money by ending lengthy and expensive print revisions.

“The history of this business is as a college textbook publisher, and really over the last 20 years, like many of the other industries like newspapers and music publishing, we’ve seen a gradual shift from digital where over time digital time has become a more important part of the offering,” John Fallon, CEO of Pearson, says. “We’ve really reached a tipping point.”

London-based Pearson, the $8.5 billion company, is the largest provider of college textbooks in the U.S. It now has more than 10 million digital registrations each year coming from the company’s current offering of about 1,500 titles that cover all major course offerings at colleges and universities.

Full story at US News

Secretary DeVos Announces School Safety Grant Opportunities

WASHINGTON — In support of the recommendations from the Federal Commission on School Safety’s (FCSS) final report, the U.S. Department of Education announced today it is now accepting applications for three fiscal year 2019 grant competitions that support locally tailored approaches to school safety.

PROJECT PREVENT GRANT PROGRAM

This program helps Local Education Agencies (LEAs) enhance their ability to identify, assess and serve students exposed to pervasive violence. Funds from this $10 million grant competition can be used to provide mental health services for trauma or anxiety; support conflict resolution programs; and implement other school—based violence prevention strategies. The deadline to apply is July 15, 2019.

SCHOOL CLIMATE TRANSFORMATION GRANT PROGRAM

This $40 million grant competition provides funds to LEAs to develop, enhance, or expand systems of support for schools implementing strategies to improve learning conditions and promote positive school culture for all students. The deadline to apply is July 22, 2019.

Full story at ed.gov