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

Teacher Professional Development: Many Choices, Few Quality Checks

Ask teachers what they actually do to renew their licenses every five years, and you are likely to get an elaborate description of their decision process, not a simple answer.

“For me, and this is being bluntly honest, I try to pick something that’s going to work easiest with the time constraints that I have,” said Chris Woods, a math teacher in Calumet, Mich., who, among his other commitments, sits on a state panel looking at teacher recruitment and retention.

Full story at edweek.org

Global Reading Scores Are Rising, But Not for U.S. Students

The good news from the latest Progress in International Reading Literacy Study is that basic literacy is at an all-time high worldwide and a majority of countries have seen rising reading achievement in the last decade.

The bad news is that students in the United States are bucking the trend.

While U.S. 4th graders performed at an average score of 549, above the average of the 58 education systems participating in PIRLS in 2016, that score was 7 scale points lower than the last test in 2011—basically the same as they did in 2006.

Full story at edweek.org

Secretary DeVos Visits Texas and Louisiana as Department of Education Continues to Aid Victims of Hurricane Harvey

Houston — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today joined President Trump, FEMA Administrator Brock Long and members of the Cabinet in Texas and Louisiana to visit with those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The group toured the Hurricane Harvey Relief Center and met with members of the Texas and Louisiana congressional delegations to learn more about how best to assist those on the frontlines of the recovery effort.

“Texas and Louisiana have a long road to recovery ahead, but the resilience of those in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey was evident today,” said Secretary DeVos. “The Department of Education will continue to work side-by-side with the people of both states as they begin to piece their lives back together, and get their communities and schools up and running again.”

Full story at ed.gov

King Sends Letter to States Calling for an End to Corporal Punishment in Schools

U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. sent a letter today urging state leaders to end the use of corporal punishment in schools, a practice repeatedly linked to harmful short-term and long-term outcomes for students.

“Our schools are bound by a sacred trust to safeguard the well-being, safety, and extraordinary potential of the children and youth within the communities they serve,” King said. “While some may argue that corporal punishment is a tradition in some school communities, society has evolved and past practice alone is no justification. No school can be considered safe or supportive if its students are fearful of being physically punished. We strongly urge states to eliminate the use of corporal punishment in schools– a practice that educators, civil rights advocates, medical professionals, and researchers agree is harmful to students and which the data show us unequivocally disproportionally impacts students of color and students with disabilities.”

Full story of letter calling for end of corporal punishment in schools at ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance on English Learners

The U.S. Department of Education today released non-regulatory guidance to help states, districts and schools provide effective services to improve the English language proficiency and academic achievement of English learners (ELs) through Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The guidance is an effort to ensure that students who are English learners receive the high-quality services they need to be college and career ready.

“In too many places across the country, English learners get less access to quality teachers, less access to advanced coursework, and less access to the resources they need to succeed. Together, we can change that reality,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, we have an opportunity to give students the gift of bilingualism and of multilingualism so they are prepared for college and career with a better sense of themselves, their community, their future, and a better appreciation for our diversity as a country.”

Full story on the non-regulatory guidance on English learners at ed.gov

Obama Administration Releases Resources for Schools, Colleges to Ensure Appropriate Use of School Resource Officers and Campus Police

The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice released today new tools to improve school climates, ensure safety, and support student achievement in our nation’s schools.

To the extent a local decision is made to use school resource officers (SROs) in community schools, these resources will help state and local education and law enforcement agencies responsibly incorporate SROs in the learning environment. Additionally, the Departments have highlighted tools available for law enforcement agencies that also apply to campus law enforcement agencies.

“As educators, we are all bound by a sacred trust to protect the well-being, safety, and extraordinary potential of the children, youth and the young adults within the communities we serve,” U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. said. “School resource officers can be valuable assets in creating a positive school environment and keeping kids safe. But we must ensure that school discipline is being handled by trained educators, not by law enforcement officers. At the college level, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing has important recommendations that can help campus and local law enforcement both keep students safe and safeguard students’ civil rights.”

Full story of Obama releasing resources for schools at ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education Announces $2.5 Million in Grants to Operate Centers for Parents of Children with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education announced today the award of $2.5 million in grants to operate 23 Community Parent Resource Centers in 17 states and a Parent Training and Information Center to serve American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Republic of Palau. The centers provide parents with the training and information they need to work with professionals in meeting the early intervention and special needs of children with disabilities.

With the new grants, the Department now funds 87 information centers for parents of children and youth with disabilities. Every state has at least one Parent Training and Information Center that assists parents as they work to ensure their children receive a free, appropriate public education as guaranteed by federal law. In addition, the centers provide services to underserved parents of children with disabilities in targeted communities throughout the country.

Full story grants assisting children with disabilities at ed.gov

Obama Administration Encourages Schools and Districts to Enroll Students in Health Care Coverage through School Registration

As students begin the new school year, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are calling on states and districts to help enroll students in health care coverage during school registration processes and ensure students have access to the health coverage they need.

Earlier today, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr., U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell and District of Columbia Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson joined the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), AASA, The School Superintendents Association and other officials at Cardozo Education Campus for a roundtable discussion highlighting best practices for getting more students enrolled in health care. CDF and AASA have developed the Insure All Children toolkit, informed by extensive work with districts in California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, on how schools and districts can enroll students in health care coverage through routine school registration processes.

Full story of health care enrollment through school registration at ed.gov

Report: Increases in Spending on Corrections Far Outpace Education

State and local spending on prisons and jails has increased at triple the rate of funding for public education for preschool through grade P-12 education in the last three decades, a new analysis by the U.S. Department of Education found.

Released today, the report, Trends in State and Local Expenditures on Corrections and Education, notes that even when population changes are factored in, 23 states increased per capita spending on corrections at more than double the rate of increases in per-pupil P-12 spending. Seven states—Idaho, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia—increased their corrections budgets more than five times as fast as they did their allocations for P-12 public education. The report also paints a particularly stark picture of higher education spending across the country at a time when postsecondary education matters more than ever. Since 1990, state and local spending on higher education has been largely flat while spending on corrections has increased 89 percent.

“Budgets reflect our values, and the trends revealed in this analysis are a reflection of our nation’s priorities that should be revisited,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “For far too long, systems in this country have continued to perpetuate inequity. We must choose to make more investments in our children’s future. We need to invest more in prevention than in punishment, to invest more in schools, not prisons.”

Full story of spending on corrections for education at ed.gov