How Does a School Recover?

WHAT’S A HIGH SCHOOL TO do when it finds out that more than 60 boys in its graduating class of 2019 posed together, their arms extended in a Nazi salute, laughing, with at least one student flashing the “white power” sign?

That’s what Baraboo High School in central Wisconsin is figuring out after a photo taken before prom last spring at the Sauk County Courthouse in downtown Baraboo went viral this week.

Currently, school district officials are working with local authorities to investigate the incident and interview students and families involved to determine how and why the photo was taken, Lori Mueller, the school district administrator, said in a statement. She went further on Twitter, saying the school district plans to pursue “any and all available and appropriate actions, including legal,” to address the situation.

Full story at US News

What To Know About Affirmative Action As The Harvard Trial Begins

Does Harvard University discriminate against Asian-Americans in its admissions process?

That’s the question on trial in a Boston federal courtroom this week. At issue is whether Harvard unfairly discriminated against an Asian-American applicant who says the Ivy League school held him to higher standards than applicants of other races. This trial will also dissect a contentious political issue in higher education: affirmative action.

But what exactly is affirmative action, and how did it become such a controversial issue?

Today in U.S. higher education, affirmative action refers to policies that give students from underrepresented racial groups an advantage in the college admissions process, said Mark Naison, an African-American studies professor who teaches about affirmative action at Fordham University. But that wasn’t the original definition when it was introduced by President John Kennedy in the 1960s.

Full story at npr.org

Does ‘Redshirting’ Benefit Kids? Kindergarten Decision Looms

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Lisa Larney started researching college when her daughter was 3. She wanted to know everything she could about the long-term impacts of delaying kindergarten enrollment for her daughter, born just a week before her school district’s enrollment cutoff date.

Would she benefit from going to college a year later? What if she’s too tall for her grade? Would she perform better academically if held back?

After two years of studying her daughter’s social interactions and researching her options, Larney decided to “redshirt” her, the term used for keeping children in prekindergarten instead of enrolling them when they’re first eligible at age 5.

Full story at US News

The ‘Over-Parenting Crisis’ In School And At Home

Have you ever paid your kid for good grades? Have you driven to school to drop off an assignment that they forgot? Have you done a college student’s laundry? What about coming along to Junior’s first job interview?

These examples are drawn from two bestselling books — How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims and The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey. Both are by women writing from their experiences as parents and as educators. Lahey is a teacher and a writer for The New York Times and The Atlantic, currently at work on a new book about teens and addiction. Lythcott-Haims was the longtime freshman dean at Stanford; in 2017 she published the memoir Real American and is working on a sequel to How to Raise an Adult about “how to be an adult.”

The books make strikingly similar claims about today’s youth and their parents: Parents are “too worried about [their children’s] future achievements to allow [them] to work through the obstacles in their path” (Lahey) and “students who seemed increasingly reliant on their parents in ways that felt, simply, off,” (Lythcott-Haims).

Full story at NPR

GAO: Less Than Half of School Districts Test Water for Lead

WASHINGTON (AP) — A survey of school districts around the country finds that less than half test their water for lead, and among those that do more than a third detected elevated levels of the toxin, according to a federal report released Tuesday.

Lead can cause brain damage and learning disabilities in children.

The report, released by the Government Accountability Office, is based on a survey of 549 school districts across the United States. It estimates that 41 percent of school districts, serving 12 million students, did not test for lead in the water in 2016 and 2017.

Of the 43 percent that did test for lead, about 37 percent reported elevated levels. Sixteen percent of schools said they did not know whether they test for lead, the report says.

Full story at US News

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