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

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

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

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

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

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

Chicago Schools Investigation Prompts News Look at Sex Abuse in K-12 Schools

THE DEPARTMENT OF Education will oversee a sweeping redesign of the Title IX procedures in Chicago Public Schools to protect students from future sexual assault and abuse, putting to rest a years-long investigation that uncovered thousands of mishandled complaints in what officials described as “deeply disturbing” and likely the most comprehensive investigation ever undertaken on sexual violence in a major public school system.

“Over the last several years, American have become increasingly aware of sexual violence on colleges campuses,” Kenneth Marcus, assistant secretary for civil rights, said Thursday. “This may be a wake-up call that the problem exists on elementary and secondary schools as well. This is something we cannot tolerate.”

The investigation, which examined complaints dating back to 2012, uncovered 2,800 student-on-student sexual harassment complaints and 280 adult-on-student complaints at more than 400 schools in Chicago, the nation’s third-largest school district.

Full story at US News

You Can’t Hit Unsend: How A Social Media Scandal Unfolded At Harvard

Shortly after the 9-11 attacks, a photo made its way around the internet. It showed a man standing on the observation deck of the World Trade Center in New York City. His face is expressionless, unsmiling. He’s wearing a knitted black cap, sunglasses and an unzipped parka. Behind him, there’s a deep blue sky and views of Manhattan and the Hudson river. But there’s something else behind him too — a plane. It’s headed straight toward the tower. Rumor had it that the man died that day and his camera was later pulled from the rubble.

It’s an amazing shot and an amazing story, and it’s totally false.

The man is Peter Guzli and he’s Hungarian. The famous picture was snapped several years before the terrorist attacks.

After 9-11, Guzli edited the photo and added in the plane. He then emailed the image to a few friends “as a joke.” Those friends shared the image with their friends, and their friends shared it with more friends, and soon, the photo was everywhere.

Full story at NPR