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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Four States Now Require Schools to Teach LGBT History

Starting next school year, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history will be part of the curriculum in Illinois public schools.

Democratic Governor J. B. Pritzker signed House Bill 246 into law Aug. 9, making Illinois the fourth state to mandate teaching LGBT history, after California, New Jersey, and Colorado. The Illinois legislation takes effect in July 2020.

The law mandates that history classes in public schools “include a study of the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State.” Any textbooks bought with state funding must cover “the roles and contributions” of LGBT people, and can’t include content that is discriminatory to any particular gender or sexual orientation.

Nationwide, LGBT history often doesn’t make it into the curriculum. Just under a quarter of students say that they have learned about LGBT-related topics in their classes, according to 2016 research from GLSEN, a national advocacy group for LGBTQ students.

Full story at Education Week