The U.S. Department of Education today released a comprehensive set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on schools’ and districts’ responsibilities under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in the context of school safety.
The Federal Commission on School Safety (FCSS) released an in-depth report last December, which observed that “substantial misunderstanding remains at the local level among officials and educators concerning (FERPA), and in particular its application to school-based threats.”
This FAQ document, titled, School Resource Officers, School Law Enforcement Units and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), consolidates previously issued guidance and technical assistance into a single resource to help raise schools’ and districts’ awareness of these provisions.
THE TWO NATIONAL teachers union and a leading gun safety group called on federal and state lawmakers to pass a variety of gun laws to prevent future school shootings as part of a school safety report released Monday.
The report, published by Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, comes just days before Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, marks one year since a mass shooting in which a former student killed 17 children and adults.
“It’s been now almost a year since Parkland,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “I know students served as live witness to that tragedy, and their voices helped make 2018 the year of gun safety.
“There’s still a significant amount of work to be done,” he said. “It’s up to us to solve this problem.”
EDUCATORS IN DENVER ARE preparing to strike on Monday after newly elected Democratic Gov. Jared Polis declined to intervene in a pay dispute between teacher union officials and school district officials, setting up the first strike in Colorado’s biggest school district in 25 years.
“It is incredibly disappointing that [Denver Public Schools] has not yet taken our discussions at the bargaining table seriously,” Henry Roman, president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, said in a statement. “Now we will exercise our right to strike for the schools our students deserve.”
Before teachers take to the picket line, the two sides have a last-ditch negotiation effort scheduled for Friday, where they will try to close what Polis characterized as “small, limited differences.”
LEE COUNTY, A POOR, rural community tucked into the southwestern most part of Virginia, is suing the state in an effort to allow its school employees to carry guns to combat a potential future active shooter scenario.
“I was kind of afraid of this,” Lee County schools Superintendent Brian Austin says. “We were not intending to pick a battle in Richmond. We were just trying to do what we thought was best for Lee County.”
But pick a battle it did, filing a lawsuit earlier this month in Lee County Circuit Court challenging Virginia’s refusal to give a special designation to Austin that would allow him to participate in a program approved by the Lee County School Board to allow educators and other school personnel to carry firearms on school property.
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released proposed non-regulatory guidance to support school districts’ compliance with the requirement that federal funds supplement, and do not supplant, state and local funds, under section 1118 of Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The guidance explains how ESSA changed the longstanding requirement in order to reduce administrative burden, simplify the compliance demonstration and promote effective spending.
While important and well-intentioned, the supplement not supplant requirement had become restrictive and burdensome—to the point that some school districts made ineffective spending choices in an effort to avoid noncompliance. Under ESSA, the supplement not supplant requirement changed to provide more flexibility to school districts while still ensuring that federal dollars are supplemental to state and local funds and cannot be used to replace them.
SELECTIVE COLLEGES AND universities tend to overlook students seeking to transfer from community college, despite those students graduating at higher rates than other students, a new report shows.
Notably, nearly half – 49 percent – of all students enrolled in four-year colleges and universities begin at a two-year schools. But the report finds that selective schools are less likely to enroll community college students than other institutions. In fact, when it comes to the 100 most selective colleges, 14 percent of students transfer in, but only 5 percent have transferred from a community college.
Community college students who transfer to selective colleges and universities, the study found, have equal to or higher graduation rates as students who enrolled directly from high school or those who transferred from other four-year schools. They also graduate in a reasonable amount of time, earning their degrees within two and a half years, on average.
WASHINGTON—After months of research, visiting successful programs around the nation, and receiving testimony from experts and concerned citizens, today the Federal Commission on School Safety (Commission) released a 177-page report detailing 93 best practices and policy recommendations for improving safety at schools across the country.
Utilizing the information gathered, the Commission report offers a holistic approach to improving school safety, ranging from supporting the social and emotional well-being of students to enhancing physical building security. Acknowledging there can be no one-size-fits-all solution to this complex problem, the final report serves as a resource guide for families, educators, law enforcement officers, health professionals, and elected leaders to use as they consider the best ways to prevent, mitigate, and recover from acts of violence in schools. The recommendations are based on efforts that are already working in states and local communities.
“Each of us has an important role to play in keeping our students safe while at school,” said Chair of the Federal Commission on School Safety and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “Through the Commission’s work, it has become even clearer there is no single policy that will make our schools safer. What will work for schools in Montana will be different than what will work for schools in Manhattan. With that in mind, this report provides a wide-ranging menu of best practices and resources that all state, community, and school leaders should consider while developing school safety plans and procedures that will work for their students and teachers.”
STUDENTS WHO RECEIVED sex education before college that included training in refusing unwanted sex were half as likely to be assaulted in college, a new study finds.
In contrast, students who received abstinence-only sex education before college were not shown to have significantly reduced experiences of campus sexual assault – though they also did not show an increased risk.
Those were some of the top-line findings from researchers at Columbia University who examined data from a survey of 2,500 students aged 18 to 29 that was conducted online between March and May 2016 as a part of the Sexual Health Initiative to Foster Transformation, a project housed in Columbia’s School of Public Health.
“This study has important implications for policy and further research,” the researchers said. “In the broadest sense, our findings point to the underexplored opportunities for pre-college sexual assault prevention.”
THE WHITE HOUSE announced Monday evening a five-year strategic plan for science, technology, engineering and math education, setting forth what it calls a “North Star” that “charts a course for the Nation’s success.”
“It represents an urgent call to action for a nationwide collaboration with learners, families, educators, communities, and employers,” the White House plan reads.
The administration’s goal is threefold: for every American to master basic STEM concepts, like computational thinking, in order to respond to technological change; to increase access to STEM among historically underserved students; and to encourage students to pursue STEM careers.