How Schools Are Using The Trump Impeachment Inquiry As A Teachable Moment

For the fourth time in history, Congress is considering impeaching the president of the United States. For teachers around the country, it’s an opportunity to explore concepts and skills that are often relegated to textbooks.

We asked social studies teachers from around the country how — if at all — they’re using this teachable moment, navigating the nationally polarizing topic and trying to sidestep the often asked question, “What do you think?”

Many educators told us they’re embracing the opportunity to bring concepts such as checks and balances to life. Some say they don’t have much time to address current events in class because of the amount of material they have to cover in a year.

Full story at NPR

U.S. Department of Education Rated Among Top Agencies on “Invest In What Works” Federal Standard of Excellence

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Education’s leading efforts to use evidence and data in its management, budget, and policy decisions have been recognized in Results for America’s 2019 Invest in What Works Federal Standard of Excellence. Results for America provides a snapshot of how federal agencies are building and using evidence and data to get better results for young people, their families, and communities. Among nine federal agencies examined, the Department of Education ranked third on the Federal Standard of Excellence, with a total score of 73 points out of a possible 100.

The Department of Education received the highest possible scores for leadership, related to federal agencies designating key personnel to lead evidence and data efforts, as well as common evidence standards, which examines how federal agencies classify evidence for use in research and funding decisions. Notably, Results for America recognized the Department for the strong use of evidence when allocating funds in competitive grant programs.

Full story at U.S. Department of Education

How to Manage Discord Over Student Discipline

The principal-teacher relationship faces a lot of potential stressors, from dealing with parents to disagreements over who has to do lunch duty.

But perhaps nothing causes more friction between principals and teachers than how to discipline students.

Teachers and principals alike—although to varying degrees—rank student discipline as the biggest source of disagreement between the two groups, according to a survey by the Education Week Research Center.

Full story at Education Week

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

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

Secretary DeVos Announces School Safety Grant Opportunities

WASHINGTON — In support of the recommendations from the Federal Commission on School Safety’s (FCSS) final report, the U.S. Department of Education announced today it is now accepting applications for three fiscal year 2019 grant competitions that support locally tailored approaches to school safety.

PROJECT PREVENT GRANT PROGRAM

This program helps Local Education Agencies (LEAs) enhance their ability to identify, assess and serve students exposed to pervasive violence. Funds from this $10 million grant competition can be used to provide mental health services for trauma or anxiety; support conflict resolution programs; and implement other school—based violence prevention strategies. The deadline to apply is July 15, 2019.

SCHOOL CLIMATE TRANSFORMATION GRANT PROGRAM

This $40 million grant competition provides funds to LEAs to develop, enhance, or expand systems of support for schools implementing strategies to improve learning conditions and promote positive school culture for all students. The deadline to apply is July 22, 2019.

Full story at ed.gov

California Teachers Pay For Their Own Substitutes During Extended Sick Leave

A 40-year-old California law requiring public school teachers on extended sick leave to pay for their own substitute teachers is under scrutiny by some state lawmakers after NPR member station KQED reported on the practice.

KQED found that a San Francisco Unified elementary school teacher had to pay the cost of her own substitute — amounting to nearly half of her paycheck — while she underwent extended cancer treatment. Since the story published, more public school teachers have reached out to describe similar hardships.

Unlike many other employees, public school teachers in California don’t pay into the state disability insurance program and can’t draw benefits from it. Under the California Education Code, teachers get 10 sick days a year, after which they receive 100 days of extended sick leave. It’s during this latter period that the cost of a substitute teacher is deducted from their salary.

Full story at NPR

Gates Foundation Asks: Is College Worth It?

THE BILL AND MELINDA Gates Foundation, the philanthropic and sometimes controversial group whose funding has influenced major education policy decisions in the U.S., is launching a new higher education initiative to answer the question, “Is college worth it?”

“More than at any other time I can remember, students and families across America are asking themselves, is college worth it,'” Sue Desmond-Hellmann, president of the Gates Foundation, said. “As the cost of a credential rises and student debt goes to record levels, people are actually asking a question I never thought I’d hear, ‘Is going to college a reliable path to economic opportunity?’ This question of value needs to be addressed, and we feel that it needs to be addressed urgently.”

To that end, the foundation has convened a 30-person commission to evaluate the returns of education after high school, especially for low-income students and students of color.

Full story at US News

 

‘Do They Kick Out Pregnant People?’ Navigating College With Kids

When Akiya Parks first got to campus at the University of Florida, everything was new and exciting. Her mom and brother had driven her to campus and moved her into the dorms, she’d agreed to try a long-distance relationship with her high school boyfriend, she was ready to start a new chapter in Gainesville.

This was a dream come true: No one in Parks’ family had ever gone to college before, and her good grades, volunteer work and commitment to her community had earned her a full-ride scholarship — nearly everything was paid for. She got a new laptop, she bonded with her roommate and she crafted her schedule.

But a few weeks into classes, she started feeling sick. At first, she thought college food just wasn’t sitting well, but it wasn’t the food.

Full story at npr.org

Girls Best Boys on National Test of Technology and Engineering Skills

EIGHTH-GRADE GIRLS continue to outperform boys on a national test of technology and engineering skills, despite reporting they take fewer classes related to those skills.

Girls scored five points higher than boys on the Technology and Engineering Literacy Assessment, which was given to 15,400 eighth graders from about 600 public and private schools across the country in 2018. Girls also bested boys in nearly all content areas.

“Girls continue to perform better than boys,” Peggy Carr, the associate commissioner of the assessments division at the National Center for Education Statistics, said. “They did that again – improved more than boys and also still outscored boys in this assessment. It’s a really strong finding here.”

Full story at US News