‘We Wanted Our Patrons Back’ — Public Libraries Scrap Late Fines To Alleviate Inequity

For nearly a decade, Diana Ramirez hadn’t been able to take a book home from the San Diego Public Library. Her borrowing privileges were suspended, she was told, because of a mere $10 in late fees, an amount that had grown to $30 over the years.

Ramirez, who is now 23 and stays in Tijuana with her mother, attends an alternative education program in San Diego that helps students earn high school diplomas. To her, the debt she owed to the library system was an onerous sum. Even worse, it removed a critical resource from her life.

“I felt disappointed in myself because I wasn’t able to check out books,” Ramirez said. “I wasn’t able to use the computers for doing my homework or filling out job applications. I didn’t own a computer, so the library was my only option to access a computer.”

Full story at NPR

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

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

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

Supreme Court to Hear School Choice Case

THE U.S. SUPREME COURT agreed to hear oral arguments this fall concerning a decision by Montana’s Supreme Court to halt the operation of a tax credit scholarship program that allowed students to enroll in private schools, including private religious schools.

The announcement Friday breathed new life into the private school choice movement, which has made little to no headway at the federal level despite a tax credit scholarship being the No. 1 agenda item of Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, herself a private school choice supporter.

Private school choice advocates cheered the decision by the high court to review Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, saying they’re hopeful the court will provide a definitive answer on the constitutionality of directing public money or aid to private religious schools.

Full story at US News

Schools’ Racial Makeup Can Sway Disability Diagnoses

Are black and Hispanic students identified for special education too often, or not often enough?

For several years, that question has been the focus of a simmering policy debate. Federal regulations require districts to guard against greatly overidentifying minority students with disabilities—also known as “significant disproportionality” in the regulations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Nationally, 14 percent of white students ages 3-21 are in special education; for black students it is 16 percent and for Hispanic students, 13 percent.

In recent years, however, other research has shown that black and Hispanic students are actually less likely to be placed in special education than white peers who have similar academic and behavioral backgrounds. That could potentially leave them at risk of not getting the help they may need to succeed.

Full story at edweek.org

Federal Data Show Decreasing Rates of Bullying and Violence in Schools

BULLYING, VIOLENCE, crime and drug use in schools continue to decrease, as they have for much of the last two decades, despite public perception that schools have become less safe over the past 20 years.

New federal data published Wednesday by the Departments of Education and Justice show that 20% of students ages 12 to 18 reported being bullied at school during the 2016-17 school year, the lowest since the federal government began collecting the information in 2005. The percentage of public schools that reported that student bullying occurred at least once a week also decreased, from 29% in the 1999-2000 school year to 12% in the 2015-16 school year.

Moreover, the percentage of students in grades nine through 12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property during the previous 12 months decreased from 9% in the 2000-01 school year to 6% in 2016-17 school year.

Full story at US News

Study: Public Universities Prioritize Out-of-State, Wealthy, White Students

SOME PUBLIC universities disproportionately direct their recruiting efforts on out-of-state students from affluent, white communities and private schools, a new study shows, adding fuel to an increasingly fiery debate about inequity within higher education that colleges and universities have been trying to sidestep for years.

“In contrast to rhetoric from university leaders, our findings suggest strong socioeconomic and racial biases in the enrollment priorities of many public research universities,” researchers wrote.

“A small number of universities exhibit recruiting patterns broadly consistent with the historical mission of social mobility for meritorious state residents,” they said. “However, most universities concentrated recruiting visits in wealthy, out-of-state communities while also privileging affluent schools in in-state visits.”

Full story at US News

Study: Public Universities Prioritize Out-of-State, Wealthy, White Students

SOME PUBLIC universities disproportionately direct their recruiting efforts on out-of-state students from affluent, white communities and private schools, a new study shows, adding fuel to an increasingly fiery debate about inequity within higher education that colleges and universities have been trying to sidestep for years.

“In contrast to rhetoric from university leaders, our findings suggest strong socioeconomic and racial biases in the enrollment priorities of many public research universities,” researchers wrote.

“A small number of universities exhibit recruiting patterns broadly consistent with the historical mission of social mobility for meritorious state residents,” they said. “However, most universities concentrated recruiting visits in wealthy, out-of-state communities while also privileging affluent schools in in-state visits.”

Full story at US News

Secretary DeVos Issues Statement on Higher Education Act Reform Principles Introduced During National Council for the American Worker Meeting

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released the following statement on the Administration’s Higher Education Act reform principles released during today’s meeting of the National Council for the American Worker:

“To meet the needs of our nation’s students and our growing economy, we must rethink higher education. Right now, there are 7.3 million unfilled jobs in the United States, yet too many Americans remain out of the workforce because they lack the skills necessary to seize these opportunities. We must do better for our students and workers. There should be multiple educational pathways to a successful career, and the federal government shouldn’t pick winners and losers amongst them. At the same time, higher education should be more affordable, nimble and relevant. Institutions of higher education need to be freed-up to implement new ideas that could fill the many gaps between education and the economy. The Department of Education is currently leading that effort through ambitious negotiated rule making which seeks to break down the barriers to innovation in higher education and encourage new approaches and new partnerships.

Full story at ed.gov