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    Some school districts are already signaling resistance to new draft model policies from the Virginia Department of Education that will repeal current model policies controlling school district transgender policy. “We want to assure you that Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) will continue its commitment to both implement and develop gender affirming policies for all ACPS students. As a School Board and division, we are concerned with these ‘model policies’ that do not align with our mission, vision and core values to support all students and staff, in particular our core value of ensuring that we provide a welcoming environment for everyone in our school community,” Alexandria City Public Schools said in a letter to students, staff and families. Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Michelle Reid wrote in a letter to the community, “I understand the concerns that our LGBTQIA+ staff, student, and family community have about what this change of direction by the state may mean for our school division. Please be assured that FCPS remains committed to an inclusive learning environment for each and every student and staff member...
    The Los Angeles Unified School District, the victim of a major cyberattack over Labor Day weekend, has received a ransom demand from the person or group that hacked into its systems, though officials have not indicated if they intend to pay or enter into any negotiations. “There has been communication from this actor, and we have been responsive without engaging in any type of negotiation,” Superintendent Alberto Carvalho told reporters outside the district’s headquarters on Wednesday, Sept. 21. “A financial demand has been made by this entity. We have not responded to that demand,” he added. District officials have not said how much money the hacker or hackers demanded nor what information they claim to have stolen. Officials previously acknowledged that the LAUSD student information system was “touched.” “We believe that some of the data that was accessed may have some students’ names, may have some degree of attendance data, but more than likely lacks personally identifiable information or very sensitive health information or Social Security number information,” Carvalho said Wednesday. “It is a containable risk that we’re dealing with...
    Efforts to ban books gathered pace rapidly this past year, with hundreds of titles cut across thousands of schools — often those tackling ‘culture wars’ issues like gender, sexuality and race, a study shows. There were 2,532 instances of individual book bans affecting 1,648 titles at some 5,000 schools with 4 million students in the 2021-2022 school year, the anti-censorship group PEN America said in a report on Monday. The group described a push by politicians and newly-formed parents' organizations to pull texts from school libraries that it compares to the anti-communist McCarthy era and 'Moral Majority' purges of the early 1980s. ‘This rapidly accelerating movement has resulted in more and more students losing access to literature that equips them to meet the challenges and complexities of democratic citizenship,’ said report author Jonathan Friedman. The banned books were often young adult fiction texts, often those dealing with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer themes or with queer protagonists, as well as those that tackle race and identity. Texas accounted for the most bans, with 801 across 22 districts. Campaigners have...
    by Reagan Reese   School districts that resorted to remote learning during the pandemic took a large learning loss hit, according to Thursday study by a Brown University economist. K-12 school districts who stayed with remote learning the longest during the pandemic saw a 13% sharper drop in learning losses than schools that returned to in-person learning sooner, according to study by a Brown University economist Emily Oster. The study notes that while there were other factors that resulted in learning losses, remote learning was a “significant contributing factor.” “The past two years have seen enormous test score declines for kids, pretty much no matter how you measure them,” Oster wrote in her report. “These declines were caused, at least in significant part, by school closures. There has been some recovery, but it is variable and incomplete. There is more to be done.” The study examined school districts during the 2020-2021 school year in 10 different states including Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Virginia and West Virginia. A Sept. 1 report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed that...
    The Georgia Foundation for Public Education (GFPE) this week awarded its fifth round of Rural Education Fund grants, providing seven grants to Georgia schools and districts. Totaling $70,000, this year’s Rural Education Fund grants will fund elementary school literacy programming, an elementary agricultural program, band instruments for student use, support for a STEM program, virtual reality headsets to help elementary students experience and explore the world; and an after-school extracurricular program. Rural Education Fund grants are flexible and can be used for many initiatives. For example, applicants are asked to propose a project to solve a current challenge within their school or district and drive positive student outcomes. “From the first disbursement of the Rural Education Fund grants, we have seen schools and districts utilize the funds to support bold, creative, and student-centric projects. The 2022-2023 grantees carry on that legacy,” GFPE Executive Director Paige Pushkin said. “The Rural Education Fund is funded by the purchase of ‘Educator’ and ‘Support Education’ Georgia license tag and I appreciate all those who made...
    The chair of the Memphis-Shelby County Schools (MSCS) board is urging newly elected board member Keith Williams to leave his position as executive director of the Memphis-Shelby County Education Association, citing a potential conflict of interest. MSCS Board Chair Michelle McKissack said that while Williams has been “a great voice for the teachers community,” he now “has to use that voice for all teachers, all students, and all families.” Chalkbeat reported. McKissack described the challenge of preventing a conflict of interest. “Everything we do touches upon teachers and impacts them,” she said. “It’s definitely a tightrope you have to walk and be cognizant of.” Board members are required to terminate any employment relationships within the school district, but no specific mention is made of work for, or involvement with, teachers’ unions. The school board’s code of conduct states, nevertheless: Board members will represent the interests of the citizens of the entire school district. This accountability to the whole district supersedes, as examples, but is not limited to: any conflicting loyalty a member may have to other advocacy or interest groups;...
    The hackers struck over Labor Day weekend, penetrating the computer network of the second-largest U.S. public school system. And though Los Angeles Unified School District quickly caught the breach, it has labored through the week resetting student and teacher passwords to access lesson plans and assignments. The district superintendent said the attack had “catastrophic” potential, threatening to expose personal information of 540,000 students and 70,000 staff, disrupt classroom instruction and meal services and paralyze a bus system that takes 40,000 kids to school. It drew calls from the White House and prompted a sobering FBI warning this week to school administrators around the country: Cybercriminals are targeting public schools — and holding them for ransom. The Los Angeles cyberattack has put Bay Area school officials on high alert. “Everybody’s jaw hit the floor a little bit,” said Robert Sidford, director of technology and innovation at Mt. Diablo Unified School District, adding that it wasn’t so much that such an attack happened, but that it penetrated such a high-profile target. “The shock is really more that they managed to get Los...
    (CNN)A Washington state public school district will reopen Thursday after a teacher strike that demanded improvements to classroom sizes, pay and health services -- while another district is planning to strike if similar asks aren't met, joining educators in Seattle.The Kent Education Association, which represents close to 2,000 employees near Seattle, reached a tentative deal with the Kent School District on Wednesday that essentially ended talks that had been underway since July and had delayed the academic year. Both parties have agreed to keep the details of the tentative agreement confidential until the contract is ratified, the school district said in a statement. The contract will head to the Kent School District Board of Directors for final approval, the district added. First day of school in Seattle delayed as educators go on strikeAbout 110 miles to the southwest of Kent near Portland, Oregon, teachers in the Ridgefield School District are planning to initiate their strike Friday if a deal isn't reached with their union. Members of the Ridgefield Education Association overwhelmingly voted to approve the strike if the district refuses...
    Chicago’s largest children’s hospital is working with local government school districts to provide training materials that promote radical gender theory and LGBTQ activism. Education researcher and author Christopher Rufo reported at the New York Post Monday he obtained documents from a whistleblower that show Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago has provided school administrators throughout the Chicago area with gender theory and LGBTQ activist materials to be distributed to teachers, administrators, and staff for ongoing employee training programs. EXCLUSIVE: Lurie Childrens Hospital of Chicago published this "gender conversation" featuring a 13-year-old trans child arguing that kids are "never too young" to learn about sexual transition. pic.twitter.com/cMZ2ZHUJwB — Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) September 2, 2022 Lurie Children’s Hospital runs a “Gender Development Program” that its website states is “aimed at supporting the physical, mental and social health of patients and their families as youth progress through gender identity development.” “New patients may begin care with us up to age 22,” the gender program says. “Patients may continue services in our programs until their 25th birthday.” Rufo noted the primary training document,...
    by Anthony Hennen   A new report questions the narrative of a “teacher shortage” in Pennsylvania, pointing out significant declines in student enrollments even as public school employment has risen. “Since 2000, Pennsylvania public school enrollment has dropped 6.6% (120,000 fewer students); but public schools have added 20,000 more employees (8.7% growth), including nearly 40% growth among administrators,” the Commonwealth Foundation noted in its Back to School Education Trends report. Furthermore, the think tank argues that school districts are “stockpiling taxpayer resources” at a time when Pennsylvania education funding outpaces most of the rest of the nation. The average Pennsylvania teacher earns a $71,000 salary, 11th in the nation, and school districts spend $19,900 per student, eighth in the nation. “While certain local districts face teacher shortages, this has been exacerbated by shrinking districts hiring and retaining staff,” the report noted. “This disparity could be resolved if funding followed the child.” “There’s a lot of myths about, or anecdotes about a teacher shortage due to lack of funding for public schools,” Commonwealth Foundation President Nathan Benefield said. “As it shows statewide,...
    As communities across the Bay Area push to create more affordable teacher housing, the Milpitas Unified School District is trying out a different approach: asking parents to take in teachers priced out by soaring Silicon Valley rents. Last school year, the district said it lost at least seven teachers who struggled to afford the area. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Milpitas is now nearly $3,000 a month, a 15% spike since last September, according to rental listing site Zumper. That’s roughly half the salary for early-career teachers in the district, who earned around $68,000 last year. Since sending out its request online last week, the district said it has received 55 responses from families looking to rent out a room in their home. “This is evidence that our entire MUSD Team, which includes our teachers and classified support staff, is valued by our Milpitas community members, parents and caregivers,” said Superintendent Cheryl Jordan in a statement. The new program comes as Bay Area school districts have struggled in recent years to attract and retain qualified educators in...
    Unaffordable housing prices coupled with widespread teacher shortages have forced two California school districts to get creative as they tackle the problem. One built a subsidized apartment complex on its grounds for educators and staff while another asked parents if they had room in their homes to rent out to their child's teacher. The desperate move in Milpitas, California, came after 10 teachers quit their jobs at the San Francisco Bay area school district this summer. The exodus wasn't because of burnout or a career change. Instead, it was the byproduct of sky-high rents and low teacher salaries that have failed to keep up with inflation. STUDENTS SUFFER LARGEST LEARNING LOSS IN 30 YEARS AFTER PANDEMIC SCHOOL CLOSURES The Milpitas School District sent messages to parents this week urging them to fill out an online form if they had "a room for rent at your home and would like to share the housing opportunity with our Milpitas Unified School district educators." The message linked to the form that asked would-be landlords how many rooms they had available and how...
    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has launched a strategic attack on Florida’s school districts as he fights to ban books and push back against Critical Race Theory (CRT). According to HuffPost, DeSantis "took the unprecedented step of endorsing school board candidates in dozens of different districts across the state. Of the 29 candidates he vouched for, 25 of them were successful or headed to run-offs — even in blue counties." Per the news outlet, DeSantis' influence on nonpartisan election races ties into what he describes as his "education agenda.” READ MORE: Fascism expert explains why Ron DeSantis is one of the most dangerous men in the GOP The news outlet also noted: "While he’s counting on making public education a cornerstone in his reelection campaign against Democrat Charlie Crist, his agenda is clearly less about classroom learning or teacher pay, and more about remaking the schools into a haven for right-wing extremists." For many Democratic leaders, lawmakers, education professionals, and academic advocates, DeSantis' actions are troubling. “This governor has made it very clear that his intent is to push a...
    (CNN)When the bell rings at Casa Grande Union High School, more than seventy sophomores pile into Stacy Brady's biology class.The rural school district outside Phoenix can't find enough certified teachers, especially for math and science, so 13 classes are doubled up, with several holding more than 70 students. Some of those classes get a teaching assistant, but others rely on a single teacher."It's been very chaotic," Brady said. "I wish I could clone myself because I can't get to every kid who needs help."Situated between Phoenix and Tucson, Casa Grande has struggled to find teachers for years, hiring roughly 30 from the Philippines each year to fill the gap. But that alarming trend is hitting a more dire point. Jennifer Kortsen, a district spokesperson, says, in her 29 years here, she's never seen a shortage like this."I've never had a school year start where we've had so many vacancies, and it's really sad," Kortsen said. "We have it posted, we've gone to job fairs, and there's simply no teachers out there to be had right now."Read MoreAfter two years of...
    (CNN)Two school districts in Oklahoma will remain under a downgraded accreditation status after they were accused of violating a state law that bars certain types of teachings on race and gender, despite educators' calls on Thursday to lift the punishment they say is hurting teachers and students. The Oklahoma State Board of Education reaffirmed a 4-2 vote on July 28 designating the Tulsa Public Schools and Mustang Public Schools districts as "accredited with warning." The reduction means the districts are two tiers away from losing accreditation altogether. "We are disappointed that the Oklahoma State Board of Education determined -- without any discussion -- to not even consider Tulsa Public Schools' request that it reevaluate the egregious and baseless action it took on our district's accreditation status in July," Tulsa superintendent Deborah Gist said in a written statement following the vote.Oklahomas board of education downgrades school districts accreditation over complaint that training shamed White peopleThe law at the heart of the matter is House Bill 1775, which was passed and signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt in May 2021.Read MoreIt prohibits, in...
    (CNN)After Texas school districts started receiving donated posters and framed copies of the national motto, "In God We Trust," which they are required to display in accordance with a new state law, a political activist in Florida has started a GoFundMe to provide districts with signs of national motto in Arabic and a number of other languages.The new law says a Texas public elementary or secondary school or an institution of higher education "must" display a durable poster or framed copy of the motto in a "conspicuous place" in each building if the poster or framed copy is "donated for display at the school or institution" or "purchased from private donations and made available to the school or institution.""The law seemingly presumes these signs are written in English. Oopsie," GoFundMe organizer Chaz Stevens said. "We're going to donate hundreds of Arabic-language 'In God We Trust' posters to schools in Texas, flooding the public school system with our Arabic IGWT artwork."Stevens said the project is meant to voice dissent with Texas Senate Bill 797. He says he has brought on multiple...
    The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) announced on Wednesday that a $10.2 million investment grant is open for all Tennessee public school districts. The agency said the Resilient School Communities Grant is available to address needs for school-based support, expand school-based initiatives, and increase staff capacity to best serve students. According to the statement: “All Tennessee school districts are encouraged to apply, and the grant awards will vary based on their application score, with all complete, qualifying applications receiving funding. The application deadline is September 8, 2022. This grant funding comes from COVID-19 relief funding via the Tennessee Department of Health to support the Tennessee Department of Education’s needs for expanded school-based supports.” “For years, Tennessee school districts have worked diligently to help students overcome barriers, and Resilient School Communities grants will offer resources to help continue this work,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “We thank the Tennessee Department of Health for partnering in this work to help districts across Tennessee secure needed resources and specialized staff to support Tennessee students.” TDOE said that the grant funding would “cover the cost...
    (The Center Square) – One of Wisconsin’s outgoing lawmakers is using the back-to-school rush to push lawmakers to pay teachers more. Rep. Gary Hebl, D-Sun Prairie, on Wednesday released his final back-to-school op-ed in which he says lawmakers must do more. “Education is the foundation upon which Wisconsin can solve any issue that confronts us. We need a well-educated workforce, whether that education is in science, liberal arts, or the trades,” Hebl wrote. “We have to adequately invest in our schools if we are to maintain a high-quality public school system.” His comments come as schools across Wisconsin claim they're in the midst of a teacher shortage. Milwaukee Public School leaders on Tuesday said they are 230 teachers short for the new school year. Madison Metropolitan School leaders said last month they have more than 100 openings, and school districts as small as Manitowoc say they are resorting to signing bonuses to try and fill their open slots. “If we consistently underfund our schools, qualified teachers will find other fields of employment, valuable educational programming...
    The grassroots website Awake-Illinois is reporting that only 23 of 860 school districts in the state have decided to adopt radical sex education standards, based on a national model, while 536 districts have thus far opted out. Governor J.B. Pritzker (D-IL) signed SB 818 into law in August 2021, with his office claiming the standards are “voluntary” and will “emphasize health, safety, and inclusivity with age-appropriate resources.” “School districts do not have to adopt the voluntary standards unless they are teaching comprehensive sexual health education, and parents can choose to opt out,” the statement from the governor’s office said. Awake-Illinois’ list of schools and districts that have opted out of the standards for the upcoming 2022-2023 academic year is reportedly updated daily and can be found here. To date, of 860 school districts, 536 say they are opting out of the sex ed standards, 45 are “waiting,” 256 have not responded, and 23 have decided to fully adopt them. According to the standards, children in grades K-2 must be able to “define gender, gender identity and gender-role stereotypes,” and “discuss...
    With the new school year quickly approaching, districts across Connecticut are once again dealing with a shortage of bus drivers. Every bus company in the state is hiring for the new school year, according to reports. Altogether, the Connecticut School Transportation Association (COSTA) said the state needs to fill approximately one thousand open jobs. The situation has become so desperate that in Hartford County, the South Windsor School District sent a letter to families asking whether parents themselves could take the necessary steps to become licensed bus drivers, or spread the word to family and friends. "The district is anticipating there will be continued issues with bus driver shortages as we head into the new school year,” the district said. While exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the bus driver shortage has been an issue for a number of years, Jon Hipsher, chief operating officer of M&J Buss, told CT Insider. Historically, the pay wasn’t great, while others were uneasy at the thought of driving a 40-foot bus filled with noisy kids, he told the outlet. Several school districts were...
    (CNN)With summer almost over and students preparing to return to the classroom, there have been more than a few stories about school districts struggling to staff up.Here's a good example in The Washington Post, which looked at two rural districts in Texas that may only provide instruction four days per week and a plan to bring veterans with no teaching background in to Florida schools.There are reports about unfilled positions in Nevada, Illinois and Arizona, among others.CNN's Fredricka Whitfield spoke in early August with Jesus Jara, superintendent of Nevada's Clark County School District, which resumed classes this month with more than 1,400 job vacancies, some of them for teachers. Watch that interview.But it's a complicated issue, and it's difficult to argue there is a nationwide teacher shortage because education in the US is so completely focused at the local level.Read MoreI talked to Paul Bruno, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who uses quantitative methods to study the education system. What drew me to Bruno was his recent argument that reporters should be very careful arguing there...
    Share this: Schools can end quarantines and regular screening tests for COVID, but students and staff should keep masks on in areas with high levels of COVID spread, according to guidelines released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new, more limited recommendations come as districts across the country are starting a new school year — and in many cases reflect decisions to ease up on COVID precautions that schools have already made. Almost no districts are starting the year with a mask mandate, and in-school quarantine rules are on the retreat. “This latest guidance from the CDC should give our students, parents, and educators the confidence they need to head back to school this year with a sense of joy and optimism,” Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement. “While COVID continues to evolve, so has our understanding of the science and what it takes to return to school safely.”
    The Georgia Department of Education, in partnership with the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) and Georgia Power, selected six school districts to receive Economic Development Partnership (EDP) designation for FY 22, announced State School Superintendent Richard Woods.   The Economic Development Partnership designation recognizes districts participating in the EDP certification process. It prepares them to adopt best practices and behaviors that support economic development, strengthen their programs, and align education with vital regional industries. This year’s Economic Development Partnership designated districts are: Barrow County School System Bulloch County Schools Fannin County School System Floyd County Schools Hall County Schools Savannah-Chatham County Public School System EDP elevates the capability of school systems to fulfill their role as an essential part of the community in business recruitment. Additionally, school districts are recognized as a catalyst for talent development in the community through an expansion of efforts and collaboration. The EDP program promotes increased Work-Based Learning and Youth Apprenticeship opportunities, local business and industry exposure, and career-relevant classroom content for students. “Economic Development...
    As students gear up for the start of the new school year, Nevada is still scrambling to fill thousands of teacher and staff positions. Roughly 3,000 teaching jobs remain unfilled across the state's 17 school districts as some schools prepare to return to the classroom in early August, the Nevada State Education Association estimates. MILWAUKEE TO HOST 2024 REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION "We don't have teachers for the classrooms, and I'm worried about lunch workers who aren't going to be there to serve our kids meals that they need and have missed throughout the summer," Dawn Etcheverry, president of the Nevada State Education Association, told ABC News. "And in our second-largest district, we don't have bus drivers to start the school year. So kids will already go on a rotation of one week without a bus driver every four weeks." The staffing shortages are forcing schools to make tough decisions, including increasing class sizes. "It's hard to spend time one on one teaching a child how to do a fingering on a recorder when you've got...
    School districts in Tennessee can now apply for Innovative School Model Grants that focus on job training for students. “Through reimagining the middle or high school experience, students will have a variety of opportunities to gain real-world experience, explore various industries and available jobs, and choose a pathway best suited to their skillset,” said Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “I thank Governor Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly who passed this historic opportunity, all districts interested in applying for this funding, and those who helped us celebrate throughout the month.” The state plans to give out $500 million in grants to schools that apply and are accepted into the program, which was piloted last year. “In May 2021, the department awarded 21 school district Innovative High School Model grants, which included an initial investment of $30 million to foster local community partnerships that boost student readiness,” according to a TDOE release. These partnerships have already shown an incredible impact on students’ experiences and readiness for the workforce and postsecondary opportunities. Innovative School Models are meant to prepare Tennessee’s students to...
    (CNN)Students are heading to another school year amid the Covid-19 pandemic, but this time, there seem to be fewer discussions and fretting about masks and other mitigation measures -- despite a rise of infections sweeping the country.Most of the largest public school districts in the United States are not requiring masks for the new school year, making masking "optional" as students return to classes and the highly transmissible BA.5 subvariant spreads.Millions of US children remain unvaccinated as BA.5 spreads and new school year loomsAcross the country, "schools have become more relaxed in their mask policies," said Gladys Cruz, president-elect of the School Superintendents Association and district superintendent for Questar III in New York.Although there is the possibility that such policies could change if Covid-19 case rates rise or fall, everyone in a district might not be receptive to change, Cruz said."The possibility of mandating masks is there, in case of a surge, but I would have to say that it's going to be much more difficult to implement that mask mandate if it came down to that because we have...
     – – – Photo “Teacher and Students” by U.S. Department of Education. CC BY 2.0.
    The school board in Montgomery County, Maryland, has squashed plans to open the first charter school in the district, voting 7-1 against opening a proposed charter school in Gaithersburg. The Mentoring by Example College & Career Academy Business Learning Institute had already secured a $900 million grant for startup costs and planned to serve middle and high school students with a business-oriented curriculum. It also had the support of School Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight. More Montgomery County News More Maryland News Before the vote, McKnight spoke about how the school’s administrators had satisfied earlier concerns. The board also rejected plans by MBLI last year, citing concerns about enrollment, transportation and the charter school’s ability to maintain funding. “There was an articulated educational philosophy that was shared with us, we also talked about the founders’ experience around school leadership,” McKnight said. Montgomery County Public School staff members supported conditional approval of the school, requiring more information by July 2023. However, board member Judith Docca indicated there were too many uncertainties, including the possibility future admissions would be too low,...
    According to the governor’s office and the cities of Memphis and Nashville, more than 40 independent school districts have committed to allowing families to enroll in Education Savings Account (ESA) programs beginning in the 2022-2023 academic year. “There was an urgent need for school choice in 2019, and finally, parents in Memphis and Nashville won’t have to wait another day to choose the best educational fit for their children,” said Gov. Bill Lee (R). “I thank each school that has partnered with us to swiftly implement a program that will change the lives of Tennessee students, and I invite interested families to begin the enrollment process today.” The state explained the program’s purpose in an open letter to parents in Shelby County and Nashville. “In 2019, the Lee Administration pledged to ensure that every child in Tennessee had access to a high-quality education, no matter the zip code,” the letter said. “The Education Savings Account (ESA) program was built to support parents in Memphis and Nashville who urgently need access to options beyond traditional public school. While roadblocks have unnecessarily...
    LGBTQ activist organization the It Gets Better Project has awarded $10,000 in grant funds to 50 school districts across the country to promote gender ideology. The project was founded by LGBTQ activist and sex advice columnist Dan Savage as an organization that provides anti-bullying support for LGBTQ teens. But Savage has a history of bullying teens himself – particularly, those who identify as Christian. "Third genders" and the pros and cons of using the term around the world: from Hijra in India to Māhū in Hawaii and more!https://t.co/xUgflrsRcN — It Gets Better (@ItGetsBetter) July 22, 2022 The It Gets Better Project received high praise from the Obama administration in 2010. In November 2021, the project announced its grant program, dubbed “50 States. 50 Grants. 5,000 Voices” to support high schools and middle schools that are “empowering LGBTQ+ students.” Schools applying for the grant funds were required to commit they would be used to support local LGBTQ+ students. “If it wasn’t for younger generations, not just like the younger generations of today, but past generations of young people, those are...
    JACKSON, Miss (AP) — Amid a series of mass shootings in the U.S., Mississippi education officials made clear that school districts in the state can make their own rules for letting armed people with enhanced carry licenses onto school property. Following killings at Uvalde’s Robb Elementary School, a July Fourth parade near Chicago and an Indiana mall, the Mississippi Board of Education voted Thursday to update a 1990 internal policy that prohibited anyone other than law enforcement from carrying guns on public school campuses. Thursday’s step removed language from the 1990 policy, which the department said conflicted with Mississippi’s 2011 enhanced conceal carry law. The department also argued that the old policy “predates any notable school shootings.” “A school district may, in its discretion, prohibit or allow its employees who hold enhanced conceal carry licenses to possess weapons at the school,” said Jean Cook, director of communication for the Mississippi Department of Education. The 2011 law allows individuals with enhanced carry licenses to carry guns on public school campuses. Enhanced licenses require training and allow gun owners to carry...
    by T.A. DeFeo   Georgia authorities are using a federal grant to fund a new website to disseminate school safety resources and updated training to Georgia schools. The Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency are using a Bureau of Justice Assistance STOP School Violence Grant to fund the new Georgia Center for School Safety website. State officials described the website as a clearinghouse to distribute school safety resources and updated training to school and district staff, community partners and the public. They say the information will help them recognize, prevent and respond to violent acts. “Georgia continues to advance when it comes to school safety,” GEMA/HS Director Chris Stallings said in an announcement. “Thanks to our partnership with the Department of Education, we’ve updated the School Safety Plan Template and Guide to ensure that schools have guidelines on creating their own plan for natural and man-made disasters.” The state’s safety program includes web and in-person training on various topics, including school safety assessments, responding to an active shooter and emergency operations planning....
    Despite a year of disruptions, students largely made academic gains this past year that paralleled their growth pre-pandemic and outpaced the previous school year, according to new research released Tuesday from NWEA, a nonprofit research group that administers standardized tests. Gains across income levels partially closed the gap in learning that resulted from the pandemic, researchers found. But students in high-poverty schools had fallen further behind, making it likely they will need more time than their higher-income peers to make a full recovery. The results are a measured sign of hope for academic recovery from COVID-19. But sustained effort and investment in education remain crucial. “These signs of rebounding are especially heartening during another challenging school year of more variants, staff shortages, and a host of uncertainties. We think that speaks volumes to the tremendous effort put forth by our schools to support students,” Karyn Lewis, director of the Center for School and Student Progress at NWEA, and the study’s co-author, said in a statement. The study used data from more than 8 million students who took the MAP...
    (CNN)The Dallas school district announced Monday that it will require students to carry clear or mesh backpacks to class, joining other Texas districts in implementing new security measures following the Uvalde school massacre. The new rules apply to 6th-12th grade students at Dallas Independent School District -- the second-largest public school district in Texas -- and will take effect when the upcoming 2022-2023 school year begins in August. Other types of bags will no longer be allowed, according to the school district. Texas House committee releases Uvalde shooting report"We acknowledge that clear or mesh backpacks alone will not eliminate safety concerns," the district said in its announcement. "This is merely one of several steps in the district's comprehensive plan to better ensure student and staff safety."The district has already purchased the clear bags, and is set to distribute them before the start of the school year, the statement said.The decision was made based on feedback from students and parents, as well as recommendations from a safety task force at the district, the district said. Read MoreThe backpack requirements in Dallas...
    DALY CITY, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco Bay Area high school teacher Lisa Raskin moved out of a cramped apartment she was sharing with a roommate and into her own place this month, paying a deeply discounted $1,500 a month for a one-bedroom with expansive views within walking distance to work. It was once an impossible dream in an exorbitantly priced region hostile to new housing. But her employer, a 4,000-student school district south of San Francisco, was the rare success story in the struggle to provide affordable housing and in May, it opened 122 apartments for teachers and staff. “I have a sense of community, which I think is more valuable than anything else,” the 41-year-old San Francisco native said. “More districts really need to consider this model. I think it shows educators that they value them.” The Jefferson Union High School District in San Mateo County’s Daly City is among just a handful of places in the country with educator housing. But with a national teacher shortage and rapidly rising rents, the working-class district could...
    California’s “diversity, equity, and inclusion” class raked in as much as $1 billion in taxpayer money in the past year, according to a new study. The Center for Organizational Research and Education’s (CORE) study shows over $500 million in funding for staff positions, outside consultants, training sessions, educational materials, and other expansions of “anti-racist” and “anti-bias” indoctrination initiatives. Based on responses — and non-responses — CORE estimates the statewide total is close to $1 billion. According to the study, state agencies disclosed about $162 million in DEI funding in departments such as Water Resources, Conservation, and Fish and Wildlife. Local governments spent nearly $200 million on the indoctrination schemes, while colleges and universities spent over $103 million, including on six-figure salaried DEI leadership positions. In addition, of the among the 16 school districts that responded to the study, a total of $30 million was spent. Spending in the school districts included bulk purchases of books aimed at indoctrinating children into the race-essentialist thinking of critical race theorists, including How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi, White Fragility by...
    Bruce Friedman, a Florida father, said the local school board cut his microphone off during a meeting after he tried to read aloud the “vile” and “pornographic” content found in some of the books found in district libraries. Friedman, of the Clay County School District, told Fox News that board members took issue with his attempt to expose the contents of district library books and called to cut his mic off at the June 30 meeting after he announced he was going to read from some books available in public school libraries “that are clearly pornographic.” One of the books, Alice Sebold’s Lucky, contains the graphic details of a brutal rape. “I’m going to read things; if there’s children watching, cover their ears,” Friedman said at the meeting. “I’m going to stop you right there, sir,” someone responded to Friedman, calling to “turn off his microphone, please”: UNREAL. A dad says he’s gonna read from graphic books available to children in school and gets shut down by @oneclayschools board before he even starts because it might be against the law to read...
    PORTSMOUTH – Craig Hazelbaker, elected school board member for the Washington-Nile Local School District, was recognized by the Ohio School Boards Association’s Southeast Region. Recognition took place during the Board of Education meeting on June 29, 2022. Mr. Hazelbaker was presented his award during the meeting. The Veteran School Board Member Award recognizes school board members who have served 10, 15, 20 and 25 plus years on their local school boards. Mr. Hazelbaker was recognized for 15 years of service. The Southeast Region is comprised of 18 counties representing 84 school districts. For more information, contact OSBA or your local school board members. Established in 1955 and in its 67th year, the Ohio School Boards Association leads the way to educational excellence by serving Ohio’s public school board members and the diverse districts they represent through superior service, unwavering advocacy and creative solutions.
    The 2022-23 K-12 school year begins in less than two months, and Florida school districts are facing teacher shortages. As of this week, Duval County Public Schools reported 529 vacancies for certified teachers, up 23 percent – nearly 100 positions — compared to the start of last school year. This year’s vacancies are almost double the number Duval saw at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. In addition, Orange County Public Schools lists over 200 K-12 teacher openings, while Brevard County Public Schools lists 235 teacher vacancies. And while the numbers are daunting, they should not be surprising. According to surveys by the Florida Education Association(FEA), the number of teacher vacancies have increased by 104 percent since August 2019. In August 2019, the FEA reported there were 2,135 advertised positions. This number increased to 2,962 in August 2020 and had ballooned to 4,359 by January 2022. The report indicates that the most severely impacted curriculum is English, a subject in need of more teachers since only 25 percent of third-graders were found to read at a proficient level on...
    Almost all Marin school districts are planning new transitional kindergarten programs — or expanding existing ones — this fall. The state, which last year mandated universal TK for all 4-year-olds, is only financing the program for districts that are state-funded, or what is referred to as “local control funding formula” districts that offer per-student subsidies. At least one school district, Larkspur-Corte Madera, has announced it will not offer the program in the fall due to financial constraints. School districts that are community funded from property tax revenues — such as Larkspur-Corte Madera — will receive no state subsidies for transitional kindergarten. Community funded districts are most often referred to as basic aid districts. “While LCMSD sees the benefits of a TK program, the state is not offering the funding to support districts like ours who are barely in the basic aid funding model,” Brett Geithman, the superintendent, said in an email. “LCMSD will be unable to provide transitional kindergarten for the 2022-23 school year due to a lack of state funding for basic aid districts.” Mary Jane Burke, Marin superintendent...
    California’s K-12 schools and their nearly 6 million students received a multi-billion-dollar additional infusion of cash in the budget that Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislators enacted last week, raising per-pupil spending to a record-high level. In all, the budget will provide schools with an average of about $24,000 a year for each student, doubling what it was just a few years ago, with a formula that provides extra allocations to school districts with high numbers of poor and English-learner students. Those extra funds are being distributed via the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), a plan adopted a decade ago to close what is called the “achievement gap” between those children — roughly 60% of the state’s K-12 students — and the more privileged 40%. Spending $24,000 per student appears to propel California into the upper ranks of the states, although making such comparisons is tricky. Different organizations use different numbers, some adjust numbers for the cost of living, and the data are always a few years out of date. The main problem with such comparisons, however, is they assume that...
    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — State officials on Thursday ordered local school districts across Texas to audit and correct security deficiencies at their schools before the start of the next school year. The Texas Education Agency issued directives requiring the districts “to support the safety and security of public schools.” State lawmakers have targeted school security and mental health issues without further regulating firearms access. The TEA order especially targets how secure each school’s exterior doors are with weekly exterior door sweeps to ensure they are closed and locked. The directives come more than a month after an 18-year-old gunman entered a Uvalde elementary school’s unlocked door and shot and killed 19 children and two teachers. Districts also must review their multi-hazard emergency operations and active threat plans. All campus staff, substitutes, and district threat assessment teams must be trained in emergency procedures. All mandatory drills for the school year must be scheduled before the school year. District officials must then complete and submit a survey to the Texas School Safety Center by Sept. 9 to certify that the directives’...
    WASHINGTON -- Congress voted Friday to extend the pandemic school meal waivers that have helped keep tens of millions of children fed and gave districts the funding and flexibilities needed to cope with supply chain and labor issues.Lawmakers approved the nearly $3 billion bill, titled the "Keep Kids Fed Act," just a week before the waivers were set to expire on June 30. The legislation was crafted as a bipartisan compromise after Republican senators refused to support an extension of the waivers as part of the federal government spending bill in March.After the House passed it by a 376 to 42 vote on Thursday, the Senate amended the legislation and then approved it later that day by unanimous consent. The House passed the revised bill by a voice vote on Friday."This is something that frankly ought to be easy in America," said Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat who co-led the effort to extend the waivers as chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. "This is about feeding children, making sure children don't go to school hungry...
    by Anthony Hennen   The Pennsylvania General Assembly has moved another step closer in creating a scholarship program for students in underperforming schools to transfer elsewhere. HB2169, narrowly passed in the House in April, would grant a $6,800 Lifeline Scholarship to students in the bottom 15% of the lowest-performing schools and allow them to use the money on tuition, tutoring, and other educational expenses. This week, the Senate has considered the bill twice and was referred again to the Appropriations Committee to await its third consideration. Funding for the scholarships would come from already-existing education funds; about ⅓ of the money would attach to the student enrolling in a different school and ⅔ of the money would stay with the school district from which the student leaves. “The Pennsylvania Senate now has the opportunity to take the next step and ensure every child has access to an excellent education,” said Nathan Benefield, senior vice president of the Commonwealth Foundation, which supports educational voucher programs. “No student should be trapped in a failing school just because of their ZIP code....
    Andy Alfaro/Modesto Bee/Zuma Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.As American families and school lunch program administrators grapple with the highest annual increase in food costs in 43 years, Congress narrowly averted allowing a highly popular and effective free school meal program to lapse. Sort of.   The program, initially funded in March 2020, allowed the US Department of Agriculture to issue a series of waivers that have helped school districts keep feeding students during the pandemic.  Before Covid, schools had to follow strict requirements to receive any federal reimbursement for their meal programs: Only schools where at least half of students qualified for free or reduced meals would get reimbursed for summer feeding programs. Summer meals had to be served in group settings, and all meals were required to meet strict nutritional guidelines. Plus, only children from low-income families were eligible for free and reduced-price meals, and their parents had to apply for the program for them to benefit from it. The changes were highly popular and widely effective...
    They are some of the largest and most prestigious public school districts in the county — and, indeed, in the entire state of California. But just try to figure out how much their workers actually make. Six of Orange County’s K-12 districts (there are 28) have not sent detailed pay data to the state controller’s office for its easy-access, apples-to-apples publicpay.ca.gov database, as they were asked to do back in … drum roll please … 2014. The holdouts were the esteemed Irvine Unified, Saddleback Valley Unified, Orange Unified, La Habra City, Westminster and Lowell Joint school districts. Two more — Anaheim Elementary and Huntington Beach City — were also missing from the 2020 database. We asked why. Screengrab of Irvine Unified School District’s pay transparency page. Good luck.  Irvine Unified “continues to provide the public information about district salaries through the Orange County Department of Education, Transparent California and on IUSD’s website,” said spokeswoman Annie Brown. Good luck trying to decipher anything meaningful out of the mind-numbing salary schedules listed on the official sites! And kudos to Transparent California —...
    The recently passed Parental Rights in Education bill has Florida school districts scrambling to change policies and remove books that might violate the provisions of the legislation. Notably, The Palm Beach Post reported that Palm Beach County school officials are ending the use of the “Genderbread Person” infographic. The infographic was used to explain the differences between anatomical sex, gender expression, gender identity, sexual attraction and romantic attraction. Palm Beach Schools Superintendent Mike Burke said the infographic was “problematic because it gave the impression that we were targeting a younger audience. … I’m not sure it was the most valuable piece of our curriculum.” Part of the process in Palm Beach included sending questionnaires to teachers seeking information about materials used in classroom activities. If the questionnaire revealed potential violations, teachers were asked to send the material to school officials for review. Pinellas County Schools, located next to Tampa on the Gulf Coast, will offer parents an opt-out choice on a case-by-case basis. Parents and guardians can opt out of student access to library media materials any time by contacting...
    (CNN)At least eight Missouri school districts have canceled summer school activities on Wednesday after local authorities said they learned of a shooting threat, as communities across the US remain on edge following a series of high-profile mass shootings. Mass shooting leaves family with GoFundMe for funerals and an unfulfilled baby registryThe spate of closures began Tuesday night with the Blue Springs School District in Blue Springs, Missouri, about 20 miles east of Kansas City. The school district announced it was canceling activities "out of an abundance of caution" after Blue Springs police "alerted the FBI of a possible threat related to an unspecific mass shooting." "The FBI has confirmed that the individual in question whose whereabouts are unknown is dangerous," the school district, which serves more than 14,000 students, said in a statement on Facebook. "We believe the best course of action is to close our summer school sites and all school programming until further notice," it said. By Wednesday morning, seven other area school districts -- including Lee's Summit School District, Independence School District, Fort Osage School District, Grain...