Actions to advance equity in education announced
The Department of Education has announced a series of actions it is taking to advance equity in education and ensure schools across the nation are serving all students. The actions include an Equity Summit Series, launching virtually on June 22nd, that will initially explore how schools and communities can reimagine our school systems so that every student has a voice in their school and classroom, particularly students from underserved communities. In advance of this, there is a new report from the Department's Office for Civil Rights exploring how the impacts of the pandemic have fallen disproportionately on students who went into it with the fewest educational opportunities, many of whom are from marginalized and underserved communities. Also of note are new Maintenance of Equity provisions, central to ensuring that essential resources are meeting the needs of students who have been subject to longstanding opportunity gaps in our education system. These student groups have also experienced the greatest impact from the
pandemic. In addition to the historic resources the American Rescue Plan is providing states to address inequities made worse by the pandemic, President Biden’s fiscal year 2022 budget proposes $36.5 billion in formula grants for Title I schools, a $20 billion increase from the 2021 enacted level. The investment will provide meaningful incentives for states to examine and address inequities in school funding systems, as well as ensure teachers at Title I schools are paid competitively, provide equitable access to rigorous coursework, and increase access to high-quality preschool. States would be required to collect and report data analyzing gaps in these key foundational areas, and work with their districts to make plans to address them.
US Department of Education
Vote to ban teaching critical race theory today
The Florida Board of Education will this morning vote on adopting a new rule to prevent public school teachers from teaching critical race theory, a high-profile push led by Gov. Ron DeSantis, alongside other history curriculum changes. Critics view it as a backlash, in part, against the protests for racial equality that roiled the country after the death of George Floyd last year and some school districts’ efforts to take a critical look at their own policies. The Florida Education Association has called the proposed rule "insulting to teachers" and will suggest the Board consider an alternative.
Miami-Dade ends year with high graduation rate
Students, parents and teachers across Miami-Dade County on Wednesday celebrated the last day of a challenging and disruptive school year. The district nonetheless managed a 93.1% graduation rate, the highest in the school system's history. Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho praised the thousands of people who work in Miami-Dade and all the work they did during the pandemic-plagued school year to help the students succeed. “Despite the obstacles, despite the challenges, through the vision of this school board, through the determination and courage of our principals, the courage and hard work of teachers, support staff, our police department, our bus drivers, our cafeteria workers, we were able to maintain our schools open,” he said at a news conference, adding: “We were able to teach. We were able to maintain our A grading from the state of Florida with 99% of our schools rated A, B or C , with 47% of our schools rated A, a higher percentage than the state.”
Flagler principals tapped for district roles
Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt announced she is recommending to the Flagler County School Board that Paul Peacock be named Chief of Operational Services and LaShakia Moore be named the Director of Teaching and Learning for Flagler Schools. Both are respected educators with years of experience within the district. Peacock is currently the principal of Indian Trails Middle School, a position he has held for eight years, while Moore has served as principal of Rymfire Elementary School for the past three years.
School Board member shakes off residency questions
Alachua County elections officials are investigating claims that school board member Diyonne McGraw's home is in District 4, though she was elected to represent District 2. According to Florida law if a board is made up of five members, one board member should reside in each of the districts.
The Gainesville Sun
The Gainesville Sun
District recognizes over 100 retirees
The School Board of Highlands County has recognized two years of retirees. There was no retirement recognition for the 2019-20 retirees at the end of the last school year due to the pandemic, so they were recognized with the 2020-21 retirees, all 101 of them.
Hillsborough set to welcome Florida charter school operator application
An organization that operates dozens of South Florida charter schools is poised to expand into Hillsborough County. Mater Academy Inc. has two East Hillsborough proposals up for consideration at Tuesday's School Board meeting, with the administration recommending approval. It is one of five so-called “hope operators” in the state, nonprofit organizations that offer alternatives to regular public schools deemed “persistently low-performing” under Florida's new School of Hope program.
Tampa Bay Times
How 'grow-your-own' programs are helping recruit teachers of color
School districts are increasingly making use of "Grow-Your-Own" programs designed to encourage students of color to become teachers in their home communities. Some identify potential teaching candidates as early as high school; others recruit existing paraprofessionals and career changers to become certified teachers. Many aim broadly to increase a state or district’s local pipeline of future teachers, while others work specifically to enhance the diversity of the next generation of educators. Grow-your-own program leaders say that recruiting community members to become teachers is both a practical and effective long-term solution to increasing educator diversity. “Whether it’s students or bus drivers who want to become teachers, it’s OK. You want to look at who’s right in front of you,” said Joshua Starr, CEO of PDK International, a professional association for educators that oversees Educators Rising, a community-based model for recruiting teachers that has a presence in every state plus Washington, D.C., and official agreements with departments of education in 31 states. Among the program’s participants, 52% are people of color.
Record number of students set to attend summer school
Millions of children this summer will participate in what's expected to be the largest summer-school program in history, powered by more than $1.2bn in targeted federal post-pandemic assistance from the American Rescue Plan. This year's programs face the task of teaching not just about math, history and English, but also addressing widespread mental health challenges among students, and in some cases, dealing with nutrition issues for children who missed out on weeks or months of school meals. Such demands have seen warn these enrichment programs aren't an instant panacea; among the concerns is that students who previously had trouble focusing on classroom work will have lost some of their coping skills. Experts also say this is a rare opportunity to focus on mental health and the underlying causes of disproportionate discipline, by training teachers to even more closely focus on the whole child.
Federal student loan loss forecast rises
The Biden administration has raised an estimate of losses on the federal government’s student loan portfolio by $53bn, reflecting lower repayment rates and pandemic-relief efforts.
Wall Street Journal