Ed Dept announces actions to advance equity in education
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
Austin adopts sexual assault prevention and response training
Austin ISD will implement new sexual assault prevention and response training as part of an agreement with a former student who said Austin High School administrators blamed and silenced her after she told them a boy had sexually assaulted her. The training will be provided by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, a nonprofit statewide coalition of rape crisis centers and survivor advocates; it will discuss how to prevent sexual assault, what to do when someone reports a sexual assault and how to recognize signs of sexual harassment.
Lake Travis principal to take on assistant super role at Carroll
Gordon Butler will leave his role as principal of Lake Travis High School after being named the new assistant superintendent for Carroll ISD in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. During a June 7th CISD meeting, trustees unanimously approved Mr Butler, who has 19 years of education experience, as the assistant superintendent for staff and student services. He began his career at Lake Travis in 2016, and has since served as principal for the district’s sole high school campus.
Richardson ISD board approves first round of J.J. Pearce High School renovations
The Richardson ISD board of trustees approved a guaranteed maximum price of $6m for the first phase of an improvement project at J.J. Pearce High School this week. Phase I of the project includes new turf for softball and baseball fields, to be completed by January 2022, and the construction of additional campus parking spaces, to be completed by August or September. The entire project, which includes the construction of two new building additions, and classroom renovations, is due to be finished by August 2024.
Dallas Morning News
NYOS Charter prepares to open North Austin campus expansion
The NYOS Charter School in North Austin is on course to complete construction of its new campus expansion. before the start of the new school year. The 76,000 sq ft expansion will add an entirely new campus adjacent to the existing NYOS campus; it will house pre-K to eighth-grade students, while the existing campus will be converted to serve high school students. NYOS is planning a further second expansion of the new campus for the 2022-23 school year with additional seats added in 2022 as well
Denton employees in line for pay hikes
Denton ISD employees will soon see pay raises and one-time bonuses head their way following unanimous approval by school board members at their meeting on Tuesday night. Most staff will see a roughly 2% bump in pay, and many will receive a $500 retention bonus paid with federal funds as a thank-you for working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
Teacher placed on leave over gender identity comments must be reinstated, judge tules
Judge James E. Plowman Jr. has ruled that Tanner Cross must be allowed to return to his job at Loudon County Public Schools in Virginia. Plowman concluded that the district's decision to place Cross on administrative leave was "an unconstitutional action … which has silenced others from speaking publicly on the issue." Cross, a physical education teacher at Leesburg Elementary School, said he wouldn't address students by their preferred pronouns and names, and challenged the district's "Rights of Transgender and Gender-Expansive Students" policy on May 25 at a district board meeting. Michael Farris, president and CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom, the legal group defending Cross, comments: "Educators are just like everybody else — they have ideas and opinions that they should be free to express. Advocating for solutions they believe in should not cost them their jobs."
State takeovers have limited effect on struggling schools, study claims
A new national study, written by Beth E. Schueler of the University of Virginia and Joshua Bleiburg of Brown University, casts doubt on the notion that states are better positioned to run schools than locally-elected officials, finding little evidence that districts see test scores rise as a result of being taken over. The new study focuses on the 35 school districts from across the country that were taken over by states between 2011 and 2016. These takeovers often happened in small cities and the vast majority of affected students were Black or Hispanic and from low-income families. Schueler and Leiburg used national test score data to compare districts that were taken over to seemingly similar districts in the same state that retained local control. In the first few years of the takeover, the schools generally saw dips in English test scores. By year four, there was no effect one way or the other. In math, there were no clear effects at all. Some places, including Camden, New Jersey and Lawrence, Massachusetts, did see improvements in the wake of takeover; others, such as East St. Louis, Illinois and Chester Upland, Pennsylvania, saw their academic records get worse, relative to other schools in the states. One reason results might have diverged so much is that there’s no single playbook for what happens after a state takes control from an elected school board. It’s also possible that state takeovers don’t typically improve student achievement simply because they often don’t lead to meaningful changes in per-student spending, class sizes, or the number of charter schools.
CTE directors share tips for strong school-business partnerships
A report released in March by the Association for Career and Technical Education noted "significant enrollment declines" in Career and Technology Education (CTE) courses this school year, along with concerns about possible funding declines and instructor shortages in the years ahead. One major struggle during the pandemic has been providing work-based learning experiences, the report said. K-12 Dive speaks to CTE leaders to garner advice for keeping school-business connections strong by cultivating relationships and working through challenges. Insights include casting a far net to draw businesses and organizations of all sizes into partnerships, thus ensuring better matches for student and employer needs, and to create a full-time workforce development coordinator role, to both promote CTE programs and work on curriculum updates;