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9th June 2021
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.
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.
Boston Schools Chair Resigns Over Racially-Charged Text Messages
The chair of the Boston School Committee has resigned amid criticism of racially charged texts she shared with another member of the committee. “Best school committee meeting ever. I’m trying not to cry,” school committee Chair Alexandra Oliver-Davila texted to fellow committee member Lorna Rivera, according to the texts obtained by the Boston Globe. “Wait until the white racists start yelling at us,” Rivera texted back. “Whatever. They’re delusional,” texted Oliver-Davila. “I hate WR,” she texted Rivera again. Oliver-Davila had faced mounting pressure to step down.
Louisiana Approves School Funding Formula
The Louisiana House on Tuesday unanimously approved a $3.9 billion financing formula to pay for K-12 public schools and give those schools' workers a pay raise in the upcoming year. Teachers, principals and other certificated personnel will receive an $800 salary boost in the 2021-22 school year, while school support workers such as cafeteria staff and bus drivers will receive a $400 pay raise. The school funding formula — which earlier received a unanimous vote from the Senate — will pay a base amount of $4,015 for each of the state's nearly 700,000 public school students. The new spending plan, which doesn't require a decision from the governor, takes effect July 1.
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; 
Cincinnati Mulling Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccines For School Staff
Cincinnati Public Schools could potentially become one of the first public school districts in the country to formally require its employees get the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to classes in the fall. At Monday night's board meeting, member Mike Moroski acknowledged that it would be a controversial move, and CPS attorney Dan Hoying cautioned that individuals or unions could challenge such a policy, the board will mull a second draft of the proposal at the next policy and equity committee meeting June 24. Moroski hopes to then propose the revised policy at the board's next regularly scheduled business meeting on June 28.
Teacher Placed On Leave Over Gender Identity Comments Must Be Reinstated, Judge Rules
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."
Nevada Bans 'Discriminatory' School Mascots
Legislators in Nevada on Friday signed a bill that directs local school boards to ban “racially discriminatory” mascots, logos and names and bans the use of so-called "sundown sirens." The new bill could affect up to 20 different schools in one Nevada county alone, but will not affect universities or schools that have agreements in place with local tribes who have given permission to the schools to use "Indians" as mascots.

NYC schools integrate LGBTQ stories in social studies curriculum
The New York City Department of Education has developed a social studies curriculum supplement that centers LGBTQ voices, which are often left out of history textbooks. The supplement features 20 stories of individuals who broke norms or expectations of gender and sexuality, including Martin Wong, a Chinese American painter who explored queer identities, Frank Kameny, the first individual to sue the U.S. government for discrimination against LGBTQ people, and Black queer feminist Pauli Murray; it also discusses critical eras in U.S. history through the lens of LGBTQ figures and events, such as the Lavender Scare and the “Pansy Craze.”  “When I was in college, if a teacher had talked about someone being gay in the past it would have been dramatic because nobody was talking about gay people at all,” said Daniel Hurewitz, associate professor of history at Hunter College and lead historian on the Hidden Voices project. “But now, students live in a world where ‘RuPaul’s Drag Races’ are being talked about, and their Instagram feeds are full of queer lives. So it’s almost our responsibility to give students a set of analytic skills to understand the world they are in.” According to 2019 research from GLSEN, a national advocacy group for LGBTQ students, less than 20% of students are taught any positive representations of LGBTQ history, people, or events at their schools. Only New Jersey, Colorado, Illinois and California legally mandate that public schools teach LGBTQ history.
More Districts Leverage VW Funds For Electric Bus Purchases
Two more school districts, one in Tennessee and another in , have purchased their first electric school buses after receiving a portion of their states' Volkswagen (VW) settlement funds. In Jonesborough, Tennessee, Washington County Schools unveiled its first LionC electric school bus during a ceremony June 3. Snoqualmie Valley School District in Washington too has championed its purchase.


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