You are receiving this email newsletter because you are a subscriber of Education Slice (formerly Principal News) or you signed up for our email newsletter on our site.
5th August 2022
Together with

Ed Dept: students show 'significant progress' as staffing woes continue
High poverty schools, schools with 75% or more minority students, and city schools all anticipate a higher number of teaching vacancies than other schools for the 2022-23 school year, according to a survey of 859 public schools released Thursday by the National Center for Education Statistics. The teaching positions most schools expect to be very difficult to fill include foreign languages, computer science and special education. Of the schools surveyed, 88% reported teacher and staff burnout, and 82% said mental health became a more pressing staffing concern in the 2021-22 school year. Some 62% said inability to fill vacant positions also became a greater concern last school year. At the same time, 50% of students began the 2021-22 school year behind grade level in at least one academic subject, compared to 36% at the start of a typical pre-pandemic school year. By the end of the 2021-22 school year, however, the percentage of students behind in at least one academic subject returned to 36% — marking a 14 percentage-point reduction, said NCES Commissioner Peggy Carr. U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement the data points to ”significant progress” made by students during the 2021-22 school year. 
Build Strong Decoders | The Science of Reading in Practice

Research tells us how children best learn to read, but what does this actually look like in classroom practice? In a new webinar Dr. Julia B. Lindsey, an expert in early literacy development, curriculum, and instruction, and author of Reading Above the Fray, will share teacher-approved “essential instructional swaps” backed by the science of reading that educators can implement right away to help students become proficient readers. Dr. Lindsey will demonstrate these efficient and effective decoding routines that can be implemented in 15 minutes or less!

Register for the webinar here

Penalties for violating rights of the disabled don’t apply to public schools, state Supreme Court rules
California businesses that discriminate against a customer can be sued for penalties of at least $4,000 and damages of as much as three times the harm they inflicted. But the same penalties do not apply to public schools that violate their students’ rights, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday in the case of a disabled student from Contra Costa County. The 1959 California law, the Unruh Act, applies to civil rights violations by “business establishments.” And “public schools, as governmental entities engaged in the provision of a free and public education, are not ‘business establishments’ within the meaning of the act,” Justice Joshua Groban wrote in the 7-0 decision. Students can still sue schools under other discrimination laws. But those laws, unlike the Unruh Act, provide only actual damages for economic loss and emotional distress, with no punitive damages for extreme violations, and do not require schools to pay attorneys’ fees of students whose rights they violated. The court said the Legislature could amend the Unruh Act to cover schools and other government agencies. But for now, the ruling is “a demolition of civil rights,” said Micha Star Liberty, a lawyer for the disabled student and his family. “It’s not just students. The opinion applies to all governmental entities” unless they are expressly covered by laws allowing suits for additional damages, Liberty said. “Trans children, religion, race, political affiliation, pregnancy rights ... all categories that we in California hold dear and want to protect against bias.” Particularly for the disabled, “these cases are difficult to litigate and expensive, meaning victims will find their access to justice limited without the enhanced remedies and attorney fees provided for by the Unruh Act,” said Charles Dell’Ario, another attorney for the student and his family.
Oakland schools security officers clashes with protesters
Oakland USD security guards forcefully removed people who had been occupying Parker Elementary School on Thursday evening. The physical struggle occurred at one of the 11 schools that the district voted to permanently close or merge this year for financial reasons. Since June, a group of families has been occupying the Parker school and running an unsanctioned summer program there as part of a protest against the school closure. According to OUSD spokesman John Sasaki, OUSD staff changed locks on the school on Thursday after they found that “all the people who had been inside the building had left the premises.” However, someone “picked, cut, or otherwise broke through a lock to get back inside the building,” Sasaki said. He said the occupiers had been “removed” and officials were “doing what we can to keep several others from entering the building.” But eventually, at least two dozen occupiers were back inside the school by Thursday evening and OUSD security left the campus. Protesters said they will continue to occupy the building even after school starts on Monday.
Malibu's Webster Elementary School appoints interim principal
Webster Elementary School will welcome Michael Smith as interim principal until the position is permanently filled, officials announced Thursday. Smith has worked in education for nearly 50 years, according to Santa Monica-Malibu USD
K-12 groups back racial diversity as SCOTUS schedules affirmative action arguments
In a pair of U.S. Supreme Court cases about college admissions, several K-12 groups this week filed briefs supporting the consideration of race in elementary and secondary education contexts as well, with one arguing that a ruling against affirmative action would only increase efforts to limit books about and discussions of race in the K-12 classrooms. On Wednesday, the court set October 31st as the argument date for Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College (No. 20-1199) and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina (No. 21-707). Harvard and the University of North Carolina are defending their lower-court victories in challenges brought by the Students for Fair Admissions, a national group led by Edward Blum, a legal strategist who was behind a challenge to affirmative action at the University of Texas at Austin. Among the K-12 groups in support of affirmative action is the National Education Association, which used its brief to discuss recent controversies over teaching about race in the classroom. “Rather than exposing the root causes of racial inequality in schools and equipping our educators and our students to face systemic issues, they promote a whitewashed version of our history and ignore that history’s lasting impact,” the brief says. “The mission of public elementary, secondary, and higher education cannot be fulfilled without affirmative efforts to achieve racially diverse classrooms.” Other groups giving their backing to affirmative action legislation include the American Federation of Teachers, and the Council of the Great City Schools.
Schools battling against teacher shortages
The teacher shortage in America has hit crisis levels and school officials nationwide are scrambling to fill vacant roles ahead of the new school year. The Nevada State Education Association estimated that roughly 3,000 teaching jobs remained unfilled across the state’s 17 school districts as of early August. In a January report, the Illinois Association of Regional School Superintendents found that 88% of school districts statewide were having “problems with teacher shortages,” while 2,040 teacher openings were either empty or filled with a “less than qualified” hire. In the Houston area, the largest five school districts are all reporting that between 200 and 1,000 teaching positions remain open. A new state law in Arizona allows college students to take teaching jobs. A similar law, which took effect in Florida on July 1, offers K-12 teaching jobs to military veterans who served for at least four years. Some rural school districts in Texas meanwhile are switching to four-day weeks this fall due to lack of staff. Carlton Jenkins, superintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District in Wisconsin, says teachers are so scarce that superintendents across the country have even developed a "whisper network" to alert each other when educators move between states.
The perks of transitioning to a four-day school week
Administrators of school districts that have transitioned to a four-day school week say they’ve seen an increase in applicants for vacant educator roles, even from out-of-state teachers. More than 1,600 schools across 24 states had a four-day school week by 2019 and the trend is growing. Tom Rice, superintendent of the Wolsey-Wessington School District in South Dakota, which operates on a four-day school week, says absenteeism and discipline referrals have seen marked improvements. In Brighton, Colorado’s School District 27J, graduation rates — particularly among Latino students — have increased since a four-day school week began in 2018, Superintendent Chris Fiedler says. “It emerged as a real competitive advantage, particularly for rural schools who were having difficulties in attracting talented teachers — or teachers at all,” notes Andrea Phillips, a policy researcher at RAND Corp. who has studied the subject.
Data reveals new trends in enrollment, virtual school and special education
New data collated by Education Week for its statistics pages offer a snapshot of new trends in virtual schooling, enrollment, and special education. There were 691 virtual schools in 2019-20, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, using the most recent data available. By comparison, 21% of public schools offered online courses in 2017-18. Meanwhile, the average enrollment of city and rural schools is inching up. The average number of students in city schools rose from 585 in 2018 to 588 students in 2019, the most recent year available. Rural schools grew from an average of 364 students in 2018 to 368 a year later. Average enrollment in suburban schools, meanwhile, declined, dropping from 656 in 2018 to 654 in 2019. Finally, the percentage of special education students rose in states with the smallest percentage (Hawaii and Texas with 11.3%) and the largest percentage (New York with 20.5%) of these students in 2020-21. Texas previously had the smallest share with 10.8% of students in special education in 2019-20. New York had the largest, with 19.9%.
States invest pandemic relief funds into early education workforce
States are investing federal COVID-19 relief funds to build up the early childhood education workforce through increased compensation, mental health supports, professional development and more, according to an analysis of spending from the National Association of State Boards of Education. As of May, 12% of early childhood education positions — or 117,400 — remained unfilled or were eliminated, according to NASBE. Many early education programs closed temporarily during the pandemic, wreaking havoc on the ability to maintain a stable workforce. Money from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund, however, has provided states an opportunity for a strong recovery, NASBE said. “With substantial federal COVID relief funding, state boards of education have new opportunities to advocate for investment in efforts to address ECE teacher shortages and retention in particular,” said Winona Hao, NASBE’s director of early learning, in a statement.
Daisy Gonzales named interim chancellor of California Community Colleges
Daisy Gonzales has been named the interim chancellor of California’s 116-community college system. Ms. Gonzales, the deputy chancellor of the system, will serve in the role while the system’s Board of Governors conducts a search for a permanent chancellor. Eloy Ortiz Oakley vacated the position last week after serving in the role since 2016. Ms. Gonzales previously filled in as acting chancellor last year while Mr. Oakley took a sabbatical to work in the Biden administration. Her term as interim chancellor will last up to 12 months while the board conducts its search. “California’s 116 colleges are the entryway to higher education for the majority of Californians. I am grateful and humbled by the Board of Governors’ support and confidence to continue to serve our students,” Ms. Gonzales said in a statement Thursday.

Education Slice delivers the latest, most relevant and useful intelligence to key educators, administrators, decision makers and teaching influencers, each weekday morning..

Content is selected to an exacting brief from hundreds of influential media sources and summarised by experienced journalists into an easy-to-read digest email. Education Slice enhances the performance and decision-making capabilities of individuals and teams by delivering the relevant news, innovations and knowledge in a cost-effective way.

If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities within Education Slice, please get in touch via email sales team

This e-mail has been sent to [[EMAIL_TO]]

Click here to unsubscribe