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20th November 2023
FCC proposes new cybersecurity pilot
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a three-year pilot program to study how the agency’s Universal Service Fund might better help schools and libraries fight cybersecurity threats. The pilot program, which would cost up to $200m and is separate from the agency’s E-Rate program, was approved by the full commission and builds upon Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel’s Learn Without Limits initiative to ensure access to high-speed broadband connectivity in schools and libraries. The FCC will seek public comment on the proposal upon its publication in the Federal Register, which is expected soon. Once that 30-day period ends, the agency will review the comments, develop program requirements, and vote on whether to proceed with creating the Schools and Libraries Cybersecurity Pilot Program. Rosenworcel initially made the proposal during a July speech at the Legislative Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C., which was co-hosted by the Association of School Business Officials International and AASA, The School Superintendents Association.
California mandates media literacy courses for public school students
Beginning next year, California's public school students will be required to take media literacy courses that will help them identify fake news and distinguish between legitimate news articles and paid advertising. The new instruction, under Assembly Bill 873, will be integrated into the curriculum from kindergarten through high school. The law aims to address the growing reliance of young people on the internet and social media platforms for news and information. Texas, New Jersey, and Delaware have also passed media literacy laws. Assemblymember Marc Berman, the author of the bill, emphasizes the importance of teaching the next generation to be critical consumers of online content and guard against misinformation.
Segregation of low-income students persists in San Diego schools
A new study by UCLA's The Civil Rights Project reveals that racial and income segregation in San Diego schools, including in gentrified areas, has not improved significantly over the past two decades. Despite the potential for gentrification to promote racial and economic integration in under-resourced areas, the study found that diversity in schools has not increased much. The study suggests that gentrifying families may be opting for private schools or district-run choice schools outside their neighborhoods. The percentage of heavily segregated schools, with at least 90% Latino and Black students, remained relatively unchanged from 2000 to 2019. Income segregation also increased, with low-income students attending schools where 72% of students were low-income. Black and Latino students were disproportionately affected by income segregation. While some schools in gentrifying areas have seen demographic shifts, many schools still serve a majority of low-income and minority students. The study highlights the need for further efforts to address segregation in San Diego schools.
Ed. Dept. releases list of institutions under investigation for ancestry violations
The U.S. Department of Education has released a list of K-12 and higher education institutions that are under investigation for alleged shared ancestry violations. This move is part of the Biden administration's efforts to address rising discrimination in schools. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona stated, "We are committed to ensuring that all students have equal opportunities and are treated fairly in our education system." The schools were informed about the investigations within the last 24 hours. They include one K-12 school, the Maize Unified School District in Kansas, and six colleges. The investigation is being presented as a significant step towards addressing the issue of discrimination and promoting inclusivity in schools.
Chino Valley Unified considers banning books
The Chino Valley Unified School Board has voted to create a panel to review and potentially ban books that parents consider inappropriate. However, opponents argue that the policy is too broad and that the concerned books are not even in the district's school libraries. The board may face opposition from state leaders, as Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill in September that allows the state to override school boards censoring books that denigrate LGBTQ+ students and other minority groups. This bill, known as Assembly Bill 1078, empowers parents and others to file a complaint with the state superintendent of public instruction if the removal of a book violates the state FAIR Education Act. The act requires instructional materials to accurately represent the history, viewpoints, and experiences of California's diverse and underrepresented groups, including LGBTQ+ Californians. The superintendent has the authority to order a remedy, such as the purchase of a library book or instructional material.
Using apprenticeships and career experiences to re-engage students
EmployIndy CEO Marie Mackintosh discusses how schools can use apprenticeships and career experiences to re-engage young people for the years ahead. By providing hands-on learning opportunities and real-world experiences, apprenticeships can help students develop valuable skills and discover their passions. Mackintosh emphasizes the importance of partnerships between schools, businesses, and community organizations to create these opportunities. Through apprenticeships, she adds, students can gain practical knowledge, build networks, and explore potential career paths.
Students walk to school to learn about racial equality
The Madera Unified School Culture and Climate Department, in collaboration with middle and high schools Black Student Unions (BSU), organized community Ruby Bridges Walk-to-School events on November 14. The events aimed to educate and inspire students about racial equality, promote tolerance, and create change through education. Students, parents, and community members walked from various elementary schools to their feeder partner schools. The walks were held in honor of Ruby Bridges, the first African-American student to integrate an elementary school in Louisiana on that date in 1960.
Tennessee could reject federal K-12 funding
A legislative task force in Tennessee is exploring the idea of saying no to the hundreds of millions of dollars in education funds it receives each year from Washington under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and other laws. The group of lawmakers is charged with determining whether the state can replace the money it receives from the U.S. Department of Education with state funds so it wouldn’t have to comply with the mandates tied to the federal funds. Such a decision would risk funding streams intended for specific groups of Tennessee students and schools, including Title I funding for schools that serve larger populations of students from low-income families, funding for students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, funding for English-learners, and career-technical education programs. If the panel determines the state has a path forward to reject the funding, Tennessee could become the first state in history to reject money from the Education Department.

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