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Latest Education News

A collection of the most recent education journalism, curated by EWA staff. 

A collection of the most recent education journalism, curated by EWA staff. 

Latest News

With State Budget in Crisis, Many Oklahoma Schools Hold Classes Four Days a Week

NEWCASTLE, Okla. — A deepening budget crisis here has forced schools across the Sooner State to make painful decisions. Class sizes have ballooned, art and foreign-language programs have shrunk or disappeared, and with no money for new textbooks, children go without. Perhaps the most significant consequence: Students in scores of districts are now going to school just four days a week.

Latest News

One D.C. School Lost More Than a Quarter of Its Teaching Staff This Year

Nearly 200 teachers have quit their jobs in D.C. Public Schools since the school year began, forcing principals to scramble to cover their classes with substitutes and depriving many students of quality instruction in critical subjects.

The vacancies hit hardest in schools that already face numerous academic challenges, according to data The Washington Post obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Latest News

Betsy DeVos Refuses to Rule Out Giving Funds to Schools That Discriminate

Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, on Wednesday fiercely defended budget plans to spend $1.4 billion on the Trump administration’s expanded school choice agenda, but refused to say whether her office would withhold funds from private schools that discriminate against students.

In her first testimony to Congress since a bruising confirmation hearing in January, Ms. DeVos appeared unflappable as she told members of a House Appropriations subcommittee that the budget sought to empower states and parents to make decisions about students’ educations.

Latest News

Trump’s First 100 Days: How Does He Stack Up to Obama, Bush on K-12?

Have you been waiting for President Donald Trump to work with the Republican-controlled Congress and get rolling on a big K-12 education initiative? If so, you might be getting a little bit antsy. But is that unusual during the first 100 days or so of a presidential administration?

Here’s a quick sketch of some of the bigger things the Trump administration has gotten done so far on public school policy after nearly 100 days in office.

Member Stories

May 19 – 25
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Jennifer Pignolet of the Commercial Appeal checks on the closure of an AmeriCorps program called City Year in Memphis, which is wrapping up a pilot year at Brownsville and Westside Achievement Middle, a state-run school in Frayser. 

 
 

Latest News

Top Education Department Official Resigns

The head of the Education Department’s student financial aid office has resigned after more than seven years on the job following an apparent dispute with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over his scheduled testimony before the House Oversight Committee.

Latest News

Devos Won’t Say Whether She’d Withhold Federal Funds from Private Schools that Discriminate

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos refused to say Wednesday whether she would block private schools that discriminate against LGBT students from receiving federal dollars, explaining that she believes states should have the flexibility to design voucher programs and that parents should be able to choose schools that best fit their children’s needs.

DeVos returned frequently to the theme of what she called a need for a return to more local control in her first public appearance before Congress since her rocky confirmation hearing in January.

Latest News

Black Parents Use Civil War-era Law to Challenge Mississippi’s ‘Inequitable’ Schools

The Southern Poverty Law Center is using a novel legal argument in an attempt to address what it describes as gross inequities between public schools serving majority-white and majority-black populations in Mississippi.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday, the organization alleges that poor academic outcomes for black students in Mississippi are a direct result of the state’s failure to live up to the terms of its readmission to the Union following the Civil War.

Latest News

Devos Promises ‘The Most Ambitious Expansion of Education Choice In Our Nation’s History’ — But Offers No Details

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos promised Monday evening that President Trump would propose “the most ambitious expansion of education choice in our nation’s history,” but she offered no details about the administration’s plans.

Speaking in Indianapolis before a friendly audience of school voucher proponents, she instead laid out a moral case to dramatically transform American education — and improve young people’s prospects — by expanding school choice.

Latest News

U.S. High Schools May Be Over-Relying On Online Credit Recovery to Boost Their Graduation Rates.

Florida’s superintendents had a graduation problem.

Nearly a decade ago, state officials decreed that starting in 2009 graduation data would factor into the letter grades assigned to individual schools.  The stakes were high: Consecutive failing marks meant that the state could mandate major changes, like replacing the school’s principal; significant improvement, or an A grade, translated into extra cash for perks like teacher bonuses and athletic equipment.

Latest News

Low-Income Students Excluded From NC Advanced Classes

In elementary school, bright children from low-income families are much more likely to be excluded from the more challenging, enriched classes than their peers from families with higher incomes, the analysis shows. The unequal treatment during the six years ending in 2015 resulted in 9,000 low-income children in North Carolina being counted out of classes that could have opened a new academic world. This occurs in school districts across the state, in rural and urban areas.

Latest News

Bringing the Dream of an Elite College to Rural Students

Most low-income students rely on their parents for college advice, and many of them end up going to colleges that are less rigorous than they can handle, the research shows. Some organizations places recent graduates in public high schools for two-year stints as full-time college advisers, where they make up for a widespread scarcity of college counselors and bring their own recent experience to bear on the college application process.

Latest News

Do Charter Schools Serve Special Needs Kids? The Jury is Out

The Trump administration has been promoting school choice, saying it can also benefit special needs students. But charter schools, funded with public money, often are criticized for keeping out students with disabilities because they may be more expensive to educate and because they tend to have lower academic results. A 2012 federal study, the most recent data available, said students with disabilities accounted for 11 percent of those in traditional public schools and 8 percent in charter schools, although figures vary greatly across states and cities.

Latest News

What Good Is New Summer Pell Money if Students Can’t Use It?

The semester is winding down and summer is coming, but don’t get too excited about that recently passed summer Pell budget – it looks like it won’t become a reality for most students until summer of 2018.

Educators cheered a budget extension passed by Congress last month, which restored “year-round” Pell. The change is huge for low-income students, who can now get summer college courses covered by the needs-based federal financial aid program. That can make it more likely that they’ll graduate.

Latest News

Mark Dayton Vetoes Teacher Licensing Overhaul Bill

A long-anticipated overhaul of how Minnesota licenses teachers was thrown into doubt Thursday when Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the legislation and asked lawmakers to improve their proposal.

In a letter explaining his veto, Dayton echoed criticisms of the legislation that fellow Democrats and teachers union leaders said were fatal flaws. The move came as a shock to Republicans who argued the bill was a bipartisan improvement to the often-criticized current system.

Latest News

Questions About Equity Persist As a Proposed Boost in Bright Futures Aims to Help Top Grads

Sometimes, as Kareem Elgendi stared down a tough SAT question, a tendril of anxiety wound its way into his head.

If I don’t get the score I need, will I be able to pay for college?

He had lugged home SAT books his sophomore year at Blake High School, already practicing, hoping to win Florida’s Bright Futures scholarship.

Member Stories

May 12 – 18
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Eva-Marie Ayala of The Dallas Morning News reports on a bill passed in the Texas Senate that would expand the state cap on virtual charter schools, widening their reach despite evidence that such schools have faltered in Texas and elsewhere.

 
 

The Oklahoman’s Ben Felder examines the decisions made by districts planning to slash funds as the state Legislature remains at an impasse when it comes to filling a nearly $1 billion budget hole. 

Latest News

College Board, Zuckerberg in Deal to Boost College Access

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), the charity created by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, to give away their billions, is about to cut loose with an undisclosed amount of cash to get millions more students into college.

On Tuesday it announces a two-year partnership with The College Board to expand access to “unique, personalized learning pathways” that will help millions of students prepare for key college gateway tasks — tests like the PSAT, SAT and Advanced Placement courses — that will help lay out a clearer path to college.

Latest News

Secret Report Shows ‘Special’ Treatment for Public Officials in D.C. School Lottery

Former D.C. Public Schools chancellor Kaya Henderson routinely helped well-connected parents — including two senior aides to Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) — bend or break the rules of the District’s notoriously competitive school lottery to enroll their children at coveted schools, according to a confidential report obtained by The Washington Post.

Latest News

Trump’s First Full Education Budget: Deep Cuts to Public School Programs in Pursuit of School Choice

Funding for college work-study programs would be cut in half, public-service loan forgiveness would end and hundreds of millions of dollars that public schools could use for mental health, advanced coursework and other services would vanish under a Trump administration plan to cut $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives, according to budget documents obtained by The Washington Post.

Latest News

Epic Changes Could Come to L.A. Schools After Charter School Movement’s Big Win

Supporters of charter schools appeared to win control of the Los Angeles school board Tuesday, a watershed moment with huge implications for how students are taught in America’s second-largest school district.

The charter school movement has long been a major force in Los Angeles school circles. But the victory Tuesday night by pro-charter forces — who dramatically outspent rivals in what was the most expensive election in school board history — gives them the opportunity to reshape the district.

Latest News

New Charter Schools Debate: Are They Widening Racial Divides in Public Education?

As the charter school movement accelerates across the country, a critical question remains unanswered — whether the creation of charters is accelerating school segregation. Federal judges who oversee desegregation plans in Louisiana are wrestling with that issue at a time when President Trump wants to spend billions of dollars on charter schools, vouchers and other “school choice” initiatives.

Latest News

Can Gallaudet Football Change Identity Politics?

A 99-acre leafy island in Washington, D.C.’s revitalizing Northeast quadrant, Gallaudet University is currently the world’s only university for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Initially founded in 1857 as a school for deaf and blind children, the school had its collegiate charter signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1864.

Latest News

Free Tuition? Tennessee Could Tutor New York

In Tennessee, where members of the state’s first cohort of scholarship recipients graduate this spring, community college enrollment numbers are up by a third, while the amount that students are having to borrow from the federal government is down, though it is unclear what effect the money is having on on-time graduation, a key goal of the New York plan. And at least some of the state’s four-year colleges have faced declining enrollment, as more students use community college as a steppingstone to a four-year degree.

Latest News

Why Isn’t There Enough Money to Educate Kids in Low-Income New Jersey Towns?

The issue for Freehold Borough — and an estimated two-thirds of New Jersey’s 586 school districts — is the state’s nine-year-old formula for paying for public schools. Adopted by the state legislature in 2008, it calculates how much each district needs to spend to ensure that students receive New Jersey’s promise of a “thorough and efficient” education,” regardless of income. The formula directs extra dollars to districts with children who are learning English, kids with disabilities and those living in poverty.

Latest News

How Google Took Over the Classroom

Chicago Public Schools, the third-largest school district in the United States, with about 381,000 students, is at the forefront of a profound shift in American education: the Googlification of the classroom.

Latest News

With School Vouchers, Who Benefits And Who’s Left Behind? Indiana’s Program Offers Lessons

Wendy Robinson wants to make one thing very clear.

As the long-serving superintendent of Fort Wayne public schools, Indiana’s largest district, she is not afraid of competition from private schools.

“We’ve been talking choice in this community and in this school system for almost 40 years,” Robinson says. Her downtown office sits in the shadow of the city’s grand, Civil War-era Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. In Fort Wayne, a parking lot is the only thing that separates the beating heart of Catholic life from the brains of the city’s public schools.

Member Stories

May 5 – 11
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Megan Raposa of The Argus Leader looks at schools that make students wash tables, wear special wristbands or even throw their food away if they’ve racked up debt on school lunches as the schools work to comply with Department of Agriculture requirements for written policy for handling unpaid meals.

 
 

Latest News

Pruning Dead-End Pathways in Career and Technical Ed.

Warren County High School leaders knew they had a problem on their hands. Too many of their graduates were fixing lawnmower engines, a dead-end job in a declining industry, while right down the road, manufacturers were clamoring for workers with sophisticated technology skills to support the area’s booming automotive industry.

Latest News

Is ‘3-K for All’ Good for All? De Blasio’s Preschool Plan Troubles Some

James Matison runs five Brooklyn preschools for low-income children that get most of their money from New York City. But when he heard that Mayor Bill de Blasio was about to announce a plan to offer free preschool to every 3-year-old in the city, his response was not enthusiasm, but concern.

“No one who runs a community-based organization has said, ‘Oh, that’s great news,’” Mr. Matison said of the initiative, which Mr. de Blasio labeled “3-K for All” when he announced it at a news conference in the Bronx last month.

Latest News

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Commencement At Bethune-Cookman University Draws Protests

Fifty thousand signatures on protest petitions. Calls on the president of the university to resign. People on Twitter saying they’re mailing back their degrees. It’s probably not what the leadership of Bethune-Cookman University was expecting when they announced their speaker for today’s commencement ceremony.

But Education Secretary Betsy DeVos seems to bring a unique level of controversy almost everywhere she goes. And that’s especially true when it comes to historically black colleges like Bethune-Cookman.

Latest News

Advocates Say AHCA Threatens Key Special Education Funding

An unexpected constituency is nervously tracking the progress of the American Health Care Act, the GOP’s proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare – schools.

The AHCA, which narrowly cleared the U.S. House last week, would dramatically restructure Medicaid from a program that reimburses – at least in part – whatever eligible expenses providers bill for to a per-capita capped program. The GOP bill would give the program $840 billion less over 10 years to spend.

Latest News

Santa Fe Rejects Soda Tax That Would Support Pre-K

Voters in Santa Fe, N.M., have rejected a 2-cents-per-ounce tax on distributors of sodas and other sugary beverages which, if passed, would have helped support prekindergarten within Santa Fe Public Schools. The proposed tax was estimated to have been one of the nation’s highest of its kind, projected to generate about $7.7 million in its first year, in preparation for use starting in the summer of 2018.

Latest News

In Its Response to Sex Abuse Allegation, Sidwell Friends Joins Other Private Schools In Pursuing Transparency

Officials at Sidwell Friends School were quick to respond when they received a call recently that a long-time music teacher had been accused of sexually abusing a former student at another school two decades earlier.

Within a week, they had obtained a police report, confronted the teacher, met with attorneys and drafted a public statement that included an admission that an administrator who had offered Michael Henderson the job had known “boundaries had been crossed” in his previous job but hired him anyway.

Latest News

Wealthy Families Can Spurn Integration With School Choice

President Donald Trump and his education secretary, Betsy DeVos, have a simple plan to make education great again: Give parents more choice. Trump released a budget outline in March that’s intended to expand the number of charter schools, pay for some students to attend private schools, and redirect federal funds to follow students to the public schools they select. But even if Congress goes along with Trump’s plan, privileged parents will still have the most school options—a fact that isn’t great for poor families.

Latest News

College Board Releases Data on Khan Tutoring

The College Board on Monday released an analysis of the impact of free SAT tutoring offered by the Khan Academy as part of a College Board initiative to provide low-income test takers with test prep. A long-standing criticism of the SAT is that wealthy students can afford expensive test prep but others cannot. The study found that studying for the SAT for 20 hours through Khan Academy is associated with an average score gain of 115 points, nearly double the gain for students who don’t use the Khan Academy.

Latest News

The Broken Promises of Choice in New York City Schools

Under a system created during Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s administration, eighth graders can apply anywhere in the city, in theory unshackling themselves from failing, segregated neighborhood schools. Students select up to 12 schools and get matched to one by a special algorithm. This process was part of a package of Bloomberg-era reforms intended to improve education in the city and diminish entrenched inequities.

But school choice has not delivered on a central promise: to give every student a real chance to attend a good school.

Latest News

The Quiet Wave of School District Secessions

When a judge ruled last week that the predominantly white Alabama city of Gardendale can secede from the majority black Jefferson County to form its own school district, the decision paved the way for the eighth such secession of wealthier and whiter municipalities in the state since 2000.

The judge’s ruling, which acknowledged that “race was a motivating factor” behind the effort despite its backers insistence they simply wanted more local control, garnered national attention because of a standing desegregation order the county has been under since 1965.

Latest News

The Broken Promises of Choice in New York City Schools

Under a system created during Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s administration, eighth graders can apply anywhere in the city, in theory unshackling them from failing, segregated neighborhood schools. Students select up to 12 schools and get matched to one by a special algorithm. This process was part of a package of Bloomberg-era reforms intended to improve education in the city and diminish entrenched inequities.

Latest News

Black Teacher Applicants Face Discrimination in a Wealthy School District, Study Finds

Black applicants for Fairfax County teaching positions in a recent school year were far less likely than white candidates to get job offers even though they had on average more advanced degrees and classroom experience, according to a new study that school officials say explores the district’s hiring record.

Member Stories

April 28 – May 4
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Nine school districts in Michigan have signed a deal to delay potential state-ordered closures of 37 chronically low-performing schools. Chad Livengood‏ of Crain’s Business Detroit dives into the details.