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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

Do Vouchers Give Kids Better Educations? Ohio Test Results Are Mixed

The school voucher programs that some federal and state officials want to expand have mixed test results in Ohio that make it unclear how much more students learn than if they had stayed in their local public schools. Ohio’s voucher programs, which give families grants to help pay tuition at private schools, have a low bar to clear to look successful. But the private schools receiving voucher dollars have mixed results, even when compared to these “failing” public schools.

Latest News

Why Charter Operators Exiting Tennessee’s Turnaround District Can Walk Away

When two charter school operators announced plans to leave Tennessee’s turnaround district this spring, many people were surprised that they could break their 10-year agreements. Across the nation, there’s nothing to stop charter operators from leaving, even when they promise to be there for a long time. And by design, that’s not unusual in the charter sector. For better or worse, operators are given that autonomy.

Latest News

North Carolina School System Pulls Book About a Boy in a Dress

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools system in North Carolina was going to use a book about a boy who likes to wear dresses as part of a first-grade lesson on what to do when someone is bullied.

But school administrators this week pulled the book, “Jacob’s New Dress,” after critics complained about its content.

The book came under fire from the North Carolina Values Coalition, a conservative group that promotes “pro-family positions,” according to its website.

Latest News

Boston Public Schools Remove Eurocentric Maps

When the Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator created his projection of the world in 1569, his aim was to develop a guide for marine navigation along colonial trade routes. As a result, areas far from the equator appear dramatically large, while areas closer to the equator are truer to size. This makes Europe and North America seem bigger than South America and Africa—possibly stoking people’s unconscious biases. In reality, South America is about twice as large as Europe.

Latest News

Colleges to Parents: Step Back and Let Your Children Lead Application Process

A new survey of college admission officers delivers a bracing suggestion to helicopter parents: Take a big step back and let your children be in charge of the application process.

If there are offended gasps ricocheting through the tony lanes of America, there are also waves of applause from educators who’ve seen the ugly side of “parent involvement” during college application season.

Latest News

DeVos’ Challenge: Tuning Her Message as New Education Secretary

Few, if any, education secretaries have gotten off to as rocky a start as Betsy DeVos, who took the helm of the U.S. Department of Education last month with opponents ready to pounce.

There was her contentious confirmation hearing, with its much-mocked comment about guns in schools to defend against grizzly bears. Protesters temporarily blocked her first visit to a public school, and a series of perceived gaffes in interviews and speeches drew online outrage and scolding editorials—as well as some off-base criticism.

Latest News

Placement Rates, Other Data Colleges Provide Consumers Are Often Alternative Facts

When prospective students want to know how much money they’ll make if they major in a particular field at Montgomery College, it goes to great lengths to give them an answer.

The Maryland community college used a private company to painstakingly cross-check 22,000 graduates’ names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and other identifying information against professional licensing records from state agencies, online career sites such as LinkedIn and CareerBuilder, and other sources to get as close as it could to a true idea of future earnings.

Member Stories

March 16 – 23
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Chad Livengood of Crain’s Detroit Business provides updates on the escalating efforts from the Motor City’s public school district to block the state’s School Reform Office from closing 16 schools that have been deemed failing for at least three years.


 

For the CTPostLinda Conner Lambeck takes a look at who is left out of a new school funding proposal that Stamford Mayor David Martin calls ”woefully inadequate.”


 

Latest News

Is Your School Worth One Star or Five? D.C. Officials Approve New Rating System

Parents will be able to compare all D.C. public schools, regular and charter, under a newly approved rating system that assigns each school in the nation’s capital one to five stars based on test scores, attendance and other measures.

But some skeptics say the rating formula is weighted too heavily on standardized test results and not enough on other criteria such as parent involvement or how safe students feel in school.

Latest News

Howard University Campus To Open At Google’s Headquarters

Silicon Valley’s leading tech companies have long been stumped over how to diversify. Despite efforts to recruit and retain black and Latino engineers, the numbers haven’t budged much, if at all.

Google is trying a new tack. The company announced Thursday it is creating a college campus at its Mountain View headquarters that’s geared toward students at historically black colleges and universities.

Latest News

Jefferson County Selects Charter School Company

In a decision Education Commissioner Pam Stewart called “historic,” the Jefferson County school board voted unanimously Tuesday to accept the application of Somerset Academy, Inc. to operate local schools and become the first charter school district in Florida.

According to Somerset’s website, the Miramar-based company operates 50 schools with 17,597 students in Florida, Nevada and Texas.

Latest News

State to Investigate Graduation Rates for Alternative Charter Schools

Florida Board of Education members said Wednesday morning they support the state’s review of graduation rates at alternative schools like an Orange County school that a national news story described as a dumping ground for struggling students.

A ProPublica story last month reported that alternative schools like Sunshine High School near Orlando are “release valves,” taking in students unlikely to graduate on time to improve the traditional high schools’ graduation rate.

Key Coverage

Struggles of New East Baltimore School Show Challenges of Integration

On the day that the Henderson-Hopkins school opened its doors to let children in, Crystal Jordan marveled at its light-filled rooms, curving stairs and interior play areas.

She couldn’t believe her family’s good fortune. In a city with so many struggling schools, her fifth-grade daughter was entering a new public school backed by some of the city’s most powerful institutions, and driven by a vision in which students of all socioeconomic backgrounds would learn together, and be held to high standards.

Latest News

School Choice Fight in Iowa May Preview the One Facing Trump

When she was shopping for a school for her daughter Alma, Mary Kakayo found a lot to like in St. Theresa Catholic, including its Catholic social justice theme, student prayer and hour of religious instruction every day.

“Morally, my child knows how to respect others,” said Ms. Kakayo, whose daughter is now in the fourth grade. “She knows when to listen, and when to talk and bring in her ideas.”

Latest News

A Statewide School Reform Gains Fans and Concerns While Letting Students Learn at Their Own Pace

Troy Paradee loves going to school. He loves “the excitement about all the things I’m getting to learn.” Jocelyn Foran can’t wait to get to her classroom either: “We are learning so much more and it’s so much more fun and creative.”

Paradee and Foran are among the surprise beneficiaries of a statewide effort in Vermont to “personalize” learning: They are teachers who say that their jobs have become far more rewarding by giving students greater freedom to choose what to learn both in and out of school.

Latest News

A Statewide School Reform Gains Fans and Concerns While Letting Students Learn at Their Own Pace

Troy Paradee loves going to school. He loves “the excitement about all the things I’m getting to learn.” Jocelyn Foran can’t wait to get to her classroom either: “We are learning so much more and it’s so much more fun and creative.”

Paradee and Foran are among the surprise beneficiaries of a statewide effort in Vermont to “personalize” learning: They are teachers who say that their jobs have become far more rewarding by giving students greater freedom to choose what to learn both in and out of school.

Latest News

Nevada Pushes Forward With Education Plan Despite Rollback of Federal Regulations

Nevada is pushing forward with a new road map for student achievement, despite the rollback of federal regulations.

The U.S. Senate recently approved a bill to repeal the Every Student Succeeds Act accountability rules issued by the Obama administration. That was followed by new guidelines on ESSA issued by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Neither really affects the state’s plan, dubbed the “New Nevada Plan” by the state Education Department.

Latest News

Georgia System for Special-Needs Students Fails to Provide Equal Education

There are children with diagnoses including ADHD, bipolar disorder, and, increasingly, autism. They are often placed in separate classrooms within public schools and spend large numbers of hours on computers using technology that is not aligned with their specific needs. Georgia has had an entirely separate and separately funded program for children with emotional and behavioral disorders for five decades.

Latest News

CUNY to Revamp Remedial Programs, Hoping to Lift Graduation Rates

Twenty-thousand new students arrived at public community colleges in New York City last fall only to be told they were not ready for college-level work. Instead, they were placed in remedial classes to complete the preparation they were supposed to have received in high school. But for a significant portion of these students, remedial courses will not put them any closer to a degree. 

Latest News

Bridging the Divide

People of every race and class live in southwestern Baltimore County. But many have moved into neighborhoods — and sent their children to schools — with people who look like them. To the south of U.S. 40 are the predominantly white communities that feed Hillcrest, Catonsville, Westchester and Westowne elementary schools. To the north are the largely black communities that feed Edmondson Heights and Johnnycake elementaries.

Latest News

Why District Layoffs Hit Poor Schools the Hardest

This week San Diego Unified sent out layoff notices to roughly 1,500 employees, and it’s all but certain those layoffs are going to hurt the poorest schools worst.

Neither San Diego Unified nor the San Diego Educators Association, the local teachers union, would send me a list showing which schools have the most teachers facing layoffs. (San Diego Unified’s spokeswoman said they wouldn’t provide it. Teachers union president Lindsay Burningham didn’t respond.)

Latest News

Student Loan Defaults Hit a New Record In 2016

The number of defaulted federal student loans hit a new high in 2016: about 8 million borrowers have given up paying on more than $137 billion in education debts.

That means at least one out of every six people who have any federal student debt haven’t made a payment on their loans for at least nine months, says Jessica Thompson, research director for The Institute for College Access and Success.

In fact, 1.1 million student borrowers defaulted for the first time in 2016, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Education on Friday.

Latest News

Student Loan Defaults Hit a New Record In 2016

The number of defaulted federal student loans hit a new high in 2016: about 8 million borrowers have given up paying on more than $137 billion in education debts.

That means at least one out of every six people who have any federal student debt haven’t made a payment on their loans for at least nine months, says Jessica Thompson, research director for The Institute for College Access and Success.

In fact, 1.1 million student borrowers defaulted for the first time in 2016, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Education on Friday.

Latest News

60 Years Ago, Resistance to Integration In Texas Led to School Voucher Plan

The Texas Senate Education Committee plans to discuss a bill next week that would allow parents to use taxpayer dollars to send their kids to private schools. The school voucher program is cited as a way to give students — especially low-income students — access to high-quality schools.

This isn’t the first time lawmakers have tried to pass a school voucher bill; lawmakers have introduced some kind of modern-day voucher program for at least 20 years.

But vouchers have a history in Texas that dates back to school integration. And it’s not pretty.

Latest News

Where School Choice Isn’t an Option, Rural Public Schools Worry They’ll Be Left Behind

The small parking lot outside of Schenck High School was crammed with cars, all there for the basketball game, the town’s featured event that night. The cold winter air whipped around white mounds of snow lining the town’s few residential streets and past the school to the vast blackness of Interstate 95.

Latest News

Trump Budget Would Make Massive Cuts to Ed. Dept., But Boost School Choice

President Donald Trump’s first budget seeks to slash the Education Department’s roughly $68 billion budget by $9 billion, or 13 percent in the coming fiscal year, whacking popular programs that help districts offer after-school programs, and hire and train teachers.

At the same time, it seeks a historic $1.4 billlon federal investment in school choice, including new money for private school vouchers and charter schools, as well as directing $1 billion to follow students to the school of their choice. 

Latest News

How Can Community Colleges Get More Students to Graduate?

When Jerry O’Neal went to school a couple of decades ago, career services was something you went to as you were getting ready to graduate and didn’t have a job lined up.

That’s not true for his daughter, Lisa O’Neal, who is in her first year at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. She’s starting her academic career thinking about career services and what she wants to do when it she gets out.

Latest News

Ohio State Shields Access to Records Others Deem Public

Officials from the state’s flagship public university routinely talk about a commitment to transparency, yet Ohio State University has a track record of interpreting the state public-records laws in ways that shield some vital information from public scrutiny.

Records explaining how the university spends or invests public money, protects students from criminals on campus, prescribes painkillers to athletes and evaluates the job performance of its president are a few examples of documents that OSU has deemed private, a Dispatch analysis has found.

Latest News

How Districts Are Joining the Fight to Close a Troubling Training Gap Among America’s School Leaders

In the months after 9/11, news exploded about patriotic Americans who rushed to join the armed forces to serve their country.

But that fateful day in 2001 inspired other kinds of patriots as well, civilians who decided to serve the country in less obvious ways.

Christina Grant, for instance, then a recent college graduate, left her cushy, high-paying job at a New York City law firm to become a teacher.

“I had this huge crisis of conscience,” she said. “I realized I couldn’t spend my life just making rich people richer.”

Latest News

Why Placing Students in Difficult High School Classes May Increase College Enrollment

To make sure students persist in college is a deeper task than the usual work of helping them make application deadlines and submit financial aid paperwork. Spokane’s educators have latched onto an idea that at first might seem counterintuitive: They believe they can get more students to go to college and stay there by making high school harder.

Latest News

Nearly 4 in 10 Universities Report Drops in International Student Applications

Nearly 40 percent of U.S. colleges are seeing declines in applications from international students, and international student recruitment professionals report “a great deal of concern” from students and their families about visas and perceptions of a less welcoming climate in the U.S., according to a survey conducted in February by six higher education groups.

Latest News

Trump Education Dept. Releases New ESSA Guidelines

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Monday released a new application for states to use in developing their accountability plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act. The new template is shorter and includes fewer requirements than an earlier application released by the Obama administration in November. The biggest difference seems to be on the requirements for outreach to various groups of educators and advocates. 

Latest News

Shutdown of IRS Data Tool Affects Income-driven Repayment, Creates Further Discrepancies

After federal officials announced last week that the Internal Revenue Service data retrieval tool would be unavailable for “several weeks” because of concerns about security, college access advocates and financial aid administrations said repercussions would be go beyond a more burdensome financial aid application process.

Latest News

The History of the Office for Civil Rights’ Power

Here is a question nobody asked Betsy DeVos at her confirmation hearing to become the eleventh secretary of education: Is the U.S. Department of Education a civil-rights agency?   The last secretary, John King, thinks so. Over 600 education scholars who protested the nomination of DeVos think so, too.

Latest News

Why One School Lives as Another Dies in the Same Building

In New York City, two schools teach children from poor families, including large numbers of recent immigrants. Both are in the de Blasio administration’s Renewal program, which has provided nearly $400 million in social services and academic assistance to the city’s most struggling schools. At both, the percentage of children who pass the English and math exams each year is in the single digits or low double digits. But decisive leadership can make or break a school’s turnaround efforts.

Latest News

Transgender Families Press Education Secretary On Rights

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos watched a transgender girl eat apple sauce and draw and listened to another student’s emotional story of feeling marginalized at school, as activists pressed DeVos to make good on her promise to protect all students.

Parents and activists who met with DeVos on Wednesday said they thought she was moved by their stories, but they still left with little hope that she would be a strong advocate for transgender children.

Key Coverage

Opinion: Want to Fix Schools? Go to the Principal’s Office

Virtually every public school in the country has someone in charge who’s called the principal. Yet principals have a strangely low profile in the passionate debates about education. The focus instead falls on just about everything else: curriculum (Common Core and standardized tests), school types (traditional versus charter versus private) and teachers (how to mold and keep good ones, how to get rid of bad ones). You hear far more talk about holding teachers accountable than about principals.

Member Stories

March 2 – 9
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Chad Livengood of Crain’s Detroit Business reports on how Michigan State Superintendent of Schools Brian Whiston offered an 18-month reprieve to 25 persistently low-performing schools in Detroit facing closure if academics do not improve.


 

As standardized tests in Ohio are ready to begin, Shannon Gilchrist of The Columbus Dispatch looks at whether third-graders are too young to have developed the computer skills to take a timed test.