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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

Prisoners Free Their Minds in Georgetown University Class Behind Bars

Locked up since he was a teenager, Roy Middleton basked in a moment of renewal one recent evening at a chapel in the D.C. Correctional Treatment Facility. He was about to be released after spending more than half his life behind bars for a murder in the nation’s capital. His fellow inmates, who were also his classmates, clapped and cheered. “Freedom!” someone yelled.

By happenstance, Middleton’s celebration was twofold.

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Fugees Academy Expands At Time Of Growing Hostility To Newcomers

Mariam was on a roll. A bubbly sixth grader in a bright pink hijab, she sat in a semi-circle with her four classmates, trying to identify as many words with a long “a” vowel sound as she could. “Rake,” she said. “Rake — perfect,” Sharon George, her teacher, said encouragingly. “So, take your yellow marker and highlight the ‘a’ in rake.” 

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The Year in Education

There was no shortage of news about American education in 2019. Presidential candidates debated school segregation, college costs and charter schools. Federal courts considered the future of college admissions and sentenced wealthy parents to prison for cheating on behalf of their children. Here are five of the biggest education stories of the year — and a look ahead to the issues that will drive 2020.

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5 Education Issues to Watch in 2020

In the fall of 2020, the majority of public school districts across the state of Minnesota will ask voters to choose among newcomers and incumbents seeking a seat on their local school boards.

That list includes the state’s third largest school district — Minneapolis Public Schools — where three district seats and one at-large seat will be on the ballot.

Member Stories

#tellEWA Member Stories (Dec. 20 – 26)
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Children of veterans facing financial peril after Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits are canceled, reports Stephanie Zimmermann for Chicago Sun Times

For the San Antonio Express News, Krista Torralva reports on the limited pre-K access for families that don’t qualify for the city’s public program, but can’t afford private preschool.

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2020 Will Bring Many Education Challenges to North Carolina and Wake County

The new year is likely to bring many education challenges for North Carolina and for Wake County — the largest school district in the state.

Issues will take place against the backdrop of the 2020 fall elections. In addition to casting ballots for president and Congress, voters will choose a North Carolina governor, General Assembly members and local school board and county commission seats.

Read the full story here. 

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New SNAP Rule Impacts College Students by Limiting Benefits and Adding Confusion

Some low-income college students are among the 688,000 food stamp recipients projected to lose benefits as a result of a Trump administration rule announced Dec. 4. While the rule explicitly targets “able-bodied adults without dependents,” it also limits food assistance for a share of college students at a time when campuses across the country are grappling with how to respond to food insecurity.

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How Washington State Schools Are Addressing Impeachment

Three years ago, after the 2016 presidential election, Daniela Cortez Cornelio said she felt nervous and uninformed. She hadn’t learned all that much about civics yet,  so she struggled to reflect on national politics.

This week was different. By the time the U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump on Wednesday, the 16-year-old said she’d already learned about the three branches of government, participated in a mock debate about merits of the impeachment process and watched many video clips of congressional hearings.

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Spending Bill Would Let 529 Savings Go Toward Student Loans

Student loan borrowers may soon be able to pay down their debt using money from 529 savings accounts.

President Trump is expected to sign a spending bill that includes this provision Friday. The amendment would let those with 529 spending plans use the money toward expenses related to registered apprenticeship programs as well as qualified education loan repayments.

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Washington U. Is No Longer America’s Least Economically Diverse College. Is That Good Enough?

For two years, The New York Times browbeat Washington University in St. Louis about the institution’s dearth of students from low-income families.

Students at Vassar College were three times as likely to receive Pell Grants than students at WashU, the Times first reported in 2013. A year later, it compiled a College Access Index, which ranked WashU the least economically diverse of all top colleges, with only 6 percent of its students Pell-eligible.

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Can Changing School Funding Formulas Help The Most Vulnerable Students?

In a neighborhood dotted with tidy brick row homes, Bayard Middle School rises like a drab brick fortress, virtually windowless. A chain-link fence frames an American flag on the roof above the concrete entrance. The nearly 50-year-old school spans three city blocks on South DuPont Street, a thoroughfare named for one of the most celebrated and wealthy families of this tiny state.

The children at the school are almost entirely black and poor. Many of them, like Taheem, are scarred by violence and loss.

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Judge Pares Down Arizona Tribal Students’ Suit Vs US Agency

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A federal judge has pared down a lawsuit that accuses the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education of failing to adequately provide for students on a small Arizona reservation.

Only one of the six claims remain after a ruling this week by U.S. District Judge Steven Logan in Phoenix.

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What The $1.4 Trillion Budget Deal Has In Store For Education

The $1.4 trillion budget deal approved Thursday by Congress boosts spending on early-childhood education and college access and affordability programs, rejecting deep cuts proposed by the Trump administration.

The agreement to fund the government through September and stave off a shutdown delivers $72.8 billion in discretionary funding for the Education Department, a $1.3 billion increase over 2019. That’s nearly $6 billion more than the administration — which has sought to squeeze money out of the agency — wanted.

Member Stories

#tellEWA Member Stories (Dec. 13 – 19)
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Vermont Public Radio’s Amy Kolb Noyes reports on a new online tool that helps students predict the actual cost of a college education. 

For Idaho Education News’ Reading Challenge Series, Kevin Richert reports on five schools that have seen significant improvements in reading scores.

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Teenagers, Email And College Application Season

Email is not the default for most teenagers, but it remains the primary avenue for colleges to communicate with prospective and current students. That can mean aggravation for college-bound teens and their families at the time of year when schools send critical admissions and financial aid information mostly via email.

While parents are used to being the main conduit of important information about their kids, the college application process marks one of the first times when the communication has to go directly through the teenage applicant.

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Can Science Knock Down Barriers To Reading Proficiency In NC?

A growing coalition of North Carolina leaders wants to reform literacy instruction to align with the science of reading. A movement, which started as whispers when reporting for this story began in March, is growing louder through discussions and action plans shared at the General Assembly, State Board of Education, and the Department of Public Instruction. 

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Where 2020 Democrats Stand on Education

As college costs and student debt have risen, more attention — at least among Democrats — has been focused on increasing federal support for higher education. A few years ago, the conversation centered on lowering interest rates for borrowers, and then on making community college free. But now several candidates aim to make four-year public colleges free for some or all students. Some go further, promising to erase existing debt. The plans are expensive, but draw support particularly from young people struggling to afford college.

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After Equity Officer Calls Austin’s School Closure Plan Racist, How Does The District Move Forward?

When the Austin Independent School District announced it needed to close and consolidate schools back in February, it also posted a job for its first-ever chief equity officer.

But Stephanie Hawley didn’t start in the position until August, when the first draft of the school closure plan was almost complete. And she had been on the job for only three months when the board voted to close four schools.

The role of the chief equity officer is to help AISD leaders make decisions with equity in mind – including decisions on consolidating schools.

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Experiment Would Allow Federal Loans To Be Repaid Through Income-Share Agreements

The U.S. Department of Education is poised to create an experimental program through which a limited number of colleges would take on students’ federal loan debt, with students then repaying the institution for the loan balance, potentially based on their future earnings.

As a result, the experiment would enable federal loans to be paid off through a form of income-share agreement, where students agree to pay a certain percentage of their future income over a set period of time in exchange for funding of their educational program expenses.

Latest News

Fewer Students Mean Big Trouble For Higher Education

This fall, there were nearly 250,000 fewer students enrolled in college than a year ago, according to new numbers out Monday from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which tracks college enrollment by student.

“That’s a lot of students that we’re losing,” says Doug Shapiro, who leads the research center at the Clearinghouse.

Latest News

How School District Boundaries Help Enable Segregation

For decades, debate over school segregation in the United States has focused on how school districts assign their students to individual schools. But it’s the lines that divide school districts from each other that have a much more profound effect in separating students by race, ethnicity and class.

Boundaries between districts enabled white flight from the cities to the suburbs after courts began enforcing desegregation orders. Those district lines also provided an escape route for middle-class black families, leaving city centers with concentrated poverty.

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Teachers Advocate For Public School Funding By Targeting Corporate Welfare

When Hilario Dominguez looks around his school, he sees dilapidated bathrooms, students taking recess in the parking lot, and sick kids going through the day without care because there’s a nurse on staff just one day a week. But, beyond the school’s walls, Dominguez, a case manager and special education teacher at Peter Cooper Elementary Dual Language Academy, sees money flowing.

Latest News

Federal Court Decision Favors Limited Application Of Title IX

An appellate court’s decision could minimize colleges and universities’ responsibility to provide remedies for victims of sexual misconduct on campus.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that Michigan State University and one of its senior administrators cannot be held liable for student victims’ emotional distress after seeing their alleged perpetrators on campus because the interactions did not lead to further sexual harassment or assault, according to an opinion issued Thursday.

Latest News

Accusations Of Shoddy Hiring Practices Dog Texas State University Police

The former police chief at Texas State University and his top deputy were accused of hiring unqualified officers — including one who allegedly “slept with a sexual assault victim” while investigating her case — and presiding over a department marked by favoritism, low morale and high turnover, according to an internal university memo obtained by The Texas Tribune and police department correspondence.

Latest News

Student Loans A Lot Like The Subprime Mortgage Debacle, Watchdog Says

Mike Calhoun is a man on a mission. He’s flying around the country, warning state lawmakers and prosecutors, sounding the alarm at conferences and with members of Congress.

He did the same thing back before the housing market crash, warning then about reckless subprime loans. “We projected over 2 million subprime mortgage foreclosures, and the response was we were ridiculed by the industry,” he says.

Of course, Calhoun was right. In fact, the wave of defaults and foreclosures was even worse and drove the economy into the worst recession in generations.

Latest News

‘I Can Take A Failing Grade,’ But Not Homelessness: The Hard Choices Some Detroit Students Make For College Success

It was a heavy moment during a panel discussion about college success when Myla Smith described the financial challenges that led to some impossible choices.

During her freshman year at Michigan State University, Smith said, the struggles she and other students from low-income backgrounds faced left them working as many hours as they could to bring in cash they needed to live. Financial aid wasn’t enough.

Member Stories

#tellEWA Member Stories (Dec. 6 – Dec. 12)
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

The Courier Journal’s Mandy McLaren reports on Louisville’s $15 billion problem of “disconnected” youth who are not in school and not working. 

On the four year anniversary of ESSA, Andrew Ujifusa, Evie Blad, and Daarel Burnette of Education Week gather the thoughts of K-12 educators and officials.

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Poor-Quality Materials Abound on Lesson-Sharing Websites, Report Says

It’s common for teachers to go looking for lessons and classroom resources online—digital marketplaces like Teachers Pay Teachers or Share My Lesson offer seemingly endless pages of user-created materials that teachers can use to supplement their schools’ curricula, or in some cases, piece together one when none is provided. 

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Fixing the Courses Everyone Loves to Hate

Large introductory courses like this are a staple of the undergraduate experience. They funnel thousands of students each year through biology and economics, math and psychology — serving as gateways to dozens of majors. They are also, as Chapman would agree, hugely challenging to teach. 

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Open Enrollment Has Drained One District. It’s Looking to Dissolve

The list of academic and extracurricular offerings at the Palmyra-Eagle school district in Wisconsin are seemingly endless. Agriculture, woodshop, and metal classes. Eight AP courses. A marching band, theater program, and robotics club. Football and equestrian teams with recent state championships.

The 600-student district is also on the brink of bankruptcy and now wants to dissolve.

Latest News

Lawsuit Claims SAT, ACT Are Illegal In California College Admissions

A lawsuit expected to be filed Tuesday is challenging the University of California system’s use of the SAT or ACT as a requirement for admission. A draft of the document obtained by NPR argues that the tests — long used to measure aptitude for college — are deeply biased and provide no meaningful information about a student’s ability to succeed, and therefore their requirement is unconstitutional.

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Turning Four This Month, the Every Student Succeeds Act Is Hailed as a Victory for State Control of Education Policy. And, Critics Say, That’s Part of the Problem

When the Every Student Succeeds Act became law four years ago, it was hailed as a bipartisan example of reasoned policymaking, successfully threading the needle between protecting students’ civil rights and giving states a greater hand in overseeing schools.

Though the bipartisan sheen has long since worn off, an important, and deceptively simple question remains: Is ESSA working? As with so many large-scale federal policies, the answer, well, depends.

Latest News

Opinion: There Is a Right Way to Teach Reading, and Mississippi Knows It

“Thank God for Mississippi.”

That’s a phrase people would use when national education rankings came out because no matter how poorly your state performed, you could be sure things were worse in Mississippi.

Not anymore. New results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a standardized test given every two years to measure fourth- and eighth-grade achievement in reading and math, show that Mississippi made more progress than any other state.

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New Education Doctorate Focused on Social-Emotional Learning Is One of the First of Its Kind as Experts Call for Better Teacher Training on the Whole Child

Seven years ago, Michael P. Alfano was sitting in his office at Southern Connecticut State University when a faculty member ran into the room in tears. That was how he first learned about the deadly school shooting 20 miles away at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 26 people — including a student in his graduate education program,first-grade teacher Victoria Soto — were killed.

Member Stories

#tellEWA Member Stories (Nov. 29 – Dec. 5)
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

PISA results show improvement in U.S. academic rankings, but scores haven’t improved, reports Linda Lambeck for the Connecticut Post.

For Education Week, Madeline Will examines why many teachers did not learn the science behind reading in teacher preparation programs. 

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What Happened When Schools Used Science To Revamp How Reading Is Taught

Four years ago, when the staff at Danville Primary School found out they were going to learn a new way to teach reading, Mary Levitski thought: Here we go again.

Levitski, who had taught at the central Pennsylvania school district for 25 years, was a good teacher, but she was disappointed that she couldn’t get through to all kids. Every time Danville switched curricula, a new publisher promised that materials would help the outliers, with research-based methods that would unlock the key to literacy.

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Education Secretary Betsy Devos Wants To Spin Off Federal Student Aid Office Into New Agency

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Tuesday the Federal Student Aid office — an arm of the Education Department she called an “untamed beast” in “distress” — should operate as a stand-alone entity.

The proposal follows a series of missteps involving the office that intensified scrutiny of DeVos’s leadership, including the release of $11 million in loans to unaccredited for-profit colleges and the violation of a court order to halt collections on former Corinthian Colleges students.