The following resources focus on the educational climate and betterment of those serving the K–12 educational community.

Suspensions may be major factor in achievement gap: 
The achievement gap between black students and their peers is well documented, but a study of more than 15,000 students in Kentucky says that as much as 20 percent of the difference may be due to a single cause: getting suspended from school. (Learning Lab, Feb. 8).

Center for American Progress’ Education Policy team published “ESEA Reauthorization: Implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act-Toward a Coherent, Aligned Assessment System” in which CAP’s experts outline the changes to testing from ESSA and outline results from interviews about how to make these changes beneficial to students.

Evaluating the Content and Quality of Next Generation Assessments. (Thomas B. Fordham Institute). This report examines previously unreleased items from three multi-state tests (ACT Aspire, PARCC, and Smarter Balanced) and one best-in-class state assessment, Massachusetts’ state exam (MCAS), to answer policymakers’ most pressing questions: Do these tests reflect strong content? Are they rigorous? What are their strengths and areas for improvement?

Governor Bruce Rauner has established the Children’s Cabinet to create a strategic vision for education, health and human services for Illinois’ youth.”The Governor’s Cabinet on Children and Youth is systematically addressing the fragmented system that currently exists in Illinois,” Secretary of Education Beth Purvis said. “Governor Rauner’s new structure will support and integrate the state’s priorities and initiatives more effectively to identify and address any agency collaboration barriers so we can more thoughtfully and aggressively improve the future for our children.” All three executive directors of the state’s higher education agencies, Jim Applegate of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Karen Hunter-Anderson of the Illinois Community College Board, and Eric Zarnikow of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, join the 20 member Cabinet, chaired by the Governor.

New ESSA Webpage:CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers) has added a new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) webpage to house the resources and materials CCSSO is providing to states.

The “With Math I Can” initiative, launched by Amazon Education, encourages parents, students, and teachers to pledge to stop saying, “I’m not good at math,” and approach the subject with a growth mindset. That includes celebrating mistakes as opportunities to grow, feeling confident to share thinking, and perseverance through difficult practice. With a growth mindset, students believe that intelligence can grow.

GreatSchools has launched a new college readiness resource for parents called High School Milestones. This free online collection shows teens demonstrating 13 important communications, academic, and life skills that all high-schoolers need to master, with practical tips that parents can use to help at home., an independent nonprofit that provides free web-based reviews of instructional materials, released reviews on four more K-8 math textbook series. Educators from across the country worked diligently to analyze these materials and provide high-quality evidence that will support classrooms nationwide.

A Call for Education Equality: 
Despite improvements in classroom equity, people of color continue to “see very clearly how educational opportunity can vary from one zip code to another,” writes Leticia Reyes, doctorate candidate at Dallas Baptist University. “For this reason, we must commit ourselves not only to ensuring educational equity for our own children, but for all children including those attending public schools. Together we can help raise the standards for all children in our communities.