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K-12 education resources

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

Schools Are Now Required to Teach Mental-Health Lessons in Two States. And That’s a First.  Students returning to schools in Virginia and New York this fall will be required to participate in mental-health education as part of their health and physical education courses.

Florida Told Its Low-Scoring Schools to Make Their Days Longer. It Helped, New Research Finds  Over the course of one school year, students’ test scores jumped by the equivalent of one to three months of extra learning. Another way to look at it: The most optimistic estimate is that the program closed about a third of the gap in the reading scores between the best schools in Florida and average schools. (Chalkbeat)

Why School Spending Is So Unequal  Looking at how spending varies across individual districts, Governing calculated per pupil current spending for all school districts in the nation with 100 students or more, using data from the Census Bureau’s 2016 Annual Survey of School System Finances. (Governing)

A promising alternative to subsidized lunch receipt as a measure of student poverty  A central component of federal education law for more than 15 years is that states must report student achievement for every school both overall and for subgroups of students, including those from economically disadvantaged families. Several states are leading the way in developing and using innovative methods for identifying disadvantaged students, and other states would do well to follow them.  Until recently, low-income students have almost always been identified as those eligible for the federal free or reduced-price lunch (FRL) program.  But FRL eligibility is quickly becoming useless for both research and policy.

Many Students Don’t Feel Career-Ready  Over half of students with a career goal say they have never received advice on how to achieve that goal. What are states doing to address it?

School Districts Tackle Your Migrant Shelters  When San Benito, Texas, school leaders learned of an influx of children to a migrant shelter in their small town near the U.S.-Mexico border, they felt obliged to help. The superintendent reached out and agreed to send 19 bilingual teachers, mobile classrooms and hundreds of computers to make the learning environment resemble one of his schools. While a government contractor bears responsibility for educating children at the highly guarded center, local officials say they stepped up partly because of a law that calls on school systems to educate any child, anywhere within their district.

Schools Add Laundromats to Battle Student Absenteeism  At schools around the country, officials are tackling student absenteeism by focusing on a non-educational problem: a lack of access to laundry facilities. (CBS News)

From NCLB to ESSA: Moving Toward Student-Centered Assessments  One of the main shifts from NCLB to ESSA is an effort to provide states with more decision-making power regarding curriculum, instruction and assessments. (Education Dive)

Cracking the Code: What Can We Learn From Successful State Computer Science Efforts?  Arkansas, Maryland and Washington state all have made strides in expanding computer science offerings. Jennifer Zinth recaps some of their lessons learned, which they shared at a recent Policy Academy at Education Commission of the States.

Facing a ‘Really Big Issue,’ Senators Push for First Federal Survey of the Condition of U.S. Schools Since 1995  Senators added language to the pending Education Department spending bill that would require the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office to study the state of America’s school facilities for the first time since 1995. As Carolyn Phenicie reports, the amendment would require the GAO to study 10 specific areas, including heating and air conditioning, the presence of contaminants like lead and asbestos, and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The bill must still be approved by the House and President Donald Trump.

Educators Hoped ESSA’s ‘5th Indicator’ Would Paint a Clearer Picture of Student Success. But With Some States Now Choosing Up to 11 Different Measures, Experts Worry Results Are a ‘Hodgepodge’  Under the 2015 Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA), states submitted education plans last year to the U.S. Department of Education outlining at least five indicators. These indicators, when weighted and combined, should produce school scores that help states identify their lowest performers for improvement plans and designated federal funds.  The first four were explicitly academic: achievement, growth, graduation rates, and English language proficiency. The fifth indicator, however, was a true blank slate. But what’s getting done, exactly?

With Nearly 8 Million Students Chronically Absent From School Each Year, 36 States Set Out to Tackle the Problem in New Federal Education Plans. Will It Make a Difference?  Every school day, teachers across the country take attendance. And every year, about 16 percent of students miss at least 15 of those days.  So-called “chronic absenteeism” has festered into what the U.S. Department of Education has branded a national crisis . The timing is ripe for a nationwide reckoning on school attendance.

Suspensions Really Do Hurt Students Academically, New Studies Confirm, but Maybe Less Than Previously Thought  Three of four recent studies on the topic provide some of the strongest evidence yet that suspensions do in fact harm students’ academic performance. But they also suggest that the consequences of a suspension, at least as measured by test scores, are less severe than previously thought. (Chalkbeat)

The State of State Standards Post-Common Core  This report evaluates the English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the standards of a subset of states that that have adopted CCSS but with substantive changes and states that never adopted CCSS in the first place. No set of ELA standards received a perfect score, though the Common Core earned a 9 out of 10. Reviewers also rated seven states’ ELA standards “good,” and worthy of implementation with “targeted” revisions: Indiana, Kansas, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. In contrast, five states were deemed to have “weak” standards (Arizona, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas) that should be significantly revised before schools devote more effort to their implementation. Finally, two states, Missouri and Virginia, have “inadequate” ELA standards that should be completely overhauled. As with ELA, no set of math standards received a perfect score. However, both the Common Core and Texas’s standards earned a 9 out of 10. Another three states (Indiana, Tennessee, and Virginia) have math standards that were rated “good,” and worth implementing with “targeted” revisions. In contrast, five states’ math standards were deemed “weak,” meaning they should not be implemented without “significant” revisions: Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Oklahoma. Finally, one state, Pennsylvania, has “inadequate” math standards that need to be completely re-written. (Thomas B. Fordham Institute)

Gates Foundation Dumps ‘Big Idea’ Approach to Build on School Progress in L.A. and Elsewhere  The foundation awarded about $92 million in new grants — to 19 organizations in 13 states — that will reach schools in Los Angeles and across the country. They want to create networks of schools that will work together, with help from experts, to solve problems — and then share strategies and research. A particular goal is keeping students on track year by year, all the way to graduation. (Los Angeles Times)

50-State Comparison: State Policies on School Discipline provides context for school discipline policy discussions by outlining – in an easily accessible format – state laws on suspension, expulsion, alternatives to discipline, reporting requirements and more. Approximately 33 states, plus the District of Columbia, explicitly require some level of reporting on school discipline; and some of those states require suspension and expulsion data to be disaggregated by race, gender and/or disability status.

Comments

Thank you for this very informative update on today's education system and what is happening throughout the country. As an alumni, I am very proud of this resource!

Laura Egan '80

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