The protests now enveloping our nation are, in one sense, long overdue. The recent police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade are not isolated incidents: Every year in the United States, more than 1,000 civilians are killed by police, and Black people are disproportionately harmed. These murders and the lack of justice that has routinely accompanied them are, in turn, part of a pattern of institutionalized racism that limits the opportunities of African Americans and other people of color in every aspect of society: employment, housing, health care, and, yes, education.

What Anti-racist Teachers Do Differently

In an article that appeared in “The Atlantic,” Pirette McKamey illustrated the many ways anti-racist teachers make black students central to the success of their own teaching. “This is a paradigm shift: Instead of only asking black students who are not doing well in class to start identifying with school, we also ask teachers whose black students are not doing well in their classes to start identifying with those students,” said McKamey.

AACTE Joins Educating All Learners Alliance

Learners of all ages are being impacted by COVID-19 through school closures, the transition to online learning, and the shortage of teachers and faculty across the nation. AACTE continues its long tradition of addressing the educator career continuum and supporting PK-12 learners in America’s public schools by joining the Educating All Learners Alliance (EALA), an alliance dedicated to equity for complex learners. EALA is specifically designed to help ensure the continuity of special education services during remote instruction and to spotlight best practice approaches for schools and educators. It represents a dynamic alliance of non-partisan groups deeply committed to the success of students with disabilities.

Gov. Pritzker Announces Guidelines for Illinois Education Institutions to Safely Return to In-Person Instruction as State Advances to Phase 4 of Restore Illinois Plan

Governor JB Pritzker announced guidelines that will allow K-12 schools, community colleges, and higher education institutions to safely resume in person instruction for the upcoming academic year. To help schools meet these guidelines and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will provide public K-12 districts in Illinois with 2.5 million cloth face masks, allowing K-12 schools to provide a cloth face mask to all students and staff.

The governor was joined by Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Director Dr. Carmen Ayala, Illinois Association of School Boards Executive Director Tom Bertrand, Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) Executive Director Ginger Ostro and Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) Executive Director Dr. Brian Durham for today’s announcement. This guidance follows the release of industry-specific guidelines for Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan.

COVID-19 Update: State Policy Responses and Other Executive Actions to the Coronavirus in Public Schools

Education Commission of the States tracks education legislation across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Because of the influx of legislation addressing the COVID-19 pandemic impacts on education, Education Commission of the States now tracks the topic in both its 2020 State Education Policy Watch List and State Education Policy Tracking tool.

50-State Comparison: 529 Education Savings Plans

529 education savings plans — tax-advantaged accounts that are designed to help families save for educational expenses — are authorized by the federal tax code but administered at the state level. Therefore, state policy is a key factor in how these plans function. State participation is nearly universal; 49 states and the District of Columbia each offer at least one 529 plan. Most states have established policies on 529 plans regarding (state) tax-free growth, state income tax deductions, matching state funds, account limits and penalties for unqualified expenses. A 2017 change in the federal tax code redefined eligible expenses for these plans at the federal level, resulting in an uptick of state legislative activity around these programs.

How States and Districts Support Evidence Use in School Improvement

The Every Student Succeeds Act encourages educators to use school improvement strategies backed by rigorous research. This snapshot, based on national surveys administered in 2018, describes what guidance states provided on improvement strategies and how districts selected such strategies in lowest-performing schools. Most states pointed districts and schools to evidence on improvement strategies, but few required schools to choose from a list of approved strategies. In turn, most districts reported that evidence of effectiveness was “very important” when choosing improvement strategies, but the evidence districts relied on probably varies in quality.