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Filling the Gap Educational Consultants, LLC presents The REWire; The REWire is a monthly email newsletter dedicated to curating Race + Education news, views and research


Betsy DeVos panel rejects Obama-era effort to reduce discrimination in school discipline

The Washington Post

President Trump’s school safety commission will recommend canceling an Obama-era initiative meant to reduce racial disparities in school discipline and will not recommend new gun restrictions, people familiar with the matter said. The commission, formed following the February shooting at a Florida school that left 17 people dead, is expected to sidestep more contentious questions in the debate over school security. The panel’s report, which officials plan to release this month, will consist mostly of ideas for addressing mental health, school security and other issues, these people said.


Lawsuit seeks to halt program designed to increase integration at New York City’s specialized high schools

Inside Higher Ed

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push to integrate the city’s specialized high schools now faces a legal challenge, which could potentially disrupt the current admissions cycle to the elite schools. On Thursday, Asian-American parents and community organizations filed a lawsuit claiming the city’s diversity plans unfairly hurt their children’s chances of getting into a specialized high school, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Thanks, Professor Banks: ‘The Father of Multicultural Education’ is retiring after 50 years at UW

The University of Washington Alumni Magazine

Dr. James A. Banks, the first Black professor hired by the College of Education, will retire in January after teaching at the UW for half a century. Known worldwide for his pioneering scholarship in the field of multicultural education, he paved the way for generations of faculty and shaped the minds of countless K-12 teachers.

Using the Higher Education Act to spur change to K-12 education

Urban Institute

Though the Higher Education Act does not govern K–12 education, it does affect teacher preparation programs. Challenges in teacher preparation can affect students’ ability to leave high school college or career ready. Enrollment in traditional preparation programs has declined as the economy has improved.

Lawsuit seeks to halt program designed to increase integration at New York City’s specialized high schools


Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push to integrate the city’s specialized high schools now faces a legal challenge, which could potentially disrupt the current admissions cycle to the elite schools. On Thursday, Asian-American parents and community organizations filed a lawsuit claiming the city’s diversity plans unfairly hurt their children’s chances of getting into a specialized high school, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Nation's Top Teachers Will Hold 'Teach In' at Child Detention Camp

Education Week

In February, educators will gather outside a massive detention camp for migrant children and stage a 24-hour "teach in." The upcoming protest at the Tornillo, Texas detention camp is organized by Mandy Manning, the 2018 National Teacher of the Year, who teaches newly arrived refugee and immigrant students in Washington state. When she met President Donald Trump at the White House in a May ceremony, Manning gave him a stack of letters from her immigrant students. (She also wore buttons supporting women's rights, LGBTQ rights, and other political causes in a silent rebuke.)

Statement from Former U.S. Education Secretaries John B. King Jr. and Arne Duncan on Trump Administration Recommended Rollback of Discipline Guidance

Education Trust

“Once again, the Trump administration turns its back on our most vulnerable and underserved students. Today’s recommendation to roll back guidance that would protect students from unfair, systemic school discipline practices is beyond disheartening. It is also shameful that this administration has chosen to ignore students, educators, families, and advocates who have repeatedly asked to keep this guidance in place."

Butler County school board votes to phase out 'stereotyping' Native American mascot

Cincinnati Enquirer

A Butler County school district that has spent more than a decade debating a controversial Native American mascot will alter its name. The Talawanda Board of Education voted 3-2 Monday night to change the district's mascot name from "Braves" to "Brave" and phase out its associated imagery.

‘I Feel Invisible’: Native Students Languish in Public Schools

The New York Times

The faint scars on Ruth Fourstar’s arms testify to a difficult life on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation: the physical and emotional abuse at home, the bullying at school, the self-harm that sent her rotating through mental health facilities and plunged her to a remedial program from the honor roll. A diploma from Wolf Point High School could be a ticket out of this isolated prairie town in eastern Montana. Instead, Ms. Fourstar, 17, sees her school as a dead end.

Louisiana School Made Headlines for Sending Black Kids to Elite Colleges. Here’s the Reality.

The NY Times

T.M. Landry has become a viral Cinderella story, a small school run by Michael Landry, a teacher and former salesman, and his wife, Ms. Landry, a nurse, whose predominantly black, working-class students have escaped the rural South for the nation’s most elite colleges. A video of a 16-year-old student opening his Harvard acceptance letter last year has been viewed more than eight million times. Other Landry students went on to Yale, Brown, Princeton, Stanford, Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell and Wesleyan.

Reverse-Transfer Policies May Particularly Help Underrepresented Groups

Diverse Issues in Higher Education

While facing logistical challenges, reverse credit transfer is becoming a more common practice nationwide as a way of getting an associate’s degree or certificate for students who had gone on to take courses in a baccalaureate program that could be applied to retroactively award them a community college credential. As states, educators, policymakers and philanthropists seek to expand the concept to increase rates of degree completion, minorities, first-generation students and adult learners could benefit most because they are most likely to have some college but no degree, according to experts.

Report: US fails in funding obligation to Native Americans

Associated Press

A new report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights finds that funding levels for Native American tribes are woefully inadequate despite the federal government’s responsibility to provide for education, public safety, health care and other services under treaties, laws and other acts. The report made public Thursday is a follow-up to a 2003 report that described the shortfalls as a quiet crisis. Funding has remained mostly flat since then, leaving tribes unable to tackle an epidemic of suicide, high dropout rates, violence against women and climate change, for example, the report said.

Margaret Spellings Says ‘It’s Not Too Late’ for UNC to Take a Stand on Silent Sam

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Last week, at Spellings's final UNC Board of Governors meeting, the board rejected a proposal for what should be done with Silent Sam, the Confederate monument that activists on the Chapel Hill campus tore down in August. The plan would have created a $5.3-million center at the institution to house the statue, but many students and professors rallied against it, saying Silent Sam doesn't belong on the campus. One key issue is a state law that protects "objects of remembrance" on public land, requiring the statue to be returned to Chapel Hill.

As suburban districts diversify, black students navigate a mix of prejudice and good intentions

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

"Leah Stewart, a 12th-grader at Greece Olympia High School, is part of an uncomfortable sort of club at school. She calls it "the five smart black girls." Earning admission was an exhausting ordeal, and yet she doesn't enjoy being a member very much at all. It began in eighth grade, when Stewart first had to push back against a counselor who wouldn't enroll her in an advanced course. She's had the same experience more recently in the high school, even with a track record of academic success. ""I tried to take AP physics, and my counselor pretty much laughed at me,"" Stewart said. ""He was pretty much just like, 'Oh you have a lot on your plate.' He wouldn’t sign off on it for like a really long time."

Wisconsin district unveils plan after Nazi salute photo

Associated Press

Wisconsin school district officials have unveiled a plan that they hope will instill more empathy and understanding in students after a photo recently surfaced showing several dozen high schoolers giving what appears to be a Nazi salute. In a letter to parents Tuesday, the Baraboo School District listed 13 ”educational steps ” it will take in response to the photo, which was taken last spring and was roundly condemned when it was posted on social media.

When Hiring Teachers, District Leaders Prioritize 'Cultural Fit.' That Can Be a Problem

Education Week

When hiring teachers, district leaders prioritize "cultural fit" above all else, including training and experience. But most are unable to measure what exactly that means. That's according to a new study from the Frontline Research and Learning Institute, which asked 594 school and district hiring managers from across the United States to describe their hiring preferences. Slightly more than half of the respondents were involved in recruiting and hiring decisions at the school level (like principals) and the rest served at the district level, mostly in human resources. Most of the respondents were from urban and suburban school districts. (The institute is a division of Frontline Education, which is a K-12 software company.)

Segregated Classrooms in Segregated Neighborhoods: New Report Argues That Efforts to Integrate Schools Must Also Address Our Divided Cities

The 74

Springfield, Illinois, is like a lot of places in America: Its neighborhoods are highly segregated by race, with minority residents predominantly clustered downtown and most whites residing along the city’s outskirts. Something interesting is happening, however, in Springfield’s schools. While schools in most cities are slightly more segregated than their neighborhoods on average, the opposite is true in Springfield. The difference comes down to the way the city drew its school attendance boundaries, according to a new report by the Urban Institute, a left-leaning think tank. Rather than follow the city’s segregated housing patterns, Springfield purposely set out to create more diverse schools.

Julian Carr’s name will be removed from Duke University building

News & Observer

Duke University trustees decided Saturday to remove the name of Julian Carr, a noted white supremacist, from one of its classroom buildings, a decision that President Vincent E. Price hopes will be “a positive step towards the realization of Duke University’s goals and aspirations.” The trustees’ decision to rename the building that bore Carr’s name since 1930 comes after a recommendation from Price and a university committee, according to a statement from the university.

We failed': Education reform architect Paul Reville calls for action to close achievement gap


Paul Reville, one of the architects of the 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act, issued a clarion call Thursday for a new era of educational reform, saying that despite the state's high national ranking for student achievement, it has failed minority and low-income students. Twenty-five years after the education reform bill's enactment, Reville said, persistent disparities continue between black, Latino and low-income students compared with white, suburban students.

GOP state lawmaker introduces bill that would block teachers from discussing 'controversial' issues

The Hill

An Arizona state lawmaker recently introduced a bill that would bar teachers from introducing "controversial issues" or engaging in any “political, ideological or religious” advocacy in their classroom. State Rep. Mark Finchem (R) introduced House Bill 2002 in the Arizona State Legislature earlier this month, according to The Arizona Daily Star. The newspaper notes that if the bill were to pass, teachers could potentially lose their jobs for engaging in political or ideological discussions with their students.


Report: NY's black students suspended far more than whites, others


Black students on Long Island are about five times more likely than whites to be suspended from their public schools, according to a report released Sunday by a coalition of education, civil rights and business groups that finds similar racial disparities across the state.

Special Issue: School-to-Prison Pipeline

Taboo: Journal of Education and Culture

This special issue of Taboo was occasioned by several widely publicized, gut wrenching incidents of physical violence unleashed against Black K-12 students that were video recorded and circulated on social media. In Columbia, South Carolina, a young Black girl was physical assaulted by a brutish and overzealous police officer (aka school resource officer or SRO) in her high school classroom, ostensibly for not responding expeditiously to a directive to leave the classroom. This young girl was aggressively grabbed and yanked from her chair, and violently slammed to the floor in front of her classmates before being detained and arrested.

I Want to Read About Me: Engaging and Empowering Gifted Black Girls Using Multicultural Literature and Bibliotherapy

Gifted Child Today

It is commonly accepted and expected that gifted students enjoy reading and other forms of creative modes of storytelling. A core principle from bibliotherapy is that students engage in reading when they identify with one or more characters, and challenges and interests like their own. The same principle applies to multicultural literature—when students of color see themselves mirrored in the book, they become more eager to read. This column focuses on the vital need for educators to use multicultural literature with gifted Black girls. Strategies and resources are provided for educators’ expansion of their pedagogical toolkit.

The debate over students with disabilities, suspensions and race

The Hechinger Report

A look at raw numbers of who is most likely to be suspended from school indicates that black students and students with disabilities* are at the top of the list. For example, 23 percent of black students and 18 percent of students with disabilities were suspended from high school during 2011-12 school year, compared with fewer than 7 percent of white students overall. Combine the categories of black and disability with gender and the statistics are even more troubling.



In the middle of these difficult conversations, people always ask for the resource that will help them understand how to apply it into the classroom. Without fail, people bring up Beverly Daniel Tatum’s Why Are All The Black Kids …, Glenn Singleton’s Courageous Conversations …, and Lisa Delpit’s Other People’s Children. There are a few others. Some of the books do a solid job of charting some activities that can be integrated into simple or complex conversations. Some books are written by people of color with racial dynamics in mind, but don’t actually address race. Others still have equity and any other social justice buzzword integrated into the text, but still speak on race as if they were observing galaxies from a telescope.


What Do Teachers Really Think About School Discipline Reform?

Education Writers Association

In a recent poll by Education Next, a journal of opinion and research on education policy, just 29 percent of teachers said they support federal policies that prevent schools from expelling or suspending black and Hispanic students at higher rates than other students. Even fewer, 26 percent, support such policies when they come from the school district.

The Power of Leaders of Color

Culturally Responsive Leadership

Much has been written about the power of 1a student having one teacher of color. What about the power of leaders of color? How does it affect a school community? People of color have greatly influenced culturally responsive leadership. Though the costs are high for our leaders of color, the benefits are bountiful! Recently, I was sitting in a hotel ballroom full of African American school leaders, thinking about our collective power. I was at the 2018 California African American Administrators and Superintendents Association (CAAASA) Conference. In the room, I felt a wave of empowerment, community, and purpose wash over me.

How Classrooms Can Start Talking About Race in Just 6 Words


For many students, school may be the most diverse setting they experience in their entire lives. And former NPR host Michele Norris is working to use that opportunity to get classrooms talking about race, and to share their “experiences, questions, hopes, dreams, laments or observations.” “You lose the opportunity if you don’t find a way to talk to each other,” she said in an interview this week. And she argues that these classroom conversations can have long-term impacts, even if no one’s mind is changed in the moment. “I’m not talking about finding common ground,” she added. “You might leave the conversation more offended than you came in.”

Out-of-School Enrichment Is Critical to Student Success. We Must Close the Access Gap for Black and Latino Kids

The 74

We hear a lot about the achievement gap, but people don’t usually talk about the access gap. If they do, they mean access to high-quality schools. But schools aren’t the only thing that students need access to in order to reach their goals. Access to enrichment matters, too. A new analysis by researchers from the University of Washington eScience Institute, in partnership with CRPE and ReSchool Colorado, shows a recurring trend that students who are black or Hispanic, and those who come from households with lower incomes or less-educated parents, tend to have less access to out-of-school opportunities that might affect their learning.

Addressing the ‘gifted gap’: Three strategies

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute

As an educational community, we are constantly analyzing our strengths and weaknesses to determine how well we are meeting the needs of all students. Often, we measure our performance in terms of ‘growth’ and ‘gaps’. Gifted education equity advocates, school personnel, and policymakers are always on the alert for new information addressing gaps in performance and opportunities for students who are typically underserved in gifted programs. We are often discouraged when new studies or reports indicate that we are not progressing and making positive change occur for students as rapidly as we should.

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