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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

Featured

NC's teacher diversity gap: 'Where are the black and brown teachers

WRAL.com

WRAL News analyzed data showing the race and gender of nearly 100,000 teachers and 1.4 million students in North Carolina's 115 public school systems. Eleven school districts in the state had no Hispanic teachers last school year, and eight school systems had no black teachers. One district had no teachers of color at all. The lack of teacher diversity was especially noticeable in rural school systems. But even in larger school districts, which have more racial diversity among students, teachers still tended to be predominantly white and female.

News

Civil Rights Groups Launch New Anti-DeVos Campaign

Students Deserve Better

The education arm of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is pushing a new website to coalesce critics of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Deemed "Students Deserve Better," the site includes a video urging visitors to "join us if you think the Secretary of Education deserves a trip to the Principal's office for everything she's done to endanger our kids."

Elected School Board Members Are Most Likely to Be White, Wealthy & Republican, New Study Finds

The 74

So who controls the elected boards? In spite of their importance, we know relatively little about the composition of these most basic entities of school governance. But a new study published in the American Educational Research Association’s open access journal has uncovered a big finding: School board members are disproportionately likely to come from wealthier, whiter, and more educated neighborhoods within districts.

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.

Miscounting Poor Students

US News

The number of poor students enrolled in a particular school or living in a certain school district is one of the most important education data points that exists, and the stakes are high for getting the count right. The figures are used to direct billions of dollars in federal and state aid, and they're a pillar of K-12 accountability systems that ensure disadvantaged students are keeping up with their wealthier peers.

Aiming for Equity: A New Resolution for Statewide Degree Attainment Goals

The Education Trust

It’s a new year — a time for bold resolutions and renewed commitments. January also marks the start of new legislative sessions in D.C. and in state houses across the country, where new and returning policymakers try to make good on campaign promises, including those related to college access and affordability.

Restorative justice isn't working, but that's not what the media is reporting

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Last week, the first randomized control trial study of “restorative justice” in a major urban district, Pittsburgh Public Schools, was published by the RAND Corporation. The results were curiously mixed. Suspensions went down in elementary but not middle schools. Teachers reported improved school safety, professional environment, and classroom management ability. But students disagreed. They thought their teachers’ classroom management deteriorated, and that students in class were less respectful and supportive of each other; at a lower confidence interval, they reported bullying and more instructional time lost to disruption. And although restorative justice is billed as a way to fight the “school-to-prison pipeline,” it had no impact on student arrests.

Students from Low-Income Families and Special Education

The Century Foundation

This past July, the Department of Education under the Trump administration made a controversial move to delay regulations to address disproportionality for students of color in special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).1The original regulations—dubbed the “Equity in IDEA” regulations—required that states use a consistent method for tracking and identifying districts where students of color are disproportionately identified for special education, placed in substantially separate settings, and disciplined at higher rates than their white peers. The Obama administration initially issued these regulations after the Government Accountability Office released a report highlighting considerable variability in states implementation of the provisions in IDEA to address disproportionality. Specifically, the GAO found that, in 2010, twenty-one states did not identify a single district as demonstrating significant disproportionality in special education. This finding raised concerns that these states were failing to effectively implement the disproportionality provisions in IDEA to track and address inequities for students of color.

School Named for Strom Thurmond Provokes Strong Feelings of Pride and Prejudice

Education Week

Hundreds of teenagers—black, white, Latino, and Asian—walk past a portrait of Strom Thurmond each day at the high school that bears his name. By their own accounts, the students don't think much about Thurmond, the former school district superintendent and one of South Carolina's foremost statesmen and segregationists—or the long-ago fight over the school's name that roiled this rural community.

Immigrants learned English in half the time when they were held back in third grade

The Hechinger Report

In a large scale study of 40,000 English language learners in Florida, those who were held back in third grade learned English substantially faster and took more demanding classes in subsequent years. The retained kids became proficient in English in just one year, on average, half the time of their peers who were directly promoted to fourth grade.

‘I Love My Skin!’ Why Black Parents Are Turning to Afrocentric Schools

The New York Times

Though New York City has tried to desegregate its schools in fits and starts since the 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, the school system is now one of the most segregated in the nation. But rather than pushing for integration, some black parents in Bedford-Stuyvesant are choosing an alternative: schools explicitly designed for black children.

Children’s Books: Speaking Plainly About Slavery

The Wall Street Journal

It was once possible for children to grow up aware in only the vaguest way that slavery was woven into the earliest chapters of the American story. That is no longer the case. Decades of scholarship and civil-rights activism, not to mention the creative work of writers and artists, have made the “peculiar institution” part of children’s common understanding.

Affirmative Action Fight Shifts to UNC

Inside Higher Education

For months, public debate about affirmative action in college admissions has focused on a lawsuit against Harvard University charging that the institution discriminates against Asian American applicants. Harvard's policies have been scrutinized not only by a federal judge but by the public, and much of the attention has been critical. Admissions rates and test scores have been analyzed and re-analyzed. While college leaders and higher education associations have backed Harvard, saying that its diversity policies are legal and moral, not everything that emerged in the trial was about diversity. The lawsuit has drawn attention, for example, to the benefit that alumni children (most of them white and well-off) receive in the admissions process. Ditto for athletes (also primarily white). And the Trump administration has been backing the lawsuit, while starting an investigation of similar admissions practices at Yale University.

NY school denies that girls were strip searched

FOX5 News

An upstate New York school district denied Thursday that four 12-year-old girls were subjected to strip searches in their middle school nurse's office, an allegation that brought a throng of community members to a school board meeting to demand answers and disciplinary action against staff members.

It's Not Just That Racial Bullying Jumped in Schools After the 2016 Election. It's Where It Did

Education Week

In 2017, 18 percent more middle school students reported they had been bullied in communities around the state that voted for Republican Donald Trump for president, compared to those communities that had favored Democrat Hillary Clinton. In particular, race-based bullying rates were 9 percent higher in the GOP-favoring localities versus those in Democrat-leaning ones. The researchers also studied the magnitude of the win in each community. For every 10 percentage point increase in voter support for Trump, the researchers found an 8 percent rise in reported bullying and a 5 percent increase in bullying because of a student's race or ethnicity.

The Black Achievement Paradox Nobody's Talking About

Education Week

Moving just once for any student has the potential to derail the student's academic trajectory. And yet black military-connected students, who move on average six to nine times before they graduate high school, consistently perform on the National Assessment of Educational Progress and on state exams not only better than black students from civilian families, who on average rarely transfer schools, but also almost as high as their white civilian- and military-connected peers. That gap has only continued to narrow in recent years.

How to Turn Schools Into Happier Places

The Atlantic

A new study by the Rand Corporation, a nonpartisan think tank, shows just how crucial improving the climate at school can be to helping decrease suspensions. In 2013, Pittsburgh’s public schools were trying to figure out how to remedy racial disparities in discipline. At the time, they had mandatory diversity training for staff that sought to address implicit bias and discrimination in the classroom, but they wanted to do more. Restorative practices, which are nonpunitive ways of responding to conflicts, had been gaining momentum among school leaders as a way to help curb suspensions.

A Duke professor warned Chinese students to speak English

CNN

A Duke University professor who warned Chinese students against communicating in their native language and urged them to speak English instead has stepped down as the head of a master's program and apologized after her emails sparked outrage on campus and on social media.

To Add Black College Students, Recruit Black Schoolteachers

Inside Higher Education

Given the way many colleges struggle to recruit black students, the findings could point to a different approach to, over the long term, increasing black college enrollment, by trying to educate more black students to be teachers. At the same time, the authors note that the challenge for American educators isn't just recruiting more black people into education, but thinking about all of the consequences of such a move

Are NC schools biased against black students? New report points to suspension rates.

News & Observer

The Youth Justice Project of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice on Friday released “racial equity report cards” for the state and for individual school districts showing that black students are more likely to be suspended and referred to the court system than white classmates. The group says the data, when coupled with how black students are on average lagging academically, is a “call-to-action” to address racial inequity in North Carolina.

Racial inequity, rural issues among group's top concerns for North Carolina schools

WRAL.com

The Public School Forum of North Carolina released its annual list of the top 10 education issues Wednesday. Forum President and Executive Director Keith Poston asked state leaders to "remember the value of public education in our society and re-commit our state to traditional public schools, educators and students." He made the announcement during the group's fifth annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast in Raleigh.

Research

Can Restorative Practices Improve School Climate and Curb Suspensions?

RAND Corporation

This study of the implementation of restorative practices in the Pittsburgh Public Schools district (PPS) in school years 2015–16 and 2016–17 represents one of the first randomized controlled trials of the effects of restorative practices on classroom and school climates and suspension rates. The authors examined a specific restorative practices program — the International Institute for Restorative Practices' SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change program — implemented in a selected group of PPS schools under a program called Pursuing Equitable and Restorative Communities, or PERC.

‘It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way.’ Why Some Boys Can Keep Up With Girls in School.

The New York Times

Over all, girls outperform boys in school. It starts as early as kindergarten. By the time students reach college, women graduate at a higher rate than men. But there’s an exception. Asian-American boys match the grades of Asian-American girls in elementary school, a new study has found. For them, the gender achievement gap doesn’t appear until adolescence — at which point they start doing worse as a group than Asian-American girls.

Views

OPINION: Engineering programs still exclude black students — 4 ways to change this

The Hechinger Report

Today's engineering field does not reflect the diversity that we know brings the best outcomes. Black men and women are significantly underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Black men receive under 9 percent of STEM bachelor's degrees, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. Black women receive just 1 percent of engineering degrees. We can only reach our nation's true potential if we train a diverse population of students.

Scholars: Don’t Conflate Pro-Palestine with Anti-Semitism

Diverse Issues in Higher Education

As the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, Kendi’s remarks add to the growing concerns of some academics who note an increasing attack on activists and intellectuals of color who support justice for Palestine. These scholars argue that attempts to conflate pro-Palestinian support as anti-Semitism promote censorship of conversations that link the Israeli treatment of Palestinians to other human rights injustices.

Urban Teachers of Color Pushed Out: Why I Left the Classroom

Teaching Tolerance

As a black teacher from a low-income family in Columbus, Ohio, I had so much in common with my students. They were more likely than not to have experienced the killing of a classmate or family member or have an incarcerated sibling. Like me, they probably would have to navigate applying for college without much assistance from family members. I understood the types of texts my students liked to read and how to engage them in critical conversations. I realized the significance of teaching my students to identify social injustices and to advocate for themselves—because I’ve had to do that myself.



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