Education Week - June 7, 2017 - 1
VOL. 36, NO. 34 * JUNE 7, 2017
AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2017 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 5
BRE AKING NEWS DAILY
HIDDEN INEQUITIES An Education Week Analysis
After a lengthy ride
from her school in
West Memphis, Ark.,
Zion Robinson, 7,
heads to her home
in Hughes, Ark. The
schools in Hughes
were closed at the
end of the 2014-15
school year after
ordered the two
school systems to
Hit Hard When
Arkansas Community Shrinks
After Its Schools Shut Down
By Denisa R. Superville
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Karen Pulfer Focht for Education Week
Researchers and advocacy groups are bracing for an avalanche of new data on mobility
once the Every Student Succeeds Act goes into
effect for the upcoming school year. The federal law requires schools to track and publicly
report the academic performance of military,
foster, and homeless students, groups that all
disproportionately change schools.
Those data could not only start chipping
away at long-standing questions, researchers and advocates theorize, but could also
Seven-year-old Zion Robinson bounded
across the narrow road after the school bus
stopped in front of a house with pink petunias hanging from the porch rafters.
She excitedly held up to her mother her
reward for doing well in class at Faulk Elementary in West Memphis: a white paper
plate she had decorated with red, green,
and blue paint.
Like many school-age children in this
rural town in the Arkansas Delta, Zion
gets on a school bus around 6:30 a.m. for
the ride to school in West Memphis, Ark.,
across the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tenn. Ordinarily, West Memphis is
a half-hour drive from Hughes, but with
frequent school bus stops, the ride can last
nearly 60 minutes. Zion gets off the bus
around 3:30 p.m. In the winter, Hughes
students can both leave home and return
in the dark.
Hughes elementar y and secondar y
schools closed at the end of the 2014-15
school year, when the Arkansas education
department mandated that the district
consolidate with West Memphis because
its average daily attendance had fallen
below 350 students-a threshold set by a
2004 law known as Act 60. It requires districts that enroll fewer than 350 students
Student Mobility Takes Invisible, Uneven Toll
By Daarel Burnette II
Parents and educators have long documented and witnessed firsthand the psychological and academic toll of a child having to
move to a new school midyear.
But how students, families, and schools rebound from the moves is still a sort of black
box for researchers. Because data on these
hard-to-track students have been so hard to
come by, researchers and advocates in the
past have been stumped answering some very
Flurry of Bills Seeks
To Protect Student
By Madeline Will
When 17-year-old Robbie Maher stood in
front of the Vermont House judiciary committee this spring to make his case for studentpress freedoms, he credited his high school
journalism adviser for his ability to report on
issues that matter.
"It all starts at the top with the Mercury
[student newspaper] adviser, Peter Riegelman," said Robbie, a student at Bellows
Free Academy in St. Albans, Vt. "Mr. Riegelman ... learned the ins and outs, do's and
don'ts, of journalism. As our adviser, he has
passed this knowledge down to each and
every BFA journalism student."
The bill Robbie was testifying for grants
free-speech and free-press protections for
student journalists at public K-12 schools and
basic questions about student mobility: What
exactly is it about moving to a different school
that's most damaging, and how can schools
best support mobile students?
"Mobility is a very big deal, but it's a poorly
studied field, and there are still lots of important questions out there," said Amy Ellen
Schwartz, a professor of economics and education at Syracuse University who has studied
the topic. "If you want to design a policy to
solve the problem, you have to know the nature of the problem."
state colleges and universities. It also protects
media advisers from being dismissed, suspended, reassigned, or otherwise disciplined
for protecting their students' journalism. The
bill is among more than a dozen such efforts
across the country seeking to expand freepress protections to both student journalists
and their teachers-and meeting with varying degrees of success.
The Vermont measure was signed into law
last month by Republican Gov. Phil Scott.
But the day before, 2,600 miles away, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, also a Republican, vetoed an equivalent bill. In his response to the
state legislature, Ducey wrote that while he
supports free speech and a free press, he worries that "this bill could create unintended
consequences, especially on high school campuses where adult supervision and mentoring
is most important."
The New Voices movement, led by the
Washington-based nonprofit Student Press
Law Center, started with a law passed in
North Dakota in 2015. Last year, such laws
were victorious in Illinois and Maryland
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Private School Vouchers Offer Few
Safeguards Against Discrimination
Concerns Over How a Federal Program Would Protect Students
By Arianna Prothero
& Andrew Ujifusa
How far can private schools that take
taxpayer-funded vouchers go in selecting
students without running afoul of civil
rights and antidiscrimination laws?
The answer is complicated-and less
than reassuring to those concerned about
the rights of students of color, LGBT students, and children with disabilities.
And it's a question supercharged now
by the Trump administration's strong advocacy for expanding school choice and
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos'
opaque stance on the issue, especially in recent testimony before members of Congress.
This tension took center stage in a recent
congressional hearing on Trump's proposed education budget-which includes
$250 million in competitive grants to fund
vouchers, and to study their effects-as
Democrats pushed DeVos to say whether
she would prohibit federally funded vouchers from going to private schools that don't
admit certain groups of students.
DeVos did not name an instance of discrimination that would rule out a private
school from participating. But she did
stress that her agency would investigate
any alleged civil rights violations in schools.
Federal anti-discrimination, laws include protections for race, color, and national origin under Title VI, for those with
disabilities under provisions of the AmeriPAGE 19 >