Education Week - June 13, 2018 - 4
NEWS IN BRIEF
Washington High Court Ends Prolonged
School Funding Dispute With Legislature
Dirk Shadd/The Tampa Bay Times via AP
Washington's supreme court last week put an end
to more than a decade of legal wrangling over how
much the state should spend on public schools, finding that the legislature has complied with its 2012
ruling that the state must provide an adequate education to students.
Over the years, the state added millions more dollars to its education budget by expanding all-day
kindergarten, reducing class sizes, and paying for
classroom supplies. But it had not, as the court required, been able to boost teacher salaries.
The court said repeatedly that the state was not
acting fast enough, and ramped up penalties on the
state, including a $100,000 fine on the legislature
for every day it was in session and did not come up
with what they deemed to be a satisfactory spending plan and a warning that it would hold the state
in contempt and potentially shut down the schools.
In response, Washington's legislature this year
changed its tax structure to speed up the time frame
for teachers to get raises.
-DAAREL BURNETTE II
Chicago Schools Failed to Report Cases
Of Sexual Abuse, Investigation Reveals
Chicago public school officials failed to protect
hundreds of students who were sexually abused by
school employees, a newspaper investigation finds.
The Chicago Tribune says its probe revealed teachers and principals often failed to alert child-welfare
investigators or police when students disclosed
abuse despite the state's mandated reporting law.
Some employees failed to immediately notify authorities when allegations were made. Others conducted investigations of their own before informing
experts. In cases where employees did act on allegations, students often endured additional psychological pain through repeated interrogations.
The district acknowledges its current practices are
flawed, but said officials are working to implement a
series of policy changes.
N.C. Law Allows Majority-White Towns
To Operate Their Own Charter Schools
North Carolina municipalities now have the authority to apply for and operate charter schools following
final approval last week by the state legislature.
The measure gives the option to four Charlotte-area
communities whose officials sought it, citing complaints about overcrowded public schools in their areas
Assantia Green, left,
looks on as teacher
Felicia Byrd helps
Tzyonia Brown, center,
and Naomi Bryant
during a math class
at Summer Bridge
at Maximo Elementary
School in St. Petersburg,
Fla., last week. The
Pinellas County schools
program is designed to
help students stay sharp
over the summer in
reading, math, and
other core subjects.
Nationwide, 28 percent of pre-K-12 teachers missed more than 10 school days
during the 2015-16 school year, according to an analysis of federal data by the
Education Week Research Center. The Civil Rights Data Collection counts days
taken for sick or personal leave when defining teacher absences, but does not
include professional development, field trips, or other off-campus activities.
SOURCE: Education Week,
Civil Rights Data Collection
4 | EDUCATION WEEK | June 13, 2018 | www.edweek.org
N.Y.C. Mayor Offers Plan to Diversify
City's Elite Specialized High Schools
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he will
push to diversify the city's elite specialized high
schools by setting aside seats for low-income students who just missed the test-score cutoff.
De Blasio announced on the education website
Chalkbeat that starting in fall 2019, 20 percent of the
seats at the high schools will be set aside. State legislative approval is required.
About 10 percent of the students in the specialty
schools are black or Hispanic, although black and
Hispanic students make up two-thirds of the city's
public school population.
TEACHER ABSENTEEISM IN THE STATES
and the lack of new school construction. The bill isn't
subject to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto.
Critics have threatened a legal challenge. They
argue the measure sets a precedent for other majority-white towns to seek the same authority, leading to
the exacerbation of racial segregation in schools. -AP
Stoneman Douglas Drama Teacher
Who Hid Students to Receive Tony
Melody Herzfeld, a drama teacher at Marjory
Stoneman Douglas High School, was slated to receive a Tony Award this week for excellence in theater education.
The recognition comes after a gunman terrorized the Parkland, Fla., school on Feb. 14, killing 17
students and staff members. Herzfeld hid 65 of her
students in her office for two hours.
The Excellence in Theatre Education Award
goes yearly to a theater teacher who "has demonstrated monumental impact on the lives of students and who embodies the highest standards of
the profession," according to a statement by the
Herzfeld, who has taught at Stoneman Douglas
for 15 years, has produced more than 50 shows and
led her students to win many Cappies, national recognition for high school theater and performing arts.
"Voices From the Classroom: A Survey of
Teachers who do not belong to their unions
see value in the organizations but still say they
would opt out of paying mandatory fees if given
the choice, finds a new survey.
Eighty-five percent of all teachers said that
unions are essential or important-among
union members, that number jumped to 94
percent, and 74 percent of nonunion members
said the same. A similar majority of all teachers said that without collective bargaining, the
working conditions and salaries of teachers
would be much worse-and 78 percent of nonunion members agreed with that statement.
Still, nearly 60 percent of nonunion members
who live in states that require teachers to pay
"agency fees" even if they don't belong to the
union said they would opt out of paying those
fees if they could.
The survey was based on a nationally representative sample of 1,000 teachers by Educators 4 Excellence, an advocacy group for
teachers that has often clashed with teachers'
"Reducing Student Absenteeism in the Early
Grades by Targeting Parental Beliefs"
Challenging parent misconceptions about
absenteeism can significantly boost student
attendance, says a new study in the American
Educational Research Journal.
In a randomized field trial, researchers sent
brief mailings to nearly 11,000 families of K-5
students in 10 urban, suburban, and rural
school districts that had student-attendance
rates in the bottom 60 percent nationwide.
The mailings highlighted key ideas about absenteeism that parents often misunderstood;
including, for example, that early absences can