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Language, Culture, and Power

 Just News from Center X

Language, Culture, and Power

January 6, 2017

Gabrielle Emanuel, NPR

I was standing by the airport exit, debating whether to get a snack, when a young man with a round face approached me. I focused hard to decipher his words. In a thick accent, he asked me to help him find his suitcase. As we walked to baggage claim, I learned his name: Edward Murinzi. This was his very first plane trip. A refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, he'd just arrived to begin his American life. Beside the luggage carousel at Washington's Reagan Airport, he looked out at the two lanes of traffic and the concrete wall beyond. "So this is America?" he said. From finding his bag to finding his apartment and finding a job, there was a lot for Edward to learn. Later, he acknowledged that while he was standing in the airport looking for his luggage, he felt the magnitude of the task before him. He says questions were zipping around his head: "How will I start? You get scared. How will I manage?"


Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times

For much of each week, UC Berkeley senior Caelle McKaveney studies chemical signaling in spiders, nucleotide coding patterns and other serious science. But Monday evenings were different last semester. She was able to nerd out in a non-textbook way in a class designed by students for fellow students who shared a childhood obsession: Harry Potter. In a class called “UC Hogwarts: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” McKaveney could leave the muggle world of the nation’s top public research university behind and bond with fellow Potter geeks over Hermione’s feminism and the metaphorical links between werewolves and those afflicted with HIV/AIDS. She let loose and channeled her inner Snape during a class skit, allowing her long hair to cover her face and dropping her voice to the deep tones of the brooding master of the dark arts. 


Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post; Zachary Wood, Uncomfortable Learning

When I hear the words “police brutality,” I don’t just picture the footage on the news. I think of the time I saw a police officer slam an elderly man on the pavement and press his boot into the side of his face for asking people to donate money for his medical operation. I recall the time my father told me that on his way home he was cornered by several police officers with their guns aimed, all because he was a black man who resembled the burglar they were looking for. For many minority students like myself, racism is not an abstraction. It is a keenly felt experience. We often see examples of racism in videos of police brutality and connect those examples to personal experiences with police and the microaggressions and bias that happens on campus. Knowing how to deal with all of that as a college student can be difficult, and activism can often come out as indignation.


December 16, 2016

Michael Collier, EdSource

A small group of home-grown school superintendents in California defy the stereotype of a school leader who parachutes into a district, spends three or four years there, and moves on to a new job in another district. One in 4 of the superintendents in the state’s 20 largest districts were at one time students in the same district that they now lead. Some of them – including Los Angeles Unified’s Michelle King, Long Beach Unified’s Chris Steinhauser and San Juan Unified’s Kent Kern – have spent their entire professional careers there. These superintendents bring a deep understanding of their districts that comes only from growing up there and experiencing district schools from the inside. Some of those superintendents say they are likely to stay longer in their positions than the typical school chief, and some education experts say they have a greater chance of effecting change and maintaining district stability.


Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post

Shakespeare takes another hit. At the University of Pennsylvania, the student newspaper reports that a group of students took down a large portrait of William Shakespeare, which had for years been displayed above a staircase in a building housing the English Department. Why? According to the Daily Pennsylvanian

, the students wanted the wall art in the department to represent the world’s diversity of authors, so they replaced Shakespeare on the Heyer Staircase with a photo of Audre Lorde, an African American writer, feminist and civil rights activist.


Brian M. Rosenthal, Houston Chronicle

Refugees, immigrants and other kids who do not speak English are entitled to the same special education services as native speakers. But in this Southeast Texas city, they seldom get them.

Just 39 of the nearly 1,000 English Language Learners here receive services like tutoring, counseling and speech therapy, 70 percent fewer per capita than a decade ago. Many more need help, but usually, teachers say, their pleas are ignored. “It's almost impossible to get my kids into special ed,” said Arlene De Los Santos of Patti Welder Middle School. “They have to have very, very severe needs for the school to even consider it.”


December 9, 2016

Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times

While Chukwuagoziem Uzoegwu was growing up, his mother often would throw what he and his brothers called “educational tantrums.” On those weekends or on random days in the long stretch of summer vacation, the Uzoegwu boys would be barred from TV “from sun up to sunset,” he said. “Leisure time was spent reading. Leisure time was spent writing,” said Uzoegwu, now 17 and a senior at King Drew Medical Magnet High School of Medicine and Science. Uzoegwu attributes his upbringing with his success as a student. He has a GPA above 4.0, is taking six Advanced Placement classes and wants to attend Stanford University. He was one of 201 L.A. County students interviewed for a new UCLA report on the experiences of successful black and Latino teenage boys in Los Angeles. 


Corey Mitchell, Education Week

The majority of English-language learners in U.S. K-12 schools were born in the United States, according to an analysis from the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute. The institute's analysis of U.S. Census data found that 82 percent of prekindergarten to 5th grade English-learners and 65 percent of 6th and 12th

 grade English-learners are U.S.-born. The data included children ages 5 to 17 who live with at least one parent. The decision to rely on that set of numbers may have excluded sizable portions of the nation's K-12 ELL population, namely older English-learner students with interrupted formal education and some undocumented students, including unaccompanied minors separated from parents and other family.


Anya Kamentz, NPR

Brains, brains, brains. One thing we've learned at NPR Ed is that people are fascinated by brain research. And yet it can be hard to point to places where our education system is really making use of the latest neuroscience findings. But there is one happy nexus where research is meeting practice: bilingual education. "In the last 20 years or so, there's been a virtual explosion of research on bilingualism," says Judith Kroll, a professor at the University of California, Riverside. Again and again, researchers have found, "bilingualism is an experience that shapes our brain for a lifetime," in the words of Gigi Luk, an associate professor at Harvard's Graduate School of Education. At the same time, one of the hottest trends in public schooling is what's often called dual-language or two-way immersion programs.


December 2, 2016

Corey Mitchell, Education Week

President Barack Obama won't issue a sweeping pardon to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children because it "wouldn't protect a single soul from deportation," a top White House aide says. Obama ordered the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy in 2012, establishing that hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children could receive a two-year work authorization and protection from deportation. Immigration advocates worry that the policy, commonly known as DACA, could be a target of the Trump administration's plan to crack down on illegal immigration. Since the program was created through executive authority, the incoming president could alter or end DACA, Cecilia Muñoz, assistant to the president and director of the White House's domestic policy council, said in a Center for Migration Studies podcast interview.


Pat Maio, EdSource

Educators are finding that the new “makerspace” movement – a strategy to teach K-12 students science, math and technology through hands-on activities – is providing the added benefit of helping English learners become more proficient in the language. In makerspaces, students gather a few times a week in a separate classroom, library or museum for a group project using such technologies and materials as 3D printing, robotics, microprocessors, textiles, wood and wires to construct robots and other electronic gadgets. The teaching technique has been around since the early 2000s, and educators have applauded the idea for helping teach science, especially at a time when California and other states are phasing in the Next Generation Science Standards, which emphasize practical application of science over rote learning.


Gabrielle Emanuel, NPR

"It's frustrating that you can't read the simplest word in the world." Thomas Lester grabs a book and opens to a random page. He points to a word: galloping. "Goll—. G—. Gaa—. Gaa—. G—. " He keeps trying. It is as if the rest ­­of the word is in him somewhere, but he can't sound it out. "I don't ... I quit." He tosses the book and it skids along the table. Despite stumbling over the simplest words, Thomas — a fourth-grader — is a bright kid. In fact, that's an often-misunderstood part of dyslexia: It's not about lacking comprehension, having a low IQ or being deprived of a good education. It's about having a really hard time reading. Dyslexia is the most common learning disability in the United States. It touches the lives of millions of people, including me and Thomas. Just like Thomas, I spent much of my childhood sitting in a little chair across from a reading tutor.


November 18, 2016

Joy Resmovits, Sonali Kohli, and Veronica Rocha, Los Angeles Times
Thousands of Los Angeles-area high school students walked out of their classrooms Monday morning, streaming into the streets for several hours to protest President-elect Donald Trump. Many were too young to vote but said their futures were at stake and so their voices needed to be heard. They identified themselves proudly on handmade signs and flags as Latinos, transgender and supporters of women’s rights. “A lot of us don’t agree with what Donald Trump is saying,” said Evelyn Aguilar, a 15-year-old sophomore at Collegiate Charter High School in East L.A., who protested in her school uniform. “A lot of people are worried about being deported and violence against them because of their sexual and ethnic identity.” 


Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle
The racist graffiti painted on the walls at Edison Elementary School in Alameda over the weekend was gone, but parents and students refused to let the hateful message linger in anyone’s mind Monday as they lined the school walkway to greet all families with a warm welcome. The racist tags appeared overnight Friday in five places on the school building and were removed Saturday morning. Police are investigating, said school district Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. The crime was one of hundreds of racially charged incidents reported across the country after the election of Donald Trump, including the waving of the Confederate flag at the Veterans Day parade in Petaluma and the painting of the words “Heil Trump” and a swastika near a San Diego bus stop.


Louis Freedberg, EdSource
The overwhelming approval by California voters of an initiative to end restrictions on bilingual education in its public schools marks another significant shift from the political expressions of racial and ethnic resentments that swirled across the state during the 1990s. Its passage highlights the changes that have occurred in California over the past two decades – the inexorable shift to a multiracial and multiethnic society – along with a realization that multilingualism is a benefit, not a disadvantage, in a world of global communication. With a 72.6 percent yes vote, the passage of Proposition 58 last Tuesday could not have been more definitive. The initiative received majority support in each of the state’s 58 counties.


November 11, 2016

Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times

Most teenagers can't vote in this election. But they know what they’d like to say to the next president. L.A. Times High School Insider asked current and recent high school students what issues are important to them, and what they want the next president to know. More than 140 students chimed in, most from Southern California. Many asked for immigration reform so they won’t have to be afraid that they’ll return home from school to find their parents deported. They want college to be affordable so they’re not weighed down by student debt before they get a chance to contribute to their country. They want to know that the president will put aside partisan politics and lead. They also want to protect the marginalized: those who fear being shot by police, those who need safe bathrooms.


Ana Tintocalis, KQED News

California has made a huge about-face when it comes to bilingual education in public schools, approving Proposition 58. The significance of this initiative underscores the changing demographics and cultural shifts in the Golden State. “I’m really elated right now, as a teacher and as a Californian,” said Anne Zerrien-Lee, who teaches first grade at Aldama Elementary, a Spanish-English dual-language school in Highland Park in Los Angeles. “I think this shows that people are realizing the great benefit to our students of learning in two languages.” Eighteen years ago, voters approved Proposition 227, the English in Public Schools initiative, which required schools to teach all students in “English only” unless parents obtained a waiver for their child. Proposition 58 will repeal key provisions of Proposition 227, thereby eliminating the English-only mandate.


November 4, 2016

Ashley Hopkinson, EdSource
Voters will decide Tuesday whether to expand bilingual education programs in California schools, bringing an end to an almost 20-year restriction on their growth. But passage could create a new challenge: how to find enough bilingual teachers amid an ongoing shortage of teachers, especially those who can teach in multiple languages. “Right now there are people who want to mount programs and they are not able to do it,” UCLA research professor Patricia Gandara said of Proposition 58. “There is already a demand that cannot be met, and this will increase that demand.”


Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post; Lecester Johnson, CEO and president of the Academy of Hope Adult Public Charter School
There is a literacy problem in the nation’s capital, but I’m not talking about young people who can’t read. Many adults — perhaps even parents sitting next to you at back-to-school night — don’t possess academic skills beyond those of a middle-school student. According to data from the 2014 U.S. Census Bureau, 21 percent — or nearly 60,000 —  of working age adults in the city lack a high school diploma. At the same time, 19 percent of adults cannot read a newspaper, much less complete a job application, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.


Kate Stoltzfus, Education Week
What is keeping girls from pursuing opportunities and careers in math? Certain barriers could be perpetuated by their teachers, a new study suggests. Starting as early as kindergarten, teachers perceive boys' math ability as higher than girls', regardless of the students' learning styles and levels of achievement, according to researchers from New York University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and West Chester University in a study published last week in AERA Open. This perception at such an early age could affect girls' confidence and aptitude for math and prevent them from pursuing future STEM opportunities, the researchers wrote.


October 28, 2016

Claudio Sanchez, NPR

In a small room in Philadelphia's school administration building, Rosario Maribel Mendoza Lemus, 16, sits in a corner, rubbing sweaty palms on her jeans. In front of her is a binder with a test she has to take before she's assigned to a new school. A counselor hovers over her shoulder, pointing to a drawing of a book. She asks, in English: "Do you know what that is?" "No," says Rosario, who arrived this summer from Honduras, where she made it no further than the sixth grade. She keeps shaking her head, and it's clear that Rosario does not understand anything the counselor is saying. There are 5 million students like Rosario — English Language Learners or ELLs — living in the U.S., and we're going to spend much of the next year reporting on them. They raise one of the biggest questions facing educators: What's the best way to teach English without losing time on the content students need to learn?


Gary Warth, The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego State University professor is bringing up a new argument to revisit an old fight.

American Indian Studies professor Ozzie Monge would like his school to drop its Aztec mascot, which he finds racist, and replace it with a non-human character. Others have asked for the mascot to be dropped because they see it as racist, but he is adding a new objection to his case. Monge says the school should have never adopted the mascot in the first place because it perpetuates the misconception that the Aztecs lived in the southwest United States.


Collier Meyerson, Business Insider

A big sign that reads “America’s best urban schools” hangs in the window of the building where Long Beach Unified School District board meetings are held, says Sarah Omojola, one of the co-authors of a damning  report released Tuesday  that admonishes the California district for mistreating its students of color. It’s ironic considering “Untold Stories Behind One of America’s Best Urban School Districts” describes how such students are disproportionately punished, suspended, and policed. The report was compiled by the Children’s Defense Fund-California, a nonprofit child advocacy organization, and Public Counsel, a nonprofit law firm that provides services to low-income Americans.


October 21, 2016

Paige Cornwell, The Seattle Times

About 2,000 Seattle educators wore Black Lives Matter shirts at their schools Wednesday to call for racial equity in education. Schools across the district held “Black Lives Matter at School” rallies before classes began for the day. Students, parents and teachers also wore stickers and buttons emblazoned with the “Black Lives Matter” slogan. The purpose of the day was to affirm that “black lives matter in the public schools,” according to organizers, who are members of Social Equality Educators, a group of educators within the Seattle teachers union. Teachers also wanted to show their support for John Muir Elementary, which had its “Black Men Uniting to Change the Narrative” event canceled last month after receiving a threat over teachers’ plans to wear Black Lives Matter shirts.


Linnea Nelson, Victor Leung, and Jessica Cobb, ACLU

The ACLU of California (ACLU) is one of the first organizations to analyze recently-released data from the U.S. Department of Education Civil Rights Data Collection for the 2013-2014 school year. In that dataset, California K-12 schools reported 22,746 student referrals to police and 9,540 student arrests. We uncovered troubling statistics showing that these police interactions disproportionately affect students of color, students with disabilities, and low-income students.


Gaby Galvin, U.S. News

As computer coding has become an increasingly sought-after skill, more K-12 schools are working it into their curriculums. Some states have considered allowing students to forgo foreign language for coding classes, despite opposition from educators. There's a debate over whether it's appropriate to teach coding in elementary schools, with fierce opinions on each side. When it comes to allowing coding to fill foreign language requirements, though, most educators agree: Coding should be added to curriculums, but not at the expense of foreign language classes.


October 14, 2016

Michelle Obama, USA TV, YouTube

“On Tuesday at the White House we celebrated the International Day of the Girl and Let Girls Learn and it was a wonderful celebration. I had the pleasure of spending hours talking to some of the most amazing young women you will ever meet… I thought it would be important to remind these young women how valuable and precious they are. I wanted them to understand that the measure of any society is how it treats its women and girls. And I told them that they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and I told them that they should disregard anyone who demeans or devalues them, and that they should make their voices heard in the world. That was Tuesday. And now here I am out on the campaign trail in an election where we have consistently been hearing hurtful, hateful language about women.” 


Corey Mitchell, Education Week

Nearly 20 years after voting to restrict bilingual education in a state with more than 1 million schoolchildren who don't speak English as their first language, California voters appear poised to reverse that ban. Next month, voters will decide the fate of a statewide ballot question that would bring an end to the restrictions of Proposition 227 and close out California's official era of English-only instruction.


Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic

For 15-year-old Zion Agostini, the start of each school day is a new occasion to navigate a minefield of racial profiling. From an early age, walking home from elementary school with his older brother, Agostini took note of the differential treatment police gave to black people in his community: “I [saw] people get stopped … get harassed … get arrested for minor offenses.” Almost a decade later, Agostini said he now faces the same treatment as a sophomore at Nelson Mandela School for Social Justice in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. “Me being a black male, I'm more likely to be stopped and frisked by a cop. Then, [I’m] going to school with more cops … [messing] with me at 7 in the morning.” The strain of these interactions is heightened by the daily routine of passing through a metal detector, emptying pockets, and removing clothing that frequently makes him late to his first-period class.


October 7, 2016

Carl L. Hart, The Washington Post

For the past few years, like academic semesters, the killing of black people by the police has been on a regular schedule. The explanation script, always controlled by the police, is familiar and tired. The deceased person’s reputation is dragged through the mud. He had a gun or she was under the influence of some drug; therefore, deadly force was necessary. Video footage almost always contradicts this official account. But it doesn’t seem to matter because the police are rarely held accountable in such cases. As a result, there is community outrage that sometimes reaches the level of unrest. Authorities call for calm and peace — rather than justice — and then we are forced to have the same national conversation about race and diversity that we have had for more than 50 years. The only thing that changes is the names of the pundits paraded before the public. As a professor, a black professor, I often think about the impact that this has on my students, especially the black students. What messages does it send to them?


Clyde Haberman, The New York Times

It did not take long for school safety agents in New York to find their first gun of the new school year. Day 1 had barely begun at a Brooklyn high school last month when the officers stopped a 15-year-old student who had stowed a loaded .22-caliber pistol in his backpack and thought he could pass it through a metal scanner. In short order, the boy was led away by the police. Also in short order, the city’s Department of Education issued a statement invoking a two-word phrase that has virtually been holy writ in classrooms around the country for the past quarter of a century: “There is zero tolerance for weapons of any kind in schools.” It is hard to imagine many law-abiding citizens disagreeing that the acceptance level for students carrying guns, knives, drugs or other harmful items should be nonexistent. But the concept of zero tolerance has come to encompass such a broad range of disruptive actions that roughly three million schoolchildren are suspended each year, and several hundred thousand are arrested or given criminal citations.


Casey Leins, U.S. News

When 32-year-old Amy Orsborn was studying engineering physics as an undergraduate at Case Western Reserve University, she didn't even realize she was the only female in her class – until a male peer pointed it out, that is. Once she realized her classmate was right, she began to doubt her academic abilities, even as she went on to earn a Ph.D. in bioengineering at the University of California—Berkeley. "I think that basically once I realized that I was one of the only women, it really dovetailed with when classes started getting really hard," Orsborn says."So rather than just thinking 'this is a hard class,' I really started feeling like 'maybe I'm not cut out for this,' 'maybe there's a reason there are no women,' and it was really tough."


September 30, 2016

Corey Mitchell, Education Week

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia are promoting bilingualism among K-12 students by offering the seal of biliteracy—special recognition on high school diplomas for graduates who demonstrate fluency in two or more languages. The popularity of the seals of biliteracy stems in part from the expansion of dual-language programs across public schools that bring both native English-speakers and English-language learners together into classrooms to learn all academic content in English and the target language.


Vincent Schilling, Indian Country Today Media Network

In what Navajo Nation tribal leaders lauded as an historic agreement with the Bureau of Indian Education and the Department of the Interior, the Obama Administration has approved the first phase of the Navajo Nation’s request to implement an alternative system of accountability for schools. In addition to giving control to the Navajo Nation as to how they teach their Navajo youth, the Obama Administration also is issuing two new rounds of federal grants totaling nearly $25 million to support native youth and educators.


Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times

For African American boys, the presumption of guilt starts before they have entered a kindergarten classroom, new research shows. In a study presented Wednesday to a meeting of education policy officials, researchers found that pre-K educators who were prompted to expect trouble in a classroom trained their gaze significantly longer on black students, especially boys, than they did on white students.


September 23, 2016

Roque Planas, Huffington Post

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a landmark bill Tuesday ordering the creation of a model ethnic studies course for state high schools, handing a major victory to educators who contend that school curricula fail to reflect the diversity of student bodies. The bill’s aims seem modest. It directs the state’s Instructional Quality Commission to field a group of scholars and school teachers to create a model ethnic studies curriculum with standards that any state school could implement. But Nolan Cabrera, an education professor at the University of Arizona who has researched the impact of such courses on Hispanic students, said the California bill promised to help earn the field wider acceptance.


Evie Blad, Education Week

A silent act of protest started by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has spread beyond the NFL and onto the sidelines of many high schools in recent weeks as young players join in. Kaepernick, troubled by police treatment of black Americans, has stirred up both admiration and controversy for his decision to kneel during the national anthem rather than stand with his hand over his heart. And, as news stories from around the country show, some educators have been troubled by student athletes' decisions to follow his lead.


September 16, 2016

Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times

Two decades ago, a team of U.S. and Mexican researchers descended on Dalton, Ga., to study the growing number of Mexican immigrants who had come to work in the city’s carpet mills. Victor Zuñiga, a sociologist at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, was interested in what the demographic shift meant for local schools, so he sat down with a teacher who told him something he couldn’t get out of his head.  “The problem with Latino students,” she said, “is they disappear.” Zuñiga returned to Mexico intent on finding out what had happened to those kids, many of whom had left the U.S. after family members were deported.


Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic

In December 2012, a Senate subcommittee was convened to examine the school-to-prison pipeline, a national trend in which overly punitive school discipline policies push students out of school and into the criminal-justice system. Among the witnesses at the first-ever congressional hearing on this issue was Edward Ward, at the time an honor-roll student in his sophomore year at DePaul University and a recent graduate of Orr Academy on the West Side of Chicago. He offered an eye-opening first-hand account of his high-school experience. “From the moment we stepped through the doors in the morning, we were faced with metal detectors, X-ray machines, and uniformed security,” said Ward, describing a high-poverty, majority-black campus “where many young people … feel unwelcome and under siege.”


Tom Chorneau, Cabinet Report

Legislation signed late last week will require school districts to provide new notice to property owners about parcel taxes, and give new flexibility in posting public meeting information and responding to records requests. AB 2257 by Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, R-San Diego, will allow local government agencies–including school districts–to fulfill existing public meeting notification requirements using the Internet beginning in January, 2019. The author noted in a statement earlier this summer, that the Ralph M. Brown Act was originally adopted in 1953 and needs to be updated to account for the many changes in technology. AB 2257, among other things, will better ensure that public meeting notices will be posted in a consistent, visible location on an agency’s homepage.

September 9, 2016

Clare McLaughlin, NEAToday

Taking the attendance at the beginning of class may seem a routine if not mundane task to many educators. But to students, their name can be a powerful link to their identity. Pronouncing students names correctly – during attendance, a classroom activity, or any other time of the school day –  should always be a priority for any classroom teacher. Names holds ancestral and historical significance for many minority, immigrant and English learning students. Names bring stories, which students are often forced to adapt to an “Americanized” context. That transition, however, is often painful and forces many students to take on a name that is not their own.


Cory Turner, NPR

Every year, thousands of children are suspended from preschool. Take a second to let that sink in. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 6,743 children who were enrolled in district-provided pre-K in 2013-14 received one or more out-of-school suspensions. And that's just public

 pre-K. Still more children were likely suspended from the nation's many privately-run preschools and day cares. While most suspensions come as the result of a child's disruptive, sometimes violent, behavior, experts and advocates now argue that suspending a 3- or 4-year-old, no matter how bad the behavior, is a bad idea.


Zenobia Jeffries, Yes! Magazine

Now that her daughter is in high school, Moore still finds herself fighting. Because of budget cuts, after-school programs have been reduced, teachers have been laid off, and the remaining classes are overcrowded. Moore’s activism soon evolved from watching out for her own kids to advocating for the rest of the district’s children. At a community meeting earlier this year, Moore called on parents to boycott the schools. This captured the attention of local activist group Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management (D-REM), which turned to a legacy of the 1960s civil rights movement for a solution: Freedom Schools.


September 2, 2016

Conor Williams and Catherine Brown, The Hechinger Report

Fortunately, this round of interest in integration is sparking in a new context. America’s schools and communities are more diverse than ever — particularly in regards to language. For the first time in history, our public schools are majority minority. These new conditions suggest new opportunities for integrating schools through instructional programs that actually require

 diverse student enrollment to function.



Barbara Rogoff, University of California, Santa Cruz; AERA Ed-Talk



Diana E. Hess, University of Wisconsin-Madison; AERA Ed-Talk

August 26, 2016

Judge Steven Teske, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

Let’s talk about race. The mention of race stirs emotions that are usually not expressed for fear of the response. For many years, this chilling effect created the mirage that race relations were not so bad. We mask the problems that have been festering for years in order to keep interactions between people of different races peaceful. Many white people suppress comments about race for fear of the response, especially in racially mixed settings. That began after the passage of the civil rights laws of the ’50s and ’60s, leading to a congenial demeanor toward our fellow citizens of color. This creates the impression — for white people, at least — that race relations are improving. Black people, however, have not been fooled.


Sarah D. Sparks & Alex Harwin, Education Week

Corporal punishment has declined so rapidly in the United States in the last 15 years that many people think it's practically nonexistent in modern American public schools. To the contrary, more than 109,000 students were paddled, swatted, or otherwise physically punished in U.S. classrooms in 2013-14, according to Education Week Research Center analyses of the most recent wave of federal civil rights data.


Lily Altavena, Rose Velazquez, and Natalie Griffin, The Hechinger Report

In at least 20 states, lawmakers have stripped locally elected school board members of their power in impoverished, mostly minority communities, leaving parents without a voice – or a vote – in their children’s education, according to a News21 state-by-state analysis of school takeovers.

August 19, 2016

Press Play with Madeleine Brand, KCRW; Guest: Patricia Gándara, UCLA

As Los Angeles public school students return to school Tuesday, more of them will enter language immersion programs. It’s an approach that’s become more and more popular despite Proposition 227, the state law that practically banned bilingual education back in 1998. A measure on the November ballot would repeal most of Proposition 227, effectively allowing teachers to teach in languages other than English. If it passes, how will instruction change for the 1.3 million English learners in California’s public schools?


Kyle Stokes, KPCC

Back in her days as principal of a Los Angeles Unified school, Hilda Maldonado remembers sifting through lists of students still learning English, trying to figure out which ones needed help. She was trying to figure out which of these English learners had checked all three boxes to be officially "reclassified" as proficient in the language: they needed to pass California's language proficiency exam; pass the same standardized tests as their English-speaking peers; and get good grades.


EdSource staff, EdSource

The Legislature has less than three weeks to act on important remaining education bills. Many of the major education bills that were introduced at the start of the year, such as teacher evaluation reforms, either have died or, like more money for college preparatory courses, been incorporated into next year’s state budget. Of a dozen noteworthy bills still alive when the Legislature went on vacation in July, several were killed without explanation by the Assembly and Senate Appropriations committees in a crush of activity last week. Here’s a status report on nine of the survivors and three of the deceased.


August 12, 2016

Michael Janofsky, EdSource

With a growing number of parents embracing the value of their children learning a second language, nine more dual immersion programs are coming to L.A. Unified when schools open next week. Among the additions are one in Armenian and another in Arabic, giving the district 65 such programs, a 25 percent increase over the last three years.


Kyle Spencer, The Hechinger Report

Keyla Walker, a recent graduate of Terry High School, says she still remembers police yanking her off a school bus to arrest her four years ago, following a fight she says didn’t even involve her. She still does not totally understand why, but on a warm morning during her freshman year, she and her twin sisters — both juniors — were rounded up after one of the twins slapped another student during the ride to school. All three girls were ushered into the principal’s office. They eventually were shackled and transported to a juvenile jail, where they were locked up.



Sam Gringlas, NPR

Mayte Lara Ibarra and Larissa Martinez had just finished their senior year of high school when they each decided to go public with their immigration status. Both Texas students came to the U.S. illegally, and they didn't want to keep that fact a secret any longer. Ibarra identified herself on Twitter as one of the 65,000 undocumented youth who graduate high school in the U.S. Martinez revealed her status in the commencement speech she delivered at graduation. Their actions sparked support and pointed criticism. That was more than a month ago. Now, with the media frenzy behind them, they both say they don't regret the choice they made to speak up. Next month, Ibarra heads to the University of Texas-Austin and Larissa to Yale University.

August 5, 2016

Corey Mitchell, Education Week

A multinational effort to boost the number of U.S. students studying abroad in China has expanded its focus to stateside Mandarin language learning. The push, led by the US-China Strong Foundation

, aims to increase the number of American students studying the language to 1 million by 2020, a fivefold increase. The effort recognizes the growing importance of U.S.-China relations and aims to prepare a new generation of U.S. citizens to engage with China through commerce and culture.


Elizabeth Aguilera, KPCC

When Imelda Centeno was a toddler she could only say four words. "Agua, leche, papa, mama," recalls her mom, Marcelina Rojas. That wasn't necessarily unusual for a toddler; Rojas just thought her daughter was going to be a late talker, like many kids. But when Centeno was 3 1/2, Rojas learned her daughter is profoundly hard of hearing.


Tessa Weinberg, Daniela Gerson, Los Angeles Times

In the past five years, more than 100,000 children and teens have crossed the border between the United States and Mexico without their parents. Gaspar Marcos, an 18-year-old who lives in Los Angeles, is one of them. A recent story about how he works until 3 a.m. and gets to school by 8 a.m. generated a tremendous response. Of the more than 12,000 comments shared, dozens of readers told stories of how they moved to the United States without their parents. Monier Ouabira of Morocco remembers being abandoned at the airport and spending his first few days in the U.S. sleeping there. Edilsa Lopez of Guatemala, who traversed the desert at 13, was kidnapped and separated from her family. Giorgio Kyle of Azerbaijan said he worked for five months straight for $150 a week without taking one day off. Here are their stories.

July 29, 2016

Priska Neely, KPCC
As part of our new series Age of Expression, teen artists from around Southern California share stories about the art they create and why they do it.
Like many artists, Vanessa Tahay's poetry was born out of pain. In her poem, "A Dream in Five Days," she details her journey from Guatemala for the United States as an unaccompanied minor.

John B. King, Jr., Education Week
The return on investment in American education to individuals and to society at large has been growing in both relative and absolute terms since 1980. It is well known that, statistically, people who are well-educated earn substantially more, pay more in taxes, are less likely to be unemployed, live longer, are healthier, and are more likely to vote. Yet, in spite of that, our society is increasing spending on locking people up faster than it is on educating them. Our investments in punishing people for their failures are outpacing our investments in ensuring their success.

Sharon Nelson-Barber, WestEd; AERA Knowledge Forum Research Fact Sheet
Major nationwide educational reforms of the 21st century have had the goal of improving educational outcomes for U.S. students, and for under-achieving students in particular. These efforts have resulted in few measurable improvements in the educational achievement of American Indian and Alaska Native students (The Education Trust, 2013; The White House, 2014). Numerous reforms implemented over many generations have proven to be not only ineffective, but also counterproductive for indigenous students’ educational achievement and social well-being—resulting in cultural trauma, loss of cultural identity and decreased self- efficacy (The White House, 2014). The results of these policies continue to disadvantage indigenous children’s ability to thrive in educational systems, and are compounded by another urgent concern: the rapid decline in the use of heritage languages and practices (House, 2005). The difficulties faced by indigenous learners and their communities can be conceived of as a “perfect storm” and threaten to destroy the timeless treasures of humanity that are indigenous knowledge systems.


July 22, 2016

Jill Tucker, SF Gate
State officials on Thursday added the evolution of gay rights and the contributions of lesbian and gay figures in history to the list of topics that public-school students will be taught in California, a landmark move that puts the ongoing LGBT civil rights fight into the mainstream of public education.

John Fensterwald, EdSource
After listening to five hours of charged disagreements by Hindus, Muslims and others on how their religions and culture should be depicted in California classrooms, the State Board of Education adopted new social science guidelines Thursday that will stress teaching critical thinking and objective inquiry so that students can determine historical truths for themselves.

Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic
Last summer, the high-school English teacher T.J. Whitaker revised the reading list for his contemporary literature course with the addition of a new title—The Savage City, a gritty nonfiction account of race and murder in New York City in the 1960s. The 24-year teaching veteran said he chose the book to give his students at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, a chance to read “an honest depiction of the Black Panther Party and the corruption that existed in the NYPD during the ‘60s.” In a school where black students are half of the student body—and a photo of two white peers in blackface caused an uproar in May—Whitaker’s classroom is a space for students to examine issues such as oppression, classism, and abuse of power. And it’s yielding results.  


July 15, 2016

Casey Quinlan, The Atlantic

When Rolling Terrace Elementary School in Takoma Park, Maryland, told parents in the fall of 2014 that it would allow students to use Chromebooks as a way to bridge the digital divide between low-income families and affluent families, there were mixed reactions. The plan was aimed at helping students become more adept at using technology, but the affluent parents, most of whom were white, were apprehensive about their children getting more screen time.


Kendra Yoshinaga, NPR

Across the country there are stories like this: In a high-poverty area of Honolulu, a high school social worker helps her Asian-Pacific Islander students talk with their families about being LBGTQ. At a time when LGBTQ concerns in schools are increasingly visible — and often debated — teachers and administrators are looking for new ways to support students.


Derek Black, Education Law Prof Blog

Yesterday, the Nation's largest professional employee organization and largest teacher union, the National Education Association (NEA), adopted an official policy position on school discipline and the school-to-prison pipeline.  The prefatory language of the policy appropriately recognizes the major issues. 


July 8, 2016

Tara García Mathewson, The Hechinger Report

When Dadhi Dahal first came to the United States in early 2009, the Bhutanese population in Syracuse, New York was quite small — the first refugees from Bhutan, fleeing ethnic cleansing policies in their home country, arrived in 2008, after they had spent years in refugee camps in Nepal. Fast forward eight years. The Bhutanese population has grown into a flourishing, tightly knit group of about 3,000 people. They are part of a substantial refugee population from South Asia, Africa and the Middle East that has transformed the city and its schools.  Students in the Syracuse City School District speak more than 70 different languages and four of the most common among them are Nepali, Karen, Somali, and Arabic.


Theresa Harrington, EdSource

“Turn and talk to your partner,” Judith Franco told her 4th grade students, after prompting them to think of specific plants and animals that help each other survive. This is not an ordinary 4th grade science lesson. Franco’s classroom is a key part of a push in two California districts to use new instructional strategies to promote greater academic success among students not yet proficient in English.


Andre Perry, The Hechinger Report

Schools should be held to higher standards than students. If schools irresponsibly impose discipline practices, then those rules (or leaders) should be expelled. However, when it comes to discipline, we give students the cane and schools a slap on the wrist. “I’ll say up front: I am not here to offer any hard-and-fast rules or directives,” said Secretary of Education John King in prepared remarks for the National Charter Schools Conference. Careful not to offend the charter school community, which upholds autonomy as sacred, King added, “But I believe the goal for all schools should be to create a school culture that motivates student to want to do the best.” Suspension and expulsion doesn’t work.


July 1, 2016

Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource
California Attorney General Kamala Harris has announced five investigations across the state into the treatment of students and children by school police, juvenile hall staff, foster care agencies, child welfare departments and private special education school staff.
  Emma Brown, The Washington Post
John King Jr. once founded a charter school that aimed to prepare low-income children for college, and it was known both for posting high test scores and for issuing a lot of suspensions. Now King is U.S. Education Secretary, and he plans to recognize the 25th anniversary of the nation’s charter school movement by calling on charter leaders to rethink their approach to discipline and reduce their reliance on suspensions and expulsions.

June 24, 2016

Rebecca Damante, The Century Foundation
While including LGBT content in schools is beneficial for students, the way in which this content is presented is just as important, if not more.  Mike Szymanski, LA School Report
The Ethnic Studies Committee, which LA Unified unceremoniously disbanded last year, has been renewed by the district, and members agreed to meet for up to three more years with a goal toward incorporating ethnic studies as a graduation requirement, according to Derrick Chau, director of secondary instruction at LA Unified.
  Cory Turner, NPR
Something's wrong in America's classrooms. According to new data from the Education Department, black students — from kindergarten through high school — are 3.8 times more likely to be suspended than white students. Now the really bad news. This trend begins in preschool, where black children are already 3.6 times more likely to be suspended than white students.

June 17, 2016

Susan Frey and Louis Freedberg, EdSource

Early childhood education programs in California have a critically important role to play in preparing children whose first language is not English to succeed in kindergarten and beyond, according to a new EdSource report. Titled “Promoting Success for Dual Language Learners: The Essential Role of Early Childhood Education Programs,” the report outlines seven challenges these programs face in meeting the needs of children under the age of 5 from diverse language backgrounds.


Mario Koran, Voice of San Diego

Parents who tour Sherman Elementary in Sherman Heights are handed a welcome packet and a contract. It comes with a promise and an expectation: Your son or daughter will be bilingual by the end of fifth grade. Leave before then, and the deal is off. But you, as a parent, will play a role. You will volunteer at the school and attend school events. You will have your child to school every day, on time. Baked into those lines are the ingredients for Sherman, a bilingual immersion school where every student is a language-learner.


Katie Rogers, New York Times

When Mayte Lara Ibarra, the valedictorian of her high school’s graduating class, revealed her plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin on a scholarship, she did what any graduate would do: She shared her excitement on social media. Ms. Lara also declared, proudly, that she is undocumented.


June 10, 2016

Susan Frey, EdSource

The preschool children sit with legs crossed, squirming a little, as their language class begins at a Native American Head Start preschool on a reservation in Shasta County. “Hestum,” says the teacher, which means “Greetings” in Wintu. The children at Redding Rancheria eagerly respond and then, together with the teacher, count from 1 to 10 in Wintu. 


Anya Kamenetz, NPR

When students get suspended from school for a few days, they may not be the only ones who miss out. A report released today

 by UCLA's Civil Rights Project tries for the first time to quantify the full social cost of so-called "exclusionary discipline." The authors calculate that suspensions in just one year of school — 10th grade — contributed to 67,000 students eventually dropping out of high school. And that, they conclude, generates total costs to the nation of more than $35 billion.


Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic

In spite of some signs of improvement, fundamental disparities persist in youth incarceration. The number of youngsters in U.S. correctional facilities has been cut in half—a dramatic drop of 53 percent from 2001 to 2013—according to a Pew analysis of federal data. Still, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a child-advocacy group, found “in every year for which data are available, the overwhelming majority of confined youth are held for nonviolent offenses.” And children of color bear the brunt of juvenile-justice policies: Black children are nearly five times as likely, and Latino and Native American youngsters are two to three times as likely, to be incarcerated as are their white peers. Similar inequities carry over to the learning that happens behind bars.


June 3, 2016

Theresa Harrington, EdSource

Teachers need special support and training to help English language learners and special education students meet Common Core standards, says a report by a Los Angeles area teachers group.


Valeria Pelet, The Atlantic

From New York to Utah, U.S. schools have seen a steady rise in bilingual education. Dual-language immersion programs first appeared in the U.S. in the 1960s to serve Spanish-speaking students in Florida. Since then, the demand—and controversy—surrounding these programs has been widespread, and they now address the needs of more than 5 million students who are English-language learners in the country’s public-school system.


May 27, 2016

Tatiana Sanchez, The San Diego Union Tribune

Young people living along the U.S-Mexico border maintain close ties to both sides, often crossing for school or to see close family members. But the pressures associated with this constant migration can pose educational barriers for students, a new study shows.


Janie Har, Associated Press, KPCC

How do you teach the history of the world in California schools, where nearly two-thirds of students are Latino or Asian, many from newly immigrated families? That's the challenge facing a California panel charged with establishing a new history and social studies framework for the state's 6.2 million public school students.


Priska Neely, KPCC

At Huntington Park Elementary School on Friday, young musicians picked up their violins, clarinets, flutes and cornets and played songs like "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "Hot Cross Buns" before a small group of parents in the auditorium. Most schools have culminating festivities like this around this time of year, but just several months ago, this particular showcase wouldn't have been possible. In the fall, the school had no instruments and the L.A. Unified School District said it couldn’t provide them.


May 20, 2016

Corey Mitchell, Education Week

When people come across Michelle-Thuy Ngoc Duong's name, they often see a stumbling block bound to trip up their tongues. The 17-year-old sees a bridge. A bridge spanning her parents' journey from Vietnam to the United States. A bridge connecting the U.S.-born teen to Vietnamese culture. A bridge to understanding.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC

Nearly three out of four American public school classrooms now includes at least one student who is learning English as a new language, and California is emerging as a leader among states for helping long-term English learners get up to speed. That's the conclusion of a 28-page report

 out Wednesday from the publication Education Week, which details the rapid growth in the U.S. of the population of students whose first language isn’t English.


Susan Frey, EdSource

California foster youth who are taking advantage of newly extended services are having a smoother transition into adulthood, according to a study released this month. But the state needs to do more, the researchers say. Foster youth who remained in care after age 18 were more likely to be in school, had more social support, experienced fewer economic hardships and were receiving more supportive services than those who left care, according to the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study by researchers from Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.


May 13, 2016

Peggie Garcia, P. Zitlali Morales, Education Policy Analysis Archives

Although there has been a great deal of debate about the effectiveness of charter schools in the research literature, there has been surprisingly little attention paid to English language learners (ELLs) in charter schools. Moreover, the charter school research has predominantly focused on whether or not charter schools are effective rather than how or why high-performing charter schools work, particularly for ELLs. We contend that researchers must expand their focus beyond access and achievement and begin to grapple with questions related to the quality of programs for ELLs in charter schools. To meet an emerging need in the field, we synthesize several strands of existing research—related to charter schools, school improvement, and ELLs in traditional public schools— to propose a five-component framework that describes essential elements of quality programs for ELLs in charter schools. We conclude with a discussion of implications of our framework for research, policy, and practice.


Alyson Klein, Education Week

Three years ago, Kevin Pineda—who came to the United States from Guatemala at age 6—was failing or struggling in nearly all his classes at Fairfax High School here. He was on the verge of following his father's advice to drop out of school and come work alongside him as an electrician. Part of what changed Pineda's mind: the one class he liked and was beginning to succeed in, Advanced English Language Development. That class was a brand-new course aimed at students, who, like Pineda, had been enrolled in the Los Angeles Unified School District for years but never managed to "reclassify" and move on from the English-language-learner designation.


Emma Brown, The Washington Post

North Carolina receives more than $4 billion in federal education funding each year. Now the federal government is considering withholding that money because, the Justice Department says, the state has passed a law that violates the civil rights of transgender individuals by forcing them to use bathrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates instead of their gender identity. But would federal officials really withhold billions of dollars meant to help educate poor children, children with disabilities, and college students who can’t afford to go to school without federal aid? They’ve done it before.


May 6, 2016

Michael Janofsky, EdSource

An expansion of ethnic studies courses in some of California’s largest school districts is changing the way thousands of students are learning about the historical contributions of a wide range of racial and ethnic groups. Over the past few years, Los Angeles Unified, the state’s largest school district, and San Francisco Unified, the sixth biggest, have added courses in their high schools designed to broaden understanding of the roles played by African-Americans, Latinos and other racial and ethnic groups.


Kimberly Beltran, Cabinet Report

A pilot program being designed to boost the linguistic and literacy skills of preschool children learning two languages at once has caught enough attention at the White House that expectations are staff will issue a policy brief on the educational benefits of bilingualism next month. The Dual Language Learner Pilot, a project of the state’s First 5 California, is aimed at supporting teacher training and effective practices that improve educational gains of California’s more than 1.5 million dual language learners under the age of 5 who, by third grade, lag behind others in reading ability. The $16 million pilot program has been in the planning stage since last year but is moving closer to final design and its planned launch next January.


Jay Mathews, The Washington Post

The biggest difference between schools I attended a half-century ago and schools I visit now is special education: It took a while for our country to grasp how to help students with extra needs.


April 29, 2016

Cindy Carcamo, Los Angeles Times

A declining share of Latinos in the U.S. are speaking Spanish and a growing share only speaks English at home, according to findings in a study released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center.


Melissa Harris-Perry, Wake Forest University; Bettina L. Love, University of Georgia; Lori Patton Davis, Indiana University; Adrienne Dixson, University of Illinois; April L. Peters, University of Georgia; Terri Nicol Watson, City College of New York

AERA Presidential Session

In 2014, the White House’s Council on Women and Girls issued a report highlighting the progress of women and girls of color, most notably in education. Along with an increase in high school and college graduation rates it was reported, “Since 2009, both fourth and eighth grade math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the largest nationwide assessment, have improved for all girls of color” (p. 2). Absent from this conversation, however, were the distinct challenges based on the intersection of race and gender that left Black girls with the least growth across all categories and contexts. This session seeks to open up new avenues of scholarship focused on the promises and perils Black girls and women encounter in PK – 20 systems. The session will also explore how such scholarship could inform policy-based solutions to improve the academic success and life chances of Black girls and women.


U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, announced today $5.7 million in new grants aimed at improving outcomes for students who have been involved in the criminal justice system. The Department also released a new toolkit providing guidance to educators and others to support a successful reentry system for formerly incarcerated youth and adults.


Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

Jennifer Wolfsie, like many visitors to Raleigh, N.C., wasted no time exploring the hip Southern city, ordering clams, beet salad and potatoes aligot at Death & Taxes on Hargett Street, finishing off with a nightcap at Fox Liquor Bar. But at each place the Midwest school board member left not only a tip but also a white paper square with a message about a new state law that critics say discriminates against gay, lesbian and transgender people. “I believe in equality for all,” said the paper, printed by the organizers of the education conference she was attending this month. “I will not return to the state until HB2 is repealed. Make North Carolina a place I want to visit again.”


April 22, 2016

Jerry Kang, Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, UCLA

My job as Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is to build equity for all, and to make sure that there is an equal learning and working environment for everyone, regardless of political or religious affiliation. But if your name is plastered around campus, casting you as a murderer or terrorist, how could you stay focused on anything like learning, teaching, or research? In modern times, we may have to resign ourselves to the reality of negative, unfair, and often anonymous statements about us strewn throughout the Internet, with little practical recourse. But I refuse to believe that we can do nothing about hateful posters pushed into our school and workplaces by outsiders. Indeed, the recent Statement of Principles Against Intolerance adopted by the UC Regents encourage quick and forceful response (Principles i and j). This message is sent in that spirit.


Lillian Mongeau, PBS

Last spring, 9-year-old Derrick Fields sat in his social studies classroom at Sherman Elementary School, learning about the creation of the telegraph. The machine was invented so that “someone can connect to someone who is far away,” he said. This was pretty normal stuff for a fourth grade history lesson, except for one thing: The entire lesson — from the textbooks to the teacher’s instructions to the students’ short essays — was in Spanish. In fact, half of Derrick’s time is spent learning in Spanish and the other half in English in what’s known as a dual language immersion program.


Mark Walsh, Education Week

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday appeared divided on whether Texas could challenge the Obama administration's program offering relief from deportation and work permits to some 4 million unauthorized immigrant parents of U.S. citizen children.


Valerie Strauss, Jamila Carter, Answer Sheet

In many school districts across the country, black students in traditional public schools are suspended at rates much higher than for white students, as this University of Pennsylvania analysis shows. What’s more, some “no excuses” charter schools in urban areas operate with a philosophy that more discipline for black students is better, even for tiny infractions. In this post, Jamila Carter, a mother of three and an early childhood educator in Philadelphia, asks and answers the question of whether black students really need “no excuses” discipline. You can follow her Twitter at @jubimom. This appeared on the Edushyster website of education blogger and activist Jennifer Berkshire, who gave me permission to republish.


April 15, 2016

Claudio Sanchez, NPR
Imagine you're back in school, bored to death, with limited academic options. Because you're learning English, everybody assumes you're not ready for more challenging work. What they don't realize is that you're gifted. Researchers say this happens to lots of gifted children who arrive at school speaking little or no English. These students go unnoticed, until someone taps into their remarkable talent and potential. Vanessa Minero Leon was lucky. She was one of those students who got noticed.


Susan Dynarski, The New York Times
Public schools are increasingly filled with black and Hispanic students, but the children identified as “gifted” in those schools are overwhelmingly white and Asian. The numbers are startling. Black third graders are half as likely as whites to be included in programs for the gifted, and the deficit is nearly as large for Hispanics, according to work by two Vanderbilt researchers, Jason Grissom and Christopher Redding.


Emily Von Hoffmann, The Atlantic
Undocumented and mixed-status families (where some have citizen or resident status and others don’t) are increasingly hesitant to send their kids to school. In some areas, families with undocumented members are wary of using their real home address on school forms for fear that their information could be shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).


April 8, 2016

Janet Adamy, The Wall Street Journal

Penelope Spain is desperate to make her 3-year-old son fluent in a second language. Last year, the Washington, D.C., attorney competed with hundreds of other parents for a spot at several prekindergarten programs that teach lessons partly or mostly in Spanish. She struck out. “I sat on the couch and just cried endlessly,” she recalled. Now she has widened her search to French and Mandarin schools. Public schools that immerse students in a second language have become hot destinations for parents seeking a leg up for their children in a global economy. New York, Utah, Delaware and other states are adding classrooms where at least half of lessons are taught in a second tongue.


Ben Chapman, New York Daily News

Big Apple public schools are going to become a bit more of a melting pot — at least linguistically. Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will unveil a plan Monday to open 38 bilingual programs at city schools starting in September, the Daily News has learned.


Rosemarie Frascella, Rethinking Schools

The concept of sacrifice is nothing new for my immigrant students. They have heard, seen, and lived the sacrifices their family members made coming to the United States. Some risked their lives crossing deserts and borders; others sailed through the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean in pitch-black containers. Most left loved ones and land in order to survive. Their parents may not have a shot at the “American Dream,” but they have all sacrificed tremendously to give their children a chance to make it. However, the idea that they or their parents may not really have had a choice in the sacrifices they made is new to many of my students, who escaped lands and economies made uninhabitable by capitalism and its hunger for fossil fuels and profits.

April 1, 2016

Jackie Mader, Education Week

The U.S. Department of Education's office of English-language acquisition is offering $3.2 million in grants to support the instruction and studying of various Native American languages, in an attempt to support the preservation of those languages and boost the education of Native youth.


Marie-Anne Suizzo, Answer Sheet

Teaching young people about race and its role in the history, present and future of this country is as important as any other subject — but, as this post explains, one that many whites still grapple with. This was written by Marie-Anne Suizzo, an associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and a Public Voices Fellow with the OpEd Project, a non-profit working to increase the range of public voices and ideas. Suizzo’s research focuses on parenting and child development across cultures and ethnicities.


Matt Barnum, The 74

School security officers outnumber counselors in four out of the 10 largest public school districts in the country —  including three of the top five — according to data obtained by The 74. New York City, Chicago, Miami-Dade County, and Houston schools all employ more security staff than counselors.

March 24, 2016

Corey Mitchell, Education Week

Bishar Hassan spends his days navigating the halls and classrooms of Talahi Elementary School, working to embrace and empower the dozens of Somali students who have arrived since the start of the year. Across town, his brother, Ahmed Hassan, fills a similar role at Discovery Community School, another campus that has experienced a recent surge in enrollment of Somali students. The Hassan brothers are part of a growing community of Somali residents in this central Minnesota city of 65,000. The recent influx of immigrant students is nothing new in the St. Cloud school district, where English-language-learner enrollment has spiked by 350 percent in the past 15 years.


Pedro A. Noguera, The San Diego-Union Tribune

San Diego Unified School District is searching for new ways to address school discipline and its efforts should be applauded. The old way — relying on suspensions for even minor offenses — has been widely recognized as unfair and ineffective, both because it typically results in the most disadvantaged children being disproportionately punished and because it’s at odds with the goal of keeping kids in school. Since embarking on this search, suspensions at San Diego city schools have declined from 10.3 percent in 2009-10 to 5.8 percent in 2013-14.


Alisha Kirby, Cabinet Report

Restorative justice techniques often used to lower suspension and expulsion rates may also boost school climate by strengthening relationships between students and teachers, according to a recent study.


Daniel J. Losen, Michael A. Keith II, Cheri L. Hodson, Tia E. Martinez, The Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the UCLA Civil Rights Project

first-ever analysis of school discipline records for the nation’s more than 5,250 charter schools shows a disturbing number are suspending big percentages of their black students and students with disabilities at highly disproportionate rates compared to white and non-disabled student.

March 18, 2016

Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic

The “good girl” and “bad girl” dichotomy, as chronicled by Monique W. Morris in Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, is a condition that has plagued black girls and women for time immemorial. Society’s deeply entrenched expectations of black girls—influenced by racism and patriarchy—has led to a ritual whereby these young women are often mischaracterized, and mislabeled because of how they look, dress, speak, and act. In short, black girls are devalued based on how others perceive them.


Katherine Kinzler, New York Times

Being bilingual has some obvious advantages. Learning more than one language enables new conversations and new experiences. But in recent years, psychology researchers have demonstrated some less obvious advantages of bilingualism, too. For instance, bilingual children may enjoy certain cognitive benefits, such as improved executive functioning—which is critical for problem solving and other mentally demanding activities. Now, two new studies demonstrate that multilingual exposure improves not only children’s cognitive skills but also their social abilities.


March 11, 2016

Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic

In Tucson, Arizona, Che Guevara posters and Paulo Freire’s The Pedagogy of the Oppressed are the spark that set off a heated conflict over ethnic studies that has made national headlines for years. For critics, including two former state schools superintendents, the Mexican American studies program in the Tucson Unified School District is little more than divisive propaganda: “ethnic chauvinism” with a “very toxic effect … in an educational setting.” For supporters, reading literature on Chicano history in America and critical race theory is intended to close cultural gaps in the curriculum—and to close academic gaps for the district’s Hispanic students.


Daniela Gerson, Los Angeles Times

Maria Onate had not read a book until her son started high school. Her illiterate parents ended her schooling when she was 15, informing her that she had to get ready for marriage and work to help support the family in their rancho in Puebla, Mexico. More than two decades later, she was shocked when the parent center coordinators at her son's new high school, Bravo Medical Magnet, suggested she join a book club. She was there for her child's education. She thought it was too late for her own.


Corey Mitchell, Education Week

Acting Education Secretary John B. King Jr. told a gathering of English-language-learner educators that the nation's new federal K-12 law could help broaden the definition of a well-rounded education to include biliteracy. In a three-minute video address to the National Association of Bilingual Education's annual conference in Chicago, King touted the potential benefits of the Every Student Succeeds Act for English-learners and all students.


March 4, 2016

Conor P. Williams, LA School Report

Fittingly, in California, the campaign season will include a subplot — and perhaps a denouement — from one of the last rounds of American immigration anxiety. In 1998, Californians anxious about a recent influx of immigrants passed Proposition 227, a ballot measure that mandated English immersion for nearly all of the states’ multilingual students. This year, as the country argues over whether to build a wall on our southern border, Californians will vote on the Multilingual Education Act, a new ballot initiative that would update and improve Prop. 227 by expanding the availability of bilingual education models (including popular dual-immersion programs) for English language learners.


Corey Mitchell, Education Week

The U.S. Department of Education is tripling the size of a grant program designed to help Native American students succeed in school. The Native Youth Community Projects will make $17.4 million available to organizations, after awarding $5.3 million in grants to a dozen recipients last year. The education department billed the grant program's expansion as the federal government's latest move in a broad effort to boost the college and career prospects for American Indian and Alaskan Native youth.


Emma Brown, The Washington Post

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) has vetoed a bill that would have been the first in the nation to restrict transgender students’ access to school restrooms and locker rooms, a move that came after LGBT-rights activists waged a furious campaign against the measure.

February 26, 2016

Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic

The seed of what is now known as Black History Month was planted in the doctoral thesis of Carter G. Woodson, a noted scholar, author, and co-founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. The son of former slaves, Woodson received a Ph.D. in 1912 from Harvard University, where he studied under renowned historians who minimized the importance and vitality of black history. But Woodson would not be deterred. He believed the heritage and contributions of black Americans was excluded from history, and he saw this knowledge as essential to social change.


Roberto G. Gonzales, Forum Network

Over two million of the nation’s eleven million undocumented immigrants have lived in the United States since childhood. Due to a broken immigration system, they grow up to uncertain futures. In Lives in Limbo, Roberto G. Gonzales introduces us to two groups: the college-goers, like Ricardo, who had good grades and a strong network of community support that propelled him to college and DREAM Act organizing but still landed in a factory job a few short years after graduation, and the early-exiters, like Gabriel, who failed to make meaningful connections in high school and started navigating dead-end jobs, immigration checkpoints, and a world narrowly circumscribed by legal limitations. This vivid ethnography explores why highly educated undocumented youth share similar work and life outcomes with their less-educated peers, despite the fact that higher education is touted as the path to integration and success in America.


Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County's juvenile detention system was designed in an era when youth crime was on the rise. The number of juvenile arrests has fallen dramatically in recent years. Some say the system has not kept up with this shift, and now it's costing taxpayers money.

February 19, 2016

Deepa Fernandes, KPCC

It's Grammy time. The big awards show is this Monday, here in Los Angeles at the Staples Center. There are of course the usual headliners, but also some artists you may not have heard of before. Jose-Luis Orozco doesn't spend a lot of time in hip clubs or on arena tours. He's most often seen performing on the local preschool and elementary school circuit. This year he's nominated for a Grammy for Best Children's Album for ¡Come Bien! Eat Right! The dual language album, made collaboration with Smithsonian Folkways, is all about the benefits of healthy eating.


Jinnie Spiegler, Anti-Defamation League and Sarah Sisaye, Office of Safe and Healthy Students; Homeroom

Classrooms and schools should provide learning environments that are not only free from discrimination and harassment based on protected traits—including religion—but should also be conduits for students to build bridges with other students across different backgrounds, break down stereotypes, acknowledge and affirm important aspects of their identity, and learn how to be an ally when faced with bullying and bias.


German Lopez, Vox

At a speech in Harlem on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton will call for a $2 billion plan to help end punitive school policies that can push black children from schools to jails and prisons. The new $2 billion plan, which goes after the so-called "school-to-prison pipeline," will incentivize the hiring of "school climate support teams" — made up of social workers, behavioral health specialists, and education practitioners — to work with school staff to reorient and develop comprehensive reform plans for school discipline policies.


February 12, 2016

Peter Dockrill, Science Alert

Speaking more than one language at home doesn't just expose young children to two sets of vocabularies – it could also confer hidden benefits to their cognitive control, according to a new study.

Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times

Immigration agents won’t be allowed onto the campuses of the Los Angeles Unified School District to look for undocumented students, the school board promised with a unanimous vote Tuesday.

Alisha Kirby, Cabinet Report

Even with all of the progress made in recent years to improve educational services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, their well-being is still at risk in many schools with only a handful of districts attempting to address the issue through their Local Control Accountability Plans, advocates said.


Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times

After nearly a decade of delays, California educators released a draft guideline that will shape how history is taught to students across the state. The nearly 1,000-page "History/Social Science framework" received little public attention and went largely unreported in mainstream media when it was announced in December.

February 5, 2016

John Fensterwald, EdSource

In passing the Every Student Succeeds Act, Congress rolled back the federal government’s overall reach into testing requirements for K-12 education. But there is a significant exception: English learners.


Alia Wong, The Atlantic

Thousands of low-income kids—most of whom have immigrant parents—are missing out on the early education they need to keep up with their affluent peers.


Kristina Rizga, Mother Jones

Accusations, beatings, even death threats—that's life for Muslim kids in America.


Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC

In an effort to increase the number of public schools offering theater and dance classes and to lure more dance and theater professionals to teaching, Santa Monica-area State Senator Ben Allen unveiled a bill on Wednesday to create, for the first time, teaching credentials in those subjects.


January 29, 2016

Margaret Ramirez, The Hechinger Report

At Public School 73 in the South Bronx, 8-year-old Arlette Espallat is reading aloud in Spanish about animals found in “el bosque” or, the forest. Her voice rises as she brings the faraway images to the noisy classroom. Later in the week, Arlette and her classmates will read in English about the life of Olympic medalist Wilma Rudolph.


Alisha Kirby, Cabinet Report

Advocates for one of the fastest growing subgroups say one pivotal change called for in the Every Student Succeeds Act has gone largely unnoticed. Under the new law, English learner accountability will be included as part of Title I – the section dedicated to the performance of students – instead of Title III, which dictates the allocation of funds for English language acquisition.


Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic

For many, the New Year represents new beginnings, a chance to start fresh with a clean slate. But this was not the case for hundreds of undocumented adults and children swept up in deportation raids in the first days of 2016. 


Audie Cornish, NPR

For kids in some Chicago neighborhoods, walking up and down the same street where there was a beating or a shooting or a body is just part of life — one that isn't always talked about. That's something the Urban Warriors program is trying to change.


January 22, 2016

Michael Schaub, Los Angeles Times

The publisher Scholastic has announced it will stop distribution of a children's book called "A Birthday Cake for George Washington" after it was widely criticized for its depiction of happy slaves baking a cake, the Associated Press reports.


Doug Irving, RAND

Daniels is an inmate at the California Institution for Men, a sprawling prison complex about 35 miles east of Los Angeles. He’s 49 years old, a prison veteran with 14 felony convictions on his record. His latest offense, for making criminal threats, helped land him in one place where RAND’s study showed he stands a good chance of turning his life around: A prison classroom.


Eli Rosenberg, The Guardian

High school students saw large improvements in their grades and attendance records when they enrolled in a class dedicated to exploring race and ethnicity, researchers in California found.

January 15, 2016

Naomi Nix, The Atlantic

In Connecticut, communities have welcomed those searching for a home and set up systems to help them rebuild.


Cecelia Reyes, ProPublica, and Jenny Ye, WNYC

On the coldest morning New York City has seen this winter, a stream of teenage students hit a bottleneck at the front of a Brooklyn school building. They shed their jackets, gloves, and belts, shivering as they wait to pass through a metal detector and send their backpacks through an X-ray machine. School-safety agents stand nearby, poised to step in if the alarm bleats.


Jessica Lahey, The Atlantic

Despite federal statues prohibiting it, many states imprison those under 18 alongside adults, where they are much more likely to suffer sexual abuse and violence.

January 8, 2016

Emma Brown, The Washington Post

The U.S. Education Department is urging the nation’s colleges and K-12 schools to guard against harassment and discrimination based on race, religion or national origin, a response to anti-Muslim and anti-refugee sentiments that appear to be on the rise.


William H. Frey, Los Angeles Times

In the 1960s, a flip but still effective aphorism summed up the rebelliousness of youth: “Don't trust anyone over 30.” As it turns out, that admonition is a much more fitting bumper sticker for today's student activists than it was 50 years ago. Young people now — the post-millennials — face a far deeper generational divide than the one that separated baby boomers from their parents. And the nation faces a far more serious crisis if that divide cannot be bridged.

Emily Richmond, The Atlantic

“People were afraid this was going to be a ‘hippy-dippy-granola, nobody’s-going-to-get-into-trouble’ concept.”

December 18, 2015

Sarah Rosenblatt, Trouthout

The movement for Hawaiian education is agitating for Native Hawaiian self-determination, for the Hawaiian language to be allowed in public schools and for the creation of independent schools based on philosophies and politics of Hawaiian culture, land and resilience.


Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun

High school teacher Alison Hanks-Sloan tried every way she could to stop 20 immigrant students from dropping out. She and a group of teachers gave them career counseling, visited their homes, and even brought in business leaders to explain how much more money they could make with a diploma.


Sarah Tully, EdSource

About half of the children in the two largest public preschool programs in California – Head Start and the California State Preschool Program – speak a language other than English at home, but there is a good chance they will not be in classrooms with teachers and teacher assistants who are bilingual or trained specifically in instructing English learners.


Justine McDaniel, The Inquirer

After The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published in 1885, the book was boycotted in some places in the United States for portraying friendship between a black man and a white boy. "In its time, it was derided and censored," said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom, which tracks challenges to books. Today, Mark Twain's classic - about a boy who flees his abusive father and travels down the Mississippi River with an escaped slave - is still sometimes challenged in American schools, but for nearly the opposite reason: its liberal use of the N-word and perceived racist portrayals of black characters.


December 11, 2015

Aisha Sultan, The Atlantic

“We are asking students to change a belief system without changing the situation around them.”


Tracey Taylor, Berkeleyside

Berkeley High School is preparing for a special day of “communal self-affirmation” on campus Wednesday, following a racist incident on Nov. 4 and the school-wide protest that came in its wake. BHS Principal Sam Pasarow said he is supporting Wednesday’s activities which will see a slightly modified class schedule and include two assemblies.


Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, NBC News

Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders from over 50 organizations are calling for restorative criminal justice policies and an end to the school-to-prison-to-deportation pipeline.


Sarah Favot, Los Angeles Daily News

The Los Angeles County Department of Probation has launched an educational program for Long Beach Unified School District students who are on probation or at risk of entering the system at Beach High School.


December 4, 2015

Daniel J. Losen, Michael A. Keith II, Cheri L. Hodson, Tia E. Martinez, Shakti Belway, The Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the Civil Rights Project /Proyecto Derechos Civiles

Districts making progress toward reducing racial/ethnic suspension disparities, though gaps still remain. Study shows higher test scores correlated with lower suspension rates, reducing concern that discipline reforms may jeopardize student achievement.


Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times

Just before 8 a.m. at Peary Middle School in Gardena, a boy was refusing to leave his mother's car. The school police officer on duty could have barked orders at him to get to class. He could have written him up for truancy. He could have forcibly moved him — as a South Carolina police officer did to a student last month, sparking a national uproar. But Los Angeles Unified School Police Officer Henry Anderson did none of that.


Audrey Cleo Yap, The Atlantic

Non-Asian students are increasingly spending their Saturdays immersed in China’s language and culture.


November 20, 2015


Sandra L. Osorio, Rethinking Schools

I was sitting around a kidney-shaped table with Alejandra, Juliana, and Lucia, 2nd graders who had chosen to read Del Norte al Sur (From North to South) by René Colato Laínez. I read the book’s introduction out loud, which included the word deportado (deported). I asked my students: “¿Qué es deportar? ¿Ustedes saben qué significa?” (What is deported? Do you know what it means?) Lucia looked straight at me and said, “Como a mi tío lo deportaron”. (Like my uncle, they deported him.)


Leslie Berestein Rojas, KPCC

Like many of her clients, Palazzolo would like to enter her son in dual-immersion classes, in which native-speaker kids learn along with non-native speakers. But these can be hard to get into, Palazzolo said. Some school districts don't have them. In the end, much is up to the parents.


Virginia Pelley, The Atlantic

A study published this month in JAMA Pediatrics suggests that anti-bullying efforts, including laws many states have passed in the past five years, appear to be helping the 20 percent of kids in the U.S. who say they’ve been bullied in the past 12 months.


November 13, 2015

Molly Jackson, The Christian Science Monitor

Staff applaud the goals of 'restorative justice,' a community-minded alternative to schools' 'zero tolerance' policies, which have not proven to be effective, but they add that more training and resources are needed.



Erin Brownfield, EdSource

Children who are expelled or suspended from preschool are more likely to have problems – including higher rates of incarceration – later in life, according to new report titled Point of Entry: The Preschool-to-Prison Pipeline. Preschoolers in public programs, according to research from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights cited in the report, were expelled at more than three times the rate of K-12 students in 2014.


Lindsay Pérez Huber and Daniel G. Solórzano

Latino Policy and Issues Brief, Number 30, November 2015

Research has shown that racial microaggressions are significant obstacles in the educational, professional, and life trajectories of Latinas/os and other people of color in the United States (Pérez Huber and Solórzano 2015; Pierce 1970; Solórzano 1998; Sue 2010), yet these experiences are often dismissed.


November 6, 2015

Theresa Harrington, EdSource

The State Board of Education is set to adopt a new set of instructional materials and textbooks for kindergarten through 8th grade on Wednesday that incorporates what education officials describe as a pathbreaking approach to more effectively teaching English learners.


Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic

Efforts to teach ELL students in their native languages are gaining traction—and they’re benefitting native English speakers, too.


Eric Westervelt, NPR

This week's viral videos of a Columbia, S.C., deputy's push-the-chair-over-and-drag-the-student arrest of a 16-year-old high school girl in her classroom has refocused attention on the expanding role of police in schools, "zero tolerance" discipline policies and the disproportionate punishment of minorities.


October 30, 2015

Matt Pearce and Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times

It happens so often in classrooms that it's almost unremarkable. A student sends a text during class, plays a video game on an iPad or mouths off, drawing a reprimand from the teacher. Then what? At Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C., a similar scenario ended Monday when a white sheriff's deputy — summoned after an African American student refused to leave the class — yanked the student from her desk and threw her across the floor.


KCRW, Guest: Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Columbia University

Around the country, students of color are suspended three times as often as white students, according to the Department of Education. We hear a lot about how these disparities affect boys. But girls get less attention, even though black girls are suspended six times more often than their white counterparts.


Mike Szymanski, LA School Report

A new LA Unified police diversion program, which replaces arrests with counseling, is keeping hundreds of students out of the city’s criminal justice system.


John Fensterwald, EdSource

Researchers studying a group of California school districts are highly critical of the state’s system for providing services to English language learners in a report released this week.

October 23, 2015

Corey Mitchell, Education Week

The White House and the U.S. Department of Education are working together to raise awareness of the needs of a growing, yet often-overlooked subgroup of students: English-language learners who are black.


Stephen Ceasar, Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have required state education officials to develop a model ethnic studies program for California's public schools.


Jamie Stengle, Associated Press

The recent arrest of a 14-year-old Muslim boy whose teacher mistook his homemade clock for a possible bomb led to widespread ridicule of school officials and accusations that Islamophobia may have played a part.



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