Raising the Voices of African American Girls Who Have Been Mistreated in Their Schools

Girls are often told they can be anything they want to be, but what is rarely said is that what they look like matters greatly. African American girls are one of the most at-risk student groups in the United States, and often face substantial barriers to reaching their full potential. In Michigan, a 15-year-old African American girl was incarcerated during the COVID-19 pandemic because she violated her probation by not completing her schoolwork. In Sacramento, a 9-year-old African American girl was suspended and kicked out of her virtual classroom because she was asking too many questions via the chat section. This treatment is not isolated or limited to the classroom. In the 2017-2018 school year, African American girls were four times more likely to be expelled, four times more likely to be suspended from school, and five times more likely to be arrested than Caucasian girls.

Read more...

Contracts Can Support the Child Care Workforce but Require Thinking outside the Box

This post was originally published on Urban Wire, the blog of the Urban Institute.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the child care and early childhood education (CC/ECE) workforce has faced severe instability. Lower enrollment, income loss, higher operating costs, and increased fears of health risks, combined with preexisting challenges, including low pay, inadequate benefits, high turnover rates, and demanding work, have left the field in turmoil. These challenges are acute for Black, Latina, and Native American providers, who make up more than 35 percent of the (PDF) CC/ECE workforce. To prevent permanent job loss and damage to a field dominated by women of color, states must act now to stabilize and support the CC/ECE workforce.

Read more...

Two Opportunities for States to Support More Thoughtful School District Recovery Plans

In public school districts across the nation we see the familiar June images of high school seniors celebrating, teachers grading projects and final exams, and superintendents…drafting plans to spend billions of new dollars?!?
Yes, strategic planning is ramping up just as the school year is winding down. To help districts meet this critical moment, there are two small but important things state education agencies (SEAs) can do in their soon-to-be-submitted American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) plans. These opportunities arise from recent clarifications by the U.S. Department of Education (USED) about how SEAs and local education agencies (LEAs) can approach figuring out how best to use new federal resources to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the big new pot of ARP funds.

Read more...

Transforming the Education Sector into a Learning System: Perspectives from the Field and Recommendations for Action

In 2019, we made the case for why our education agenda must prioritize adopting a learning systems approach in education at all levels, and we articulated a framework for what such a system should look like and include.
More recently and in collaboration with Carnegie Corporation of New York, we attempted to answer the question of how we begin to make and accelerate these shifts, drawing on the insights and experiences of those leaders in the field doing the hard work to create a learning systems approach in their own contexts. The research for this paper reinforced an important lesson for anyone seeking to advance a learning system approach: we must be learners ourselves, adjusting our strategies in response to new information. This includes understanding how our theories are playing out in reality, including the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and the economic crisis as well as ongoing challenges to racial justice in our schools and communities.

Read more...

Immediate Actions Policymakers Could Take to Support the CC/ECE Workforce

Immediate Actions Policymakers Could Take to Support the CC/ECE Workforce
By Gina Adams, Danielle Ewen, and Grace Luetmer
As COVID-19 began to spread in the United States last March, many child care centers and home-based child care providers closed. And although providers have slowly begun to return to work, as of December, the workforce is still nearly 20 percent smaller than it was before the pandemic.
When compared with the 6 percent national drop in employment over the same time period, the challenges facing the child care field are clear. These massive job losses plague a workforce already beset with low wages and challenging working conditions.
And because the child care/early childhood education (CC/ECE) field is disproportionately composed of Black and Latina women, who face inequitable opportunities and significant wage gaps, this crisis has had a major impact on the earnings and career trajectories of many women of color.

Read more...

An Anti-Antiracist Federal Curriculum is Neither Patriotic nor Legal. Discuss.

The Trump Administration recently waded into waters reserved – not only by tradition but also by federal law – for state and local educational agencies: what curriculum is taught in public schools. Most significantly, the President threatened to withhold federal education funding from the state of California if it uses the 1619 Project curriculum. In a September 17 speech delivered at the White House Conference on American History, he described that particular curriculum (and other anti-racist approaches) as “toxic propaganda, ideological poison that, if not removed, will dissolve the civic bonds that tie us together.” He also announced the creation of a 1776 Commission that would “promote patriotic education” and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant that would fund the creation of “a pro-American curriculum that celebrates the truth about our nation’s great history.”
Many education and legal experts quickly pointed out that federal law prohibits the federal government from getting involved in state and local decisions about curriculum. Most cited Section 8526A of the major federal education statute, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which states:
No officer or […]

Read more...

EducationCounsel supports efforts to protect rights of transgender students across the country

Through its long-standing engagement with GLSEN, a national nonprofit dedicated to promoting and supporting LGBTQ+ inclusive schools, EducationCounsel has authored numerous amicus briefs along with Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP on behalf of GLSEN, the National PTA, the American School Counselor Association, and the National Association of School Psychologists (referred to as “amici” below) in the U.S. Supreme Court and several federal circuit courts of appeal.
While equitable access to school restrooms may seem unimportant and tangential to some, being able to use the restroom that matches his gender identity has been the plight of Gavin Grimm, and to an increasing number of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, for many years. His journey continues with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing oral arguments on his case late last month — for the second time.
Last year, EducationCounsel filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on behalf of Gavin (Grimm v. Gloucester Country School Board). Gavin, who identifies as transgender, is a former student of Gloucester County Schools and has been fighting for relief […]

Read more...

EducationCounsel’s Statement on Racial Justice

June 3, 2020
The horrific killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless other Black people, combined with the nationwide protests that followed, have once again laid bare the painful truth that systemic racism and inequities remain an unconscionable blight on our nation.  In criminal justice.  In housing.  In healthcare. In employment. And also in education.
In this moment, like too many that have preceded it, we hear, honor, and share the grief and outrage of our Black family members, friends, and colleagues; and we commit to speaking up and taking action—Black lives matter.

Read more...

Building Back Better: Ensuring Equitable Funding for the Students Who Need it Most

May 28, 2020
Cathy Holahan & EducationCounsel
The K-12 public education system has a long way to go towards providing truly equitable student experiences and outcomes for students — ones that prepare them to thrive in school and beyond. We know that in order to create equitable learning environments we must aspire to a number of key characteristics for schools — including culturally affirming curriculums, safe and empowering climates, and flexible designs that meet the needs of all learners.

Read more...

The CARES Act: Five Things that School and District Leaders Need to Know Now

April 30, 2020
Sean Worley, Scott Palmer

The following was created in partnership with the Wallace Foundation and originally appeared on their blog on April 23, 2020.
The newly enacted federal law in response to the coronavirus crisis provides more than $30 billion for K-12 and higher education programs; more than $4 billion for early childhood education; and other supports such as forgivable loans to nonprofits, including many providers of afterschool or summer programs. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act comes at a moment when many states and districts are closing schools while seeking to continue to educate students, out-of-school-time programs are pondering how best to offer services and summer is fast approaching.
To assist decision makers, this post summarizes five things that school and district leaders should know about the major education provisions in the CARES Act. It also contains information pertaining to nonprofits.

The $2.3 trillion CARES Act provides new, one-time funding for states, districts and schools—based in part on poverty but with significant flexibility regarding where funds are used.

The law includes a $30.75 billion Education Stabilization Fund divided into three parts and meant to provide initial […]

Read more...