Weekly News Round-Up for July 14th
posted by: Melissa | July 14, 2017, 05:01 PM   

Each week, ASTA brings its members a round-up of what’s happening in education. From big, eye-catching headlines to the stories most papers overlook, ASTA finds the news our members really want to see. This week, we have new graduation requirements, a $50 million grant, special education ratings and more!


Chicago Implements New Graduation Requirements: Chicago Public Schools is implementing a new graduation requirement. In the future, students will not be able to graduate without specifying what they will be doing after graduation. The post-graduation plan gives them a choice of college, job, apprenticeship, gap year program, or joining the military. Opponents to the rule doubt whether CPS has the funds to provide enough mentoring for students developing their plans, and worry that the plans don’t address the many needs of students living in poverty. Emanuel announced the change in April, saying that it was part of moving Chicago to a pre-K to college model.


H-E-B CEO Gives $50 Million to Teacher Training: A charity run by grocery store magnate Charles Butt has pledged $50 million to train teachers in Texas. Ten Texas institutions are receiving the funds to provide scholarships to education students, with the goal of attracting high-quality teaching candidates. There’s also an emphasis on using the funds to create more rigorous teacher training programs. The money was given through his Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation.


Delaware Turns Special Ed Rating Around: In the Department of Education’s most recent rating of Delaware’s special education programs, they gave the state the highest possible rating. Only three years ago, the state had earned a “needs intervention” rating. Over the past three years, the state has focused on teacher training, accurate measurements of student data, and helping schools and districts individually.


RI Schools Still Waiting on Budget: Rhode Island’s current budget impasse has resulted in a hold on $45 million worth of education funding. Without a budget, state-level funding is identical to what it was in the 2016-17 fiscal year, but because of changes in student data, districts can expect to receive different amounts, meaning that some districts are facing cuts. Similarly, some charter schools are also seeing a dramatic cut in funding.


WA State Drops Biology Requirement: A new law signed by WA Gov. Jay Inslee allows students to graduate without passing a biology test in high school. About 4% of seniors failed the test this past year. According to the new law, if those students had failed the test but met other graduation requirements, they would now graduate automatically. The requirement for the biology test will be back in place in 2021. The state legislature passed the law unanimously.


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