Weekly News Round-Up for August 17th
posted by: Melissa | August 17, 2018, 07:13 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, we find the news our members really want to see. This week, safety’s all the rage, no more Mondays for one district, and an Oklahoma district closes.


Safety’s on the Brain this Back-to-School Season: Many schools across the country opened their doors this past week and it was clear the one thing on the mind of both educators and parents was avoiding a repeat of last year’s violence. Schools across the country have beefed up their security for the 2018-19 school year, nowhere more so than in Parkland, Florida. For parents, bulletproof backpacks have been a hot seller this year. In North Dakota, police have requested AR-15s for their school resource officers. However, not everyone is in agreement about the measures to harden schools and there’s debate over how far to go. Despite all the new safety effots, the school year is off to a rough start with incidents in Florida and Oklahoma marring the first days of school.


CO School District Moves to 4-Day School Week: District 27J in Colorado is attempting to save money this year by moving to a four-day school week instead of the typical five days. The move will eliminate Mondays for students and is expected to save the district $1 million. Teachers will be required to work one Monday each month and administrators will work two Mondays each month. The district is not the first in the state or in the country to make the move and there are even other districts making the same change this school year, but it is one of the largest districts to make a change like this and so it is getting more attention. Many districts moving to this model argue that it both saves money and provides more time for teacher preparation.


Threats to Student Closes School District for Two Days: Achille Public Schools was closed on Monday and Tuesday after parents made threats against one of the students on Facebook. The threats were made on an unofficial page after parents were alerted that the male-to-female transgender student would be using the girl’s restroom this school year. The threats were violent in nature and sometimes explicit. The district chose to close until it could ensure student safety. Retaliatory threats against some on the Facebook group also caused a school for the deaf, 60 miles north of Achille, to close in fear for the safety of its students. The district reopened on Wednesday, although the investigation into the threats is ongoing. The bathroom transgender students use continues to be a hot spot for controversy, which is why one Kansas City school district has renovated its school’s restrooms to be gender neutral.


Teachers Run in, and Win, Primaries: After a spring full of teacher protests, this summer has seen a surge in teachers running for office. There are over 300 educators on the ballot this year which is more than double the number that ran in 2016. Among the candidates is Jehana Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, who won her primary race for Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District. If Hayes wins, she’ll be the first black woman to represent the state of Connecticut in Congress.


Teachers Spending More on Supplies than in Previous Years: A new report has come out saying the money teachers are paying out of their personal funds for classroom supplies has hit a five year high. The report claims teachers are spending $652 on average. While others put the number at $479, all agree that teachers spend too much. With the amount they pay each year increasing, teachers continue to struggle to make ends meet and some have come up with creative solutions. Meanwhile, more people than ever seem to be willing to donate to teachers. Recently, the founder of Craigslist announced a matching donation of $1 million for STEM projects and an anonymous donor gave every teacher in one district $100 for school supplies.


Happening Elsewhere:

In wake of Supreme Court's anti-union ruling, nonmembers seek repayment of dues

Alabama public schools may soon add 'In God We Trust' displays

Florida public schools required to put phrase ‘In God We Trust’ on display

Recess is now mandatory at N.J. elementary schools

Report Shows OH State Funding for Elementary Education Hasn't Changed Much

EpiPen shortage has parents struggling during back-to-school season

Betsy Devos gives $359 million to assist students displaced by natural disasters, even as prior grant money remains unused

Poudre School District joins lawsuit to challenge new Colorado law on school choice

Despite earlier attack ads, Colorado teachers union endorses Jared Polis for governor

Tennessee Department of Education releases report on educator diversity

In Puerto Rico, new school year begins after Hurricane Maria, big changes to education system

RI education chief proposes ways to hire teachers for hard-to-fill subjects

New law lets IL students take unlimited dual-credit classes

Judge rejects challenge to Arizona’s Invest in Education Act

Sumter County, Ala., just got its first integrated school. Yes, in 2018.

Florida school receiving death threats after turning away 6-year-old with dreadlocks


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