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Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:
School segregation is increasing, according to researchers.
As universal school meals program ends, President Biden is looking for ways to help schools access food.
One preventative response to school shootings is to more effectively address bullying.
To read more, click on the following links.
Research & Practice
An Expansive Look at School Segregation Shows It’s Getting Worse
Education Week: School segregation has increased in the last 30 years, especially in the 100 largest districts that enroll about 40 percent of the nation’s K-12 population. While the overall public school population has increased in diversity, and a majority of students are now nonwhite, schools remain highly segregated by race, ethnicity, and economic status, according to a newly released report by researchers from the University of Southern California and Stanford University. Segregation—both economic and racial—has been long linked to differences in test scores and educational opportunities in public education. In districts that are more segregated, systems may be providing unequal educational opportunities to white and Black students.
The ‘Homework Gap’ Persists. Tech Equity Is One Big Reason Why
Education Week: The “homework gap” is a term used to describe the difficulty students have in getting online at home to complete school assignments. It disproportionately impacts students in low-income households, students of color, and students in rural areas. Nearly a third of U.S. teenagers report facing at least one academic challenge related to a lack of access to technology at home according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center. The survey found that 22 percent of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 said they often or sometimes have to do their homework on a cellphone, 12 percent said they “at least sometimes” are not able to complete homework assignments because they do not have reliable access to a computer or internet connection, and six percent said they have to use public Wi-Fi to do their homework “at least sometimes” because they don’t have an internet connection at home. See related article: Washington Post “How the Pandemic and Remote Learning Have Impacted Teens.”
Maintenance of Equity Final Rule Clarifies Reporting Requirements, Extends Deadline
K-12 Dive: A long-awaited U.S. Department of Education final rule for the American Rescue Plan’s K-12 maintenance of equity provision clarifies requirements states need to follow to ensure districts are not making a disproportionate budget and staffing cuts at high-poverty schools. Specifically, the rule extends until July 8, the deadline for when states must publish information on school districts that are exempt from the requirement. It also addresses how state education agencies can report on district-level compliance. Some state and local school systems have said the rule’s reporting requirements, which only apply to the school year just ending and next school year, are burdensome, but many agree with the push to increase equitable practices.
As Universal School Meals Program Nears End, Biden Eyes Other Ways to Get Food to School Kids
Politico: Biden officials are reportedly working on a smaller effort to help schools buy select food products as the universal free school meals program Congress authorized during the COVID-19 pandemic approaches its expiration date. Administration officials are exploring using about $1 billion from an Agriculture Department fund to help schools purchase U.S. commodities for their meal programs. USDA did something similar last December, as districts struggled to find consistent sources of food amid ongoing supply chain disruptions from the pandemic. “USDA is looking at every tool at its disposal to ease the burden the pandemic has caused on school districts, but the magnitude of this problem requires Congressional action,” a department spokesperson said in a statement.
Ed Dept Sets Timeline for Online, Adaptive NAEP Administration
K-12 Dive: After a majority of the nation’s students went online during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nation’s Report Card plans to follow suit. The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics will administer the National Assessment of Education Progress online beginning in 2024, after piloting the online exam in 25 volunteer schools with over 1,000 students this past April. Prior to full implementation, NCES will test a random selection of almost 450 schools in spring 2023 using both online and offline administration, according to NCES commissioner Peggy Carr. In 2026, the assessments will become “device agnostic,” meaning students will eventually be able to test on any device.
Around the Nation
Diverse Student Needs Must be Considered in School Shooting Responses
K-12 Dive: Recovery following the trauma of a school shooting is not uniform — it varies by community, from school to school, across student subgroups and even among individuals. It is also impacted by factors like the availability of school counselors, barriers to accessing mental health support, and pre-existing traumas. Family structure, how different communities grieve, and past experiences with gun violence and law enforcement can all inform this process, as well. Because of these differences, measures commonly adopted by schools nationwide in response to school shootings — like doubling down on school police or bringing in grief counselors — should be tweaked or reconsidered to fit the needs of Black, Hispanic, and immigrant communities, according to school trauma, crisis, and security experts.
How 3 School Leaders are Preventing and Responding to Bullying
K-12 Dive: As educators, parents, policymakers, and others seek out solutions to school violence, efforts at bullying prevention and response are often cited as one approach to prevent tragic incidents like mass school shootings. While there is not one specific approach that can address all bullying situations, secondary school administrators who spoke to K-12 Dive said their school communities first work hard to build positive cultures and relationships. Staff also dig into the details of any allegation of bullying, listen to both sides of the conflict, add measures to prevent repeated unwelcome behaviors, and work toward resolutions that help the students involved feel safe.
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