Education Week of 7/30-8/4 in Review
Trump Signs Bill to Revise Tech Education Grant Program – From Engineering News-Record
President Trump has signed bipartisan legislation to revamp an important federal Department of Education program that provides grants to states to fund high school and post-secondary career and technical education (CTE).
The legislation, which President Trump signed on July 31, is the first reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act since 2006. The bill gained final congressional approval on July 25 when it was passed by a voice vote.
Supporters of the legislation say that it gives state agencies more flexibility and updates the grant program to reflect the current workforce situation. (View summary of bill from House Education and the Workforce Committee here.]
Governors have been working since 2014 to reauthorize the Perkins program, according to the National Governors Association (NGA). An NGA spokesperson said the measure gives governors a role in developing their respective Perkins plans—the first time in the history of the law such a role has been included.
The legislation authorizes money over six years for the program, with funding rising in small, annual steps from $1.23 billion in fiscal year 2019 to $1.32 billion in 2024. California will receive the largest estimated 2018 share, $120 million, followed by Texas, with $105 million, Florida, $69 million, New York, $54 million, and Ohio, $44 million.
Public schools owed $750M by state bring lawsuit – By Alex Derosier, the Associated Press, published in The Charlotte Observer
North Carolina school board leaders sued again Wednesday to receive more than $700 million in civil penalties that a court ruled 10 years ago was owed to districts because state agencies for years failed to pass them along.
The North Carolina School Boards Association and 20 individual school boards filed a lawsuit reviving a legal battle over fees collected by agencies for late tax payments, overweight vehicles and other items.
The state constitution requires certain fines and forfeitures go to public schools, but between 1996 and mid-2005 seven state agencies failed to pass the money along, according to court decisions.
School boards sued in 1998, and the state Supreme Court in 2005 agreed that state agencies were violating the constitution. A trial judge in 2008 determined districts should receive nearly $750 million from the penalty proceeds. But Superior Court Judge Howard Manning stopped short of ordering the legislature to pay up, saying that was beyond the scope of his judicial power.
A decade later, almost all the state agencies have yet to pay. With just a week before the 2008 court decision expires, the association and board leaders filed a new lawsuit to revive it.
"The plaintiffs did not want to file this lawsuit," school boards association attorney Rod Malone said at a Durham school announcing the action filed in Wake County Superior Court. "But after 10 years of unsuccessful attempts to collect on the judgment, or to reach an amicable settlement on the matter, the plaintiffs had no choice."
Armed guardians train for new school year – By Meryl Kornfield, South Florida Sun Sentinel
Florida created the Aaron Feis Guardian program as part of safety measures enacted after the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland.
The new requirement calls for armed security personnel at every campus, meaning each school must have at least a police officer or an armed guardian.
In Broward County, that means 55 armed guardians need to be trained to fill in gaps. So far, 57 have qualified to enter. In addition to the 16 currently training, another 30 will go through training in the fall.
The sheriff’s office is still trying to recruit more guardians. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel went to the National Guard in Miramar over the weekend and spoke to 40 soldiers to encourage them to sign up. Applicants must be at least 21 years old, have worked with adolescents before and have at least two years of military or sworn law enforcement experience in the last decade
The district will pay the guardians $25,000 to $33,000 a year. The Sheriff’s Office will provide each with a uniform and 9 mm handgun. The uniform design hasn’t been finalized yet.
Possible key to black boys' academic success: Hire black men as elementary school teachers – By Ted Gregory, Chicago Tribune
The University of Illinois at Chicago will invest about $1 million in an initiative to recruit and train male elementary education majors of color, similar to how universities recruit and train star athletes.
Nationwide, 2 percent of public school teachers are African-American males and 2 percent are Hispanic males, while students of color make up about half the nation’s public-school enrollment from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Illinois State Board of Education data show that the percentage of black male teachers in the state’s public elementary schools is even smaller. There are about 575 black male public elementary school teachers in Illinois — roughly 1 percent of the total — and the number who are Hispanic and male is even smaller, at approximately 465.
Research suggests that those percentages are associated with academic problems for young black male students, in particular, from higher dropout rates to larger achievement gaps between them and white students. Differences for Hispanic students are less distinct.
And analysis-after-analysis shows that increasing the number of black elementary school teachers can help reverse those trends.
The University of Illinois at Chicago program is called Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models (Call Me MISTER). The inaugural group of seven students — one African-American, and six incoming freshmen who are Latino —will receive full scholarships covering tuition and room and board. Academic and mentoring support also will be provided, as will job placement assistance.
The Chicago program is modeled after an initiative started at Clemson University in 2000. Faculty at the South Carolina school were startled by the high number of black men incarcerated and the low number of black teachers in the state, said Roy Jones, executive director of the MISTER program and one of the early organizers of the initiative.