Weekly NewsBrief 9/23-9/29

News Clip

City schools are getting safer: report – By Meaghan McGoldrick, Brooklyn Daily Eagle

New York City schools are the safest they’ve been in years, according to data released Tuesday in the 2019 Mayor’s Management Report.

The NYPD’s School Safety Division clocked fewer felony school safety incidents during the 2018-2019 school year than the 2017-2018 school year, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s annual look back on the last fiscal year.

There were 22 fewer felony reports in schools, the data shows.

The number of incidents in other criminal categories declined by almost a quarter, from 2,026 during the 2017-2018 school-year to 1,537 this past year. Non-criminal incidents declined by nearly 18 percent, from 5,112 to 4,202.


Millions to fund electric school bus initiative – from CBS19news.com

Virginia is going to dedicate several million dollars to fund a new initiative aimed at accelerating the deployment of electric school buses across the Commonwealth.

Governor Ralph Northam announced on Tuesday that Virginia will put $20 million from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust into the initiative while attending a Climate Week NYC event.

According to a release, public school divisions across Virginia can apply for funding from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality through a competitive application process that will be administered in partnership with the state Department of Education. This will begin early next year.

The initiative will prioritize electric school buses while also setting aside a small reserve for propane buses.

“School buses are the safest way to transport students to and from school, but as a pediatric doctor, I know the harmful effects of diesel-powered buses on our children's health,” said Northam. “This initiative represents a significant investment in the electrification of our transportation system, in our efforts to address the climate crisis, and in an environment that allows Virginia children to learn, grow and thrive.”


Science Education Is Under Legislative Attack – By Glenn Branch, Scientific American

Nearly a quarter of a million science teachers are hard at work in public schools in the United States, helping to ensure that today’s students are equipped with the theoretical knowledge and the practical knowhow they will need to flourish in tomorrow’s world. Ideally, they are doing so with the support of the lawmakers in their state’s legislatures. But in 2019 a handful of legislators scattered across the country introduced more than a dozen bills that threaten the integrity of science education.

It was a mixed batch, to be sure. In Indiana, Montana and South Carolina, the bills sought to require the misrepresentation of supposedly controversial topics in the science classroom, while in North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota, their counterparts were content simply to allow it. Meanwhile, bills in Connecticut, Florida and Iowa aimed beyond the classroom, targeting supposedly controversial topics in the state science standards and (in the case of Florida) instructional materials.

Despite their variance, the bills shared a common goal: undermining the teaching of evolution or climate change. Sometimes it is clear: the one in Indiana would have allowed local school districts to require the teaching of a supposed alternative to evolution, while the Montana bill would have required the state’s public schools to present climate change denial. Sometimes it is cloaked in vague high-sounding language about objectivity and balance, requiring a careful analysis of the motives of the sponsors and supporters.