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Weekly News Roundup: No More ‘Secret Handshake’

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Our team is always seeking the latest news in the field of education. As advocates for a high-quality education for ALL students, we know we have to stay up-to-date on everything that’s going on in the education spheres of our nation…from the White House to the local public school district, from new legislation to the small acts of bravery and kindness made by a single teacher, from the milestones and celebrations to the hazardous injustices affecting many of our nation’s students.

Here are the stories that we’ve been talking about this week.

No more ‘secret handshake’: Universal screening qualifies 600 more Memphis students for gifted education. via Chalkbeat

The shift to universal screening increases access to more rigorous instruction for students who might have otherwise been overlooked in teacher recommendations. Other districts that have started universal screening have also seen increases in both the number and diversity of gifted education programs. Researchers say relying solely on teacher recommendations can be biased against black and poor students.

Student will be barred from graduation unless he cuts his dreadlocks, school says via Washington Post

DeAndre’s refusal to cut his hair has stopped him from returning to normal classes, and his mother claims his only other option is to consider attending a nearby alternative school, according to KHOU-11.

“My hair has nothing to do with my ‘excellence,’ as we say in Barbers Hill,” the teenager told the station. “How smart I am, what job I’m going to get — my hair doesn’t determine that. I determine that for my character.

TEACHER VOICE: Helping a community near Ferguson, Missouri, heal after Michael Brown’s death via The Hechinger Report

In 2016, Missouri launched a trauma-informed schools initiative to realize, recognize, respond to and resist the impacts of trauma. Trauma-informed practices have simple goals but are complex to achieve. But the hard work is paying off. Our district has seen the total number of student suspension days reduced by half since we started this important work. In my own classroom, I see much less off-task behavior, and I notice students taking a moment to breathe deeply when they need to refocus.


One thing to read this weekend

States Are Burying Damning Data About School Funding via The New York Times

Any debate about fairness in school funding has to start with clear data, but it turns out that data can be very hard to find. Most people understand the inequity of school districts in wealthier areas having more money than those in less affluent communities. Addressing these disparities — across school districts — is important; but just as important, and less understood, is the unfair distribution of resources within school districts.


Did any of these articles particularly speak to you? We would love to hear your thoughts! Let us know in the comments below:

February 3, 2020
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The Expectations Project
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