N.J. Schools Sued Over Policies Preventing Immigrant Student Enrollment

N.J. Schools Sued Over Policies Preventing Immigrant Student Enrollment

The 12 school districts require parents to provide a New Jersey driver’s license or other state-issued forms of identification that undocumented immigrants likely would not possess, in violation of both the state and federal constitutions, the ACLU says in its suit filed Thursday. Under current laws and policies, schools may only request proof of a child’s age, residence, and immunization record when registering them for classes, the ACLU says.

“New Jersey’s state Constitution calls for free public education, and that applies to every single child – no exceptions,” ACLU-NJ staff attorney Elyla Huertas said in a statement. “In a state where one in five residents is foreign-born, at a time when our president has made the exclusion of immigrants a key part of his policy agenda, it’s more important than ever for every school district in New Jersey to meet its obligations, both to New Jersey’s families and to the Constitution.”

In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas law that had denied undocumented immigrant children an education in the public school system. After a class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of Mexican school-age children who lived in Texas, the high court ruled that the law had violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. In a landmark ruling, the high court held that “education has a fundamental role in maintaining the fabric of our society” and that it “provides the basic tools by which individuals might lead economically productive lives to the benefit of us all.”

The lawsuits were filed in state Superior Court in the individual counties where the districts are located, one month after thousands demonstrated in Washington to protest the Trump administration’s immigration policies and separation of undocumented children from their parents at the Mexican border. The protest was organized by the American Civil Liberties Union and several other civil rights organizations.

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Deeper Learning Digest: How One High School Integrated Deeper Learning Into Its Curriculum

Deeper Learning Digest: How One High School Integrated Deeper Learning Into Its Curriculum

“We wanted to increase rigor and our students’ academic abilities, so I thought [deeper learning] would make sense for our school setting.”

That’s Jennie Canning, lead STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) teacher at Pittsburgh Brashear High School, explaining why she and Brashear’s principal, Kimberly Safran, reached out to the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) to help rethink their approach to instruction.

In this week’s Deeper Learning Digest learn how All4Ed provided direct technical assistance to teacher leaders at Brashear on implementing strategies that support deeper learning.

Elsewhere in this week’s Digest, what happens when schools are linked together in networks that share models, tools, and professional learning experiences? Expanded access to deeper learning experiences for more students.

This week’s Digest also explores dynamic math instruction and how to make project-based learning stick through professional development. And if you want to learn more about how adolescents’ tick, do we have a resource for you.

Deepening Students’ Learning at Pittsburgh Brashear High School

After the Pennsylvania Department of Education identified Pittsburgh Brashear High School as a priority school for improvement, the school’s educators began to rethink their approach to instruction.

Teacher leaders wanted to identify promising practices that would improve engagement for the school’s 1,230 students, most of whom are African American or come from low-income families. They also were looking for ways to increase academic rigor and promote cross-curricular instruction to enable all students to achieve academic excellence. So what did they do and which tools and resources did they use?

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Natasha L. Jones Named Principal at W.B. Goodwin Elementary

Natasha L. Jones Named Principal at W.B. Goodwin Elementary

Natasha Jones

Natasha Jones

Charleston County School District this week announced and welcomed Natasha L. Jones as principal of W.B. Goodwin Elementary School. Jones joins Goodwin from Memminger Elementary where she has served as assistant principal since 2014.

Jones began her teaching career in 1997 in Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District at Sharon Elementary School where she taught fifth grade and served as Lead Teacher. Three years later, Jones moved to Charleston to begin work as a fourth grade teacher at C.C. Blaney. Over the next several years, Jones taught fifth grade and held an administrative internship at Mary Ford Elementary, as well as taught sixth grade and middle school math at Jane Edwards Elementary while serving as the school’s textbook coordinator and PBIS Lead. Jones departed the classroom in 2013 for one year to work for the district’s Office of Teacher Effectiveness as a professional development coordinator. The following school year, Jones joined the staff of Memminger where she has served for the past four years.

Jones has been a member of several South Carolina Department of Education cohorts including the Aspiring Principals Program (DAPP), Foundations in School Leadership (FSL), and the Assistant Principal Program for Leadership Excellence (APPLE). Additionally, she has participated in Flip Flippen’s Capturing Kids’ Hearts training and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) training.

Jones holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Johnson C. Smith University and a Master of Education in Elementary Leadership and Supervision from The Citadel.


Betsy DeVos OKs Louisiana Pitch to Use Innovative Tests Under ESSA

Betsy DeVos OKs Louisiana Pitch to Use Innovative Tests Under ESSA

Louisiana is the first state to get the all clear from the U.S. Department of Education to participate in the Every Student Succeeds Act’s “Innovative Assessment” pilot.

So what exactly is the Innovative Assessment pilot? ESSA allows up to seven states to try out new kinds of tests in a handful of districts before taking them statewide. New Hampshire got the ball rolling for this back in 2015, under the previous version of the law, the No Child Left Behind Act, when it got the green light to try out performance-based exams in a handful of districts.

Louisiana is seeking to combine tests for two related subjects: English and social studies. The tests will include passages from books students have actually been exposed to in class, rather than brand-new material.

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Community and school step up to support teen denied Kalamazoo Promise scholarship for being homeless

Community and school step up to support teen denied Kalamazoo Promise scholarship for being homeless


By Fox 17

A Kalamazoo teen who learned just before graduation that she wouldn’t be eligible for the Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship is getting some support today.

Wednesday, Fox 17 told you about Zaviona Woodruff, who due to her family becoming homeless in 2016, moved out of Kalamazoo, even though she continued to attend Kalamazoo Public Schools. The Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship promises college tuition for students who graduate from the Kalamazoo Public Schools after attending from kindergarten through 12th grade and live in the city.

Woodruff had a 3.57 GPA and was an all-star on the bowling team. She had recently toured Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan and loved it.

Read more at https://fox17online.com/2018/07/26/community-and-school-step-up-to-support-teen-denied-kalamazoo-promise-scholarship/

Deepening Students’ Learning at Pittsburgh Brashear High School

Deepening Students’ Learning at Pittsburgh Brashear High School

After the Pennsylvania Department of Education identified Pittsburgh Brashear High School as a priority school for improvement, the school’s educators began to rethink their approach to instruction. Teacher leaders wanted to identify promising practices that would improve engagement for the school’s 1,230 students, most of whom are African American or come from low-income families. They also were looking for ways to increase academic rigor and promote cross-curricular instruction to enable all students to achieve academic excellence. So what did they do?

Specifically, the educators wanted guidance on how best to nurture students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills and abilities to collaborate, communicate effectively, and direct their own learning—a set of skills collectively known as deeper learning competencies. So, in 2017, the leadership team from the school’s STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) Academy contacted the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) for direct technical assistance on implementing strategies that support deeper learning.

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DESE Recognizes 2018 Pioneers in Education

DESE Recognizes 2018 Pioneers in Education

Six educators will be honored as Pioneers in Education on Monday, July 30, for their commitment and contributions to public education in Missouri.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will recognize the 2018 Pioneers during the 57th Annual Cooperative Conference for School Administrators at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach. The ceremony will take place during a luncheon where more than 600 school district leaders are expected to be in attendance.
The following individuals will be honored:

Joe Aull, Lexington, attended Lexington schools from kindergarten through high school. Upon graduating from Westminster University, he became a math teacher and basketball coach in Slater. As his career progressed, Aull served as a school principal in Lexington and Fulton, and he was named superintendent in Lexington and Marshall. He also served in the Missouri House of Representatives, was vice president of academics at Wentworth Military Academy and College, served as Lexington city administrator, and hosted a radio sports show.
Hugh Dunn, Macon, may be best known for his four-decade tenure as head football coach at Macon High School, home of Hugh Dunn Field. He attended Missouri Valley College and was a member of the football and track teams. Upon graduation, he began teaching and coaching in Macon. His teams won six league titles and made the state playoffs four times. Dunn was inducted into both the Missouri Coaches Hall of Fame and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. He is a decorated World War II veteran who earned a Purple Heart with Cluster and a Silver Star. Despite having lost an eye to infection as a child, he memorized the eye chart so he could enlist.

Ina Claire Lister, Bedford, Iowa, grew up in Iowa and entered Northwest Missouri Teachers College, returning to Iowa to begin her teaching career. When her family moved to Missouri, Lister taught in Hannibal and Savannah, eventually earning her Master of Science from Northwest Missouri State University. She served as a principal and became one of the first female superintendents in Missouri when she took the position in North Nodaway in 1986. Lister earned her doctorate in 1994. She has served as an adjunct instructor at Northwest Missouri State and as facilitator with DESE’s Northwest Regional Leadership Academy.

John Martin, Kansas City, was born in St. Joseph and grew up in St. Louis. He graduated from Harris Teachers College and began his career as an elementary social studies, math and physical education teacher in St. Louis. He became the first black principal of Flynn Park Elementary School in University City in 1980, where he was promoted to assistant superintendent of personnel. Martin and his family moved to Virginia for several years, and in that time, he earned his doctorate at Virginia Tech. Upon the family’s return to Missouri, Martin became superintendent in Grandview, where he retired after 10 years. He has since served assignments as assistant superintendent in St. Louis Public Schools and superintendent of Kansas City Public Schools. Martin was appointed to the State Board of Education in 2014 and served until 2017.

Carol Reimann, Cape Girardeau, was born in Cairo, Ill., but spent her entire life in Cape Girardeau. She earned her Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Southeast Missouri State College (SEMO) and began teaching first grade. Reimann later received her master’s degree from SEMO. In 1997, she was named the Missouri Teacher of the Year. One of her first-grade students grew up to become Missouri’s 2018 Teacher of the Year, the first time in Missouri that a Teacher of the Year has been taught by a Teacher of the Year. Reimann left the classroom and began working at DESE’s Southeast Regional Professional Development Center, where she stayed for 17 years. She retired on July 1, 2018, after a 50-year career in education.
Laurel Rosenthal, Carthage, said she wanted to be a teacher since kindergarten, when she was chosen to be in charge of handing out pencils. Rosenthal graduated from Southwest High School in Kansas City and earned her degree in education from the University of Missouri. She taught kindergarten for 21 years. In 1988, Rosenthal became principal at Mark Twain Elementary School in Carthage, which was the first school in Missouri to become a No Excuses school. No Excuses is a program that stresses college and career readiness among students from a young age. Rosenthal was named Carthage citizen of the year in 2009.

“These Pioneers are role models for educators everywhere,” interim Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Roger Dorson said. “They have dedicated their lives to promoting excellence in education, and we are proud to honor them with this well-deserved recognition.”
This marks the 44th consecutive year that state education officials have presented

COMMENTARY: Trump Wants to Merge the Ed. and Labor Departments. Here’s Why That’s a Bad Idea

COMMENTARY: Trump Wants to Merge the Ed. and Labor Departments. Here’s Why That’s a Bad Idea

July 19, 2018

President Donald Trump has proposed combining the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor. After asking educators for their opinions about the merger, Education Week reported that “educators, by and large, don’t seem to be fans of this idea.” Anthony Carnevale, the director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce has a different view. In a June 22 Washington Post op-ed defending the merger, he wrote, “Because education and careers are inextricably bound, we need to take an ‘all one system’ perspective that connects the education and career dots from middle school through college and early careers.”

Carnevale is right that a large majority of students—and their families—value education primarily because they want better careers. In a 2015 national poll of incoming college students from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, 85 percent of respondents ranked being “able to get a better job” as a very important reason for pursuing a college degree. But he is mistaken when he advocates merging the departments of Education and Labor. Too many of education’s other gifts are at stake.

Education’s purpose is more than career preparation. Leaving curricular decisions up to employers is not healthy for America. For example, Thomas Jefferson’s rationale for supporting public education was the need for an informed citizenry in a healthy democracy. Today, the lack of an informed citizenry may be our country’s biggest problem. Only 36 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the last midterm elections four years ago.

“Leaving curricular decisions up to employers is not healthy for America.”

Schools are responsible for preparing students for active roles as public citizens, as I have argued in these pages before. The 2018 “Brown Center Report on American Education” from the Brookings Institution shows very wide gaps in students’ knowledge of civics by race, ethnicity, and income. As racial and ethnic minorities grow in population and well-deserved political power, these gaps remain persistent and troubling…

Read the full story here: May require an Education Week subscription.

Florida is Last State Awaiting ESSA Plan Approval

Florida is Last State Awaiting ESSA Plan Approval

What to do?

President Donald Trump’s administration has in many ways held up Florida’s education system as a model for the nation. It’s hired many former Florida education officials to top jobs in its own education department.

Yet Florida’s proposed plan to meet federal Every Student Succeeds Act standards is now the only one that remains unapproved by Secretary Betsy DeVos.

As Education Week noted, DeVos approved the plans for California and Utah late last week. She did not, however, act on Florida’s submission, which commissioner Pam Stewart sent in late April

Read the full article here.

Why I Chose to be the Mentor for the NNPA’s Discover the Unexpected Journalism Fellowship Program

Why I Chose to be the Mentor for the NNPA’s Discover the Unexpected Journalism Fellowship Program

When I was a little girl I wanted two things: a pair of magic earrings, identical to the ones in my favorite cartoon, and to be a Fairy Princess Ballerina Astronaut. Both seemed like realistic options in my little world, which I created from my bedroom in Alexandria, Louisiana. I was not aware that hologram, time-traveling earrings did not exist…and probably never would in my lifetime. Nor was I told that balancing a theatrical career and space travel might prove to be difficult and test my time management skills.

I was young, full of hope and daring to dream.

As an adolescent, I aspired to be a ballet dancer. It seemed like a more far-fetched dream than the magic earrings, because I did not know any African American professional dancers. I could see my cartoon every week on TV in the living room (yes, cartoons felt like real life), but a real-life, professional dancer of color in front of my very eyes…not likely. I was often the only dancer of color in my ballet classes, and when you live in “Small Town, USA,” being a dancer, or any creative occupation for that matter, is not exactly encouraged.

My mother, my first mentor, recognized my passion and love for the performing arts and was determined to not only encourage me to pursue my dreams, but also to show me that those dreams could in fact become a reality.

My mother heard about a Principal Ballerina in her hometown of Houston, Texas by the name of Lauren Anderson. Ms. Anderson was a performance powerhouse with the Houston Ballet. She was also one of the first African American ballerinas to become a principal for a major dance company, an important milestone in American ballet. My mother had two tickets to see Ms. Anderson perform the Pas de Deux in “The Nutcracker” ballet, and she was taking her baby girl.

When Ms. Anderson stepped on stage, I felt as though I leaped onto that stage with her. Every step, turn, and gesture had a young Dana Blair mesmerized. The possibility of seeing someone like me, in front of my very eyes, accomplish their dreams was all of the motivation and inspiration I needed. I then knew that my dreams could also come true.

Fast forward several years to when I would move to New York City and, quite literally, live out multiple careers, first as a dancer and marketing executive and now an on-air correspondent and producer. While the journey seemingly had no clear path, it did have men and women along the way that took interest in my potential, supported my goals and nurtured my dreams. Thus, like my mother, these mentors went above and beyond the call of duty to guide, challenge and direct my energy and talents. They too showed me that my dreams could become my reality. Without them, I know I would not have achieved many of my milestones, big and small, along the way. Their mentorship guided me through difficult career decisions and taught me invaluable life lessons.

Each of my mentors over the years have come from different economic backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, and industries. However, they have all given me the same advice over the years: “Don’t thank me. Just pay it forward. One day it will be your turn.”

Now it is my turn to step up to the plate and pay it forward. This is why I joined NNPA’s 2018 Discover the Unexpected (DTU) Journalism Fellowship program as a Road Trip Navigator (mentor). I was honored to be considered for the role and leaped for joy once I found out that I was on the team. I now have the opportunity to align with General Motors and the Chevrolet Equinox, a brand as passionate about mentorship and empowerment as I am, plus get to know six really cool, motivated young men and women representing six HBCUs throughout the country.

I had the pleasure of meeting the DTU Fellows in Detroit for an intense two-day boot camp to get them road trip ready. I must say I felt like the overzealous, nosey auntie at the family BBQ. Their eyes were bright. The energy was high. I wanted to be all in the mix. I wanted to know everything about them from birth all the way up to what they had for breakfast that morning.

As six sets of eyes looked at me from around the table, I struggled to find the right words to empower and inspire, yet not overwhelm them (I tend to talk a lot!). These young, bright minds are future Black journalists that will shape dialogue in our country and increase representation for their generation.

What words of wisdom did I want to impart?

I came up with these three tips to help them prepare for their summer-long internship of road tripping in the new Chevy Equinox:

Be Prepared. You are journalists now. It is your duty to know all of the angles, research and possible plot twists on the subject. What do you want to discover, explore and share with your readers? Furthermore, how do you want to deliver this to your audience?

Be Polished. Ms. Anderson provided important representation in the dance world and created a ripple effect in my life, and I am sure in many others. It is important that the Fellows are on point. As young men and women being granted access to some really cool stories, rooms, and executives, conduct yourselves in a polished manner. You never know who is watching and what your presence may communicate.

Pay Attention. In media, it is your job to see the details. It is often those details or tidbits of information that pop up in an interview that can make or break a story- carrying you down a new road to find something truly powerful and interesting.

I am humbled and honored to be a part of the NNPA’s 2018 DTU Journalism Fellowship and the fellows’ journey. I hope that my stories, lessons learned, tips and, of course, the occasional corny joke show them that their dreams can become a reality, just like mine. This is their time to thrive and shine, and I am beyond thrilled to sit next to them in the driver’s seat. Let’s go DTU 2018 Fellows! We have some new roads to discover!

Dana Blair is the Road Trip Navigator for the NNPA’s 2018 Discover The Unexpected Journalism Fellowship program. Dana is also a producer and on-air personality. Follow Dana on Instagram @justdanablair.

Learn more about the NNPA’s Discover The Unexpected Journalism Fellowship at nnpa.org/dtu.