New federal data on bullying, discipline, and school safety should prompt tough questions about why certain groups of students are unfairly singled out. Could it also prevent Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from rescinding Obama-era guidance on school discipline?  Today’s Federal Flash addresses that question, highlights new people taking over top positions at the U.S. Department of Education, and covers interesting comments on education coming from top Republicans on Capitol Hill.

On Tuesday the U.S. Department of Education released the 2015-2016 Civil Right Data Collection or CRDC, a biennial snap shot of data on bullying, discipline, and school safety among other items.

The data shows that black students and students with disabilities are suspended and arrested far more often than their peers. Given the information, many are hoping this will prevent the department from rescinding Obama-era guidance on school discipline that was designed to address those problems.

The data also confirms racial disparities across students when it comes to success in science, technology, engineering and math courses.  For example, 85 percent of white eighth graders who were enrolled in Algebra I passed the course, compared to only 72 percent of Latino students and 65 percent of black students. Among Native American students and students of two or more races, fewer than 50 percent passed the course.

The data also show that high schools with high percentages of black and Latino students are less likely to offer advanced math and science courses like calculus, physics, chemistry and advanced math.

In other news from the Education Department, several empty positions have been filled. On April 18, the Senate confirmed Carlos Muñiz to serve as the Education Department’s top lawyer.

In his role as General Counsel, Muñiz will be charged with tackling some of the stickiest legal issues confronting the Department including determining whether states are complying with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), deciding whether to rescind the school discipline guidance mentioned earlier, and laying out new rules for colleges handling allegations of sexual assault on campuses under Title IX.

Read the full article here.

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