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COMMENTARY: What More Can Be Done Under ESSA to Support Highly Qualified Teachers

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Teacher concerns transformed into organized protests when, in early 2018, the West Virginia teacher’s strike made headlines, lasting over 2 weeks. Local education activists and teacher advocates forced the state legislature to address many of their concerns through the statewide strike. Afterwards, teachers returned to their classrooms with a 5 percent pay raise. […]

Every time a Black child is sent home for a minor offense, they are sent the message that they are unwanted or don’t belong. But Black children do belong, and they deserve to be safe, included, and to have access to a quality education.
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COMMENTARY: For Black Children, Attending School Is an Act of Racial Justice

In the 2015-16 school year, Black boys made up 8 percent of public school enrollment, but they were 25 percent of the boys suspended out of school. Black girls were 8 percent of enrollment, but 14 percent of the girls suspended out of school. While Black children are overrepresented in practices that exclude or remove students from school, White children are underrepresented. Such data are clear evidence that racism and bias often drive exclusionary practices. To ignore this is to preserve the status quo. […]

Elizabeth Primas is an educator who spent more than 40 years working to improve education for children. She is the program manager for the NNPA’s Every Student Succeeds Act Public Awareness Campaign. Follow her on Twitter @elizabethprimas.
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COMMENTARY: A Dream Deferred — Is the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Just Another Elusive Dream?

Parents must get engaged to hold legislators and educators accountable for their ESSA State Plans. Parents must also hold themselves accountable in prioritizing the education of our children. Research shows that just one year with a bad teacher can put a child three years behind. Now, think about what happens after years of neglect and lack of advocacy. […]

Naomi Shelton has experience in education related community engagement both at the national and local levels and public administration. Currently, she is the Director of K-12 Advocacy at UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization.
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Equity v. Equality

ESSA gives power back to the states to control education policy. Now, members of the community must hold their school leaders and elected officials accountable to implement system-wide and school-specific measures that ensure equity in our schools. […]

Rebecca Francis is an alumna of the University of Houston where she earned Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in African American Studies.
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EDUCATOR SPOTLIGHT: Rebecca Francis

Francis has visited over 25 high-performing schools across the nation to learn what it takes to make award-winning, high-quality public charter schools. She believes charter schools offer an alternative option to parents and students who are not satisfied with the options available to them. […]

Dr. Elizabeth Primas, the program coordinator for the NNPA’s ESSA Public Awareness Campaign, says that, every student should have highly-qualified teachers and a menu of extra-curricular activities to choose from.
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Do children all need to succeed the same way?

Unlike widgets, children will never fit perfectly into standardized molds. They learn to walk at different ages. They learn to talk at different ages. And each child has a different set of interests and learning style. Students’ ability to demonstrate mastery in one area over another has a lot to do with their previous knowledge and exposure to out-of-the-classroom experiences. […]

Marker in Front of Tutwiler Funeral Home, Photo: Thomas R Machnitzki (thomas@machnitzki.com)/Wikimedia Commons
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COMMENTARY: Emmett Till, Violence, Voting Rights and Education Policy

NNPA NEWSWIRE — ESSA represents an opportunity to establish a more equitable playing field but the Trump administration’s 2019 federal budget proposes cutting $3 billion from the Education Department while investing over a billion dollars in school choice programs. More than 90 percent of students in the United States attend public schools, and, as of 2014, attendance in America’s public schools is majority-minority. […]

Photo Credit: San Antonio Current
Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos Slammed for Wanting to Use ESSA Funds to Purchase Guns in School

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights… we write to share our significant concern regarding the Department’s reported contemplation of the use of Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants provided to states under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for purchasing firearms and firearms training for school staff…” […]