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Weekly News Round-Up for January 5th
posted by: Melissa | January 05, 2018, 06:17 PM   

Each week, NWPE brings its members a round-up of what’s happening in education. From big, eye-catching headlines to the stories most papers overlook, we find the news our members really want to see. This week, the cold forces schools to close, Michigan is paying out $554 million, ESSA fights continue, a mom sues over religion, and more.

Historic Cold Prompts School Closures: Snow is pummeling much of the east coast, but even before the “bomb cyclone” arrived, it was unseasonably cold for much of the country. Although students should have been returning to school this week, the chilly temperatures prompted many districts to reconsider. While some mocked the decision to close just for cold weather, others pointed to a Harvard study that showed closing school for weather did not lead to a loss of learning. The question was especially relevant in Baltimore, where run-down schools couldn’t keep the plumbing going or classrooms heated, leading to accusations that the conditions were “inhumane.” The district said that efforts were made to repair facilities over the holidays, but that the extreme temperatures led to new problems emerging.

Michigan Must Repay Teachers: The Michigan State Supreme Court gave many teachers an early Christmas present by ruling in their favor in a law suit. The court said that the state had to refund $554 million to school employees in a 6-0 decision. The lawsuit was filed over a 2010 law that automatically deducted 3% of an employee’s wages for retiree health care. The law was declared unconstitutional and replaced by a later law, but the withheld wages were never returned to the teachers. The decision was praised by progressive education groups and the teachers’ union.

The Fight Over State ESSA Plans Continues: The Education Department has begun to give feedback to states on their ESSA plans in a process that has garnered criticism from both Republicans and Democrats. The state plans have been criticized for being weak and only paying lip-service to the law, prompting Education Secretary DeVos to inform some states that the plans needed to be revised. Some states have been purposefully keeping their plans vague to increase the state’s freedom in the future and disagree that the plans do not meet federal regulations.

Louisiana Mom, Student Sue School District Over Religion: A Louisiana mother says that her daughter’s school district is unconstitutionally promoting religion at school in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). While the parent is a Baptist herself, her high-school age daughter is agnostic. Both mother and daughter object to what they see as being clear violations of the constitution, such as having Christian performers at mandatory assemblies and bullying students into participating in religious activities. They say that the practices of the school district are in opposition to a long-held agreement of what separation of church and state means in a school setting.

Happening Elsewhere:

The biggest education stories of 2017 and 2018

What we’ve learned: 5 lessons from education research to take into 2018

4 Finalists Named for National Teacher of the Year Honor

Teachers left cruel voicemail for disabled girl’s mom

Fewer high school students are having sex

Army and homeland security prepping teachers for the gunman at the door

Judge grants Project Veritas a victory over Michigan teachers union

Tougher Tennessee school bus rules among laws taking effect

To save his Board of Education appointees, Greitens effectively shuts down the board

New Mexico won’t renew charter at largest online school

Federal court: California high school football player can kneel during anthem

Nebraska aims to ease path for future teachers

Newark schools chief resigns early to ease transition to local control

Teacher fired for showing students classical paintings containing nudity

What’s going on where you are?

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