Last Week’s Best Articles | Commission Rescinds Civil Rights Protections and Charter School Leaders Should Talk More about Racism

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 some stories we came across last week that we’re focused on.

Betsy DeVos panel rejects Obama-era effort to reduce discrimination in school discipline via The Washington Post

President Trump’s school safety commission will recommend canceling an Obama-era initiative meant to reduce racial disparities in school discipline and will not recommend new gun restrictions, people familiar with the matter said.

The 2014 Obama-era letter cited data showing African American students are more likely to be disciplined than their white peers and said the gap cannot be explained by more frequent or serious misbehavior. Relying on the concept of “disparate impact,” it said a school may be discriminating if its policies have a discriminatory effect, even if they are not explicitly biased.

A report this year from the Government Accountability Office documented the gaps and suggested racial bias may be to blame: “Implicit bias — stereotypes or unconscious association about people — on the part of teachers and staff may cause them to judge students’ behavior differently based on the students’ race and sex.”

Keeping Wake County Schools Diverse Is Worth Extra Snow Days via Raleigh News & Observer

The vote [to merge city and county school systems] may rank as the greatest accomplishment in the county’s history. Not only were schools improved for all races and incomes, but the single-system spurred the housing market, curbed “white flight” from Raleigh and boosted business since no matter where families bought a home, their children could attend the same school system.

The merger created a school system praised for the quality and the diversity of its schools. That helped make Wake County one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation and contributed to its towns and cities landing spots on best-places-to-live lists.

Parents Are Biased Against Even Quality ‘Urban’ Schools via The Atlantic

Despite signs of a reversal in the white flight that crippled urban school districts following desegregation orders tracing back to the late 1960s and ’70s, research suggests that the country is seeing a new iteration of income-based housing segregation driven almost exclusively by affluent families with children. By moving to certain neighborhoods in pursuit of what they perceive to be good schools and to flee what they perceive to be bad ones, they contribute to school-funding inequalities by taking resources and social capital with them.

This dynamic, which is seen in urban areas across the country that give parents significant choice over where to send their kids to school, has been found to exacerbate educational stratification and racial segregation. The result is that even when urban districts improve a little, they struggle to improve a lot. And yet another generation passes through an education system defined by its unevenness and its racial divides.

One thing to read this week…

Charter school leaders should talk more about racism via The Hechinger Report

Income and wealth consistently rank as the strongest predictors of academic success. But racism is the reason students in black neighborhoods don’t get the finances they need.

Racism creates systems that undervalue black schools, homes, and lives, leading to fewer resources for the people who need every cent. If charter backers and other school reformers are really going to uplift black and brown students, they must recognize this and fight funding inequities created by that devaluation of black worth.

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

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