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Weekly News Round-Up for September 29th
posted by: Melissa | September 29, 2017, 06:25 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, a potential Supreme Court turning point and national anthem protests grip the country’s schools.

Supreme Court to Hear Union Forced Dues Case: Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear arguments in the case of Janus v. AFSCME. The lawsuit challenges a public sector union’s authority to collect agency fees from non-members. In states with agency fee laws, non-members pay a significant fee to the union to cover the cost of union representation in the workplace. Opponents argue that collective bargaining is a type of speech that many non-members do not want to support and forcing them to do so is a violation of their first amendment rights. The case was featured on an AAE-hosted panel at The Heritage Foundation in August, alongside AAE’s related lawsuit, Yohn v. CTA.

National Anthem Protests Spill Over to Schools: Last weekend, professional athletes across the country protested silently during the national anthem and their actions were mimicked by students this past week. Students in California, Illinois, and Florida have all made news for choosing to kneel during the anthem or the pledge. In some cases, the administration has tried to crack down on the protests. In Louisiana, one principal wrote a letter to parents stating that students participating in sporting events would be required to stand and in Denver, Victory Preparatory Academy sent the entire high school student body home after a silent protest during the Pledge. Such moves would likely violate a previous ruling by the Supreme Court that said schools could not force students to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance or similar activities and some schools are asking for educators to be lenient with protesting students. It makes a tricky situation for coaches, who are trying to navigate both their student’s rights and the feelings of the community.

Trump Administration Pushes Computer Science: In a new push, President Donald Trump has urged the Education Department to focus on improving computer science in K-12 schools. The request, which asked for annual spending of $200 million per year, quickly earned support from computer science professionals and other businesses who pledged $300 million to the effort.

$253 Million Spent on Charter School Expansion: Over $250 million in charter school grants has been awarded to states, charter management organizations, and others by the U.S. Education Department. The money will be used to develop and open new charter schools, a long-time priority of the Trump Administration and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Success Academy and IDEA Public Schools both won considerable amounts in the effort. Several charter advocates argue that while the grants are step in the right direction, they still fall short of the funds that are truly needed to empower students and parents in their own educational decisions.

Blue Ribbon Schools Announced: This week, the U.S. Education Department announced the 2017 Blue Ribbon School Winners. The Blue Ribbon Schools Program was started in 1982 to recognize schools based on their overall academic achievement or the work that they’ve done to close achievement gaps. This year, 342 schools across 44 different states won the award.

Also Happening:

If your teacher looks like you, you may do better in school

Florida schools becoming more segregated

The 10 best and 10 worst states for teachers

Arizona ranks as worst state to be a teacher

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey launches Arizona Teachers Academy with aim to help instructor shortage

Florida gender-neutral teacher reassigned and called ‘distraction’ to students

What’s going on where you are?

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