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Weekly News Round-Up for October 13th
posted by: Melissa | October 13, 2017, 06:15 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, natural disasters continue to effect schools across the country, the Education Department unveils new spending priorities, and some charters gain right to certify their own teaching force.


Natural Disasters Affect Schools in PR, CA: With wildfires in California and Puerto Rico still reeling from Hurricane Maria, schools across the country are having to adjust. Puerto Ricans, including students and teachers, have begun to flood from the island to the mainland. In Orlando, the school district is prepared for both using Puerto Rican teachers to help fill vacancies. New York City is also preparing for the influx, and is currently surveying which schools will be able to absorb the new students. Meanwhile, fires in California are forcing some schools to close due to concerns about student safety and air quality.


DeVos Unveils K12 Priorities: A new set of priorities has been put forth by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos this week. The new priorities focus on STEM education, special education, school safety and school choice. The priorities will be pursued mainly through the use of education grants, of which the Education Department awards $4 billion annually.


NY Charters OK’d to Certify Their Own Staff: A NY Education Committee has given the okay to SUNY-authorized charter schools to certify their own teachers. The move is meant to combat a teacher shortage in the state and will allow charters to hire teachers who have at least 40 hours of classroom experience and 160 hours of education classes. The move has resulted in criticism from the teachers’ union who has filed a lawsuit against the state.


Kansas Teacher at Center of ACLU Lawsuit: The ACLU is suing the state of Kansas over a law that prohibits the government from entering into a contract with anyone who is boycotting the country of Israel. At the center of the lawsuit is Kansas educator Esther Koontz, a devout Mennonite and pastor’s wife, who is boycotting Israel due to its treatment of Palestinians. This mirrors the actions of the Mennonite church as a whole, which has divested itself of companies profiting off of the Palestinian occupation. Koontz is losing her employment due to her refusal to sign a contract that states she will not boycott the country. The ACLU claims that this is a violation of Koontz’s first amendment rights.


Teacher Pay in South Dakota May Be Improving: Last Friday, South Dakota’s Department of Education released a report that showed a substantial pay increase for teachers in the state. According to the report, teacher pay in the state was up 8.8% in the 2016-17 school year when compared to the previous year. This is thanks to funds provided by the state for that purpose. However, not all schools used the funds to increase pay. About one fourth of the state’s school districts used the funds for other purposes. The state is now warning those school districts that they may lose funding altogether.


Happening Elsewhere:

20,000 DACA teachers at risk

Teachers union seeks injunction to block CT education cuts

New Oklahoma test score standards produce predicted drop

Oregon’s state schools chief forced out

Schools concerned about cybersecurity, PA survey finds

Republican lawmaker pushing to eliminate ‘irrelevant’ state board of education


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