Here’s a roundup of the education articles that caught Next America’s eye from Jan. 6 to 13. All address trends that particularly affect minority students.
SOME RECRUITED ATHLETES CAN’T READ. A CNN investigation finds that many college basketball and football players read at below a high school level — meaning that institutions are getting revenue from students who aren’t prepared to succeed in class. Student advisers are under tremendous pressure to make sure athletes don’t flunk out of school, and there’s little time for tutoring on an NCAA schedule. CNN
A SHIFT AWAY FROM ZERO TOLERANCE. Civil-rights advocates are cheering the Obama administration’s recommendation that public schools use law enforcement only as a last resort for disciplining students. The Los Angeles Unified School District is one of many districts nationwide stepping away from zero-tolerance policies, recognizing that such policies raise dropout rates and disproportionately affect minorities and students with disabilities. The New York Times and NPR
CORRUPTION IN CHICAGO CHARTER SCHOOLS? UNO Charter Schools, the nation’s biggest Hispanic charter-school operator is in trouble — suffering from revelations of insider contracts, nepotistic hires, and cronyism, plus a federal investigation into a bond deal that helped the network expand. Chicago magazine looks into the rise and fall of former UNO leader Juan Rangel and the lack of city and state oversight that made it possible for the charter network to collect so much money without using it all to benefit students. Chicago
MEMPHIS’S INCREASINGLY FRAGMENTED DISTRICT. Add turmoil in district management to Memphis’s woes. The underperforming, high-poverty city district, which mostly serves African-American students, has been broken in two: In 2010, the state created the Achievement School District, which will turn low-performing schools over to charter operators, while last summer the rest of the district merged with the more affluent Shelby County system. Already, some Shelby County towns are threatening to leave the combined district. The county commission and city council are suing, alleging that the move is an attempt to resegregate county schools. Education Week
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CLASS OF 2004? A federal study tracking 2002’s high school sophomores found that 10 years later, a third of the students had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, and 19 percent had some other undergraduate-level credential. Hispanic and African-American students were more likely to stop at a high school degree, and were also more likely to have attended some college but not completed a degree. Inside Higher Ed
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"A growing number of key Republicans are sending this message to the leaders of the congressional committees investigating potential Trump campaign collusion with the Russians: Wrap it up soon. In the House and Senate, several Republicans who sit on key committees are starting to grumble that the investigations have spanned the better part of the past nine months, contending that the Democratic push to extend the investigation well into next year could amount to a fishing expedition."
After initially promising it in August, "President Trump said Monday that he will declare a national emergency next week to address the opioid epidemic." When asked, he also "declined to express confidence in Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), his nominee for drug czar, in the wake of revelations that the lawmaker helped steer legislation making it harder to act against giant drug companies."
In the wake of Sunday's blockbuster 60 Minutes/Washington Post report on opioid regulation and enforcement, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has introduced legislation that "would repeal a 2016 law that hampered the Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to regulate opioid distributors it suspects of misconduct." In a statement, McCaskill said: “Media reports indicate that this law has significantly affected the government’s ability to crack down on opioid distributors that are failing to meet their obligations and endangering our communities."