It’s Friday. Time to be done with the workweek, put your feed up, and dive into these hand-picked education reads.
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A string of deaths at a college
Nine students at the University of Southern California have died since August 24, the L.A. Times reports, engaging administrators “in a delicate balancing act as they notify students, attempt to quell rumors, offer mental health resources and also try to avoid triggering students who may be in the midst of a mental health crisis.” Though USC administrators send schoolwide notifications about the incidents, some of the school’s 147,000 students told the Times that they’d rather not know about deaths, and that the details provided “made matters worse.” On Wednesday, officials said some of the deaths might have been caused by narcotics.
Over at HuffPost, Rebecca Klein posed this question: Out of a highly unstable presidential cabinet, how has U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos — whose appointment initially garnered perhaps the most questioning and ridicule — lasted in her post for so long? Her friends and foes attributed her longevity to President Donald Trump’s “relative disinterest in education, her comparative lack of ethical conflicts and scandal, and her connections to the evangelical community, a group that serves as an important voting bloc for the president,” Klein writes. On top of that, they see her as genuinely believing in her agenda.
The Washington district that mostly refuses to teach sex education
Two weeks ago, the Battle Ground Public School Board voted 3-2 that aside from some classes on puberty, sex education won’t be taught — unless state law mandates it. The Columbian’s Katie Gillespie reports that the choice made the North Clark County school district “a test case for the political football comprehensive sexual health education could become in the upcoming legislative session.” A related open house has already been canceled because of safety concerns.