The holidays are quickly approaching and our reporters are hard at work looking at how Washington programs for students who are homeless are inspiring national legislation, and a lawsuit by a Bremerton teacher alleging abuse by the school district. Here’s a look at what’s happening elsewhere in the nation.

Would you rather get a list of education-focused writing straight into your inbox? Subscribe to the newsletter to see our favorite education stories from around the country, plus our best features from the week and, sometimes, upcoming Seattle-area education events. The newsletter also includes opportunities for you to join the conversation.

Fewer people are enrolling in college. Here’s why it matters.

New numbers show that fewer people are enrolling in higher-education institutions. This NPR report says to a degree, numbers are just normalizing after a recession-fueled peak. Now that people can work, they are. But this creates a problem, and not just for schools that want to keep operating. It also means fewer skilled workers for jobs in the future. Check out what’s happening in response to the decline. (And while you’re there, you can revisit this parenting tip from the inspirational Cookie Monster.)

Boys, girls, and everyone in between — how a school district is teaching gender diversity.

A new curriculum in Oak Park, California, teaches students in elementary school about gender diversity and stereotypes. Sometimes boys want to wear sparkly dresses, and that’s OK. Though some parents have criticized the new lessons, saying gender should be discussed at home, others say it makes schools safer and more inclusive, the Los Angeles Times reports.  

A federal law exists to try to prevent child abuse. States aren’t following it.

This Boston Globe and ProPublica investigation into state compliance with a federal law to prevent child abuse for children who are not in state custody shows that no state is fully in compliance. Traditionally child welfare has fallen to state and local control. The federal law “requires states to create plans to protect infants affected by drugs and provide mistreated children with representatives in court proceedings,” among many other things. States are receiving funds to prevent child abuse despite not doing these things.