Equity audits try to uncover unintentional discrimination. Do we have good count of homeless students? And the next state teacher of the year will be announced Monday.
The Seattle teachers strike is on hold, while teachers weigh the tentative contract recommended by their bargaining team and the one from the school district. They are scheduled to vote Sunday on whether to approve it. In the meantime, school started Thursday. But Seattle wasn’t the last district in the state to get underway — Kelso teachers remain on strike.
HOW ONE DISTRICT INCREASED THE DIVERSITY OF ITS GIFTED PROGRAMS
According to a new working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a large, diverse urban district gave every student the chance to test into its gifted-and-talented program and, as a result, more minority and low-income students qualified than they had previously. A lot more. Among students from low-income families, the increase was 180-percent. For blacks, it was 80 percent, and for Latinos, 130 percent.
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“With no change in the standards for gifted eligibility,” the report says, “the screening program led to large increases in the fractions of economically disadvantaged students and minorities placed in gifted programs.”
The district wasn’t named in the paper, but a report in The Atlantic said the description seemed to fit Broward County Public Schools in Florida.
Some districts in Washington state have worked to increase diversity in their gifted/highly capable programs, but some, including Seattle, don’t test every student for possible admission.
SPEAKING OF EQUITY
Education Week, in its Inside School Research blog, looks at “equity audits,” attempts to determine whether kids are treated differently based on ethnicity. A number of districts are now using such audits to probe areas such as teacher placement, enrollment in advanced courses, and student discipline.
NUMBER OF HOMELESS STUDENTS IS RISING
A new report from Columbia Legal Services says 4 percent of Washington’s students (about 42,000) experienced homelessness in the 2011-12 school year. The group says that’s much higher than what school districts report, and it makes a number of recommendations on how to better identify and serve those students.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Minecraft, one of the world’s most popular video games, is now increasingly used in class.
While Washington’s Supreme Court justices have ruled that charter schools are unconstitutional in this state, some lawyers in Boston have filed a class-action lawsuit claiming that Massachusetts’ cap on charter schools violates students rights because it denies them the chance for a quality education. (There is skepticism that the challenge will be successful.)
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction will announce the 2016 Washington Teacher of the Year on Monday afternoon at the EMP Museum in Seattle. In the running from the Puget Sound area: Nathan Gibbs-Bowling, from Lincoln High in Tacoma. Gibbs-Bowling has previously been featured in Education Lab. Last year, the winner was Lyon Terry from Lawton Elementary in Seattle.