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This year in education

Dana Goldstein at The New York Times teases out five prominent takeaways from national education news in 2019. They include concerns about stagnation in academic outcomes, widening achievement gaps, the college admissions scandal and debates over charter schools and segregation.

Is recess a class? Should it be?

Utah’s state education board will consider calling recess for K-8 students “instructional time by providing more structure to the play time,” KPCW reports. Proponents of the measure say there are benefits from playtime: Recess can help kids be less disruptive in class. They say that adding “playground monitors” and having adults lead activities can preserve that benefit while busting up patterns of bullying and isolation.

How education spending contributes to the South’s stagnation

The economy of the American South had almost caught up with that of the rest of the country, but the trend reversed since the 2009 recession, The Wall Street Journal reports. One factor: The economies of wealthier, globalized regions are often fueled by high concentrations of highly educated people. But many people who leave the South for college don’t return. And there’s less keeping them there for school to begin with: Southern states spend significantly less on education than the national average. Why? “In the Jim Crow era white taxpayers and politicians resisted spending that benefited blacks, according to historians,” the Journal found.