Two more students died Friday from their injuries after a regional train sliced open a school bus in southern France, bringing the overall death toll to six. Authorities in the Pyrenees-Orientales region announced the new deaths a day after the horrific crash at a crossing close to the Spanish border. French media said the dead were two 11-year-old girls. view article arw

TALLAHASSEE — School voucher advocates on Wednesday recommended increased oversight of private schools that take state-backed scholarships, including more campus visits by state inspectors, new rules aimed at preventing schools from falsifying fire inspections and requiring more schools to turn in financial reports.  The suggestions came during a House education subcommittee hearing prompted by an Orlando Sentinel investigation in October that examined how the state is sending nearly $1 billion this year to 2,000 private schools that operate with little oversight. view article arw

The Ohio Supreme Court said on Wednesday it will not temporarily halt the state's efforts to recoup $60 million from one of the nation's largest online charter schools, which says it could soon be forced to close in the middle of the school year. The state reduced monthly payments to the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow to start recouping money while ECOT challenges how the Ohio Department of Education tallied student logins to determine the school was overpaid. ECOT has said it will run out of cash and close in early 2018 if the court doesn't intervene, noting that it doesn't have the "safety net" of local tax dollars that traditional public schools receive. The school said such a closure would affect almost 12,000 students and eliminate over 800 jobs. view article arw

While some are saying a Colorado teacher’s allegedly threatening notes to his students should be taken as a joke, others, including the school district, want the matter taken seriously. Kris Burghart, an eighth-grade teacher at Otho E. Stuart Middle School in Commerce City, CO, was placed on administrative leave starting Tuesday. view article arw

A new anti-voucher majority on a suburban Denver school district board voted Monday night to eliminate a program enacted by an earlier conservative-dominated board to help public school students attend secular and religious schools with taxpayer-funded vouchers. The Douglas County school board voted on a resolution to end the voucher program and years of litigation that reached the U.S. Supreme Court and reflected the national debate over publicly-funded school choice. view article arw

Schools looking to implement social-emotional learning programs have several funding options available to them through the Every Student Succeeds Act, according to a new report, which identifies 60 evidenced-based programs that fit ESSA requirements. view article arw

Despite recent signs of gradually increasing spending on schools, many states today are devoting significantly less money to K-12 education that they were nearly a decade ago. That’s the conclusion of a new analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which finds that in 29 states, total state funding per student on K-12 education—when adjusted for inflation—remains lower than it was during the 2007-08 school year, before the “Great Recession” took hold. view article arw

A self-described political “rookie” and “huge” supporter of Donald Trump from North Richland Hills announced Thursday he will join the field of GOP candidates challenging Texas Republican Ted Cruz in the March primary. “I’m a huge Trump supporter and I plan to support Trump’s America First agenda,” said Thomas Dillingham, 43, a technology professional and father of three, who has worked for the Birdville school district. view article arw

Backers of Arizona's sweeping new universal school voucher law are set to face off in court with opponents who collected enough signatures to block it until the November 2018 election. Voucher supporters argue that problems with the referendum asking voters to overturn the law mean it should be thrown out and the law allowed to take effect. Lawyers representing the grassroots group that collected signatures over the summer say voucher supporters have no right to sue. They will ask a judge Friday to dismiss the lawsuit. view article arw

Education officials in Texas put a lot of work into the Every Student Succeeds Act state plan that they submitted to the Department of Education. We can all learn from what they included and what they chose not to include.  The Texas plan is supported by the strategic priorities of the Texas Education Agency (TEA). These priorities include: (1) recruiting, supporting, and retaining teachers and principals; (2) building a foundation of reading and math; (3) connecting high school to career and college; and (4) improving low-performing schools. TEA acknowledges these priorities require support and therefore list three prerequisites referred to as “enablers” for effective implementation of these strategies. These enablers include: (1) increased transparency; (2) ensuring compliance; and (3) the strengthening of organizational foundations. view article arw

Humble ISD administrators expect Kingwood High School to reopen by mid-March, allowing about 2,800 students displaced by Hurricane Harvey to return to their home campus. District Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen said enough construction projects will be completed in the academic wings of Kingwood High School to send students back on March 19. Updated estimates to repair the building and replace materials now exceed $70 million. view article arw

United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited Port Aransas ISD this morning and left with a positive impression, she said. “This is a close-knit community that wants to help kids learn,” DeVos said. Her reason for visiting Port Aransas was to see first-hand what has happened following Hurricane Harvey, and to see what needs to be done moving forward, she said. view article arw

Bill Gates has been one of the world’s richest people for decades. To build a legacy beyond Microsoft — and to build a better world — in 2000 he and his wife launched the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has spent billions of dollars on numerous good causes. The world’s largest private charity has had some great successes — helping sharply reduce the prevalence of malaria worldwide, for one. But the Gates Foundation’s efforts to improve U.S. public education haven’t gone as well as hoped, as Gates admitted in remarks last month at an education conference. As a result, he said the foundation is “evolving our education strategy” as it looks to invest close to $1.7 billion in U.S. public schools over five years. view article arw

DeVos comments on LGBT student protections in new profile: A long piece about Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in Politico includes her public comment, for the first time, on the Justice Department's February decision to rescind Obama-era guidance protecting transgender students' rights. It was reported back then that the secretary was privately a personal advocate of LGBT rights and that she had opposed the Justice Department's decision. view article arw

Voters in two Colorado school districts will go to the polls next week for school board races that could have implications far beyond their borders and that have attracted a commensurate level of national attention.  In Denver, challengers could switch the balance of the school board from unanimously pro-reform to a slim majority that wants to change course from the district’s current efforts to create top-performing schools through some of the most ambitious reforms in the nation, including a breadth of choices, charter school cooperation, and closures of failing schools. view article arw

With many teachers among the thousands of residents fleeing Puerto Rico for the mainland after Hurricane Maria, school districts in Florida, Texas and New York say they are working to streamline the certification process in the hopes of adding Puerto Rican teachers to their classrooms. But for many of the teachers, the effort has hardly meant a quick ticket to employment. view article arw

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — Authorities shot and killed a man suspected of holding his child's 70-year-old teacher hostage for nearly seven hours in a Southern California elementary classroom Tuesday.  A SWAT team entered the room at Castle View Elementary School, east of Los Angeles, shortly before 6 p.m., Officer Ryan Railsback said.  Negotiators had been talking to the man but hadn't heard from the woman. view article arw

Much of this year's Texas legislative session -- and the special session that followed -- focused on the fight for school vouchers.  Vouchers allow parents to use public money to send their kids to private school.  Often times, politicos pointed to Florida as the shining example of how a state uses tax credits and voucher scholarships to help special needs students and those from low income areas attend private schools. view article arw

Nearly 27,000 students in Mississippi’s capital will find out this week which of two agencies — each with a history of poor performance and allegations of mismanagement — will be running their schools for the foreseeable future. Gov. Phil Bryant is weighing whether Jackson Public Schools, the state’s second-largest district, with a $206 million budget and more than 4,000 staff members in 58 schools, will remain under local control or be taken over by the Mississippi Department of Education. It is a decision that raises long-standing issues of race and inadequate school funding — and has prompted a federal lawsuit. view article arw

AUSTIN -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott complained Wednesday that U.S. House leaders are poised to sidetrack the state's request for an additional $18.7 billion in Hurricane Harvey aid, and challenged the Texas congressional delegation to get a "stiff spine" and fight for the funding.  A bill scheduled for a House vote Thursday provides $36.5 billion in disaster aid for victims of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate, and for those fighting wildfires across California and other western states. view article arw

Stay strong. Luis Juarez, a Dallas fifth-grade teacher, knew that was his only choice.  “The moment parents see me break down and lose hope, they are going to lose hope. They know if Mr. Juarez still has hope, they are going to have hope, too.”  And, yet here it was. For Juarez and many others, a dreaded announcement:  view article arw

Here are two views of Mick Zais, the new Deputy Secretary of Education selected by Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump. First, from Politico: “TRUMP TAPS NEW NO. 2 FOR THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT: The president on Tuesday night announced he’s nominating Mick Zais to be deputy secretary at the Education Department. Zais checks off a lot of conservative boxes – as superintendent of schools in South Carolina, he refused to participate in the Obama administration’s signature Race to the Top program, which encouraged states to adopt more rigorous academic standards like the Common Core in exchange for federal grants. view article arw

Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas nearly bankrupted the State with his theory that cutting taxes would cause a huge economic boom. Taxes were cut but there was no boom. Meanwhile, the schools of Kansas were underfunded.  The state Supreme Court ordered the legislature to fix school funding. The legislature tinkered. Back and forth. Yesterday the Kansas Supreme Court ordered the legislature again to meet their constitutional obligation to fund the schools. view article arw

Last Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited Harvard University to speak on school choice. She delivered a strong speech (a fact easily lost amidst the reflexive caterwauling). She articulated points that aren’t made often or forcefully enough. This was noteworthy because DeVos has not always been an especially effective advocate for her cause, tending to lean on unfortunate talking points and failing to explain the practical, intuitive case for choice as part of a broader educational vision.  view article arw

A Massachusetts school district says one of its librarians didn't have permission when she tried to reject a book donation from Melania Trump. Cambridge Public Schools says an editorial letter written by librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro represented her opinions and was not an official statement on behalf of the school district. view article arw

Texas education officials have submitted their plan for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act, a federal law passed in 2015 that gives states more authority to set accountability standards.  The Texas proposal largely aligns with already-established procedures and state laws, including the "A-through-F" grading scale and accountability standards set by state legislators in the past three years.   The Every Student Succeeds Act rolls back some federal oversight put in place by No Child Left Behind, which Congress and then-president George W. Bush enacted in the early 2000s. Each state is required to submit a plan laying out its academic-achievement accountability system, procedures for improving low-performing schools and goals for graduation rates, among dozens of tasks. view article arw

Texas education officials have submitted their plan for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act, a federal law passed in 2015 that gives states more authority to set accountability standards.  The Texas proposal largely aligns with already-established procedures and state laws, including the "A-through-F" grading scale and accountability standards set by state legislators in the past three years.   The Every Student Succeeds Act rolls back some federal oversight put in place by No Child Left Behind, which Congress and then-president George W. Bush enacted in the early 2000s. Each state is required to submit a plan laying out its academic-achievement accountability system, procedures for improving low-performing schools and goals for graduation rates, among dozens of tasks. view article arw

TEA submits student success plan

September 2805:38 AM

The Texas Education Agency submitted its Every Student Succeeds Act consolidated plan to the U.S. Department of Education Tuesday.  ESSA replaced the controversial No Child Left Behind Act in 2015. No Child Left Behind included a number of federally-mandated performance measures.  ESSA requires states to submit their own plan for improving and measuring student success. The plan is supposed to offer a comprehensive overview of how the state will use federal funds to make students successful, and it is subject to federal review.  Belton Independent School District Superintendent Susan Kincannon said she is concerned about some aspects of the plan. view article arw

A favorite teacher, a janitor always friendly with the kids, the two women who patrolled the halls and greeted children at the school's gates, a best friend's little sister. These people feared or confirmed dead Wednesday were top on the mind of 12-year-old Luis Carlos Herrera Tome. The Enrique Rebsamen school, the Mexico City private school he attended for eight years, had fallen around him less than 24 hours earlier amid a magnitude 7.1 earthquake. The only thing he wanted to do was go back, to help somehow. view article arw

The three-story school structure had pancaked into a pile of concrete slabs. The bodies of 21 children and four adults had been pulled out. But still sounds came from the collapsed structure early Wednesday — nobody knew if they were survivors pounding for help, or simply the noises of shifting rubble. After a wing of the Enrique Rebsamen primary and secondary school collapsed in Tuesday's magnitude-7.1 earthquake, rescuers dug at the pile of rubble and soldiers wedged in wooden beams to try to prevent it from crumbling further. view article arw

Superintendent Kent Scribner is using Facebook to defend students who are pursuing an education through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, saying plans to phase it out could replace dreams with deportation. “If the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA) is allowed to expire, it would have a devastating effect on members of the Fort Worth ISD family,” Scribner wrote in a message posted Monday night.  view article arw

A big deadline is looming for anyone needing to reapply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, otherwise known as DACA. With President Donald Trump phasing out the program, the Austin Independent School District is holding a workshop Wednesday to get everyone informed. The government has set Oct. 5 as the deadline for anyone who has DACA to reapply in order to keep their work authorization for another two years.  view article arw

There is a growing and disturbing trend of anti-intellectual elitism in American culture. It's the dismissal of science, the arts, and humanities and their replacement by entertainment, self-righteousness, ignorance, and deliberate gullibility. Susan Jacoby, author of The Age of American Unreason, says in an article in the Washington Post, "Dumbness, to paraphrase the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, has been steadily defined downward for several decades, by a combination of heretofore irresistible forces. These include the triumph of video culture over print culture; a disjunction between Americans' rising level of formal education and their shaky grasp of basic geography, science and history; and the fusion of anti-rationalism with anti-intellectualism."  view article arw

A Mississippi school district has been ordered to desegregate its schools after what the Justice Department called a five-decade-long legal battle. The Cleveland School District, about two hours northwest of Jackson, was told that it must consolidate its schools in order to provide real desegregation for students in the city of about 12,000. view article arw