TAOS, N.M., Jan 19 (Reuters) - New Mexico on Wednesday asked National Guard members and state employees to volunteer as substitute teachers to keep schools and daycare centers open during a surge in COVID-19 infections. State employees and Guard members who take up the call to teach will get their usual pay and be considered on administrative leave or active duty, respectively, according to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. National Guard members have mobilized across the United States to help hospitals and clinics slammed by staff shortages but New Mexico appeared to be the first state to ask them to become classroom teachers. view article arw

CHICAGO (AP) — Leaders of Chicago Public Schools canceled classes Wednesday after the teachers union voted to switch to remote learning due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, the latest development in an escalating battle over pandemic safety protocols in the nation’s third-largest school district. Chicago has rejected a districtwide return to remote instruction, saying it was disastrous for children’s learning and mental health. But the union argued the district’s safety protocols are lacking and both teachers and students are vulnerable. The Chicago Teachers Union’s action, approved by 73% of members, called for remote instruction until “cases substantially subside” or union leaders approve an agreement for safety protocols with the district view article arw

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Sunday said the expectation is that schools will do everything they can to remain open for in-person learning amid the Omicron surge. “There’s a level of urgency that we shouldn’t lose in making sure our children learn in person,” he said to host Trace Gallagher on “Fox News Sunday,” saying the pandemic has proved how difficult remote learning was for all concerned. view article arw

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A petition drive is underway to change the Nebraska constitution and eliminate the state Board of Education. The proposal would shift oversight of the Education Department into the governor’s office and eliminate the elected board, but backers would have to gather roughly 125,000 signatures by next July to put the question on next November’s ballot. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the measure comes after Gov. Pete Ricketts clashed with the Education Department at times in the past year. view article arw

The Ohio House voted Wednesday in favor of bills that would allow teachers with 20 hours of training to carry firearms on K-12 campuses and that would wipe out a required eight-hour class for Ohioans to carry hidden guns into public places. House Bill 99, which would address armed teacher training, passed on a 58-33 vote. House Bill 227, which would allow Ohio adults to carry concealed firearms without taking a currently required class, passed on a 60-32 vote. Both bills now move to the Ohio Senate for consideration. view article arw

The White House estimates that Texas will receive about $35.44 billion over five years for roads, bridges, pipes, ports, broadband access and other projects after federal lawmakers passed a long-anticipated national infrastructure bill on Friday. The influx of capital is set to advance existing transit plans, pay for much-needed repairs and could lay the groundwork toward increasing transportation options for Texans. U.S. House lawmakers gave the roughly $1.2 trillion measure final approval late Friday after a series of negotiations and concessions to get the bill passed. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill into law soon. “The need for action in Texas is clear,” a White House fact sheet read. “For decades, infrastructure in Texas has suffered from a systemic lack of investment.” view article arw

In a recent Forbes study, Lewisville ISD ranked as one of the best places to work in the state and the No. 1 DFW-area school district. In Forbes’ latest ‘America’s Best-in-State Employers 2021’ list, LISD ranked in the top half of the results in Texas. The recognition was created by Forbes through a survey of 80,000 U.S. employees across 25 industry sectors. Forbes collected direct recommendations from employees as well as indirect recommendations from workers in similar industries. The survey considered every aspect of an employees’ experience such as working conditions, salary, potential for growth and diversity. view article arw

FORNEY, Texas — The Forney Independent School District will host an attendance zone informational meeting on November 9, 2021. The informational meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 9, 2021, at 6 p.m., at the Rhodes Intermediate/Jackson Middle School Hub. "Forney ISD is growing and growing fast!," read an email from the district to parents of currently enrolled students. "Each year in November, we review our attendance zones to ensure we have space to accommodate all of our current and future students." view article arw

A first-of-its-kind lawsuit brought by the ACLU and other advocacy groups argues that bans on teaching critical race theory violate free speech and deny students the opportunity to learn history.  A coalition of educators and civil rights groups sued the state of Oklahoma over a law that restricts what can be taught about racism and gender in public schools as well as public colleges and universities – the first federal lawsuit to challenge one of several laws passed by Republican-controlled states seeking to ban critical race theory. 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