1.     Thanks to the fiscal 2019 federal budget, the U.S. Department of Education will enjoy a $58 1 million increase, thus bringing its 2019 total to about $71.5 billion. At the same time, Head Start, the federal preschool program under the Department of Health & Human Services received $240 million over last year’s allotment, for a total of $10.1 billion.

2.     As for the oft-praised, oft-criticized Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) signed into law by Obama to replace the No Child Left Behind law, state plans for students with disabilities are reportedly missing their mark:

  • 33 states do not separate out the performances of students with disabilities in their school rating systems.
  • Just 18 states have the same long-term academic goals for all students, regardless of ability.
  • Just 10 states describe in detail the interventions designed for students with disabilities.
  • Most states provide “very limited or no discussion” regarding English-language learners with disabilities.

3.     Over a two-year period, more than 175,000—8%–fewer students took the ACT college admissions exam in 2018. The decline is due in part, explains the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, because more students are applying to test-optional colleges which require neither the ACT or SAT exams.

4.     About Facebook’s advance into education via the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative: In Cheshire, Connecticut have traditionally been very pleased with the public education their children receive. Nonetheless, district administrators decided to adopt Zuckerberg’s Summit Learning Program via Chromebooks, aka personalized learning, whereby children’s data would no longer be private. The good news: Parents balked, and the superintendent ended the district’s involvement with the program.

5.     Then there’s Facebook’s new teen drama, SKAM Austin. Writes Benjamin Herold, “…. The show blends earnest storytelling, an innovative new format, and sometimes graphic and sexually explicit dialogue to authentically depict the role of social media in teenagers’ lives.” The example he offers includes teens in a library talking through an online quiz called “Are You Ready to Lose Your Virginity?” There’s also a character putting her first-time sexual encounter online, and on it goes. And yes, it’s all fiction, all made up, and, thus, says Herold, “further blurring the lines between fake and real…”

Gotta ask: Teaching tool or further fake/real line blurring and/or more cause for worry?