1. Recently, university researchers took a good look at the multi-measure teacher evaluations put in place under the Obama/Duncan Race to the Top competitive grant program. They’ve taken different forms, but most have one thing in common: Thanks to all the required coding, they can take a principal as much as three hours to complete for just one teacher’s evaluation.
2. Since the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law by Obama in 2015, every state redesigned its accountability systems, described as “an arduous, combative, years long process.” Now that they’ve been made public, many district superintendents say they’re “overly simplistic and still too reliant on test scores to determine winners and losers.” These systems determine where millions of federal and state school improvement dollars go.
3. Based on Obama’s “borrower defense” rule, the Trump administration has decided to cancel the federal loan debts of some 15,000 students whose colleges either closed or defrauded them. That amounts to about $150 million, with about $80 million of that going to students who attended the now defunct Corinthian Colleges, Inc.
4. Although education is never mentioned nor is education anywhere guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, 14 public school students or their parents are suing Rhode Island in a class action suit for “providing an education so inferior that that state failed to fulfill its duties under the U.S. Constitution.”
5. Camden, Maine is following the lead of several districts in such states as Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Ohio by instituting “Remote School Days.” In other words, instead of playing in the snow and enjoying a gifted day off, kids will do schoolwork online in order to limit schooling disruptions.
6. The independent public interest group U.S. PIRG Education Fund recently tested 27 school products and found asbestos in crayons, benzene in dry erase markers, and phthalates in binders. Asbestos and benzene can cause cancer and mesothelioma, while early exposure to phthalates can affect development and reproduction. The products were purchased from such outlets as Amazon, Target, and the Dollar Tree, not taken from any classrooms.