** Clark County School District—our 5th largest—has joined such states as California and Virginia in moving toward “equitable grading.” Though it can take different forms, it’s said to give students more chances to prove their mastery of a subject with no arbitrary deadlines.

Writes The Wall Street Journal’s Sara Randazzo, “It’s about giving “a more accurate reflection of a student’s progress and giving opportunities to all learners.”

  • It measures if a student knows the material by a term’s end without penalties for behavior which can reflect bias.
  • Homework is downplayed.
  • Multiple chances are given to complete tests and homework assignments.
  • Banned: extra credit and grading for behavior and/or attendance.
  • The grading scale starts at 49% or 50% to keep kids’ grades from falling below that mark.

Randazzo reports that, “Proponents of the approach, including paid consultants, say it benefits students with after-school responsibilities, such as a job or caring for siblings, as well as those with learning disabilities. Traditional grading methods, they say, favor those with a stable home life and more hands-on parents…”

(Albuquerque Public Schools has paid an organization $687,500 to support its 200 teachers during a two-year pilot).

** Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is taking hold in several school districts, providing “a framework for educators to create inclusive learning environments.” That includes:

  • Multiple representations of new information, ways to engage with that information, and ways to express their learning, such as visual aids, graphic organizers, videos, and audio to make information easier for students to understand.
  • Project-based learning, games, and/or discussions.
  • Flexible seating: Instead of desks, choices include wobble stools, cushions, balls, etc.
  • Different modes of expression, including written assignments, oral presentations, or art projects, and such communications boards as posters and devices with images and symbols that can be pointed to for self-expression.

** Wyoming is the last state to adopt competency-based education policies whereby…

  • Students are evaluated based on subject matter, not their amount of classroom seat time. It’s based on “a model that emphasizes students’ achievement rather than the 13-year academic model.”
  • It’s described as being “equity-driven to provide greater choice, individualized learning opportunities, and more personal, flexible instruction.”

** The American Federation of Teachers, like the federal government, has finally figured out that social media and other tech have a negative effect on our kids’ well-being, and has come out with its “Likes vs. Learning: The Real Cost of Social Media for Schools.”

** The numbers of English language learners grew by 2.6% between the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years, but the number of licensed ESL teachers dropped by 10.4% during that time.

** To improve English as a Second Language (ESL), last October, the U.S. Department of Education awarded about $120 million in professional grants. Then this past February, it awarded more than $18 million in grants to design teacher prep programs for teachers of color in order to diversify incoming educators.

** A recent EdWeek Research Center survey found that 50% of teachers said that “AI (Artificial Intelligence) would have a negative or very negative impact on teaching and learning in the next five years. At the same time, Junior Achievement found that 66% of teens worry they might not find a good job because of AI.

** A nationally representative Merrimack College Teacher Survey of 1,200 teachers—replacing the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher—found that…

  • 66% are satisfied with their job; 20% said “very satisfied.”
  • The most satisfied, 80% of GenZ teachers—those 26 and younger—vs. 62% of GenX teachers (43 to 58), and 68% of Boomers (59-77).
  • 35% said they’ll likely quit in the next two years and take non-teaching positions; 14% of those said they’re “very likely” to leave. Back in 2009, just 17% said they’d quit.
  • 55% feel respected as professionals by the public.
  • 33% feel they have a lot of control over school policies.
  • 33% said student mental health and wellness issues have increased from last year; 43% said it’s about the same, while 25% said it’s worsened.
  • 2% said their districts offer employees “extensive mental health and wellness support.”

** Educators of Excellence finds that 66% of teachers think their schools are meeting the needs of their struggling students.

** Finds a recent EdWeek Research Center survey, 40% of teachers now believe their schools stayed closed for too long during the pandemic, while 50% said they were out “the perfect” amount of time, and 11% wanted them closed even longer.

** According to the National Center on Improving Literacy, California is now the 40th state to require dyslexia screen in the early grades to determine a child’s risk for reading problems and dyslexia risk going forward.

Change afoot, all around…

~ With thanks for your support, Carol