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Articles: Policy & Compliance

Schools in Washington, including Marysville-Pilchuck School District, are required to educate students about the culture and history of the state’s indigenous nations.

Despite recent controversies, most K12 U.S. history textbooks now devote more space to viewpoints outside of the white-European male narrative, historians say.

“The whole approach to historiography has changed,” says Luess Sampson-Lizotte, vice president of humanities & science product development at Pearson. “It is a little broader and more inclusive of multiple perspectives of the American story.”

In Virginia’s Fairfax County Public Schools, students in the gifted program study a local pond ecosystem. The district created a Young Scholars initiative in 2000 to increase the proportion of historically underrepresented students in K8 gifted programs.

Black elementary school students are half as likely as their white peers to be assigned to gifted elementary programs in math and reading—even with comparably high test scores. But the racial gap in giftedness disappears when black students have a black teacher, according to a study.

Washington students will learn about the hardships of reservation life and problems created when people are moved from their established homeland.

All K12 schools in Washington are mandated by a new state law to teach Since Time Immemorial, a curriculum that focuses on the history and culture of the state’s 29 federally recognized Native American tribes.

Old computers may not be trendy, but as school tech budgets shrink or stagnate, many administrators try to squeeze the most life out of their aging devices. Recycling and retrofitting, and hooking up to the cloud, allow districts to delay or even abandon established schedules for buying brand-new equipment.

36 states increased the rigor of their standards since 2013, while five made them less rigorous. (Click to enlarge)

The push to establish national academic benchmarks may have been dealt yet another blow by the Every Student Succeeds Act. Nearly two dozen states began revising the Common Core after the new law reaffirmed their authority to create their own standards.

Students can use a free Khan Academy test prep program to better prepare for the redesigned SAT.

The redesigned SAT seeks to expand opportunities for all students to go to college—but its focus on reading comprehension may make the exam more difficult for English-language learners and low-income students.

Disabled students are in every group, including this graduating class. The national graduation rate hit a historic high of 82 percent in 2014; however, students with disabilities graduated at a rate of 63 percent. (Photo: Communities In Schools)

While national graduation rates hit an all-time high of 82 percent in 2014, the trend for students with disabilities remained flat at nearly 63 percent. In three states, students with disabilities graduated from high school at half the rate of their non-disabled peers.

In June, Maine became the first state to require all school districts to create a policy on use of the substance. Colorado and New Jersey also passed laws in the last year permitting certain students to receive the treatment in K12 schools.

A recent federal court decision on the statute of limitations for families to take legal action against schools sheds new light on compensatory services provided to special education students when IEP goals are missed. Parents may now seek several years’ worth of special education services.

The October video of a South Carolina school resource officer forcefully arresting a 16-year-old student for refusing to put her cell phone away became a viral example of school policing gone wrong. The incident provides yet more guidance for administrators on managing relationships with SROs and establishing effective school discipline policies.

All 50 states have school bullying laws ...though some are considered stronger than others. (Click graphic to enlarge)

Students living in states with an antibullying law that includes at least one U.S. Department of Education-recommended legislative component had lower reported bullying and cyberbullying rates compared to students living in states without such legal provisions, according to recent research.

The No Child Left Behind Era officially ended in December as President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The new law has been hailed by education leaders as an important re-correction.

Districts nationwide have more than 10 different titles for “literacy specialist."

Districts must navigate a larger number of titles and skill sets when hiring qualified literacy specialists to implement new learning standards and to improve students’ reading and writing performance.

Traditionally, a reading specialist worked in small groups or one-on-one with struggling students.

Nearly 40 percent of respondents to a DA survey expect of opt-out movement against testing to grow in 2016.

With students in grades 3 through 11 spending more than 20 hours per school year on testing, resistance and frustration over standardized assessments and learning standards may have reached critical mass.

Robert L. Urzillo is superintendent of the Blue Mountain School District in Pennsylvania.

The reform movement has been, and perhaps always will be, on-going.

We have witnessed the enactment of No Child Left Behind, which had the admirable goal of having all children read on grade level by 2014. That was followed by Race to the Top, another program that required standardized testing.

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