Roundup: Pushback Against AFT Clinton Endorsement

Today’s education news includes pushback from inside the AFT against the early endorsement of Hillary Clinton, plus progress on the Senate rewrite of NCLB, and a big new report on poverty among black children:

CAMPAIGN 2016

The American Federation of Teachers Endorsed Hillary Clinton—and Not Everyone’s Happy About It Slate: The timing of the endorsement has attracted as much attention as its content. The obvious answer is that the Clinton camp choreographed the AFT endorsement as a safeguard against the unexpected threat posed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

See also: Clinton gets key union endorsement as Sanders enjoys a groundswell of support (Phil. Enquirer); Teachers union irks rank and file with Clinton endorsement (Watchdog); Will Hillary Clinton Continue Education Reform? (NYMag); Teachers’ union endorses Hillary Clinton over weekend. Backlash begins (AJ-C).

What Do Democratic Presidential Candidates Think of the Senate ESEA Bill? PK12: Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., take note: Hillary Clinton had nice things to say about your bill to revamp the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

CONGRESS

Senate Rejects Amendments on Portability, Opt-Outs, LGBT Protections PK12: As debate continues on the bill to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, senators turned down proposals on three contentious issues. See also Washington Post: Senate votes down federal protections for K-12 LGBT students.

In the Senate, another defeat for school vouchers Washington Post: The amendment, written by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), was defeated on a 45-to-51 vote. No Democrat supported the measure and several Republicans, including Roy Blunt of Missouri, Jerry Moran of Kansas and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, joined Democrats in their opposition. Senate rules required 60 votes for passage.

RACE & INEQUALITY

Why are there fewer black teachers in Chicago? WBEZ: Just 15 years go, 40 percent teachers in CPS schools were black. Today, it’s 23 percent. Many black students are segregated into majority black schools — like National Teachers Academy in the South Loop, where Porter teaches. Meanwhile, most of the students in Chicago’s public schools are Hispanic and African American. Black enrollment has gone down, but black students still make up 39 percent of the district.

Black Children in U.S. Are Much More Likely to Live in Poverty, Study Finds NYT: About 38.3 percent lived in poverty in 2013, nearly four times the rate for white children, according to a report by the Pew Research Center.

PEOPLE & PLACES

New York City Schools Ask Students to ‘Bring Your Own Device’ WNYC:  The Department of Education now encourages schools to leverage students’ devices — such as smartphones, laptops and tablets — as instructional tools by asking students to “Bring Your Own Devices,” a program referred to as “BYOD.” It’s part of a national trend of bringing student devices into classrooms.

Two major school districts eliminating some ï¬nal exams Washington Post: The Montgomery County school board backed a plan to end final exams in middle-school- level courses Tuesday and is looking closely at a proposal to scrap high school finals, a shift that comes as officials in Loudoun County pursue a major change in how it will assess its students.

Few School Districts Have Anti-Bullying Policies Protecting LGBT Students HuffPost: Of the 70 percent of school districts that do have anti-bullying policies, fewer than half explicitly outline protections for students who get bullied because of their sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation. Only about 14 percent of districts have protections based on gender identity or expression.

Beyond bake sales: New National PTA president wants to make organization more inclusive Seattle Times:  Poulsbo resident Laura Bay was installed as president of the National PTA earlier this month. She says early learning, health and safety, and family engagement are top priorities for her two-year tenure.

Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at alexanderrusso@gmail.com.