Roundup: Latino ACT Gap, Discipline Disparities in the South, Money Problems for Newark

Today’s news includes an ACT gap for schools serving Latino students, a resumption of the NY version of the teacher tenure challenge that rocked CA last year, and a new report showing a massive racial gap in Southern states:

Latinos struggle to close gap with whites in California ACT scores LAT: Across the country, the class of 2015 stagnated, with 40% of the 1.9 million test takers showing what the organization calls “strong readiness,” according to results released Wednesday. In California, 30% of the class of 2015 took the test. California students overall outperformed their peers nationally. While 28% of students across the country met all four ACT targets, intended to represent college success, 37% of California’s test takers did so.

California study finds teachers aren’t connecting students to what colleges expect KPCC LA: The good news, Venezia said, is that educators say the Common Core has injected more optimism and professionalism into the classroom.

Parents’ Teacher Tenure Challenge Heads Back to Court WNYC: Judge Philip Minardo appeared to listen with skepticism. Referring to the legislature’s changes, which took effect in April, he asked the defendants, “Did they really do something or are they just massaging this?”

Study Tracks Vast Racial Gap In School Discipline In 13 Southern States NPR: The researchers examined more than 3,000 school districts in those states. In 132 of those districts, they found, the suspension and expulsion rates of blacks were off the charts, with suspension rates far greater than their representation in the student body. See also Slate, PBS NewsHour.

Why Some in Education Believe Truancy Deserves Much More Attention Washington Post: “Education has long been seen as the means to prosperity, but that only happens if students attend school regularly,” says a report that CAP, a left-leaning think tank that is associated with the Obama administration, released Tuesday.

Newark Schools See Red Ink WSJ: Cerf disclosed the budget gap in his first appearance before the Newark Schools Advisory Board. His predecessor, Cami Anderson, stopped attending the group’s monthly meetings about a year and a half ago. Facing critics demanding her ouster, she said the often raucous board meetings had devolved into personal attacks.

Survey: Majority of Americans like the way school lunches have changed Seattle Times: A W.K. Kellogg Foundation survey found that most Americans support the three-year-old nutrition standards, while 67 percent said the nutritional quality of food served in school cafeterias is excellent or good.

How High Schoolers Spent Their Summer: Online, Taking More Courses NYT: Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, intended as college-level work for anyone, are popping up on college applications, a sign of curiosity and, possibly, résumé packing.

Education Department Makes Changes to Testing of Students with Disabilities EdWeek: The U.S. Department of Education has taken a politically symbolic step: It’s officially said that states can offer alternate assessments only to the 1 percent of students who have severe cognitive disabilities.

The jittery first day of school: One teacher feels it even after 31 years. Washington Post: Schools in Prince George’s open with an uptick in enrollment, and teacher Renee Roth welcomes a new class.

Parents Starve Themselves To Protest Rahm Emanuel’s School Policies Daily Caller: Parents in Chicago have endured a hunger strike lasting over a week to protest the local board of education’s decision to shut down a neighborhood high school. Dyett High School, on Chicago’s South Side, graduated its final class of 13 students last June.

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.