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Education Extra Credit

From the parent information divide to rural school funding dilemmas, SmartBrief editors round up some bonus education stories.

newspaper education extra credit

SmartBrief education writers and editors read hundreds of articles, studies and press releases each week — too many to summarize and fit neatly into the sections of our newsletters. Our new weekly roundup, Education Extra Credit, shares some additional topics of note from the past week or so, as well as occasional highlights from a couple of our education newsletters. 

What topic is especially important to you? Send us your thoughts or some links, and we can share some of the feedback with all our readers. 

The parent information divide. Black parents are eager for useful education news — often concerning meals and mental health during the pandemic — but felt in 2021 that they were getting less information than in 2020. Black and Hispanic parents say they rely most on local news media and are less likely to engage with school emails, while more white parents tend to get school information from informal networks such as Facebook groups, listservs and video meetings. (Calvin University’s Center for Social Research report, via Nieman Lab)

The honors vs. universal classes debate. The Madison Metropolitan School District in Wisconsin is one of many in the nation that plan to remove honors-only classes to build racial equity and switch, in Madison’s case, to universal Earned Honors classes, which many parents and students complain aren’t challenging enough. The district now has delayed, but not canceled, its plans. Gordon Allen, a high-school senior, calls this “a support issue, not an ability issue. We should be pushing for better student representation in honors classes. But everyone knows Earned Honors isn’t the same classroom experience.” (The Isthmus)

The “tip of the toxic iceberg.” The Philadelphia School District should remove its water fountains, PENNPirg said after its analysis of public district data showed 98% of tested Philadelphia schools had some lead-containing water. The district says the analysis is “not an accurate reflection of the water quality …” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

The rural school funding dilemma. Rural schools fueled by local sales taxes can’t get a full tank when their towns don’t have car dealerships and other retailers with high-priced products. Federal, state and local funding formulas need to change, Trousdale County, Tenn., Director of Schools Clint Satterfield told Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in Middle Tennessee. (WKRN-TV)

 

Diane Benson Harrington is an education writer at SmartBrief. Reach out to her via email or LinkedIn.

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