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Commentary: Minnesota’s New Commonsense Approach to School Discipline Policy Should Be a Model for Other States

The 74 Million – Lauren Morando Rhim

“The Minnesota Department of Human Rights recently announced collaborative agreements with five school districts and five charter schools to address practices that lead to disproportionate discipline of students of color and students with disabilities. The objective is to address “implicit bias that influences perceptions of student behavior.” Two districts in which the department was unable to develop agreements are most likely headed to court due to practices alleged to have resulted in educational discrimination.” (more)

Analysis: Minnesota Cheers a Booming Graduation Rate — Even as Fewer of Those Grads Can Read or Do Math at a High School Level

The 74 Million – Beth Hawkins

“Some years ago, I was visiting with an inmate in a state prison, a young black man. We’d finished combing through his case, which was a study in sundry miscarriages of justice, and were making small talk. “You know what gets me about this place?” he said, gesturing at the other convicts in the concrete block visiting room. “All these guys graduated from high school.” Covering courts, I didn’t get his point back then. But I thought about him the other day upon reading an analysis published by MinnPost, a nonprofit Minnesota news site where I used to work, showing that graduation rates in the state are rising even though other measures of academic achievement are not. The problem is particularly acute in Minneapolis and St. Paul.” (more)

Social-Emotional Learning: States Collaborate to Craft Standards, Policies

Education Week – Evie Blad

“Eight states will work collaboratively to create and implement plans to encourage social-emotional learning in their schools, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning announced this month. The organization, which is also known as CASEL, will assist the states through consultation with its own staff and a panel of experts. The participating states are California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington. And an 11 additional states that originally applied to join the collaborative will have access to the materials it develops. Each participating state has a unique plan, and many of those plans include creating developmentally sensitive standards that show how social and emotional skills are demonstrated at each grade level, developing materials to infuse traditional classroom concepts with social-emotional learning concepts, building strategies for state-level support, and implementing professional-development plans for schools about the subject.”(more)

‘Why are people mad at each other?’ Explaining another shocking week of violence to your kids

The Los Angeles Times – Sonali Kohli

“A 13-year-old in California shook her head at the TV. A 5-year-old in Pittsburgh asked her father why people are so angry. As America coped with one tragic moment after another this week, with the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile followed by the shooting of a dozen police officers in Dallas, the country’s parents had an added task: explaining each act of violence to their children. “If [children] see a bunch of this on television, they can become the indirect victims of trauma,” said Suzanne Silverstein, director of the Cedars-Sinai Psychological Trauma Center. African American children might be afraid for their own lives or for their friends and families when they see black men being shot. Children of law enforcement officers might be even more afraid for their parents after learning what happened in Dallas.”(more)

After No Child Left Behind, will shift to states help or hurt students?

The Christian Science Monitor – Stacy Teicher Khadaroo

“Across Minnesota, the number of native American kids heading to college is on the rise. The reading and math scores of black students are catching up to those of whites. Low-income students, kids whose native language isn’t English, and kids with disabilities are meeting the higher expectations teachers have been setting for them. The state – a high performer by many education measures – still faces many academic gaps between groups of students. But it is well on its way toward a goal it set in 2012 to cut those disparities in half by 2017. Minnesota offers an example of what can happen when a state puts a priority on closing achievement gaps. It developed its approach through a waiver to some of the requirements of the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).”(more)

Early education: The earlier, the better

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune – Art Rolnick, Kate Mortenson and BARB FABRE

“Minnesota has made historic investments in early learning over the last several years. And through targeted early-learning scholarships, we are beginning to make significant progress on closing our educational achievement gap, one of the largest in the country. Leaders who have demonstrated their commitment to this progress deserve credit, but our work is not done. Our understanding of what resources are needed to prepare our youngest residents for school continues to evolve. In the coming legislative session, conversations about what additional investments are required almost certainly will again lead to debate over an alternative approach: universal prekindergarten for all 4-year-olds. There is broad agreement that Minnesota’s educational achievement gap is one of the state’s most critical challenges. However, at the State Capitol in 2015, differences over methods of addressing this challenge produced a sometimes-bitter argument that placed proposals with distinct goals into competition with each other. But pitting the unique needs of children who are born into poverty against the value of preK for all 4-year-olds is not helpful to arriving at an accurate understanding of either proposal.”(more)