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11-21-16 Education in the News

Star Ledger--N.J. school won't drop ban on home-schooled kids playing sports

SHAMONG — Some school districts allow it, but Lenape Regional School District last night reaffirmed its decision not to let children who are home-schooled join district sports teams.

The Burlington County Times reported that the Board of Education took the vote Wednesday night after hearing from a Tabernacle parent whose 14-year-old son, Adam Cunard, wants to join the Seneca High School football team. 

The teen had addressed the board in October, according to the Pine Barrens Tribune. The Tribune reported he has played in the under-14 Seneca youth football league, which has no rules barring home-schooled children, but now that he is in the ninth grade he is not allowed to play the sport because it is a high school team. 

The district has a policy that does not allow home-schooled children to join sports, band or other activities. In a statement to the Tribune, the district said it is because the school has no way to determine if non-enrolled students meet the same academic and disciplinary standards that are required of school students.


Rebecca Everett | For NJ.com | November 18, 2016 at 11:18 AM, updated November 18, 2016 at 11:26 AM


Philadelphia Inquirer--Former U.S. education secretary rips teacher-prep programs

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in an open letter to college presidents and education school deans, says the system for training teachers "lacks rigor, is out of step with the times," and leaves them "unprepared and their future students at risk."

His letter was posted Tuesday on the website of the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank where he is a nonresident senior fellow.

Duncan, said a Brookings' spokeswoman, hopes to spark a conversation about teacher-preparation programs, something he also tried when he led the Education Department. The criticism is hardly new and comes as fewer students are entering teacher-preparation programs nationally.

"We should ensure that they're held to high standards like engineering, business, and medical students," Duncan wrote of prospective teachers, "and we should only be giving the best grades to those teacher candidates who are most prepared for the classroom."


Susan Snyder and Kathy Boccella, STAFF WRITERS|Updated: October 5, 2016 — 1:07 AM EDT


Washington Post--Seeking common ground with charter critic Diane Ravitch

I have been exchanging emails with Diane Ravitch, the clearest voice in the movement to reverse American emphasis on raising school achievement no matter what. She is a brilliant historian and essayist, even if she does not share my fondness for this century’s biggest education reform: charter schools.

We agree that disadvantaged children have to be rescued from poverty before most of them can learn as much as middle-class kids. But while the country struggles to make that happen, why can’t we, in the meantime, support those public charter schools that are preparing significant numbers of low-income children for college?

Charter schools are still growing. There are about 7,000 in 42 states and the District. They have 3 million students, six times more than 15 years ago. I have visited more than 50 great charters, but I know that many others are bad.

In 2015, 400 charters opened while 270 were closed for lack of students, money or academic success. The NAACP wants a moratorium on charter expansion. Voters in Georgia and Massachusetts just turned down measures to increase charters. Education Week found that low-performing cybercharters are still getting state money because of heavy lobbying by their corporate sponsors.


Jay Mathews November 20 at 4:43 PM


Education Week: Legal Backgrounder on Title IX and Transgender Students

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., which involves a high school senior, Gavin Grimm, who was born female but now identifies as male. He is seeking to use the restroom corresponding with his gender identity, but the Virginia school district adopted a policy requiring that students use restrooms limited to their "biological gender." A central issue in the case is the proper interpretation of a federal regulation under Title IX.


Here are some key background points in the debate:


By Mark Walsh