Thursday Reading List: Fear in the Classroom and the New Federal Education Regime

Sorry there was no Reading List yesterday. Slow news day, I guess.

I said everything I'm thinking and more yesterday, so I won't add a whole bunch of additional election "takes" to this reading list. I will say, though, that folks should resist arguments that  explain away and minimize the role that race played in this election. If this were a "working class revolt," why did White voters of every income level vote so similarly? And why didn't poor voters of color join them? Oh that's right ... racism throughout history depends on dividing the interests of those groups. Silly me.

Sarah Darville is in Chalkbeat looking at the ramifications of the election in America's classrooms:

Across the country, educators of all political persuasions tried to offer space for students to process the surprising Election Day results, in which Clinton won the national popular vote but Trump won the White House. At schools in New York, Colorado, Indiana, and Tennessee, school leaders scrambled to react to the news before Clinton had even given a concession speech. And in the wake of a campaign in which Trump talked about ramping up deportations, building walls, and banning Muslims from entering the country, teachers at schools that serve immigrants and their families faced intensely personal questions. Will I be forced to leave? Will my parents?

I am hearing echoes of these sentiments from every educator I know. Trump's rhetoric about immigrants and people of color are not a game; his reckless ideas will now have the force of executive authority, and people's lives are in the crosshairs.

Andrew Ujifusa at Education Week is first on the scene with news about the future of the federal role in schools:

Gerard Robinson, a research fellow at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute and former state chief in Florida and Virginia, also said Wednesday that Trump will "streamline, at least" the U.S. Department of Education. And a Trump administration will likely take a significantly different approach than President Barack Obama's administration when it comes to contentious spending rules under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Trump could also discard another key piece of the Obama education legacy: The president-elect could significantly curb the role of the department's office for civil rights when it comes to state and local policies, according to Robinson, and thereby return that office's role more to how it operated under Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. That could have a big impact on everything from action on school-discipline disparities, to transgender students' rights. Robinson also said that he expects the office for civil rights to ensure that students' rights are not "trampled on."

It's hard to square the last three sentences of that paragraph, as they seem to careen a bit and contradict each other. When it comes to spending rules, though, Robinson's experience as a chief state school officer should guide him towards balancing flexibility and equity. Emma Brown, writing in The Washington Post, has more on the question of federal rules around education spending:

Federal law has long said that school districts cannot underfund schools in poor neighborhoods and then use federal Title I dollars to fill the hole. Instead, they must ensure that schools in poor neighborhoods get all the state and local dollars they would if Title I dollars were not available — an attempt to give children from poor families a fairer shot at a decent education. Nevertheless, many Title I schools continue to receive fewer dollars than more-affluent schools in the same district. And the requirements for showing compliance with the law were almost universally regarded as onerous and often counterproductive to providing students with the services they needed.

There's a lot of wonkery in the excerpt above, but suffice it to say, this is one area where I think savvy Democrats can work with a Trump administration to reach a good outcome.

In other news, the challenges of being a Black teacher got even harder yesterday, a burden that Emily DeRuy covered in The Atlantic:

The result is that only around 7 percent of the country’s teachers are black, despite the fact that African Americans make up around 16 percent of the overall student population. I’ve written about why that matters, but the upshot is that children benefit when they see and hear people who come from different backgrounds. Students learn to collaborate and compromise, and they prepare for the inevitably global nature of their future jobs. When schools have a diverse teaching force, they may also be able to limit the effects of implicit bias. A recent study found that white teachers have lower expectations than black teachers for the same black students. Having more teachers of color might help mitigate that imbalance.

Joe Heim at The Washington Post reported on the same findings, adding that:

In addition to unhappiness about the way their work was received, black teachers also felt an extra responsibility to not only teach black children but to provide care and nurturing for them that extended “well beyond the academic curriculum” and beyond the typical duties of educators. It’s a role that many, but not all, black teachers welcomed, but it also created extra stresses and demands.

That's a big job this week!