Monday Reading List: Guidance, Discipline, and Labor Politics

Hi folks ... just a quick note before I start the week's first Reading List. I will be traveling on the west coast through Friday. Please forgive me in advance, as it is likely that I will publish the Reading Lists at a slightly later time than usual throughout this week. Thanks for understanding.

James Murphy in The Atlantic takes a look at the importance of guidance counselors:

The significance of counseling is under-recognized by the public. A recent national survey asked what, if taxes were raised to improve local public schools, the money should be spent on first. Just over a third of the respondents said teachers; supplies came next, followed by classes and extracurriculars, infrastructure, and new schools. Counselors came last, with just 6 percent of the sample. David Hawkins of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors identifies counseling as the third and most-neglected component of increasing access to college, alongside financial support and equitable access to a challenging school curriculum ... The problem, as documented in a 2012 report, is that many high-school counselors are overburdened by huge caseloads, especially at schools where a majority of children are first-generation and low-income students.

The basic responsibility of the guidance counselor is to connect a high school student with a meaningful set of post-graduate opportunities. Time with students is the single biggest barrier. Murphy explains that the average guidance counselor nationally has to serve almost 500 students, and in some states the average ratio students to counselor approaches 1000:1. It's hard to provide meaningful, personalized guidance on career opportunities to 1000 separate children.

Monique Judge, writing at The Root, looks at the latest labor endorsement in the presidential election:

The Fraternal Order of Police, which has more than 330,000 members, said in a press release that Trump has its full support. According to the statement, “For a candidate to receive the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, he must receive a two-third majority of the national board, which is made up of one Trustee from each of the organization’s state lodges.” The Hill reports that Donald Trump made an aggressive play for support from the police union, meeting with top officials from the FOP at Trump Tower in May, and making stops on the campaign trail at local offices.

File under: "when labor's employment interests intersect with progressive politics." See also the AFL-CIO's decision to back the completion of the Dakota Pipeline, despite the protests of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe an their progressive allies, including the movement for Black lives.

In other news, Alex Zimmerman at Chalkbeat takes a look at disciplinary data in New York City schools. Despite overall progress in lowering arrests (oy) and suspensions, there are still racial disparities:

Black students made up 53 percent of the 397 arrests inside schools, despite representing just 27 percent of the city’s students, according to a Chalkbeat analysis. Hispanic students are slightly underrepresented. They made up 33.5 percent of student arrests, and comprise 40.5 percent the overall student body. But white students, who make nearly 15 percent of the city’s students, accounted for just 6.3 percent of the arrests, or 25 total. And while there was some narrowing of racial disparities in student arrests between the first and second quarters, activists said they were still unacceptable.

One of the most disturbing details in the report is that twenty students under the age of twelve were handcuffed in the last year. That reminds me of Sharif El-Mekki's story from last week in Philly.

Finally, a history lesson in diversity. In The New York Times this weekend, Jerry Brotton, a Renaissance scholar in England, shared some little known facts about Queen Elizabeth I's relationships with the Muslim world:

From the moment of her accession to the throne in 1558, Elizabeth began seeking diplomatic, commercial and military ties with Muslim rulers in Iran, Turkey and Morocco — and with good reasons. In 1570, when it became clear that Protestant England would not return to the Catholic faith, the pope excommunicated Elizabeth and called for her to be stripped of her crown. Soon, the might of Catholic Spain was against her, an invasion imminent. English merchants were prohibited from trading with the rich markets of the Spanish Netherlands. Economic and political isolation threatened to destroy the newly Protestant country. Elizabeth responded by reaching out to the Islamic world.

The whole piece is fascinating, from the standpoint of understanding the history of global relationships across eras. Also, important to remember that there was a woman on the throne in England 500 years ago.