Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss – Week of August 12, 2019

Can Technology Help Guide Students Towards College Success?

By Kipp Bentley for Gov Tech

“…For high school counselors, finding good information that can help them advise their first-generation college-bound students is a challenge. No national database or commercial product currently exists to aid in pairing students with colleges where students have both a good chance of being accepted, and once in, where they’ll be most likely to graduate. However, an April 2019 article in The 74 describes promising work being done within Chicago’s Noble charter school network. Thanks to the work of Noble’s Matt Niksch, an enterprising software developer, Noble’s counselors, as well as those in a growing number of other U.S. charter schools, can use Niksch’s College Bot program to help students make better-informed college choices.

Chicago-area students can ride CTA for free on first day of school

By WLS Chicago

“Chicago-area elementary and high school students can ride city buses and trains for free on the first day of school, thanks to the “First Day, Free Rides” program. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Transit Authority have teamed up with Under Armour to offer free CTA bus and train rides to local students and their accompanying adults on September 3, the first day of the Chicago Public Schools’ school year. “The ‘First Day, Free Rides’ program helps ensure students attend the first day of school and start the year on the right foot, which is critically important to their success throughout the year,” Lightfoot said. The program has provided more than 1 million free rides to Chicago-area students since it began in 2011. Students also have access to discounted fares on school days for the entire academic year.”

Charity Fills Backpacks With Supplies For CPS Students In Need

By CBS 2 Chicago

“A local charity is helping to ease the hardships some kids face as they prepare to head back to school. The nonprofit, called ‘Who Is Hussain?,’ is providing a year’s worth of school supplies to 1,200 Chicago Public Schools students. On Sunday, dozens of volunteers showed up at Nicholson STEM Academy, at 6006 S. Peoria St. in the Englewood neighborhood, to fill backpacks with supplies including pencils, paper, calculators, and crayons.”

History lessons on LGBTQ contributions to be required in public schools starting next year

By Javonete Anderson for the CHICAGO TRIBUNE

“Illinois public schools will be required to teach students about the contributions made by members of the LGBTQ community under a law Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed last week. The new law mandates that the history curriculum in public schools include lessons on the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Illinois and the United States. The lessons must be taught to students before they complete the eighth grade. “One of the best ways to overcome intolerance is through education and exposure to different people and viewpoints,” Democratic state Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago, one of the bill’s Senate sponsors, said in a news release. “An inclusive curriculum will not only teach an accurate version of history but also promote acceptance of the LGBTQ community.” According to state Rep. Ann Moeller, an Elgin Democrat who was one of the bill’s sponsors in the House, Illinois is the fifth state in the nation to adopt such legislation.”

Kahlenberg: School Segregation Is Too Important to Ignore. New York and Chicago Are Taking Steps to Integrate, and L.A. Should, Too

By Richard D. Kahlenberg for The 74

“In the first Democratic presidential debate, the dispute between Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris over school desegregation pivoted to California. On the defensive for his past opposition to mandatory busing, Biden noted that as California’s attorney general, Harris did nothing to desegregate the state’s schools. The same could be said of most California school officials, including those in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Indeed, Superintendent Austin Beutner’s recent 15-page plan for improving schools makes no mention whatsoever of confronting the district’s high levels of racial and socioeconomic segregation. Some believe school integration is irrelevant in districts like L.A. Unified, the nation’s second-largest, given the relatively few white and middle-class children who use the public school system. But New York City and Chicago — the largest and third-largest school systems in the country, respectively — have in recent years taken important steps to integrate their schools. And a significant new proposal from L.A. school board member Kelly Gonez could help the district catch up. Her resolution calls for the superintendent to convene a research collaborative to make recommendations by June 2020 on how to reduce segregation through new school choice programs in Los Angeles. School segregation is too important an issue to ignore.”