New legal theory leads to court ruling that Detroit students have a right to literacy. Now, Michigan’s Governor has until Thursday to act
In recent days, dozens of Detroit parents — quarantined in COVID hotspots with one of the nation’s widest digital divides — have taken to their phones to demand Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer settle a lawsuit that found the state violated their children’s right to learn to read. Using the hashtags #RightToLiteracy and #settlethiscase, some are...
By Beth Hawkins | May 7, 2020
Mothers of invention: Frustrated with the educational status quo and conventional parent organizing, two Latinas gave birth to a national parents union
For a moment, the issues seemed insurmountable. Some 150 parent activists, all strong-willed veterans of battles with their respective education establishments, were gathered in a New Orleans hotel ballroom trying to hammer out statements of joint belief. It was important to arrive at precise wording, the organizers running the meeting told them, because the statement...
By Beth Hawkins | January 28, 2020
Testing anxiety, boredom & guesses: What expert Steven Wise has learned about exams and ‘rapid-guessing behavior’ — and what that tells him about your child’s score
Quick — without looking it up on Google, can you define “edge-aversion”? Here’s a hint: It’s a decision-theory term describing what’s also known as middle bias. That is, a test-taker’s tendency to pick anything but the top or bottom option on a multiple-choice question. To a psychometrician, it’s a tell that the answer was a...
By Beth Hawkins | October 2, 2019
Big promises, big data: Is the SAT’s new ‘environmental context’ score a tool to personalize college admissions, or another impersonal data point?
It’s college-touring season at my house, and I am a goopy mess. I’m a total sucker for all of it. The unblemished idealism of the day. The bright new horizon revealed by each literal door the student tour guide opens. Even the obligatory lunch in the dining hall, where I try not to think about...
By Beth Hawkins | August 19, 2019
New textbooks and guidance help California K-12 teachers cover LGBT issues and historical figures in the classroom
As the new academic year gets rolling for California public schools, instructional materials are available for the first time that ensure every K-12 classroom has access to accurate and unbiased depictions of the sexual orientation and gender identity of historical figures. The state’s FAIR Education Act — FAIR stands for Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful —...
By Beth Hawkins | September 16, 2018
Reading, writing, and … renting? Airbnb says 1 in 10 hosts is a teacher and earns $6,500 a year; LA’s teacher hosts raked in nearly $6 million last year
If you want to book a stay in Bainbridge Scott’s Airbnb in Los Angeles’s Montecito Heights neighborhood, you’d better plan well in advance. Listed as a “Rustic Studio with Private Garden Patio,” the hillside property boasts a terrace with views of the city, a classic clawfoot tub, and an extensive garden from which guests can...
By Beth Hawkins | August 27, 2018
At special children’s forum, California governor candidates lament state’s treatment of kids & point to education as the way forward
*Updated June 21 If Tuesday night’s California gubernatorial candidate forum had been a debate, the hands-down winner would have been a slender 11-year-old in a mint-green dress shirt. “It really bothers me to see homeless people on the streets or kids begging,” Eric Dory, a fifth-grader from South Los Angeles who attends Open Magnet Charter...
By Beth Hawkins | May 16, 2018
A similar past, a hoped-for future: Two lawyers each strive to open their own LA charter schools
Update: Los Angeles County’s board of education on Tuesday denied Denon Carr’s charter application but urged him to make changes to the proposal and resubmit it as quickly as possible to either the Inglewood School Board or the state board. Carr says he will appeal, though he is not yet sure to which entity. For...
By Beth Hawkins | October 16, 2017