In local K-12 news this week, stories focused on the importance of parent advocates. Regionally, school policing was a hot topic, while national stories continued to ponder the effects of the upcoming administration on education and civil rights policy.



How to Reach Newark Students? Start With Their Parents, Group Says
Newark’s Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) advocates for educational opportunities on behalf of low-income and working class families by teaching parents how to be advocates for their children. The organization’s six-week "Parent Advocacy Leadership" classes are attended by almost 60 parents per session and cover topics including how to be involved with teachers and administrators, how to choose the right school, and understanding the impact that local politics have on the school system.

Giants' Sean Landeta and a $20K Grant Kickstart Newark Health Initiative
Newark’s Oliver Street School received $20,000 in grant money to start up the "Fuel Up to Play 60" program, a school wellness initiative aimed at getting kids moving and eating healthier foods. Funding from the grant, which was donated by the nonprofit Dairy Council Health Foundation, ShopRite, and Fuel Up, a program of the American Dairy Association and the NFL, will provide a build-your-own yogurt parfait bar in the school’s cafeteria.

All-Newark State Championship Final Renews City Pride for Football
Teams from Newark’s Shabazz and Weequahic high schools faced off the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 state championship game at Kean University on Saturday, bringing pride to the city and to Mayor Ras Baraka, a former high school principal. Both schools are located in Newark’s South Ward, where they are among New Jersey’s most historic — and bitter — rivals.




Christie Signs Bill Letting Armed, Retired Cops Provide Security in N.J. Schools
Specially trained retired police officers may be hired to provide security for public and private schools and community colleges in New Jersey under a bill Gov. Chris Christie signed into law last week. The bill was first introduced after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn. four years ago.

Six Stats That Show How Black and Latino Students in New York City Are Subjected to Disproportionate Policing  Arrests, summonses, and serious crimes are all trending downward in city schools, but a new analysis shows black and Latino students continue to be disproportionately subjected to police interventions and handcuffing, even during incidents that aren’t considered criminal. Those findings come from a New York Civil Liberties Union review of new NYPD statistics on student interactions with regular precinct officers, in addition to their contact with school safety agents posted in schools. Thanks to a city law passed in 2015, this year is the first time those numbers have been publicly released.

National NATIONAL   

Rep. Virginia Foxx Will Lead the House Education Committee
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., will lead the House education committee during the next session of Congress. Foxx helped steer a reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act through Congress in 2014, but it's unclear whether she can establish the same kind of reputation as her predecessor Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., who was a primary architect of the Every Student Succeeds Act and reached across the aisle on several issues, including on bills dealing with juvenile justice and career and technical education that received overwhelming bipartisan support.

International Tests Show Rising, But Mixed, Math and Science Performance
U.S. students are generally improving in math and science, along with their peers around the globe, but the latest Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study results—including a longitudinal look for the 20th anniversary of the tests—show more of a slow uphill slog than a breakout performance.

What Is the Future of the Office for Civil Rights?
For more than 35 years, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) within the U.S. Department of Education has served to curtail harassment, bullying and intimidation of students based on race, ethnicity, religion, and gender identity. The federal agency’s mission is “to ensure equal access to education,” and it’s charged with enforcing laws that prohibit discrimination against marginalized populations—including students of color, religious and gender minorities, and students with disabilities. The Atlantic invited voices in education representing divergent viewpoints to offer their outlook and prognosis on the Education Department’s civil-rights arm.

Does Your State Provide Good Data On Your Schools? Probably Not
According to a new report from the Data Quality Campaign, finding useful school data can be a real challenge. States are required to have report cards each year to satisfy state and federal law, but there's no requirement to make that information easily available and understandable.

6 Potential Brain Benefits of Bilingual Education
One of the hottest trends in public schooling is what's often called dual-language or two-way immersion programs, which provide instruction across subjects to both English natives and English learners, in both English and in a target language, with a goal of functional bilingualism and bi-literacy for all students by middle school. Recent research has continued to confirm the benefits of bilingual education.

FACT SHEET: Reducing Recidivism for Justice-Involved Youth
The U.S. Department of Education announced today the release of new guides and resources to help justice-involved youth transition back to traditional school settings. The resources include a guide written for incarcerated youth; a newly updated transition toolkit and resource guide for practitioners in juvenile justice facilities; a document detailing education programs in juvenile justice facilities from the most recent Civil Rights Data Collection; and a website that provides technical assistance to support youth with disabilities with transitioning out of juvenile justice facilities.