January 19, 2018 - Volume 38 Issue 2



Education Week(1/18, Mitchell) says a new report from the National School Board Association’s Center for Public Education finds “the poverty, inequity, and isolation that students in rural schools must cope with are often overlooked in education research and policy discussions.” The report also “highlights the fact that rural schools struggle to hire and train teachers and often have limited access to advanced coursework.” The report makes recommendations to school board members and superintendents, including finding “new ways to pool resources with neighboring districts, cultivate local and state policymakers as advocates, and start research partnerships with universities to identify the needs specific to their students and staff.”

In a piece for The Conversation (US)(1/18), Pennsylvania State University professor of education Kelly Ochs Rosinger writes that colleges hoping to “expand access to the nation’s most selective institutions to groups that had historically been shut out” by making the SAT optional appears not to have worked as hoped. Ochs Rosinger writes that research she and colleagues conducted found that “instead of expanding economic and racial diversity at American colleges, test-optional policies have actually served to make selective colleges even more selective, at least on paper. But we found no increase in diversity at test-optional colleges.” 



Reuters(1/18) reports that in the wake of the abuse and neglect case of the California couple accused of keeping their 13 children in captivity, “lawmakers and advocacy groups are calling for more oversight of home-schooling.” The family’s home was registered with the state as a private school. Reuters reports that even as the number of homeschooled students has grown over recent decades, “most states do not require inspections or in-person testing that could help uncover abusive situations, said the Massachusetts-based Coalition for Responsible Home Education.” Reuters quotes CRHE Executive Director Rachel Coleman saying, “We would not say abuse is more common among home-schoolers, but when it does occur, there are fewer safeguards, less to stop it from spinning out of control.”

Fox News(1/18) reports that California state Rep. Jose Medina (D) says the case “is ‘a wake-up call’ for lawmakers and officials to scrutinize the state’s lax oversight of private and home schools.” The piece notes that state law mandates that “private schools are required to file an annual affidavit, containing information on students and administrators, with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to create the directory.” However, state officials lack any licensing, approval, or oversight authority.

An editorial in the Los Angeles Times(1/18) that while most homeschooling situations are much more benign, the case “serves as a reminder that California plays it too loosey-goosey when it comes to the welfare and education of home-schooled children.” The paper warns policymakers not to overcorrect by establishing burdensome regulations, but says the “state bears some responsibility for ensuring that children are getting the basics of a good education and that they are safe.”

Source: National Connection Daily, a National School Boards Association e-publication.