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What Happened in Your State in June?

During June, eleven policy analysts published reports about what occurred in Arkansas, California, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York, and Utah.

Student/School/University Funding

Aileen Hower examined the complexities of Pennsylvania funding its schools in Disparity Across Pennsylvania. Although a commission held hearings and took testimony, the formula they devised has yet to address the disparities across districts.

Michael Geary reported on the first-year success of Rhode Island Promise implemented this past year at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI). CCRI noted a significant increase in student enrollment when it offered two years of free tuition to students attending CCRI full-time, were recent high school graduates, and maintained a minimum GPA of 2.5.

Citing from a new report from Third Way, Carol Booth Olson noted that the University of California system occupies five of the top ten slots in terms of graduating students with Pell grants. The UC campuses focus on building relationships and assisting high school students at underserved schools.

According to Heidi Hallman, Kansas’s Supreme Court ruled that the money the state legislature provided to the state’s schools was still inadequate and gave the legislature another year to find a solution to the underfunding. In a follow-up report, Heidi noted that conservatives, unhappy with the court’s ruling, have called for a constitutional amendment that would allow only the legislature to determine school quality and funding.

Teachers

Claudia Swisher continued her series on the teacher walkout in Oklahoma, suggesting that the record number of candidate filings and voter registrations may be due to the struggles over education funding.

Some policy analysts raised concerns about states using alternate certification routes to more traditional ones. Deborah Dean described the many ways Utah is dealing with its teacher shortage, including higher salaries, increased benefits, and alternate certifications. Robert Rozema noted that Michigan is also looking at removing exams for applicants to teacher education programs.

Patricia Schall analyzed the impact of the Supreme Court decision, Janus v. American Federal of County, State Municipal Employees on schools, particularly on teacher recruitment, benefits, pay, budget cuts, and resources for students.

Derek Kulnis reported that a judge in New York overturned rules that allowed charter schools to certify their own teachers.

State Supreme Court Judge Debra Young explained in her ruling that charters “are free to require more of the teachers they hire but they must meet the minimum standards set.”

Kulnis also reports that New York City will provide six weeks of paid parental leave for teachers.

School Safety

Darlene Dyer shared the findings of the recently released report of the Education Commission of the States ranking Idaho as Number 1 in weapons and 49th in per pupil spending. Idaho was the only state to qualify in the each of the following categories:

  • A policy that allows school security personnel to carry weapons
  • A policy that allows other employees to carry weapons
  • A policy that allows concealed carry permit holders to carry weapons
  • Policies that allow schools or districts to give individuals permission to carry weapons

Mitchell Nobis described the introduction of legislation in Michigan to address “support systems like counselors, law enforcement presence, and changes to buildings themselves.” Although the bill does not address guns in schools, the Michigan Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in two cases filed by two school districts to disallow licensed and permitted gun owners from entering school campuses while openly carrying.

Other Reports

In Freedom of Choice or Resegregation, Donna Wake makes a compelling case for Arkansas’s movement towards privatization and resegregation of its public schools.

Please visit the Policy Analysis Initiative to see all reports filed by NCTE’s policy analysts.