With help from Bianca Quilantan
RETHINK THE POLICE — Cities that pulled police out of K-12 schools following George Floyd’s 2020 murder are facing pressure to reverse course and decelerate a movement that has gained support from progressives, civil rights groups and researchers.
— President Joe Biden and his rivals in next year’s election are also backing the blue as a burst of school violence alters the politics of school policing.
— “Almost everywhere that we’re working with partners and young people, we’re seeing a reversal back at this point — if districts ever started taking steps toward dismantling school police infrastructure,” said Katherine Dunn, a former Education Department civil rights attorney who is now a program director at the Advancement Project organization.
— “That’s from all parties,” said Dunn, whose group helped found the National Campaign for Police Free Schools. “This consensus among the presidential candidates has felt like a consensus at every level: School boards, state education officials, legislators, et cetera.”
IT’S MONDAY, MAY 15. WELCOME TO WEEKLY EDUCATION. If you missed it: Biden denounced white supremacy as the “most dangerous terrorist threat” to the nation in his commencement address to Howard University’s graduating class this weekend. “And I’m not just saying this because I’m at a Black HBCU,” Biden told students. “I say this wherever I go.”
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COPS RETURN TO CAMPUS — From May 2020 through June 2022, at least 50 districts serving over 1.7 million children ended their school policing programs or cut their budgets, according to estimates from Education Week. Here’s how that’s changing:
— In Minnesota, recent attacks have prompted the St. Paul Public Schools system to revisit a 2020 decision to end its city contract for campus-based police officers. Denver officials in March reversed their 2020 vote to remove police from public schools after a high school shooting.
— Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne wants state officials to send six Phoenix high schools grant money to hire police, as the Republican tries to overrule the district school board’s authority. Republican state lawmakers in Wisconsin are angling to require a police presence in Milwaukee schools after the district cut its remaining police contracts in 2020.
— And in Portland, Ore., officials are recommending the district collaborate with police to ensure officers are “available and near schools” in case of emergency, though that does not mean armed cops are returning to city campuses.
— “What we saw when schools reopened, and there were issues of interpersonal violence happening in schools, was a lack of commitment to really do the long-term hard work to get to whole-school transformation and reverting back in reactionary ways after any incident happened to the things we’ve always done,” said Dunn.
BSCA STEPS — The Education Department and Department of Health and Human Services will take new steps to promote the use of Bipartisan Safer Communities Act funds, the White House said Sunday after Biden ordered his Cabinet to report their progress on implementing the gun safety law in March.
— What they’re planning: The Department of Homeland Security will launch a campaign to draw renewed attention to SchoolSafety.gov, a federal interagency website meant to provide “actionable recommendations” to K-12 schools. The White House said DHS’ campaign will focus on K-12 leaders, school administrators, teachers, school personnel, parents and legal guardians.
— HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona will urge governors to use BSCA and Medicaid funding to help schools address the trauma and mental health challenges resulting from gun violence, according to the White House.
— Becerra and Cardona’s departments will develop resources for states and schools showing how to use Medicaid to fund school-based health services for students coping with gun violence. The White House said HHS will also clarify how early childhood providers can use BSCA funding to address mental health and gun violence trauma.
— Meanwhile, the White House and Justice Department will meet with state and local law enforcement leaders to collaborate on BSCA implementation priorities, and push state governors and lawmakers to enact laws that allow the federal background check system to access all records that could prohibit someone under age 21 from purchasing a firearm.
CONGRESS AND COLLEGE ADMISSIONS — Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee, said Congress will have to go after admissions barriers for underrepresented students if the Supreme Court decides to strike down the use of race in college admissions.
— “Congress will have an obligation to look at other facets in admissions that we know have racial implications and determine if they need to be re-examined as well,” Scott said Thursday, according to remarks from a closed-press roundtable with higher education experts obtained by Bianca. “We know that policies, such as standardized tests, have implications in racial disparities. We know legacy and developmental admits and other admissions criteria disadvantage minorities.”
— “If you get rid of the affirmative action and are left with just the discriminatory factors, then we’ve got to go after those factors,” Scott added. “We can’t let them stand without challenge.”
— The high court is expected to soon decide the anti-affirmative action group Students for Fair Admissions’ cases against Harvard and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
FIRST LOOK — Sixteen state attorneys general are committing their support for Women’s Bill of Rights legislation that seeks to define what it means to be a woman in state law. The proposal is based on model legislation from Independent Women’s Voice, Independent Women’s Law Center and Women’s Liberation Front. Last month, Kansas passed such legislation, which LGBTQ rights advocates say would erase transgender women under law.
— The group of attorneys general, led by Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, includes: Steve Marshall of Alabama, Treg Taylor of Alaska, Tim Griffin of Arkansas, Raul Labrador of Idaho, Brenna Bird of Iowa, Daniel Cameron of Kentucky, Jeff Landry of Louisiana, Austin Knudsen of Montana, Mike Hilgers of Nebraska, Alan Wilson of South Carolina, Marty Jackley of South Dakota, Jonathan Skrmetti of Tennessee, Ken Paxton of Texas, Sean Reyes of Utah and Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia.
FOXX URGES CARDONA TO TOSS SPORTS RULE — Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), along with other Republicans on the House Education and Workforce Committee, is urging the Education Department to withdraw its sports eligibility rule and support the “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act,” H.R. 734, House Republicans passed this year.
— The lawmakers, in a letter shared with POLITICO, said the proposal is likely to leave schools “confused” in how to implement it. They also argued that it goes against the “will of the people” because the rule would upend laws in more than 20 states. Bianca has more on five key perspectives to know from LGBTQ advocates, conservative groups, school boards and lawmakers. Bianca has more.
OPPOSITION SHIFT — California is one of only 10 states that does not test students for dyslexia.
— Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has dyslexia, but did not back mandatory screenings for the learning challenge during his first four years in office even though parent groups supported the idea.
— Legislation imposing such a requirement has instead stalled for years under opposition from the California Teachers Association labor union, which has argued such policies would take away classroom time and misidentify English language learners as having dyslexia. Now things are changing.
— Newsom on Friday endorsed legislation that would require schools to screen young students for dyslexia, POLITICO’s Blake Jones reports. The state’s largest teachers union soon reversed its longtime opposition.
— The latest bill to require screenings, Senate Bill 691 from state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-Burbank), is in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Newsom’s support drastically bolsters its chances of passing out of that committee this week and eventually reaching the governor’s desk.
— “I’m not worried about it stalling,” Newsom said. “We’re going to get this done.”
— Emmanual Guillory has joined the American Council on Education as a senior director of government relations. Guillory previously served at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and at the United Negro College Fund.
— Kayla Ratnasamy is now deputy director of scheduling for the secretary of Education. She most recently was the special assistant to the NASA administrator. (h/t Daniel Lippman)
— Looks quiet out there.
— Did we miss anything? Email [email protected]
— Biden: I’m doing everything I can to reduce gun violence, but Congress must do more: USA Today
— Young voters on Biden: ‘He’s just so old’: The Wall Street Journal
— Could a Michigan School shooting have been prevented? Families still waiting for a full accounting of what happened: ProPublica
— Milk shake-up: High school student sues school district over dairy flap: The Washington Post
— Biden uses Howard University commencement address to appeal to Black voters: NPR
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