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Texas News
Dallas ISD unveils guide to building a successful Racial Equity Office
Dallas ISD and national nonprofit Education Resource Strategies are proud to unveil a digital document that outlines the district’s path to racial equity. This informational guide reveals six phases of work that set the foundation to establish an effective Racial Equity Office (REO). Dallas ISD’s REO has become a leading example for districts across the nation, a solid framework for other districts ready to begin critical racial equity work.

‘Removing obstacles, changing lives,’ Mesquite ISD prioritizing back-to-school safety
Mesquite ISD Superintendent Dr. Angel Rivera has the backing of trustees in a time many consider more challenging in education than ever before.

“What I want the Mesquite community to know, is that when they send their students to Mesquite, we have their best interest at heart when it comes to safety, education, and mental health.” 

Molding young minds is what Dr. Rivera says he lives for, but he understands no matter the age or the grade….the first thing on everyone’s mind is safety and security. 

Former Robb Elementary principal to be Uvalde ISD Special Education
The former Robb Elementary School principal Mandy Gutierrez will now be serving as assistant director of special education, according to a letter sent out by the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District.

Gutierrez was put on administration paid leave and reinstated following the Texas House Investigation report on Uvalde where she rebuffed the findings.

She was reinstated in a letter sent by “Superintendent Hal Harrell that Gutierrez’s attorney released July 29, she resumed her duties as principal after her submission of additional information to the investigative committee,” as reported by the Texas Tribune.

Most efforts to ban books in Texas schools came from 1 politician and GOP pressure, not parents
The wave of book reviews and removals that swept across Texas in the last year was driven more by politicians than parents, a Houston Chronicle analysis found, contradicting claims that recent book bans were the result of a nationwide parental rights movement to have more control over learning materials.

The findings, drawn from public information act requests sent to nearly 600 Texas school districts that teach more than 90 percent of the state’s 5.4 million public school students, show there were at least 2,080 book reviews of more than 880 unique titles since the 2018-19 school year. Of those, at least 1,740 reviews occurred during the 2021-22 school year.

‘Scared and uncertain’: Some Uvalde parents seek safety for their kids at smaller nearby school districts
More families fearful of returning to Uvalde schools because of the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School have asked neighboring Hill Country school districts to accept their kids as the fall semester approaches.

The student exodus has been limited to a few dozen so far from a district that enrolled 4,116 students last year. The neighboring districts are much smaller, and the ones receiving most of the requests, Knippa and Sabinal independent school districts, have had to turn some parents away, officials there said.

Upcoming Events
Serving Hispanic Students in Texas:
How is higher education stepping up to the task?
Tuesday, August 23 | 12 pm CST
Between 2019 and 2021, Texas colleges and universities lost 75,000 students. But despite this drop in enrollment, the number of Hispanic-serving campuses in Texas continues to grow.

Join the Texas Tribune on Tuesday, Aug. 23, in Brownsville or tune in online for a Texas Tribune event exploring what needs to happen to support Hispanic-serving institutions in our state, how they’ve adapted during the pandemic and what they’re doing to help students graduate.
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National News
Back-to-School Shopping Inflation Hits Home for Parents, Teachers
New data shows spending surges to reach a new high of $661 per student for the upcoming school year

Lavinia Aguião is feeling the pressure as a single mother and educator in Washington, D.C. as surging inflation cuts into her back-to-school shopping budget.

“I feel like the most expensive thing is literally clothing, new backpacks and lunchboxes,” Aguião said of her search for supplies this month.

4 ways transitioning to a 4-day school week impacts districts
Moving to a shorter week offers a variety of advantages for students and educators, but it is not without challenges.

With teachers reporting high levels of burnout in the wake of the pandemic, a four-day school week can be a major perk to attract and retain educators, particularly for districts that can’t afford to raise salaries.

In fact, administrators of districts that have gone this route said they have seen an increase in applicants, even from out-of-state teachers in one case.

COVID-19 learning lags could reverse narrowed achievement gap
In a narrowing of the achievement gap over the past nearly five decades, Black, Hispanic and Asian students showed more improvement than their White classmates in math and reading test results of over 7 million tests completed by U.S. students between 1971 and 2017, according to a study published Tuesday in research journal Education Next.

The Black-White test gap narrowed to about half the size observed at the start of the 50-year period, as did the Hispanic-White gap, confirmed Paul Peterson, one of the researchers who conducted the study. Overall, Asian students made the most significant improvement, gaining nearly two more years of growth in math and three more years in reading than White students.

Power of Place: Educator Helps Literature Teachers Link Students to Rural Roots
Educator Chea Parton’s project promotes expanding literature curriculums to include works that speak directly to young rural students

When education students from Kentucky’s Morehead State University entered a virtual classroom with guest lecturer Chea Parton to discuss rural literature, many felt ashamed of the rural communities where they grew up—and where many of them would return to teach after graduation. 

By the end of Parton’s guest lecture, some of those opinions had started to change. 

A Latina professor who was denied tenure at Harvard is demanding a ‘revolution’ in academia
“It was clearly wrong what happened,” Lorgia García-Peña said. “Everybody knew it.” She’s written a book about her experience as she urges academia to think bigger.

One of the country’s foremost ethnic studies scholars, who was denied tenure at Harvard in 2019 — prompting outrage from students and faculty nationwide and reigniting calls for more diversity at the school and in academia more broadly — has dissected the experience in depth for the first time in a new book. 

Las Tienditas
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