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Texas News
Superintendent Michael Hinojosa announces departure, caps a 42-year educational career, includes 13 years leading Dallas ISD
Michael Hinojosa, superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD), announced today he will close out his 13-year tenure as superintendent of the nation’s 16th largest school district, effective December 2022.

Hinojosa’s announcement caps off a 42-year career improving public education systems across the nation as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, central office staff member, and superintendent for five different districts in both Texas and Georgia. During his two terms as the Dallas ISD superintendent, the district has seen significant academic improvement and been recognized for its innovative policies and programs.

Laredo superintendents explain shift to virtual learning
The superintendents of Laredo’s school districts held a press conference Friday to explain their decisions to transition to remote learning from Jan. 17 to Jan. 21.

United ISD reported more than 1,000 employee absences Thursday, including 550 teachers and 270 without substitutes and at least 1,500 COVID-19 cases in students.

UISD Superintendent David Gonzalez said the Christmas holiday caused the spike.

School districts find ways to cope with teacher shortage due to COVID-19
Many school districts are facing the issue of a teacher shortage due to the recent spike in COVID-19 infections.

“That presents a challenge,” Conrado Garcia said, superintendent of West Oso Independent School District. “We don’t have enough substitutes and so principals are having to find other ways to cover their classrooms, as well. But so far though, we’ve been able to manage.”

This Texas community college group is offering free tuition – and much more
Help with food and housing belongs in their mission, leaders say, because “anything that gets in the way of learning is in our lane.”

For years, Keira Gilmore had her heart set on going to Texas A&M University. In high school, she was accepted and started mapping out her future. But the potential cost of school caused arguments between her and her parents, then her fiancé broke up with her abruptly, and her mother, who was already pregnant, got sick.

Texas Poet Laureate Lupe Mendez: The Texas GOP Has Declared War on Books. I’ve Seen This Before.
For 10 years, I “smuggled” banned books across state lines to bring attention to crucial literature. This year, I won’t have to leave Texas for the fight.

A decade ago, in March 2012, a group of writers, artists, educators, and activists banded together to combat the deplorable actions of Arizona’s state legislature. The state’s lawmakers had recently passed a bill making the teaching of “Ethnic Studies” illegal, along with banning courses that “promote resentment toward a race or class of people” and “are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group.” The bill also created a list of banned books. Of the more than 80 books that were eventually added to the list, many of the authors were Black and Latinx.

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National News
One State’s Plan to Confront COVID Teacher Shortages: Easing Residency Requirements, Welcoming Back Retired Educators
New Jersey lawmakers approved two bills Monday intended to help schools struggling with continuing staffing issues amid a new, highly-transmissible coronavirus variant.

One bill (A5576), passed unanimously by both chambers Monday, would allow retired teachers to return to the classroom through the 2022-2023 school year and still collect their pensions.

Teachers Deliver Less to Students of Color, Study Finds. Is Bias the Reason?
When working with students of color, particularly Black students, teachers lower down the rigor of assignments, ask fewer open-ended questions, and assign worksheets instead of group assignments, according to a new study out of New York University. Researchers point to racial biases about the academic abilities of students of color as a major factor.

“It’s not this overt ‘I have more Black students, I’m going to be racist,’ but I think it’s that when they go into a classroom that has more Black students it’s instinctual that the teachers actually kind of lower their standards. They use less-rigorous instruction,” said Hua-Yu Sebastian Cherng, an NYU associate professor and sociologist and lead author of the study.

Youngkin’s executive orders to focus on education, critical race theory
The order is the first of a batch of executive actions the Republican governor planned to release after his swearing in Saturday.

Glenn Youngkin will begin his term as Virginia’s governor with an executive order on critical race theory and promising to “restore excellence” in education, echoing the major themes of his successful campaign.

3 inclusive education myths busted
A district assistive technology specialist writes that removing barriers for diverse students requires overcoming pervasive narratives in learning.

The pandemic and remote learning proved one size of instruction does not fit all. While paper handouts and printed books are adequate for many students, much of educational content remains locked for learners with disabilities.

Distance learning forced many educators to go digital — a step in the right direction, certainly, but there were still some shortcomings. Just because a book or worksheet is digital doesn’t mean it is accessible. As an assistive technology (AT) specialist, I work with teachers to ensure all students are given equal opportunities to a quality education so they can reach their full potential.

This Latino neighborhood wants a Vicente Fernández St. to honor the Mexican legend
The neighborhood of Boyle Heights in L.A. wants to rename a street for “one of the best artists of all time, period,” according to L.A. City Council member Kevin de León.

A street in the iconic Latino neighborhood of Boyle Heights, California, could be renamed in honor of the late legendary king of ranchera music, Mexican singer Vicente Fernández.

Fernández died in December at 81 in his native state of Jalisco, in Mexico.

Las Tienditas
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