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Friday, May 13, 2016

To Pee or Not To Pee: Where is the Question

To Pee or Not To Pee: Where is the Question 

U.S. Depts of Ed and Justice Release Joint Guidance to Help Schools Ensure the Civil Rights of Transgender Students

To Our Transgender Students: We See You, We Stand With You! - Lily's Blackboard

Big Education Ape: US gives directive to schools on transgender bathroom access

SEAT OF UNREST: Inside transgender students' war over school bathrooms -- NY Daily News Daily Dig

How Schools Around The Country Are Treating Transgender Student Rights : NPR Ed : NPR

Here's Exactly What The Administration Is Saying About Transgender Students : The Two-Way : NPR

Transgender High School Student Responds To White House Guidelines : NPR

N.C. Governor Calls Obama Transgender Guidelines A 'Massive Overreach' : NPR

Jose Lara, dean of Santee High School in Los Angeles, talks about the transgender issue beside the school's gender-neutral restrooms. Schools have new governmental guidance on the issue provided by the Justice and Education departments.

Seattle Schools Community Forum: New Gender Neutral Bathroom to Open in SPS High School

States Dig in Against Directive on Transgender Bathroom Use - ABC News

Texas will forgo federal funds over LGBT policy, official says |

Asa Hutchinson Tells Schools to Disregard LGBT Directive | Arkansas Business News |

LGBT fight is everyone's fight (Opinion) -

To Our Transgender Students: We See You, We Stand With You! - Lily's Blackboard

To Our Transgender Students: We See You, We Stand With You! - Lily's Blackboard:

To Our Transgender Students: We See You, We Stand With You!

It’s hard to be a teenager.  You remember.  You’re too tall.  You’re too short.  Your body’s changing.  You break out in pimples.  You want to be noticed.  You don’t want to be noticed.
Now pile all that adolescent angst on top of:  I was designated a boy at birth, but I’m a girl.
Or, To others I look like a girl, but I know I’m a boy.
Most of us can’t imagine what that would be like. But I think we all realize that being forced to live a life inconsistent with our authentic  self or gender identity– would be wrong. If, when I was growing up, people told me that I was a boy and that I must – under threat of harassment and intimidation – live as a boy even though I knew I was a girl, that would have been painful; confusing; and frightening.”
I’m a teacher, and it’s my duty to protect students.  I’ve comforted them when they’ve been scared.  I’ve held them crying in my arms when someone was cruel to them.  I wish my arms were big enough to hold all our transgender students today who have to undergo the onslaught of powerful politicians right now who are using that power to hurt them.
For some of these politicians, I believe they are acting out of profound ignorance of the transgender community.  If I wanted to be generous, I’d say that their education is lacking and they don’t know what they’re talking about.
But I don’t want to be generous with everyone.  I believe there are some who are cynically acting out of politics– they believe that an issue like this will mobilize certain voters to support them or oppose someone else.  It’s an old political trick:  Propose a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist so that you can pontificate and legislate and appear to be strong in defending family, morality, democracy, etc.  It’s a game.
But there are others who aren’t playing games.  They welcome the opportunity to harass and humiliate LGBT people.  They don’t believe LGBT people have the right to exist and if they do exist, they should at least have the good taste to be embarrassed about it and hide it.  People who have decided not to be ashamed of who they are offend them.
Whatever the motivation, some state legislators have responded to cities that passed nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people by passing their own laws prohibiting such protections and going further.  In North Carolina, amongst other things, they required a public school to prohibit a transgender student from using the restroom with which the student identifies.  Specifically, students must use the restroom that corresponds to the gender listed on their birth certificates.
So.  Imagine.
A teenage transgender girl who struggles to make herself appear on the outside the way she feels on the inside; a teenager who dresses as a young girl, fixes her hair as a young girl, speaks and walks and acts as the young girl she is on the inside must, by North Carolina law, use the boys’ restroom.  She must walk into the boys’ bathroom and be gawked at by the teenage boys who will surely make her feel as if she’s walked into the wrong bathroom.
A teenage transgender boy who struggles to make himself appear on the outside the way he feels on the inside; a To Our Transgender Students: We See You, We Stand With You! - Lily's Blackboard:

May Revise: Governor's Revised Budget

California State Budget:

Governor's Revised Budget
California State Budget:

Summary PDF

California State Budget:

SI&A Cabinet Report - Trusted Source for What's News in Education

Brown’s revised budget helps teacher shortage, emergency repairs

(Calif.) Acknowledging a growing teacher shortage that is putting education gains at risk, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed Friday a $10 million package of tuition support and other incentives aimed at attracting young people into the profession.
As part of his long-awaited revised budget plan, the governor also once again withheld support for a statewide bond to help with school construction and repair costs, but offered a $100 million loan program for health and safety improvements.
The governor, becoming renowned for his tight-fisted spending policies, referenced the need to be cautious in the face of economic uncertainties.
“Our reserves are not adequate,” Brown said during the press conference at the Capitol. “But at least it will minimize the cuts to all the programs that people want to spend more money on now, and what I’m trying to do is to protect those programs in the event of the next recession, which is coming.”
Despite a surprise dip in April revenue collections, the overall budget for K-12 schools remains rosy. If the governor’s plan is adopted as proposed, per pupil spending will have increased by more than $3,600 over the spending provided during the nadirs of the recession.
The minimum funding guarantee of $71.9 billion for 2016-17 represents a 52 percent increase over the past five years. His plan would also bring the state to within 4 percent of the commitment made four years ago with the creation of the Local Control Funding Formula.
Even before news broke of April’s slip in personal income tax revenue, the administration had signaled to schools that there would not be a lot of additional spending proposed for new programs or services. Brown did, however, provide new details for an early learner initiative that he proposed in January.
The plan consolidates a number of existing resources to form a $1.6 billion Early Education Block Grant, which will align academic priorities between pre-kindergarten programs and local school districts.
According to the implementation plan:
•        School districts, county offices of education, families, teachers and community stakeholders will work to develop a regional early learning plan in order to align pre-kindergarten and K-12 programs; and
•        County offices of education and school districts with early education programs can aid school districts that lack the infrastructure to operate such programs with technical support.
Preparation for program implementation should begin in 2017-18.
Brown also wants to respond to the troubling trend within the teacher employment sector – characterized as the position losing status among young people enough so that shortages are visible in many communities.
As a number of bills are pending in the Legislature to address the problem, Brown proposed a $10 million General Fund one time investment for grants to California postsecondary institutions to improve upon or develop four-year integrated teacher credential programs. Grants of up to $250,000 Brown’s revised budget helps teacher shortage, emergency repairs

Teacher Segregation in Los Angeles and New York City | Shanker Institute

Teacher Segregation in Los Angeles and New York City | Shanker Institute:

Teacher Segregation in Los Angeles and New York City 

The effort to diversify the teacher workforce in U.S. public schools has received increasing attention in recent years, including a major 2015 Shanker Institute report examining the state of teacher diversity in nine large cities. The impact of levels of racial and ethnic diversity, however, will depend in no small part on the distribution of that diversity within and between districts. In other words, the benefits for teachers and students of a more diverse teacher workforce are influenced heavily by the degree to which teachers are distributed across districts schools by race and ethnicity. And, while there is decades of strong research on student segregation, there is virtually none on that among teachers.
In this report, we present a descriptive analysis of teacher segregation in the two largest districts in the U.S. - New York City and Los Angeles Unified. We find meaningful levels of teacher segregation in these districts, particularly of Black teachers from their White, Hispanic, and Asian colleagues. We also find that, unlike student segregation, teacher segregation is driven as much by the separation of minority teachers from each other as it is by the separation of White teachers from minority teachers. Finally, our results suggest that teacher segregation is related systematically to that of students, which can have a rather drastic effect on the experiences of those students. Black students in NYC and LA, for example, are four to five times more likely to have a Black teacher than are their White peers. Recent efforts to improve teacher diversity must include close attention to teacher segregation, and states and districts should be collecting the data necessary to do so.
You can view and/or download (PDF) the full research brief directly below.


Resource Type

Issues Areas: 


Teacher Segregation in Los Angeles and New York City | Shanker Institute:

The Golden Age of Education Reporting? | The Merrow Report

The Golden Age of Education Reporting? | The Merrow Report:
The Golden Age of Education Reporting?

Education reporting has never been better than it is right now.  That said, there’s room for improvement.  That’s the conclusion I have come to after 41 years on the beat and after attending the annual meeting of the Education Writers Association in Boston last weekend.
When I got into the game in 1974, EWA was gasping for breath.  When I joined its Board in the late 70’s, I discovered that the executive director kept the organization’s financial records in a shoe box; moreover, there was no annual budget, just some numbers scribbled on a legal pad.  The education beat itself was, for most reporters, a way station, a stepping stone to something with prestige.  Only a handful of reporters like Mike Bowler, Anne Lewis, Ron Moskowitz and Fred Hechinger made a career out of reporting about schools.
When Lisa Walker became Executive Director of EWA, she and a revitalized Board brought EWA into the big leagues. Under current Executive Director Carolyn Hendrie, the organization now stands alone as a model–and the education beat has become a beacon for reporters assigned to cover other issues. The EWA’s powerful ‘listserve’ allows reporters to stay connected and share insights and, when appropriate, sources.  
National coverage is strong: Chalkbeat (now in 4 states and expanding), The Hechinger ReportPro Publica and Politico Education are providing outstanding national and local coverage. NPR (National Public Radio) has a strong education team, as does the PBS NewsHour (the latter team includes my former colleagues at Learning Matters).  Although Education Week is a trade publication, it remains a “must read” for anyone interested in the both the big picture and the weeds of the business.  (One of my regrets is that when we negotiated the merger into Ed Week, I did not ask for a lifetime subscription!)  There are more interesting education blogs than I could begin to count, and that’s a good thing.

Big Education Ape: Invisible: 1.4 Percent Coverage for Education is Not Enough - Brookings Institution

Exemplary Program Awards and Title I Schools - Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)

Exemplary Program Awards and Title I Schools - Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education):

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Exemplary Program Awards and Title I Achieving Schools

 SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced additional honors for 508 of the 779 elementary schools that were recognized as Gold Ribbon Schools.

Thirty-five of those Gold Ribbon Schools have been selected as having an Exemplary Program in Arts Education or Physical Activity and Nutrition. Schools applied separately for those honors.
Additionally, Gold Ribbon Schools that are also Title I schools were recognized as Academic Achieving Schools. This distinction is given only to schools receiving federal Title I funds that aid in meeting the educational needs of students living at or below the poverty level. The list of recognized schools follows at the end of this press release.
"I'm delighted to honor these schools and programs, which are doing a tremendous job preparing our students for 21stcentury opportunities and graduating lifelong learners in the process," Torlakson said.
Several Gold Ribbon Schools won multiple awards. Two schools—Jefferson Elementary School in the Sanger Unified School District, Fresno County, and Gordon J. Lau Elementary School in San Francisco—won all three additional honors (recognized for being a Title I Academic Achieving School and given Exemplary Program Awards in both Arts and Physical Activity and Nutrition).
The Exemplary Program Awards were created in 2013 to celebrate those schools carrying out the goals in Torlakson's A Blueprint for Great Schools report, which provided vision and direction for the California education system. That report was updated in 2015 with A Blueprint for Great Schools Version 2.0.
More information on Exemplary Program Awards is available at the California Gold Ribbon Schools Program page on the California Department of Education's Web site.
The 2016 Elementary Gold Ribbon Schools as well as the 2016 Exemplary Program recipients, Title I Academic Achieving Schools, 2016 Green Ribbon Schools, 2016 Civic Learning Award Schools, and the National Blue Ribbon Schools from 2015 will be honored in May and June during regional ceremonies held in Santa Clara, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Visalia, and Sacramento.
2016 Exemplary Program Awards and Academic Achieving Schools
* AAA = Academic Achieving School Award
* ARTS = Exemplary Arts Education Program Award
* PAN = Exemplary Physical Activity and Nutrition Education Program Award

U.S. Depts of Ed and Justice Release Joint Guidance to Help Schools Ensure the Civil Rights of Transgender Students

U.S. Departments of Education and Justice Release Joint Guidance to Help Schools Ensure the Civil Rights of Transgender Students | U.S. Department of Education:

U.S. Departments of Education and Justice Release Joint Guidance to Help Schools Ensure the Civil Rights of Transgender Students

The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice released joint guidance today to help provide educators the information they need to ensure that all students, including transgender students, can attend school in an environment free from discrimination based on sex.
Recently, questions have arisen from school districts, colleges and universities, and others about transgender students and how to best ensure these students, and non-transgender students, can all enjoy a safe and discrimination-free environment.
Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, schools receiving federal money may not discriminate based on a student's sex, including a student's transgender status. The guidance makes clear that both federal agencies treat a student's gender identity as the student's sex for purposes of enforcing Title IX.
"No student should ever have to go through the experience of feeling unwelcome at school or on a college campus," said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. "This guidance further clarifies what we've said repeatedly—that gender identity is protected under Title IX. Educators want to do the right thing for students, and many have reached out to us for guidance on how to follow the law. We must ensure that our young people know that whoever they are or wherever they come from, they have the opportunity to get a great education in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and violence."
"There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex," said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch. "This guidance gives administrators, teachers, and parents the tools they need to protect transgender students from peer harassment and to identify and address unjust school policies. I look forward to continuing our work with the Department of Education—and with schools across the country—to create classroom environments that are safe, nurturing, and inclusive for all of our young people."
"Our federal civil rights law guarantees all students, including transgender students, the opportunity to participate equally in school programs and activities without sex discrimination as a core civil right," said Department of Education Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon. "This guidance answers questions schools have been asking, with a goal to ensure that all students are treated equally consistent with their gender identity. We look forward to continuing to work with schools and school communities to satisfy Congress' promise of equality for all."
"Every child deserves to attend school in a safe, supportive environment that allows them to thrive and grow. And we know that teachers and administrators care deeply about all of their students and want them to succeed in school and life," said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. "Our guidance sends a clear message to transgender students across the country: here in America, you are safe, you are protected and you belong—just as you are. We look forward to working with school officials to make the promise of equal opportunity a reality for all of our children."
The guidance explains that when students or their parents, as appropriate, notify a school that a student is transgender, the school must treat the student consistent with the student's gender identity. A school may not require transgender students to have a medical diagnosis, undergo any medical treatment, or produce a birth certificate or other identification document before treating them consistent with their gender identity.
The guidance also explains schools' obligations to:
  • Respond promptly and effectively to sex-based harassment of all students, including harassment based on a student's actual or perceived gender identity, transgender status, or gender transition;
  • Treat students consistent with their gender identity even if their school records or identification documents indicate a different sex;
  • Allow students to participate in sex-segregated activities and access sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity; and
  • Protect students' privacy related to their transgender status under Title IX and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
At the same time, the guidance makes clear that schools can provide additional privacy options to any student for any reason. The guidance does not require any student to use shared bathrooms or changing spaces, when, for example, there are other appropriate options available; and schools can also take steps to increase privacy within shared facilities.
In addition to the Departments' joint Title IX guidance, the Department of Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education also released Examples of Policies and Emerging Practices for Supporting Transgender Students, a compilation of policies and practices that schools across the country are already using to support transgender students. The document shares some common questions on topics such as school records, privacy, and terminology, and then explains how some state and school district policies have answered these questions, which may be useful for other states and school districts that are considering these issues. In this document, the Education Department does not endorse any particular policy, but offers examples from actual policies to help educators develop policies and practices for their own schools.
Many parents, schools, and districts have raised questions about this area of civil rights law. Together, these documents will help navigate what may be a new terrain for some.
The mission of ED's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is to ensure equal access to education and promote educational excellence throughout the nation through the vigorous enforcement of civil rights. OCR is responsible for enforcing federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination by educational institutions on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, sex and age, as well as the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act of 2001. Additional information about OCR is available here.
The mission of ED's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) is to promote academic excellence, enhance educational opportunities and equity for all of America's children and families, and to improve the quality of teaching and learning by providing leadership, technical assistance, and financial support. Additional information about OESE is available here.
The Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, created in 1957 by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The division enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status and national origin. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available here.
 U.S. Departments of Education and Justice Release Joint Guidance to Help Schools Ensure the Civil Rights of Transgender Students | U.S. Department of Education:

Report: California’s charter schools lag behind traditional schools in graduating students | EdSource

Report: California’s charter schools lag behind traditional schools in graduating students | EdSource:

Report: California’s charter schools lag behind traditional schools in graduating students

California charter schools account for a disproportionate share of students who fail to graduate high school, according to a report released this week.
“Building a Grad Nation,” which tracks graduation rates among public schools nationally, found that 24 percent of California students in all public schools who failed to graduate in 2014 attended charter schools, even though the state’s charter schools enrolled only 9 percent of all high school students that year.
The report has been produced annually since 2010 by Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education, as part of an effort to track states’ progress toward reaching a national graduation rate of 90 percent by 2020.
In California, 94 percent of traditional high schools in 2014 had a graduation rate of 67 percent or higher, the threshold used to identify a low-graduation-rate school. Sixty-three percent of all charter schools had a graduation rate of 67 percent or higher.
The California Charter Schools Association challenged the report’s findings, saying it inconsistently classified under the same umbrella regular charter schools and many alternative charters that specifically cater to dropouts, adult students and other at-risk students.
According to the report, there was some overlap when counting non-graduates from the different types of charter schools. Alternative charters were included in both the general “charter” category and the “alternative” school category, which includes all alternative, special education and vocational schools.
“We find a very large number of (alternative charters) on this list that we think the report’s authors would instead applaud for their programs and for tackling some of the most difficult challenges in education and serving some of the most underserved students in the state,” said Emily Bertelli, a spokeswoman for the California Charter Schools Association.
Bertelli listed as examples Five Keys Charter School in San Francisco, a non-traditional charter school serving county jail inmates that provides an opportunity for students to restart their education; and John Muir Charter Schools, which provide students at campuses statewide the opportunity to earn a high school diploma while working with the California Conservation Corps and other similar programs.
“Many of these schools exist to serve a vulnerable student population, and therefore deal with significant challenges,” said Robert Balfanz, a research scientist and the report’s co-author. “That’s why it’s so important that educators identify struggling students at the beginning of their high school careers and provide the things all students need to be successful.”
The nation’s overall gradation rate climbed to a record 82.3 percent in 2014. In California, the state’s graduation rate reached 81 percent. California’s graduation rate has steadily increased each year since 2010, when it was at 74.7 percent. Only Iowa has reached a statewide graduation rate of 90 percent or higher.
The report also found that schools with graduation rates lower than 67 percent generally had high concentrations of Hispanic, African-American or low-income students, a sign states haven’t done enough to provide the needed support for these student populations.Report: California’s charter schools lag behind traditional schools in graduating students | EdSource:

Children in disadvantaged neighborhoods are more likely to see their local schools close. | USAPP

Children in disadvantaged neighborhoods are more likely to see their local schools close. | USAPP:

Children in disadvantaged neighborhoods are more likely to see their local schools close.

Shrinking public finances have meant many cities and municipalities have looked to cut costs, with education not being spared. In new research, Jin Lee and Christopher Lubienski examine the effects of Chicago’s school closures, which have been justified by falling enrollment numbers. They write that schools in poorer areas are often likely to be the first targets for closure, a trend which means that there are fewer schools available for children – often African American and Latino – in less advantaged neighborhoods.
Public schools in the US are increasingly being shut down when they have been identified as underperforming on the basis of test scores and graduation rates. The traditional approach to school closure has been to reduce financial losses caused by empty classrooms and under-enrolled schools, especially in rural school districts. Indeed, this classic approach to maximizing efficiency is now evident in school closure policies in larger cities which are experiencing out-migration and depopulation. But now it has been combined with the idea of punishing apparent organizational underperformance.
The Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the third largest school district in the United States, is no exception. Chicago announced in the spring of 2013 that 54 primary schools would close in the upcoming school year, and that economies of scale provided justification for determining which schools to be closed. Considering that the number of primary school-age children has decreased by 24 percent in Chicago over the last decade, it is not surprising that school closures were accelerated in particular areas experiencing this decline. However, it is important to think carefully about where schools are closed and how that may impact students in terms of spatial equality.
In new research, we examine the possibility that school closings shape inequitable access to schools particularly for children in less advantaged neighborhoods. By taking into account travel time to schools, our study finds the CPS school closing policy—based on the capacity and the number of empty seats at schools—raises the likelihood that students in segregated communities have less access to neighboring schools.
Beware of location! 
CPS has closed schools before. Chicago can close a school if the student enrollment is less than 80 percent of ideal enrollment. Thirteen primary schools were indeed closed for underutilization between 2001 and 2006, despite continuing debates over harms and benefits of school closings in large urban school districts. Yet, the reason that the latest school closing move in the fall of 2013 attracted such unwelcome attention is because of the scale: Chicago closed and relocated about 8 percent of schools. As shown in Figure 1, a substantial decrease in access to neighboring schools after these mass school closures occured in the north of downtown Chicago.
Figure 1 – Access change after the school closures
Lee Fig 1
More precisely, the policy produced a notable change in access in areas with a high density of both African American and Latino American children. This suggests that school closures may be depriving students in particular areas of the opportunity to attend more convenient neighboring schools. As shown in Figure 2, the areas with a relatively large population of minority children are gradated in orange and red colors. This tells us that children in these areas experience significant declines in access after school closures.
Figure 2 – Access change by African American (left) and Hispanic (right) children
Lee Fig 2
In Chicago, when neighborhood schools close, one of the the biggest potential problems is that childrenChildren in disadvantaged neighborhoods are more likely to see their local schools close. | USAPP: 

PARCC CEO to Prof Who Posts “Live” Test Items: Reveal Your Informant | deutsch29

PARCC CEO to Prof Who Posts “Live” Test Items: Reveal Your Informant | deutsch29:

PARCC CEO to Prof Who Posts “Live” Test Items: Reveal Your Informant

Email from PARCC CEO Laura Slover, sent to me and others by Prof. Celia Oyler, who writes at and who published a post referencing three “live” PARCC test items for grade 4:
Dear Professor Oyler:
I am writing to respectfully request that you remove all of the material reproduced from the PARCC assessments reproduced your blog post of May 7, 2016, which was called to our attention at
Parcc, Inc. is the owner of all intellectual property contained in the various PARCC assessments (other than third party literary excepts, for which we have reprint permission), including the essay prompts you have posted. Those prompts are protected by copyright. In addition, the materials are treated as confidential information as they are “live” test questions; indeed, the teacher who furnished you with the material stated in her essay that he or she had breached a written undertaking not to reveal any of the material and wished to avoid personal responsibility for having done so.
Your reproduction of those items infringe the Parcc, Inc. copyrights in the test, amplify the teacher’s breach of confidentiality, and threaten the utility of the assessments, both as their administration is completed over the next few weeks and in versions of the assessment to be administered in the future.
We have noted that a number of websites have linked to your site, further undermining the utility of the assessments.  As an infringer, you can be held personally liable for the damages incurred by Parcc, Inc. and those who have contributed financially to the creation and validation of the assessments, including without limitation the possible need, not only to create replacement items, but to create and revalidate new test forms.
We also request that you provide whatever information you have as to the 
PARCC CEO to Prof Who Posts “Live” Test Items: Reveal Your Informant | deutsch29:

US gives directive to schools on transgender bathroom access

US gives directive to schools on transgender bathroom access:

US gives directive to schools on transgender bathroom access

WASHINGTON (AP) — Public schools must permit transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity, according to an Obama administration directive issued amid a court fight between the federal government and North Carolina.
The guidance from leaders at the departments of Education and Justice says public schools are obligated to treat transgender students in a way that matches their gender identity, even if their education records or identity documents indicate a different sex.
"There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement accompanying the directive, which is being sent to school districts Friday.
In issuing the guidance, the Obama administration is wading anew into a socially divisive debate it has bluntly cast in terms of civil rights. The Justice Department on Monday sued North Carolina over a bathroom access law that it said violates the rights of transgender people, a measure that Lynch likened to policies of racial segregation and efforts to deny gay couples the right to marry.
The guidance does not impose any new legal requirements. But officials say it's meant to clarify expectations of school districts that receive funding from the federal government. Educators have been seeking guidance on how to comply with Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs and activities that receive federal funding, Education Secretary John B. King said in a statement.
"We must ensure that our young people know that whoever they are or wherever they come from, they have the opportunity to get a great education in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and violence," King said.
Under the guidance, schools are told that they must treat transgender students according to their chosen gender identity as soon as a parent or guardian notifies the district that that identity "differs from previous representations or records." There is no obligation for a student to present a specific medical diagnosis or identification documents that reflect his or her gender identity, and equal access must be given to transgender students even in instances when it makes others uncomfortable, according to the directive.
"As is consistently recognized in civil rights cases, the desire to accommodate others' discomfort cannot justify a policy that singles out and disadvantages a particular class of students," the guidance says.
The administration is also releasing a separate 25-page document of questions and answers about best practices, including ways schools can make transgender students comfortable in the classroom and protect the privacy rights of all students in restrooms or locker rooms.
The move was cheered by Human Rights Campaign, a gay, lesbian and transgender civil rights organization, which called the guidelines "groundbreaking."
"This is a truly significant moment not only for transgender young people but for all young people, sending a message that every student deserves to be treated fairly and supported by their teachers and schools," HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement.
The guidance comes days after the Justice Department and North Carolina filed dueling lawsuits over a new state law that says transgender people must use public bathrooms, showers and changing rooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate. The administration has said the law violates the Civil Rights Act.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has argued that the state law is a "commonsense privacy policy" and that the Justice Department's position is "baseless and blatant overreach." His administration sued the federal government hours before the state itself was sued.
Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at

Teachers at New York City’s Biggest Charter School Chain May Be Cheating on Standardized Tests | Alternet

Teachers at New York City’s Biggest Charter School Chain May Be Cheating on Standardized Tests | Alternet:
Teachers at New York City’s Biggest Charter School Chain May Be Cheating on Standardized Tests
So says insider report on "helping" students at Success Academy.

 One of the nation’s highest-profile charter school chains may be creating a culture of “teacher cheating” in which educators are so pressured to boost student standardized test scores that they will intervene in various ways during the tests, Politico New York has reported

“It seems possible if not likely that some teacher cheating is occurring at Success [Academy] on both internal assessments and state exams,” read a memo written last July by Roy Germano, a social scientist who the New York City-based chain hired to assess “questions we never thought to ask” as it was contemplating its continued growth. The memo was obtained byPolitico New York reporter Eliza Shapiro.
“While Germano did not conclusively prove that teachers were cheating,” Shapiro wrote, “he reports multiple incidents of Success staffers informing that Success teachers may have prepared students for specific questions on internal tests, allowed students to copy answers from each other, scored their own students higher than students in other classes, and pointed to incorrect answers on exams and warned students to rethink their answers.”
New York City’s Success Academy is the city’s largest charter school chain, with nearly 10,000 mostly poor students of color in 43 schools. It hopes to double its number of schools and students in the near future. As the New York Times reported last April, its claim to fame and justification for its “polarizing” academics and political advocacy come from its student test results on the state’s standardized math and reading exams, which have been more than double the average level of the city’s traditional public schools.
“Success Academy is the highest scoring charter chain in New York, possibly the nation,” said Diane Ravitch, a charter critic, pointing to Politico’s report. “It is also very controversial, due to its no-excuses policies, its attrition rates, and Teachers at New York City’s Biggest Charter School Chain May Be Cheating on Standardized Tests | Alternet: