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Weekly News Round-Up for February 23rd
posted by: Melissa | February 23, 2018, 08:18 PM   

Each week, PACE brings its members a round-up of what’s happening in education. From big, eye-catching headlines to the stories most papers overlook, we find the news our members really want to see. This week, there’s fall-out from the Florida shooting, teachers striking in West Virginia, a historic Supreme Court case, and more!


A Tumultuous Week Following Florida Shooting: A little over a week after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, teachers are beginning to return to work, with students expected to return on Wednesday. The days since the shooting have been chaotic, not only for the students and staff at Stoneman Douglas High, but across the country. School shootings have had a dramatic effect on schools as they become more common place, and with this latest massacre, teachers and students have been spurred into action. Students across the country have led walk-outs demanding changes to make schools safer and in support of the students from Parkland, FL. In the D.C. area, students left school to march on the Capitol and White House in a massive demonstration, while survivors of the Parkland shooting marched on Florida’s capital of Tallahassee and met with lawmakers hoping to convince them to enact gun control. With more widespread national protests planned for March, the reaction from administrators has ranged from support to threatening consequences for missing school. At the same time that students were protesting for more secure schools, there was a marked increase in threats to schools adding urgency to the protests.


Trump Calls for a Hardening of Schools: Amid the calls for something to change, President Trump reached out to parents, students, police officers, and lawmakers. Although a clear plan has yet to emerge, Trump called for schools to become more hardened. His ideas included tightening regulations on bump stocks and strengthening background check laws, but it was the proposal to allow some teachers to carry guns on school grounds that earned the most backlash. The issue itself is controversial, with polls suggesting that the population is split over whether or not to arm teachers. Lawmakers also appear hesitant to take this move, with a similar bill failing in Colorado and Florida Governor Rick Scott releasing school safety measures that do not include allowing teachers to carry weapons.


Historic Statewide Strike in West Virginia: After weeks of contentious back and forth between teachers’ union officials and state lawmakers, teachers across the state of West Virginia walked out on Thursday. Pay for teachers in West Virginia lags behind that of the rest of the country, but the main issue is the health insurance offered to public employees which has seen dramatic spikes in costs due to being underfunded. Although legislators passed a stop-gap measure, the unions worry that it is not enough to solve the issue and stabilize health care. Union officials say that the strike could continue into next week if a solution is not found. Statewide teacher strikes are extremely rare and have happened only a handful of times.


Supreme Court to Hear Mandatory Union Fee Case: Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Janus vs. AFSCME. The case is over whether or not unions can force non-members to pay fees to the union as a condition of employment. The plaintiffs in the case argue that their money is being spent to support policies they don’t agree with and forcing them to pay dues is a violation of their freedom of speech. Meanwhile, unions argue that all employees of an organization benefit from their negotiating, which they wouldn’t be able to do if they didn’t collect dues.


Happening Elsewhere:

Education secretary DeVos backs school choice for military children

Teachers’ union change stripped from Florida education bill

Florida Lawmakers Advance Bill Requiring Schools To Display 'In God We Trust'

Lawmakers and education experts address teacher turnover in Utah

Teacher and retiree advocates are still not happy with Kentucky's new pension reform bill

Michael Feinberg, a Founder of KIPP Schools, Is Fired After Misconduct Claims

Head Of D.C.'s Schools Resigns After Personal Scandal And Amid District Tumult

Student Gives Ice Cream Money To Help Teacher Pay For Father-In-Law’s Funeral


What’s going on where you are?

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