• Disparities seen in special education services - Politico

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    Quick Fix

    — Two students with disabilities who live in the same area sought help but the wealthier student got it faster, according to a story produced by the Teacher Project, an education reporting fellowship.

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    — Michael Mulgrew, the head of the United Federation of Teachers, has kicked off a campaign to oppose the governor's Medicaid plan.

    — The process for a school diversity plan for District 28 in Queens has been delayed.

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    Around New York

    DISPARITIES IN SPECIAL EDUCATION — Mike Elsen-Rooney, The Teacher Project, USA Today: “Isaac, whose parents make a six-figure income through work as a consultant and liquor distributor executive, goes home each afternoon to a newly-renovated brownstone. Landon, whose mother Yolanda immigrated from the Dominican Republic as a child and is raising her three children alone, shares a bedroom with his siblings in a public housing complex. Both families set their sights on an option known as ‘private placement’: a federal guarantee that school districts must pay for tuition at a private school if they can’t meet the needs of a child with a disability. That set both families on an arduous and circuitous path — one biased toward wealthier families who have the money to hire pricey lawyers and the time and savvy to do extensive research on how private placement works.”

    UFT HEAD OPPOSES CUOMO MEDICAID PLAN — New York Post's Carl Campanile: "Powerful teachers’ union boss Mike Mulgrew summoned lawmakers to a closed-door strategy session Friday to fight Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget plan, which would shift more of the growing costs of the massive Medicaid program to New York City and other localities, The Post has learned. The city having to foot a bigger bill for Medicaid could mean less money for schools and other programs, Mulgrew argues."

    QUEENS DIVERSITY PLAN PROCESS DELAYED — Wall Street Journal’s Leslie Brody: “An effort by New York City officials to diversify middle schools in a swath of Queens has been delayed after outcry from parents and heated public meetings. WXY Studio, a consultant hired by the city Department of Education to find ways to diversify schools in District 28, said last year that a series of three public workshops would start last month... But that schedule has been tossed, and department officials haven’t offered a new one. No workshops have been held.”

    EYES ON FACIAL RECOGNITION — New York Times’ Davey Alba: “... facial recognition is spreading across the country and being deployed in new ways in the United States, as public officials turn to the technology in the name of public safety. A few cities, like San Francisco and Somerville, Mass., have barred their governments from using the technology, but they are exceptions. More than 600 law enforcement agencies started using the technology of one company, Clearview AI, in just the past year. Airports and other public venues, like Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, have adopted it as well. Schools are a newer front, and the debate that took place in Lockport encapsulates the furor surrounding the technology. Proponents call it a crucial crime-fighting tool, to help prevent mass shootings and stop sexual predators. Robert LiPuma, the Lockport City School District’s director of technology, said he believed that if the technology had been in place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., the deadly 2018 attack there may never have happened."

    LOLLIPOPS FOR SCHOOL PLAGUED BY VIOLENCE — New York Post’s Susan Edelman: “A ‘clueless’ Queens principal thinks he knows how to lick the recent violence and sexual harassment plaguing his middle school: hand out lollipops to students on Valentine’s Day. Henry ‘Hank’ Schandel came up with the tone-deaf scheme for MS 158, the Marie Curie Middle School in Bayside, after one student was recently groped in class, and another beaten up during a wild, caught-on-camera cafeteria brawl.”

    SUPERMARKETS AS LEARNING ZONES — The City’s Claudia Irizarry Aponte: “A group of Brownsville parents was frustrated by a lack of local places to take young children. Where, outside of school or day care, they asked, could their kids get some brain development stimulation, boost communication skills and have some fun? With no obvious options, the parents created a program of their own. Now ‘Learning Landscapes’ is transforming two neighborhood supermarkets into scavenger hunt zones for little ones to explore as they shop with the adults in their lives.”

    MEDGAR EVERS OPENS CONFUCIUS INSTITUTE — New York Post's Melissa Klein: "Medgar Evers College has added a Chinese-funded institute to its Brooklyn campus at the same time other schools are booting similar programs. A Confucius Institute opened this fall at the school, which is part of the City University of New York, to teach Chinese language and culture classes. Medgar Evers is to get $1 million over five years by hosting the institute, which will also provide classes to local public school students, according to a CUNY announcement."

    IT’S ELECTRIC — New York Daily News’ Anna Sanders: “The wheels on the bus go round and round — from electricity. The first electric school buses will hit city streets this year after Mayor de Blasio signs an executive order requiring more than 20,000 on-road vehicles in New York City’s municipal fleet be plug-in electric by 2040. ... There are 25,104 on-road vehicles in the fleet now, just 8.5% or 2,134 are electric.”

    CUOMO BLASTS RACIST GRAFFITI AT SUNY-ESF — Daily Orange’s Michael Sessa: “New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo condemned the racist graffiti found in SUNY-ESF’s Centennial Hall in a tweet Saturday night. ‘These hateful messages are disgusting,’ Cuomo said. ‘As New Yorkers and as Americans, we must all condemn the sickening rise in hate happening in our country.’ Two instances of racist graffiti were found written on whiteboards in the residence hall and posted to social media, the college announced Saturday.”

    The Greece Central School District held a discussion on the n-word along with other language embedded in slavery.

    Across the River

    BASKETBALL PLAYERS ATTACK COACH — NBC News’ Elisha Fieldstadt: "Four New Jersey high school basketball players accused of assaulting a coach after an away game have been suspended and will face criminal charges, authorities said Thursday. Newark police were called to Malcolm X. Shabazz High School on Tuesday night after the junior varsity team returned from a game in Livingston, according to a statement from the Newark Department of Public Safety."

    SCHOOL LIBRARIAN FOUND DEAD — NBC Philadelphia: "A school librarian and mom of three was found dead in a home after a raging fire in Toms River, New Jersey, police said. Sara Trahey's body was discovered after firefighters extinguished the flames that consumed a home in the Silverton section of Toms River. A man and three children escaped the blaze safely. First responders tried to rescue Trahey, but could not. A police officer at the scene was treated for smoke inhalation."

    Around the Nation

    ADVENTURES IN TWITTERING — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Annysa Johnson: “A Milwaukee Public Schools teacher was placed on leave Wednesday for tweeting that he hopes conservative talk show pundit Rush Limbaugh dies a painful death from cancer. Travis Sarandos, who teaches English at Milwaukee High School of the Arts, has since deleted his Twitter account, @travis_MKE.”

    CHEWBACCA ROAR CONTEST — Philadelphia Inquirer’s Stephanie Farr: “If you called the phone number on the ‘Chewbacca roar contest’ fliers recently plastered around Philly and South Jersey to leave your best impression of Chewy from Star Wars, you made a Wookiee mistake. Turns out the ‘contest’ — which offered a $50 prize for the funniest or best impression of Chewbacca left on the phone number’s voice mail — was a prank. One committed by a Padawan, at that. The mastermind behind the prank was Noel Hecht, a freshman at Haddon Township High School in New Jersey, who put his unsuspecting friend’s number on the fliers as the call-in line for the Chewbacca roar contest.”

    BLACK TEEN WHO REFUSED TO CUT LOCS HEADS TO OSCARS — Huffington Post’s Kimberley Richards: “The team behind the Oscar-nominated animated short film ‘Hair Love’ hit the 2020 Oscars red carpet on Sunday with a special guest: DeAndre Arnold. Arnold, a Black high school senior from Mont Belvieu, Texas, made headlines last month after he and his family publicly revealed that he wouldn’t be allowed to walk at his upcoming graduation unless he cut his locs.”

    AT LEAST SOMEONE CARED ABOUT A SBP ELECTION — WRAL’s Travis Fain: “One East Carolina University trustee resigned from the board to avoid forced removal Friday and another was censured by the university system's Board of Governors. Trustees Phil Lewis, who resigned, and Robbie Moore tried to recruit an ECU student to run for student body president in an effort to swing majority control of the university's Board of Trustees.”

    Around the World

    SCHOOLS DEAL WITH CORONAVIRUS — Associated Press’ Michael Melia and Kantele Franko: “As concerns about China’s virus outbreak spread, universities are scrambling to assess the risks to their programs, and some are canceling study-abroad opportunities and prohibiting travel affecting hundreds of thousands of students. From Europe to Australia and the United States, universities in countries that host Chinese students have reconsidered academic-related travel to and from China. In the U.S., the cancellations add to the tension between two governments whose relations were already sour.”

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