Year in Review: Education News in 2019

In one of our final blogs of the year, we will be taking a look back at some of 2019’s biggest pieces education news.

Teachers maintained their momentum of successful organizing into 2019, beginning the year with a successful strike in Los Angeles, and continuing through Oakland, Denver and Chicago. In all cases, unions won agreements for reduced class sizes, additional nurses and counselors, and more. Teacher walkouts also occurred in West Virginia, North Carolina and Indiana.

The huge college admissions scandal showed how much at least some universities, and arguably the entire college entrance process, is truly geared toward the wealthy. It seems like a lot of the talk about equity and inclusion is empty rhetoric. Yes, they got caught, but how many have escaped detection in the past and continue to do so now?

Courts blocked the Trump Administration’s punitive “public charge” rule, which would have penalized immigrants for using public services legally available to them. Some families had reportedly already begun reducing use of health care and nutrition services for their children in fear of the rule.

The Washington Post did an informal survey and found that teachers spend a lot of their own personal money on students. Since it’s probably a safe bet that they buy materials that they think are essential for the classroom, perhaps it’s an indicator that schools need more funding. 

The Democratic presidential primary race has brought some attention to education issues, whether it’s been on school segregation, the infamous “word gap” study, or candidate position papers on their school plans. Sometimes the quality of the public discussions is debatable, but it is a good thing that education is on the table. We can only hope it stays there through the general election and beyond.

Most teachers polled in the respected annual PDK International survey said they would not want their children to become teachers. If a majority of teachers don’t want the children most important to them going into their own field, we need to take a hard look at why that is. 

Research found that classes for African American young males that were taught with culturally relevant pedagogy and included Social Emotional Learning and academic supports resulted in substantially reduced school dropout rates. Let’s hope that schools around the country heard about this and replicate it. 

The vaping epidemic is hitting students hard, and now school districts are suing manufacturers to get support in dealing with it. Early findings indicate that Vitamin E acetate may be causing chemical burns in the lungs of those falling ill, but much more research is required. 

A Gallup poll found that high school teachers (I’m sure if they asked about elementary or middle-school teachers, they’d be pretty high, too) are the fourth most-trusted professionals in the United States. The recent success of teacher activism reflects that finding, and perhaps they should be speaking out even more. 

Did we miss a piece of education news that you think we should have included? What are your thoughts on 2019’s education news? Let us know in the comments.

Allison Green
Boston Tutoring Services

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