Exploring Castigliones Topics A Thought-Provoking Discussion

In the world of literature, Baldassare Castiglione’s “The Book of the Courtier” stands out as a timeless masterpiece. Written during the Italian Renaissance, this book is a window into the social and cultural norms of the time. It offers insights on the ideal characteristics of a courtier and the mannerisms and behaviors expected in the courtly setting. However, beyond its surface level teachings, “The Book of the Courtier” delves deeper into various topics that are still relevant today. In this article, we will discuss some of the thought-provoking themes and ideas explored by Castiglione in his renowned work.

Topics Discussed by Castiglione

The Italian author and diplomat Baldassare Castiglione is known for his most famous work, The Book of the Courtier, which was published in 1528. This book has been considered a fundamental text on the Renaissance ideals of courtly behavior and humanistic education. In this article, we will discuss the various topics that Castiglione addresses in The Book of the Courtier and how they are still relevant today.

Courtly Behavior

One of the main themes in The Book of the Courtier is courtly behavior. Castiglione believed that a courtier should possess certain qualities and virtues such as grace, wit, eloquence, and self-control. He argued that these characteristics were essential for success in courtly life and should be cultivated through education and practice. The courtier should also be skilled in various arts such as music, poetry, and dance, in order to impress their peers and superiors.

Castiglione believed that a courtier should be well-versed in the art of conversation and have a good sense of humor. They should also be able to engage in debates and discussions on a wide range of topics. These skills were seen as important for maintaining a good reputation and gaining favor with those in power.


Another important topic discussed by Castiglione in The Book of the Courtier is education. He believed that a courtier should have a well-rounded education in both the humanities and physical activities. This included the study of languages, literature, history, philosophy, mathematics, and science. It was also important for a courtier to be physically fit and skilled in sports such as horseback riding, hunting, and fencing.

Castiglione argued that education should be continuous and that a courtier should always strive to improve themselves. He believed that learning was a lifelong process and that a courtier should be curious, open-minded, and willing to embrace new ideas and perspectives.

The Role of Women

In The Book of the Courtier, Castiglione also addresses the role of women in courtly life. While he believed that men and women were equal in terms of intelligence and capability, he argued that their roles in society were different. Women were seen primarily as objects of beauty and were expected to be modest, chaste, and obedient to men.

However, Castiglione also recognized that women could have important roles in a courtly setting. He praised women who were educated, well-mannered, and politically savvy. He also believed that women could serve as advisors to men and be influential in courtly affairs. This was a radical idea at the time, as women were often excluded from politics and public life.

The Ideal Courtier

Castiglione’s concept of the ideal courtier was someone who possessed all of the qualities and virtues that he described in The Book of the Courtier. This person was not just skilled in various areas, but also had a certain charm and charisma that made them stand out in a courtly setting.

The ideal courtier was also someone who was ethical and moral, having a strong sense of right and wrong. They were honest, loyal, and had a sense of duty and responsibility towards their lord and country. This person was also well-respected by their peers and was able to maintain their reputation through their actions and behavior.

Relevance Today

Despite being written over 500 years ago, the topics discussed by Castiglione in The Book of the Courtier are still relevant today. In fact, many of the qualities and virtues that he described are still seen as important in modern society.

Courtly behavior, for example, is still highly valued in certain social and professional settings. People are expected to be polite, well-mannered, and able to engage in meaningful conversations. The ability to make a good first impression and maintain a positive reputation is also essential for success in many fields.

Education is also still seen as crucial for personal and professional growth. While the subjects studied may have changed, the idea of continuous learning and self-improvement is still highly valued. In today’s fast-paced world, it is necessary to constantly adapt and upgrade skills in order to stay competitive.

The role of women in society has also evolved since Castiglione’s time. While gender equality is still an ongoing issue, women now have more opportunities and roles in various industries and professions. They are also able to voice their opinions and participate in decision-making processes.

Finally, the concept of the ideal courtier is still applicable in modern times. People are expected to have a strong moral compass and a sense of responsibility towards their community and the world. Being honest, loyal, and having a good reputation are still seen as important characteristics.

What did Castiglione write about?

Aside from The Book of the Courtier, Castiglione also wrote other works such as The Courtier’s Book of the Words of Love, The Book of the Courtier and Lady, and Letters. However, his most famous work remains to be The Book of the Courtier, which has influenced many writers and thinkers throughout history.

In conclusion, Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier is a timeless piece of literature that discusses various topics that are still relevant today. His ideas on courtly behavior, education, the role of women, and the ideal courtier continue to shape our society and influence our perceptions of what it means to be a well-rounded individual.

In conclusion, the topics discussed by Castiglione in his book “The Book of the Courtier” hold great relevance even today. Through his observations and advice, he highlights the importance of etiquette, proper behavior, and social skills in courtly life. Additionally, his emphasis on the ideal courtier, who possesses a combination of physical, mental and moral abilities, serves as a timeless model for individuals striving for excellence in society. Moreover, his discussions on love, friendship, and the role of women in courtly life offer valuable insights into human relationships and dynamics. Overall, Castiglione’s work continues to be a source of inspiration and guidance for individuals seeking to navigate the complexities of social life with grace and poise. It is a testament to the enduring wisdom of this 16th-century text that its teachings remain applicable and relevant to modern times.

How To Write An Essay On Theme

Theme is one of the most important elements of an essay. It can be said that the theme of an essay is its main point or purpose. In order to write a good essay, it is important to choose a good topic and develop a strong thesis statement. The thesis statement is the backbone of the essay and it should be clear and concise. The body of the essay should be well-organized and well-written. The conclusion should be strong and leave the reader with a sense of closure.

Understanding the Significance of Thematic Analysis

Many students struggle with understanding the concept of theme and its significance in an essay. Theme is not simply a topic or subject matter that is discussed in a text. Rather, it is the underlying idea or message that the author is trying to communicate. Theme is often abstract and can be difficult to identify. However, through careful analysis of the text, it is possible to tease out the theme and understand its importance.

One of the best ways to approach theme is to think about how the author is trying to make a statement about the world. In other words, what is the author’s perspective on the topic? One way to uncover the author’s perspective is to examine the use of symbolism and metaphor in the text. These devices can give you a deeper understanding of the author’s intention.

Another way to uncover theme is to look at the structure of the text. How is the story or argument organized? What are the main points that the author is trying to make? By understanding the sequence of events and the main arguments of the text, you can get a better sense of the author’s perspective.

Finally, it is important to consider the context of the text. Where and when was it written? Who is the audience? What is the author’s purpose? By understanding the historical and social context of the text, you can get a better sense of the author’s perspective.

Once you have a good understanding of the author’s perspective, you can begin to analyze how the theme is developed. One way to do this is to consider the use of rhetorical devices, such as irony, satire, and sarcasm. These devices can be used to illustrate the theme in a powerful and memorable way.

Finally, it is important to think about how the theme affects you. What is the message that the author is trying to communicate? What is the impact of the theme on your life? By thinking about these questions, you can get a better understanding of the theme and its significance.

Identifying Key Themes in the Chosen Literary Work

Explore how ChatGPT is revolutionizing education. Read about its transformative impact at Revolutionizing the Future of Education: How ChatGPT is Transforming the Way We Study.

When you are asked to write an essay on theme, it is important to remember that the theme of a work is not simply a topic or subject that the author addresses. The theme of a work is its underlying message or lesson. Themes can be religious, moral, political, social, or simply about the human condition.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when identifying the theme of a work. First, you should read the work closely, paying attention to the words the author uses and the situations and characters he or she creates. Next, you should ask yourself what the work is about on a deeper level. What is the author trying to say to us? Finally, you should think about how the theme is expressed in the work. What are the symbols and motifs that the author uses to communicate the theme?

Once you have identified the theme of a work, it is important to develop a thesis statement that expresses your interpretation of the theme. Your thesis statement should be arguable; in other words, it should be something that could be debated. For example, you might argue that the theme of a work is about the importance of family, or the dangers of greed.

Once you have your thesis statement, you can then begin to develop your essay. Each paragraph of your essay should address one point that supports your thesis. Be sure to use evidence from the work to support your points.

When writing an essay on theme, it is important to remember that the theme of a work is not simply a topic or subject that the author addresses. The theme of a work is its underlying message or lesson. Themes can be religious, moral, political, social, or simply about the human condition.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when identifying the theme of a work. First, you should read the work closely, paying attention to the words the author uses and the situations and characters he or she creates. Next, you should ask yourself what the work is about on a deeper level. What is the author trying to say to us? Finally, you should think about how the theme is expressed in the work. What are the symbols and motifs that the author uses to communicate the theme?

Once you have identified the theme of a work, it is important to develop a thesis statement that expresses your interpretation of the theme. Your thesis statement should be arguable; in other words, it should be something that could be debated. For example, you might argue that the theme of a work is about the importance of family, or the dangers of greed.

Once you have your thesis statement, you can then begin to develop your essay. Each paragraph of your essay should address one point that supports your thesis. Be sure to use evidence from the work to support your points.

Developing a Central Thesis Reflecting the Theme

One of the most important things to keep in mind when writing an essay is to develop a central thesis that reflects the theme of the essay. This thesis should not only be clear and concise, but also supported by evidence from the text. The following steps can help you create a strong and well-developed thesis statement:

1. Read the text closely and identify the theme.

2. Develop a thesis statement that reflects the theme of the essay.

3. Support the thesis statement with evidence from the text.

4. Revise and edit the essay as needed.

Reading the text closely is the first step in developing a strong thesis statement. You need to be sure you understand the theme of the essay before you can begin to develop a thesis. Once you have a good understanding of the theme, you can begin to develop a thesis statement that reflects it.

The thesis statement is the heart of the essay, and it needs to be clear and concise. It should also be supported by evidence from the text. If you can’t support your thesis statement with evidence, then it’s not strong enough and you need to revise it.

Finally, it’s important to edit and revise your essay as needed. The thesis statement should be at the beginning of the essay, and the rest of the essay should support it. Make sure your argument is clear and your writing is strong.

Crafting Coherent and Well-Supported Body Paragraphs

One of the most important things to remember in any essay is that the body paragraphs must be coherent and well-supported. This means that each paragraph should flow smoothly from one to the next, and that each paragraph should be unified around a single main point. Additionally, each paragraph should contain evidence or examples to support the main point.

When crafting body paragraphs, it is important to remember the three-part structure of an essay. This means that each body paragraph should have a topic sentence, evidence, and a concluding sentence. The topic sentence should introduce the main point of the paragraph, the evidence should provide support for the main point, and the concluding sentence should wrap up the paragraph.

Additionally, it is important to make sure that each paragraph is properly focused. This means that each paragraph should only discuss one main point, and that all of the evidence in the paragraph should be related to that point. Additionally, it is important to make sure that the evidence is well-supported. This means that the evidence should be credible and come from reputable sources.

When writing body paragraphs, it is also important to be aware of the different types of evidence that can be used. The most common types of evidence are statistical data, expert opinions, and personal experiences. When using statistical data, it is important to make sure that the data is relevant to the topic and is presented in an accurate and concise manner. When using expert opinions, it is important to make sure that the opinions are from qualified sources, and that the opinions are presented in a fair and balanced manner. When using personal experiences, it is important to make sure that the experiences are relevant to the topic, and that they are presented in a way that is accurate and unbiased.

By following these tips, it is possible to write well-supported and coherent body paragraphs that will help to improve the overall quality of an essay.

Analyzing Specific Examples and Evidence

When writing an essay on theme, it is important to analyze specific examples and evidence from the text to support your points. You should also be sure to make connections between the examples and the theme of the text.

One way to analyze theme is to look at how the author uses setting and character to develop the theme. For example, in The Great Gatsby, the author uses the setting of the fictional town of West Egg to explore the themes of wealth and social class. The characters in the novel are also used to explore these themes. For example, Gatsby is a character who is obsessed with wealth and status, and his character is used to explore the effects of wealth on American society.

Another way to analyze theme is to look at the symbols and motifs in the text. For example, in The Great Gatsby, the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock is a symbol that represents Gatsby’s hopes and dreams for the future. The motif of water is also used to explore the themes of love and loss.

It is important to be aware of the theme of a text before you start writing your essay. This will help you to focus your analysis and to make connections between the examples and the theme. It is also important to be clear and concise in your writing. Make sure to explain how the examples you discuss support your argument.

When writing an essay on theme, it is important to:

-Analyze specific examples and evidence from the text
-Make connections between the examples and the theme of the text
-Be aware of the theme of the text
-Be clear and concise in your writing

Polishing Theme Analysis Skills for Effective Essay Writing

Theme is one of the most important elements of effective essay writing. A well-developed and polished theme analysis skills will allow you to present your arguments in a clear and concise manner. In this article, we will discuss the steps on how to write an essay on theme.

The first step is to come up with a strong thesis statement. Your thesis statement should be clear and concise, and it should present your position on the theme of the essay. It is also important to make sure that your thesis statement is arguable.

The next step is to develop your argument. In order to develop your argument, you will need to support your thesis statement with evidence. You can find evidence in the text of the essay, as well as in the arguments of your opponents. Make sure to use evidence that is relevant to your argument.

The next step is to polish your argument. In order to polish your argument, you will need to make sure that your evidence is well-organized and well-presented. You will also need to make sure that your argument is clear and concise.

The final step is to write your essay. When writing your essay, make sure to follow the standard essay format. Be sure to include a strong introduction, body, and conclusion.

Will ‘Free College’ Survive COVID-19? How The Pandemic Could Devastate College Promise Programs — And Why The November Election Might Be Their Only Hope

Will ‘Free College’ Survive COVID-19? How the Pandemic Could Devastate College Promise Programs — and Why the November Election Might Be Their Only Hope

Timari Ray recently completed her first year at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee. She acknowledges that without the Tennessee Promise, which made community college free for most students in the state in 2014, higher education would have been unaffordable for her. Thanks to the Promise, she plans to transfer to the University of Tennessee after her second year and eventually establish her own public relations firm.

Although Ray would have considered attending college even without the Promise, she believes her chances would have been slim due to limited scholarship opportunities, especially at the expensive and competitive University of Tennessee. She would have likely resorted to working or pursuing a trade instead.

Currently, Ray is enrolled in two online summer classes, made possible by TNAchieves, the nonprofit organization that administers the Tennessee Promise. The organization has allowed students to utilize their scholarship money for summer courses this year due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tennessee Promise is just one of over 400 programs across the United States that aim to make college more affordable or entirely free. Each program is tailored to serve different students and meet specific local goals. Funding for these programs varies, with some relying on state and federal grants, philanthropy, or state and local budgets.

Unfortunately, many of these programs are at risk following the coronavirus pandemic. The economic downturn has led to mounting unemployment and business closures, starving state and local budgets of tax revenue. Without support from the federal government, these programs may suffer severe budget cuts. The outcome of the November election will likely determine the extent of federal help these programs receive.

The concept of "free college" is particularly popular among Democrats. Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has recently expanded his college affordability proposal to attract progressive voters. His plan promises free community college and tuition waivers at four-year public colleges and universities for families earning up to $125,000 annually. Additionally, Biden plans to enhance access to Pell Grants for low-income students and double their value.

Douglas Harris, an economist from Tulane University and a fellow at the Brookings Institution, believes that if Democrats secure a unified federal government, the prospect of federally funded free college increases significantly. He notes that Biden’s recent commitment to free college demonstrates its priority within the party. However, even if Biden wins but Congress remains divided, there is bipartisan support for improving access to higher education, which may lead to a watered-down version of the proposal.

The fate of college promise programs is uncertain without federal assistance. These initiatives may be forced to continue operating with reduced funding or seek alternative sources of funding. Colleges may be required to accept less money for eligible students and cover the additional costs themselves. If colleges receive funds from the CARES Act, they can use the money to bridge the gap. However, if they must sustain the programs without the additional cash, the quality of education may suffer.

Furthermore, colleges are concerned about declining enrollment as students consider taking a gap year or are hesitant to pay high tuition fees for online courses at home. The California State University system, the largest four-year college system in the country, announced in May that most of its fall classes will be conducted online. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that as of early June, 67 percent of the 870 colleges surveyed were planning for in-person classes, while 7 percent were preparing for online classes. The remaining colleges proposed hybrid models, were undecided, or considering various options.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, college promise programs face significant challenges. However, with the support of the federal government and creative solutions, it is possible for these programs to adapt and continue providing affordable education to students.

During the Democratic presidential primary, the issue of free college education created a divide between the more progressive candidates and the moderates, including Biden. However, as the race progressed, the former vice president shifted towards the left. This move was an attempt to appeal to Biden’s former rivals in the race, such as Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who advocated for free tuition for all students, regardless of income, at both two- and four-year public institutions.

Biden’s current plan aligns with that of former candidate Pete Buttigieg, who proposed free tuition for 80 percent of students – those from households earning less than $100,000 a year. Additionally, Buttigieg suggested subsidizing tuition for the next 10 percent of students based on their income, ranging from $100,000 to $150,000. On the other hand, Mike Bloomberg and Amy Klobuchar promised to make tuition free only at public two-year colleges.

Most of these plans were inspired by existing promise programs that have already been implemented by states and communities to support local students.

The most generous programs currently in place cover the entire tuition cost for four-year colleges and universities. One well-known example is the Kalamazoo Promise, which was established in 2005 through the contributions of anonymous donors. This program covers the full cost of tuition for students who attended Kalamazoo Public Schools from kindergarten to high school graduation. With this scholarship, students can choose to attend any of the 56 public and private colleges and universities in Michigan. Even students who only spent part of their school years in Kalamazoo can benefit from partial scholarships proportional to their time in the district.

One advantage of relying on philanthropy for the Kalamazoo Promise is that it is not subject to the whims or budget cuts of legislators. Von Washington, one of the program’s executive directors, stated that he has received "reasonable assurance" from the donors that the scholarships are not at risk at this time. However, Washington expressed concerns that the current pandemic might cause students to reconsider their plans for higher education, although it is too early to determine the full impact.

The Kalamazoo program stands out for its generosity as a "first-dollar scholarship," meaning it covers students’ tuition fees regardless of their eligibility for financial aid like Pell Grants. Consequently, students can utilize other forms of financial assistance for expenses such as books and housing.

In contrast, many other promise programs follow a "last-dollar" scholarship model, which means they cover the remaining tuition costs after other financial aid is utilized. Experts argue that last-dollar scholarships may disproportionately benefit more privileged students who are ineligible for need-based aid, as these students receive additional funding from the program.

As a leading example of free college initiatives, the Kalamazoo Promise has been in place long enough for some data to reveal student outcomes. The program, which provides students with ten years to utilize the scholarship, has successfully increased the number of students entering and graduating from college. However, according to research released in 2017, less than half of the program participants have earned bachelor’s degrees. Furthermore, there is a racial disparity in degree completion, with approximately 50 percent of white students graduating compared to only 15 percent of African-American and Latino students, as reported by Michigan Public Radio. So far, around 7,000 students have taken advantage of this scholarship, according to program administrators interviewed by Michigan Public Radio last year.

Certain college affordability programs, such as the Excelsior scholarship in New York state, restrict eligibility based on income – an approach similar to Biden’s plan. The Excelsior scholarship provides free tuition for residents from households earning up to $125,000 per year at both two- and four-year public schools.

Taking it a step further than free tuition, Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, introduced a bill in Congress last year that proposed making all college costs debt-free. This bill requires both federal and state funds to cover not only tuition but also living expenses for students. Representative Mark Pocan, a Democrat from Wisconsin, introduced the same bill in the House. Senator Warren, along with Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand – all of whom dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race – are co-sponsors of the Schatz bill.

Enhancing Access to Community College Education

Certain programs, known as promise programs, aim to provide "free community college" by waiving tuition fees at two-year colleges. This allows students to earn an associate’s degree and then choose to either transfer to a four-year institution or enter the workforce. Former President Barack Obama advocated for free community college during his presidency and estimated that it would cost around $13 billion per year in the long run. In 2015, Obama established an advisory board led by Jill Biden, who is a community college professor and the wife of current President Joe Biden, to work on this matter.

One example of a promise program is the Tennessee Promise, which is known as a last-dollar program. It offers two years of tuition-free community college or technical school for adults residing in the state. In addition to financial aid, the program includes a mentoring component that pairs students with volunteers who provide support and guidance on transitioning to college life. The program also employs full-time coaches who assist Promise recipients throughout their college journey.

Ray, a student at Pellissippi State Community College and a recipient of the Tennessee Promise, emphasizes the importance of the coaching component in her success thus far. Her coach, Sumner Deason, meets with her on a monthly basis and frequently sends emails reminding her of essential deadlines for financial aid. Ray commends Deason, who herself was the first in her family to attend college, for being a valuable mentor who genuinely cares about her well-being and encourages her when faced with academic and personal challenges.

Ray explains, "Especially if you’re a first-generation college student, you lack prior knowledge about what to expect or have family members who can guide you through the process. Having a mentor or coach who can offer advice, celebrate your achievements, and motivate you to persist is incredibly significant."

The Tennessee Promise is available to all students who graduate from high school or earn a GED in the state before the age of 19. However, some programs may have stricter academic criteria.

During a Democratic debate in January, Senator Amy Klobuchar highlighted the importance of not solely focusing on college degrees. She argued that policymakers should consider future job openings and invest in areas where there will be a demand for workers. Research indicates that numerous job opportunities in the United States require more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree.

Klobuchar stated, "We shouldn’t just be looking at producing more MBAs. We’re going to face a shortage of tradespeople, such as plumbers. So, when we allocate funds, we should prioritize K-12 education and provide free one- and two-year degree programs, similar to what my father and sister pursued." She also expressed her intention to expand Pell Grants so that financial aid is directed towards deserving students rather than being disproportionately awarded to wealthy individuals.

Klobuchar, alongside other former Democratic candidates, expressed support for expanding investment in apprenticeship programs. These programs enable individuals to gain work experience and earn income as they acquire valuable skills in their chosen trade or profession.

Under the leadership of Mayor Randall Woodfin, Birmingham, Alabama is introducing a promise program this year that encompasses both higher education and apprenticeship opportunities. Through a public-private partnership, the Promise program offers free public two- or four-year college attendance to students who have completed their education in Birmingham City Schools from first to twelfth grade. Additionally, students who transfer into the district and graduate are eligible for partial scholarships.

It’s worth noting that there are certain limitations imposed by promise programs. For example, if students choose to attend community college, they may not be granted free tuition if they decide to pursue a four-year degree at a different institution. However, the University of Alabama at Birmingham has recently partnered with the Promise program to provide tuition support for all eligible graduates of Birmingham City Schools.

An interesting aspect of Birmingham’s approach is the inclusion of an apprenticeship component, allowing students to gain work experience while earning an income. Traditionally, approximately 50 percent of Birmingham high school graduates continue their education in higher institutions.

In recent weeks, the program has gained new sponsors, and Birmingham Promise is planning to launch an official fundraising campaign in the late summer or early fall, according to officials. They understand that they will face the economic consequences of the current health crisis but believe that the most severe and immediate financial consequences will have subsided by then, as stated by a representative from Birmingham Promise Inc.

Mayor Randall Woodfin, in explaining his decision to incorporate an apprenticeship component into the initiative, expressed his concern for the young people he encounters. He acknowledges their career interests, passions, and dreams but realizes that they lack the exposure, opportunities, and experiences to turn those dreams into tangible opportunities.

Local promise programs have an advantage in that they can address the specific needs of the communities they serve. Laura Perna, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania who spearheaded the effort to create a database of promise programs, highlights that these programs can take into consideration factors such as local college-going norms, the academic readiness of students, and the presence of colleges and universities in the region. However, she acknowledges that different communities have varying resources, which raises concerns about college affordability and the sustainability of programs reliant on state and local funding.

Birmingham’s Woodfin explains that one reason he included apprenticeships in his initiative was due to feedback from the local business community. They expressed difficulties in finding workers in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, technology, and energy.

Some states, like New York, have implemented measures to maximize the benefits of scholarship programs. For example, the Excelsior scholarship in New York requires students to reside and work in the state for the same duration as they received the money. Failure to do so converts the award into a zero-interest loan.

In an effort to revive a declining community, a retired health care company CEO from Neodesha, Kansas donated enough funds to create a college promise program that will last for at least 25 years. The program aims to attract young families and has already generated interest among potential home buyers.

While the free-community-college model has its advantages, such as providing middle skills training for open jobs, it also has drawbacks. Community colleges generally have lower graduation rates compared to four-year institutions, and the budget available to them is often smaller. An economic analysis by the Brookings Institution in 2019 revealed that while free community college increases the proportion of high school graduates completing a postsecondary degree, it comes at the expense of BA degrees. This is because some students who would not have pursued higher education opt for community college, while others who would have attended four-year schools switch to community college instead. These factors make community college programs appealing to Republicans, according to Tulane economist Harris.

The tradition of state control in higher education poses another challenge. According to researcher Matthew Chingos, the wide range of state college systems makes it difficult to establish a federal free college program, as each state has its own eligibility criteria and tuition fees.

The structure of a program plays a crucial role in public opinion. A study conducted in January revealed that people viewed free college programs with merit-based components, such as a minimum high school GPA, as more "fair" for eligibility. Additionally, respondents had a more positive perception of programs that were available to all students, regardless of financial need, compared to programs that targeted families with incomes below $50,000 per year.

A poll by the Progressive Policy Institute in February found that a majority of swing voters in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania (69 percent) preferred to allocate more funds to helping Americans without college education acquire better skills and job opportunities, rather than making college free for everyone.

Meanwhile, college promise programs are making a significant impact in communities across the country. For students like Ray, who attends Pellissippi State, the opportunity to attend community college for free has been life-changing. Not only does she aim to earn a bachelor’s degree and start her own PR business, but she also wants to inspire her younger siblings to pursue higher education.

Ray emphasizes the significance of the support she receives from her family and community, and how it motivates her to continue despite challenges. The investment in her education by the community has solidified her decision to stay in Knoxville for the foreseeable future. Without access to free education, Ray believes she would not have found the same opportunities elsewhere, making Knoxville the best place for her to thrive.

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Tough Love: Study Shows Kids Benefit From Teachers With High Grading Standards

Tough Love: Study Shows Kids Benefit from Teachers With High Grading Standards

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Despite their potential reluctance, it is indeed true: research indicates that students who are assigned to teachers with more stringent grading policies benefit in the long term.

A paper published by Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform in the past year revealed that eighth and ninth-grade students who were taught by math teachers with higher performance standards achieved better scores in Algebra I. Furthermore, these students continued to see improvements in their subsequent years of math education. Contrary to concerns that high expectations might lead to resistance or discouragement, they were also less likely to miss classes compared to similar students assigned to teachers with more lenient grading policies.

Seth Gershenson, an economist at American University and one of the co-authors of the paper, emphasized that the wide-ranging and enduring positive outcomes were not simply the result of testing quirks. Instead, he argued that high standards "transform the way students engage with school." Gershenson added, "You don’t have to be excessively strict; even a slight increase in standards provides a boost."

These findings build upon previous research by Gershenson, which highlighted the prevalence of grade inflation in K-12 settings, particularly in schools that serve higher percentages of affluent students. They are also significant in the current post-COVID academic landscape, where many teachers have relaxed their grading policies either voluntarily or in response to district mandates.

This study draws upon grading and testing records of a substantial number of North Carolina students who took Algebra I in either the eighth or ninth grade. The sample included over 365,000 students across nearly 27,000 classrooms and 4,415 teachers, allowing for meaningful comparisons between thousands of similar students assigned to different Algebra teachers over a decade.

To evaluate the impact of different standards, Gershenson and his colleagues utilized various measures of grading severity, relying on the correlation between course grades (over which teachers have some discretion) and performance on end-of-year exams. For example, a teacher who consistently awards higher course grades than warranted by exam scores is considered an "easier" grader, while the reverse applies to a "tougher" grader.

The researchers then divided the teacher sample into four comparison groups, ranging from the most lenient to the most stringent, and analyzed the progress of their respective students before and after taking Algebra I. The teachers grouped in the "toughest" quarter were disproportionately more likely to be white, female, and experienced compared to the overall sample. Additionally, they tended to achieve more success in the classroom.

Across different measures of academic achievement, students exposed to higher grading standards outperformed their peers. Those assigned to stricter graders demonstrated greater improvement in test scores compared to students who had previously shown similar levels of math performance. Notably, these effects were substantial and followed a linear pattern, meaning that the stricter the grading practices, the larger the improvement in test scores.

Furthermore, students of tougher graders maintained their scoring advantage in the subsequent classes of North Carolina’s math curriculum, namely geometry and Algebra II. Interestingly, the effects were even more pronounced in Algebra II compared to geometry. The authors of the paper highlighted this nuance, theorizing that due to the overlap in content between the two levels of algebra, students previously held to higher standards performed exceptionally well in the later class, despite the passage of time.

Gershenson explained, "This suggests that it wasn’t solely a result of students cramming for the test to achieve better grades. Instead, it indicates that genuine learning took place and was retained."

‘Beneficial for All’

While the aim of the study is to assess the advantages of more rigorous grading policies, the research aligns somewhat with studies examining the opposite trend of grade inflation. The High School Transcript Study, a comprehensive analysis of student grades conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, reveals that the average high school GPA increased from 3.00 in 2009 to 3.11 in 2019. However, performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation’s Report Card, remained stagnant during the same period.

This federal assessment gained attention when it was released last spring, although it only covered the years preceding the pandemic. Another report, published by the testing group ACT, discovered evidence of significant grade inflation in 2020 and 2021, with self-reported student GPAs rising even as ACT scores remained unchanged.

Not all experts in education policy are alarmed by these findings. Zachary Bleemer, an economics professor at the Yale School of Management, argues that some grade inflation, whether at the university or K-12 levels, can rectify inequalities in the pursuit of intellectually challenging subjects among different student groups. Furthermore, caution should be exercised when considering ACT’s hypothesis, as the organization may have an interest in portraying high school grades as less reliable than scores on college admissions tests.

However, this perspective is also widely echoed by teachers themselves, who have openly discussed their leniency in grading as a response to the disruption caused by COVID on in-person learning. In major districts such as Los Angeles, San Diego, and Clark County, Nevada (home to Las Vegas), new standards have placed less emphasis on deadlines and classroom conduct, giving students more time and opportunities to complete graded assignments.

Education authorities justify these changes as equitable strategies to keep students engaged, preventing potential frustration and falling behind in their studies. However, Gershenson and his co-authors found no evidence to suggest that students in North Carolina who had stricter graders became disconnected from school. In fact, these students were slightly less likely than their peers to have unexcused absences.

Moreover, whether assessed through attendance or test scores, the results of higher standards proved to be generally similar for various student groups. While high-performing math students experienced slightly greater improvements compared to their lower-performing classmates, the effects were ultimately beneficial across 20 different student categories, taking into account factors such as race, gender, class rank, and previous math achievement.

Gershenson, who considers grade inflation a significant issue that distorts the interpretation of academic performance, states that the consistent findings of his team strongly indicate that higher standards are "beneficial for everyone."

"In none of these outcomes is the impact negative. Admittedly, the effects may be smaller for certain groups or certain measures. However, students are not being harmed in any aspect by stricter grading standards."

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Monthly QuotED: 7 Notable Quotes That Made Education Headlines In June, From ‘Red Flag’ Laws To Reopening Schools — And A Supreme Court Reprieve For ‘Dreamers’

Monthly QuotED: 7 Notable Quotes That Made Education Headlines in June, From ‘Red Flag’ Laws to Reopening Schools — and a Supreme Court Reprieve for ‘Dreamers’

QuotED compiles the most remarkable quotes from the prominent education news stories in the United States. These quotes are curated from our weekly EduClips, which highlight headlines from the largest school districts in the country. You can access previous EduClips editions here.

"It is possible for remote learning to influence students intellectually, but it is disheartening to realize that connecting with their emotions and inner selves is not as impactful." – Allison Tingwall, the principal at Curie Metropolitan High School in Chicago.

Karen Reyes, a special education teacher from Austin, Texas, captured at the Supreme Court during oral arguments for the DACA case in November 2019.

"Previously, I could live, work, and drive without the constant fear of immediate deportation." – Karen Reyes, a bilingual special education teacher from Austin, Texas, expressing her relief after the Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to end DACA. DACA has allowed approximately 650,000 immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, like Reyes, to live and work without the imminent risk of deportation.

"There are around 78 million parents who have at least one child under the age of 18 in their household. This accounts for nearly a third of the adult population. The ability of parents to secure and maintain employment is closely tied to child care and education." – Labor economist Ernie Tedeschi.

Getty Images

"I am currently doing three times the amount of planning that I usually do." – Kaitlin Karpinski, the head of Rooted School in New Orleans, discussing the extensive planning required for the reopening of schools in the upcoming fall semester.

"I am deeply concerned. At a time when we should be investing, we are witnessing potential funding cuts because Congress does not seem to have a sense of urgency. This is happening while schools are preparing for what could arguably be the most critical beginning of a school year in a lifetime." – Senator Tina Smith, a Democrat from Minnesota.

"I mean, it’s a no-win situation. Some parents insist on schools reopening, while others refuse to send their children to school. Teachers are hesitant about returning to work, and school districts are facing budget cuts that may result in teacher layoffs. It’s truly unbelievable." – Dan Domenech, the executive director of the AASA (the school superintendents association), reflecting on the challenging circumstances schools are facing. (Read at Politico)

"You cannot continue behaving like this, young man." – Judge Stephen Braslow of Suffolk County, New York, addressing a 17-year-old student from Babylon Junior-Senior High School who allegedly made a threatening statement on Snapchat. Utilizing the state’s "red flag" law, the district superintendent obtained a court order to search the student’s home, leading to the confiscation of two pellet guns. (Read at The74Million.org)

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Inside One Baltimore Group’s Effort To Stop Youth Violence Before It Starts

Inside One Baltimore Group’s Effort to Stop Youth Violence Before It Starts

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The ongoing chase between Jamal West and Miayan in West Baltimore had been happening for months. Whenever Jamal, a 46-year-old man standing at 6-foot-4 and built like an NFL lineman, would pull up in his minivan, Miayan, an 18-year-old teenager at the time, would immediately flee. Despite Jamal’s size advantage, the wiry teenager would outrun him every time. This pattern continued day after day, with Miayan bolting as soon as he saw the van.

Jamal’s only intention was to have a conversation with Miayan. This took place in early 2019, not long after the launch of Roca, a violence prevention program in Baltimore.

"I was heavily involved in street activities," Miayan confessed. "Engaging in various things on the streets."

Miayan’s activities mainly revolved around selling drugs on street corners, where he could make over $700 every week. His crew’s significant profits from the drug trade made them a prime target for law enforcement. And just like how Miayan would escape from Jamal’s minivan, he would also run away when the police arrived. Most times, Miayan easily evaded capture in foot races with law enforcement. (To protect the identities of Miayan and other young individuals who committed offenses while minors, The Trace and The Guardian have chosen not to disclose their full names.)

While Miayan possessed remarkable speed, Jamal exceeded him in persistence. As Roca’s youth work supervisor, Jamal continued to return, often accompanied by his partner, Teshombae Harvell. Their objective was to initiate the necessary therapy to address the burdensome experiences that Miayan carried. Miayan grew up witnessing family members struggle with drug addiction and become entangled in the drug trade, only to be swept away by the criminal justice system. In his 20 years of life, Miayan had seen arguments escalate into violence, violence turn fatal, and his friends’ lives cut short. There wasn’t much hope for a brighter future.

Jamal, Harvell, and Roca required time with Miayan to ensure that he didn’t end up like many other teenage boys and young men in his neighborhood. Unfortunately, each passing day led Miayan deeper into danger.

Jamal understood Miayan’s background well. Raised primarily by his grandmother, Miayan resided in Sandtown-Winchester, an area where more than half the children experience poverty. This neighborhood is also where police apprehended and ultimately caused the death of Freddie Gray while in custody. Miayan had excelled in athletics, particularly football and basketball. However, as the challenges of escorting him to practice became overwhelming, his quick feet found a different purpose.

Many of Roca’s clients, Miayan included, find themselves caught between the illegal and legal economies. Convincing them to leave behind illicit money-making activities can be a lengthy process. Unfortunately, unfavorable incidents are prone to occur during this transitional period.

Within the past 15 years, the majority of fatal shooting victims in Baltimore have been individuals between the ages of 16 and 25. Roca, a public health initiative, focuses on addressing violence within this specific age group. This approach is not unique to Baltimore but is also implemented on a national level. The program targets males between the ages of 16 to 24, like Miayan, who have encountered the criminal justice system and are at high risk of becoming either perpetrators or victims of gun violence.

Roca adopts a long-term perspective when it comes to violence intervention. Using cognitive behavioral therapy, the program aims to assist individuals in managing trauma and regulating their responses to stress and conflict. It’s important to note that Roca is not a preventive program, but an intervention program that typically requires up to four years to produce notable results. "By teaching them conflict management skills by the age of 20, we are gradually setting the city up for success, one young person at a time," explained James Timpson, the individual responsible for Roca-Baltimore’s community collaborations.

Time is a pivotal factor for Roca. On one hand, it requires a substantial amount of time to transform a young individual’s life. On the other hand, there is an urgency to maintain constant contact with them, with the fear of missing a single phone call. This dedication explains why Jamal West even took calls from Roca participants while on a recent vacation in Jamaica. "It can strain your personal life, but we have to be there for them," Jamal emphasized.

An ongoing conversation spanning months

During their teenage years, numerous boys and young men in Baltimore carry the weight of trauma. This burden does not impede their efforts to evade authorities or Roca workers, but it does cloud their judgment. For Miayan, survival was the focal point of his life. "I have to go outside and make some money so that I can eat," he recalls thinking. Additionally, he struggled with a painkiller addiction that developed during his teenage years. When West and Harvell occasionally tracked him down, Miayan resisted their attempts to discuss decision making or leaving his current situation behind. He simply wasn’t ready.

On Mother’s Day in 2019, it seemed as though time was running out for Miayan. Despite his skills, his early morning escape from the police on May 5, 2019 would be his last. A misstep caused him to lose his balance, and gravity took its toll. Miayan’s head struck the ground with such force that he fell into a coma, experiencing temporary paralysis. His grandmother remained by his side every day, offering support and prayers. "I had no idea what the outcome would be," Deborah Moore, his grandmother, said.

West joined Moore in keeping watch at Miayan’s bedside. For two months, he visited him at the hospital. During this time, it was only Miayan, his grandmother, and West – not his crew. It was during this period, fresh out of a coma and temporarily paralyzed, that Miayan finally decided to give Roca a genuine chance. This marked the beginning of the conversation that West had been eager to initiate since early 2019. In that hospital room and during physical therapy sessions, where Miayan learned to walk again, he began to work through his trauma with West.

The same year Miayan fell, the year he turned 18, Baltimore experienced its deadliest period in history. By the end of 2019, 348 people had been killed, with a significant portion of the victims being young individuals aged 16 to 25.

A comprehensive approach to reducing violence

The term "Roca" translates to "rock" in Spanish. This organization was established in Massachusetts during the late 1980s as a means of addressing the challenges faced by young individuals grappling with poverty, violence, and limited job opportunities.

"These young people find themselves in uncontrollable situations at a very young age, but they possess the capacity to learn the skills needed to react differently," explained Kurt Palmero, director of Roca-Baltimore. "However, it’s unrealistic to expect an immediate transformation."

Roca deploys youth interventionists like West and Harvell in a manner similar to Safe Streets, a prominent violence prevention organization that sends trusted messengers to defuse conflicts. However, Roca’s youth workers go beyond addressing the immediate trigger by spending time with each referred youth, teaching them how to process their emotions in non-violent ways and helping them avoid environments where they may be exposed to violence.

Typically, it is the police, carceral system, or social services agencies that refer young individuals to the Roca program. Poor behavior or reluctance to participate, as was the case with Miayan, does not disqualify them from receiving support. While this may not appear to be the most efficient approach to addressing the root causes of violence, the staff at Roca believes that their long-term strategy is the most effective way to reduce conflicts in a city where minor disputes can escalate into fatal incidents.

Molly Baldwin, the founder of Roca in Massachusetts, introduced the program to Baltimore in 2018. At that time, the city was on track to witness its fourth consecutive year of 300-plus homicides. Impatience was mounting in City Hall, having experienced turnover in police commissioners, two of whom lost their positions due to their inability to curb violence. Timpson, a prominent figure in violence interruption and a Baltimore native, joined Roca after his involvement with Safe Streets, lending credibility to the program. Following a political battle over funding, the city contributed $2.5 million over four years, which is a fraction of Roca’s overall cost. Roca’s primary funding comes from philanthropic organizations such as the Abell Foundation in Baltimore and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Roca-Baltimore has yet to witness a full cohort of participants completing the program’s four-year duration, making it difficult to measure outcomes precisely. However, there are indications of success. Among those who have completed the Massachusetts program, 84 percent have avoided subsequent arrests.

Roca’s supporters often use an analogy to describe the length and persistence of the program. They believe that young individuals are not naturally inclined to think long term, which is why they require a support system to guide them until they reach a point of understanding and clarity. Marc Schindler, the executive director of the Justice Policy Institute, a think tank focused on criminal justice solutions, compares this to college, where young adults are given the freedom to make mistakes and grow.

Roca’s main objective is to assist individuals in developing long-term plans for their lives. However, helping young men and women overcome crises can be an incredibly challenging and never-ending task. One morning in May, West and Harvell went to Southwest Baltimore to pick up Tyron, a participant who has been with the program since its inception. The topic of discussion that day revolved around how Tyron’s housemates disrespected him.

Tyron, who was arrested for armed robbery at the age of 16 and subsequently referred to Roca by Baltimore’s Department of Human Services, is now 20 and is actively seeking a way out of Baltimore. He compares his situation to a plant that cannot grow if it remains in the same pot. This analogy offers insight into Tyron’s intelligence and his ability to express himself. During the drive to the grocery store, Tyron engaged in a backseat debate with Harvell, resembling a lawyer arguing his case.

Tyron’s upbringing was marked by foster care, with his biological parents intermittently present in his life, causing him to feel abandoned. This feeling of inadequacy was the driving force behind his conversation with Harvell. Although the conflict may appear insignificant to others, it holds great significance for Tyron and many others in similar situations. When faced with tension, people often respond by fighting, fleeing, or freezing. Palermo, another member of the Roca team, mentions that their participants typically choose to fight because it offers them a sense of comfort.

To address the situation, Harvell retrieved a deck of laminated cards from the center console of the minivan. These cards listed various components of cognitive behavioral therapy. He specifically focused on the "think, do, feel" card, suggesting that his method of communication may not be effective with Tyron’s housemates. However, Tyron was resistant to this suggestion. Despite this, Harvell patiently allowed Tyron to express his frustrations. Eventually, Harvell subtly implemented cognitive behavioral therapy without Tyron even noticing.

West, who initially established contact with Tyron, reflected on their journey. He noted that Tyron was initially challenging to work with, but over the years, through consistent sessions like this one, he has gradually embraced Harvell’s approach. According to West, Tyron was barely literate four years ago, but now he is an avid reader and has developed a somewhat know-it-all attitude.

After leaving the grocery store, Harvell and West took Tyron to a Peruvian restaurant located in the Latinx community on Eastern Avenue. Tyron appeared more relaxed and interacted with the restaurant’s cooks, displaying his curiosity about a dish he had never encountered before – tripe, which is beef stomach. Tyron expressed his willingness to try it. The trio sat down for lunch and engaged in a debate about their top five favorite rappers, including whether or not to include Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac. When someone excluded Biggie, Tyron jokingly remarked, "And I was just about to say I like you."

During lunch, Tyron shared his plan for the future, something he had not always had. Harvell was actively working on getting him enrolled in a Job Corps program, which would help him complete it, expunge his record, and potentially join the Marines. Tyron expressed his desire to leave Baltimore behind but also mentioned the possibility of returning to volunteer with Roca during his breaks from military service. After lunch, Harvell drove Tyron back to his house across town.

Miayan’s earnings from selling drugs were not as substantial as some of the other individuals involved in the drug trade, according to West and Harvell, who interact with Roca participants. West pointed out a busy drug corner in West Baltimore where these men were making $7,500 a day. When West approached the corner, one young man concealed his handgun under his hoodie. Sometimes, they would warn West to stay away due to the prevalence of firearms. Although deeply entrenched in the drug economy, these young men were invested in protecting their ally.

Tyron and Miayan are a part of Baltimore’s street economy, but they do not represent the heart of it. In order to reduce violence in Baltimore, it is crucial for Roca to engage with those who are most deeply entrenched in the drug trade so that they can influence others to reject violence. If a corner captain, for instance, can be convinced that violence on their block undermines their own interests, they can pass on this message to their crew.

A drug corner that is profitable becomes a target for individuals who want to rob the dealers. As a result, many of the men on these corners are armed. They constantly face the risk of receiving lengthy prison sentences for their involvement in the drug trade or for carrying weapons to protect themselves from violence. Moreover, they are typically in their late teens or early 20s, the age group that experiences the highest rates of violence in Baltimore.

During the course of investigating this story, federal agents executed a search warrant on a participant in the Roca program. This was not the first time such an incident occurred.

Heartbreak and hope intertwine in the lives of individuals like Emmanuel Holly. Holly joined Roca in early February while on home monitoring for a previous criminal conviction. Anthony Scroggins, his youth intervention specialist, visited him and they started building a relationship by playing chess together. Due to his ankle monitor, Holly was confined to a limited area. However, shortly after turning 18 in late February, he successfully petitioned to have his monitor removed. His interactions with Scroggins became increasingly infrequent until April 18, when Holly was shot twice in the leg near the intersection of Mount and Fayette streets.

On May 17, Holly tragically passed away as a result of his gunshot wounds. He became the 119th homicide victim in the city in 2021.

For every individual like Emmanuel Holly, there is often someone like Miayan. On a sunny Friday afternoon in May, the Roca office was buzzing with activity, marking a return to normalcy after a year of pandemic-related restrictions. The staff, dressed in Roca T-shirts and hats, gathered around a table filled with food as Miayan, now 20 years old, received an award from a national organization for his efforts towards peacemaking.

Miayan has come a long way since his days of evading the police. He has been drug-free for a year and has been employed in housekeeping at Johns Hopkins Hospital for seven months. He even opened his first bank account and is saving up for a car. Miayan now thinks about his future in terms of years rather than days. He intends to complete his high school diploma and potentially obtain a commercial driver’s license. Some of his former crew members are currently facing federal indictments for drug charges, and this news reached him while he was in a coma.

During the award presentation, a video was shown that documented Miayan’s recovery journey. It captured moments of him taking his first steps after the incident and doing squats to regain strength in his leg. West could be seen in the video, watching over Miayan like a father figure. When Miayan stopped by the Roca office on his way to work a few weeks ago, he exchanged jokes with West and made sure he wouldn’t be late for his 3 p.m. shift.

This article was originally published on The Trace and is being shared in collaboration with the Solutions Journalism Exchange.

EduClips: Teacher Walkouts Continue In OK, KY; LAUSD Board To Play More Direct Role In Setting Rules For Charters — And More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

EduClips: Teacher Walkouts Continue in OK, KY; LAUSD Board to Play More Direct Role in Setting Rules for Charters — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

EduClips is a daily compilation of education news highlights from the largest school districts in the United States. These districts serve more than 4 million students across eight states. To catch up on previous EduClips, please refer to our archives. Stay up to date with the latest school and policy news by subscribing to the TopSheet Education Newsletter.

Top Story

Next week, the nation’s most respected assessment of academic progress, known as NAEP TEST, will be released in Washington, D.C. However, the results will not include data from some states showing that students performed worse than their peers. This discrepancy is not due to academic deficiencies but rather the fact that some students have had less exposure to computers. According to sources, around 10% of this year’s tests exhibited significant differences between students who took the exam on tablets and those who took it on paper. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which oversees the testing, has been discussing these results with state officials. The NAEP test is administered to fourth and eighth graders in reading and math every other year in all 50 states. This year marked the first time it was conducted electronically. State education leaders have expressed concerns to NCES officials about the potential impact of poverty and lack of online testing experience on students’ scores. They are worried that the NCES will not provide data that enables fair comparisons between states. (Read more at The74Million.org)

National News

TEACHER STRIKES – Teachers in Oklahoma continue their walkout (Read more at Wall Street Journal)

NATIONAL – Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Puerto Rico apply for ESSA Innovative Testing Pilot (Read more at Politics K-12)

TEACHER STRIKES – Striking teachers organize themselves on social media platforms (Read more at The74Million.org)

District and State News

CALIFORNIA – LAUSD board gains more authority in establishing regulations for charter schools, receiving praise from charter leaders (Read more at KPCC)

PUERTO RICO – Teachers union in Puerto Rico seeks to prevent the introduction of charter schools (Read more at ABC News)

NEW YORK – Richard Carranza’s handling of Houston’s special education crisis and its potential implications for New York City (Read more at Chalkbeat)

ILLINOIS – Teachers claim Noble Charters are "dehumanizing" (Read more at NPR Illinois)

NEW YORK – Department of Education inappropriately took steps to terminate a tenured teacher, rules judge (Read more at New York Post)

FLORIDA – Union advises against teachers walking out in Florida (Read more at Tampa Bay Online)

NEVADA – Clark County teachers win arbitration over 2017-18 contract (Read more at Las Vegas Review-Journal)

TEXAS – Editorial emphasizes the need for Texas to find alternative disciplinary measures for its youngest students rather than resorting to suspensions (Read more at Houston Chronicle)

PUERTO RICO – Charter schools and vouchers with a Puerto Rican flavor are introduced to the hurricane-ravaged island, prompting opposition from the union (Read more at The74Million.org)

VIRGINIA – Hackers attempt to alter grades at a Virginia high school (Read more at The Washington Post)

CALIFORNIA – California districts participate in a groundbreaking study on school safety (Read more at EdSource)

NEVADA – Another leadership change takes place in Nevada schools with Jessup’s departure (Read more at Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Think Pieces

TEACHER PAY – The stagnation of teacher salaries and its implications for students amidst demands for higher pay (Read more at Chalkbeat)

DACA – Study reveals that DACA has incentivized more students to pursue higher education (Read more at Inside Higher Ed)

TEACHER STRIKES – Analyzing the broader concerns behind the recent influx of teachers’ strikes (Read more at The Atlantic)

CLASSROOM DESIGN – The utilization of creative classroom design to foster innovative teaching practices (Read more at Hechinger Report)

TEACHER STRIKES – Evaluating whether weak labor laws contribute to increased teacher strikes (Read more at Governing)

Quote of the Day

"Is there a difference at the state level because we have more low-income kids or less experience with computers? The answer is, of course." – Louisiana State Superintendent of Education, John White, discussing the transition to electronic administration of the NAEP test. Sources suggest that 1 in 10 scores may have been negatively affected by this change, particularly in states with higher poverty rates and limited technology access. (Read more at The74Million.org)

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DeSantis Calls On Conservative Moms At National Summit To Fight ‘Leftist’ Agenda

DeSantis Calls on Conservative Moms at National Summit to Fight ‘Leftist’ Agenda

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TAMPA – Governor Ron DeSantis addressed the crowd of "Moms For Liberty" members gathered in Tampa on Friday, denouncing what he called "leftist indoctrination," a "leftist agenda," and the "sexualization of children" in Florida schools. He urged the audience, consisting mostly of conservative, predominantly white attendees estimated at 500, to stand up and fight against these issues.

DeSantis, who is seeking reelection, received enthusiastic cheers and standing ovations from the attendees, who wore badges indicating their affiliation with "Moms For Liberty" chapters from as far away as Hawaii and New York.

"Moms For Liberty co-founder Tiffany Justice expressed the audience’s eagerness to vote for DeSantis for president," stating, "They cannot wait to vote for him for president." The crowd responded by standing, cheering, and waving signs supporting DeSantis.

The governor focused on Florida’s status as a "free state" and highlighted his administration’s resistance to COVID protocols recommended by federal health authorities. He emphasized the importance of parental authority in making decisions regarding school policies.

"Our school systems exist to educate children, not to indoctrinate them," DeSantis asserted. He cited his administration’s rejection of math textbooks associated with "woke" ideology and the ban on teachers introducing sexuality and gender ideology to elementary school students.

Meanwhile, Florida Democrats, who were concurrently holding their annual leadership conference in a nearby hotel, countered DeSantis’s claims by accusing him of fabricating educational achievements in Florida to gain the support of conservative parents for his political ambitions, which are rumored to include a presidential run in 2024.

Jennifer Jenkins, a Democrat and teacher who serves on the Brevard County School Board, recounted instances of harassment and threats she faced due to her pro-mask stance during the peak of the pandemic. She pointed out that Florida schools currently face a shortage of 9,000 instructors as the fall term approaches. Additionally, Florida ranks 43rd in the nation in education funding and 48th in average teacher salaries, according to the National Education Association.

Jenkins argued that these issues are not the result of masks, critical race theory, or gender concerns as conservatives claim. Instead, she attributed them to the leadership of Republicans, who have held power in Florida for the past 20 years. Jenkins argued that her victory over her Republican opponent, Tina Descovich, was due to her support for mask mandates in schools, which resonated with voters.

Democratic Party Chairman Manny Diaz criticized DeSantis and other top Republicans for fueling conspiracy theories that undermine public trust in science, the judiciary, and the media. He compared them to former President Trump, accusing them of being obsessed with power instead of focusing on the well-being of children.

Scott Hottenstein, the public education chair for the Florida Democratic Party and a former civics teacher, dismissed the conservative opposition to "critical race theory" as a baseless conspiracy theory. He affirmed that critical race theory is not being taught in Florida schools and emphasized that parents want a comprehensive and unbiased history curriculum that is free from political censorship.

Please note that Florida Phoenix operates as part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus funded by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains its editorial independence. For inquiries, please contact Editor Diane Rado at info@floridaphoenix.com. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.

Your objective is to paraphrase the given passage, using improved vocabulary and natural language while ensuring the output is in English. The original text is as follows:

DeArmond & Gross: It’s Time To Help Teachers Generate And Use Their Own Evidence On Digital Tools

DeArmond & Gross: It’s Time to Help Teachers Generate and Use Their Own Evidence on Digital Tools

This particular essay, which is the seventh part of an ongoing series, was originally published on The Lens, the blog of the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington Bothell. The following are essays that have previously been published on :

Lake: Are We Personalizing Learning for the Students Who Need It Most?

"I am lost when it comes to determining which digital resources are good because there are so many available.

Sometimes I try out the tools that my more technologically knowledgeable colleagues use."

From "Teachers Know Best," Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2015, page 21

When we visit personalized learning (PL) schools, we observe that teachers utilize a wide range of digital tools. They often cycle through these tools quickly, but their decisions on which tools to use are not typically guided by systematic evidence. Instead, teachers rely on advice from their colleagues. While this is understandable, it means that teachers have little guarantee of a tool’s effectiveness, and students often feel like test subjects as teachers experiment with different tools.

Since we know that teachers often seek advice from their professional networks, an important question arises: Can we enhance these networks with more systematic evidence on the quality and impact of digital tools?

Creating a new, extensive database of products or research studies is probably not the answer, as some of these databases already exist. Websites like EdSurge and Common Sense Education, which function like Consumer Reports, cover numerous technology products for various subjects and grade levels. Although organizations such as EdSurge offer a personalized service to assist schools and districts in finding digital tools, many educators do not have access to such support, nor do they have the time to sift through multiple websites to find research-based tools.

Additionally, the K-12 educational technology market is massive and expanding rapidly. Stacey Childress, the CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund, recently stated that investments in K-12 technology companies grew from approximately $91 million in 2009 to $643 million in 2014. The research community simply cannot keep up with this exponential growth of companies and digital offerings. Products without any research, let alone rigorous research, will continue to be available and find their way into classrooms.

Moreover, even if rigorous research is conducted, it may overlook a crucial element: the interaction between technology, teachers, pedagogy, and the context in which they all occur. Even if a well-designed randomized trial demonstrates positive impacts of a digital tool, it is still vital to consider how that tool fits into the overall instructional program of classrooms and schools.

Given these circumstances, it may be promising to help teachers, schools, and districts learn how to generate and utilize evidence themselves in order to make informed decisions about digital tools in the classroom. There are already several initiatives, methods, and tools available that can serve as a starting point. Some examples include:

The Proving Ground initiative at Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy Research, which assists districts and charter school networks in implementing a deliberate, analytical approach to gather and utilize evidence for testing potential systemwide digital tools.

The Ed Tech Rapid Cycle Evaluation (RCE) Coach, developed by Mathematica Policy Research, provides schools and districts with a step-by-step process and tool for evaluating educational technology. The tool guides practitioners through a five-step process, covering everything from planning the evaluation to summarizing the results. (According to program materials, the typical RCE lasts three months from start to finish.)

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has created various resources and hosts an annual summit to help educators and others adopt a problem- and user-centered approach to learning and improvement. This approach leverages rapid testing and networked learning communities to enhance classrooms and schools.

Furthermore, there are also local initiatives emerging. In Colorado, districts facing challenges with personalized learning have come together to form a network to collectively address issues. The regional support agency that coordinates the network guides teachers through a Plan-Do-Study-Act inquiry cycle, focusing on a specific personalized learning problem, with the aim of integrating this analytical process into their daily work.

At this point, we cannot definitively say whether these initiatives, methods, and tools truly yield positive results. However, the fact that teachers desire guidance and information on digital tools within a rapidly changing technological landscape strongly suggests that exploring these and other practice-based approaches to evidence generation would be beneficial for districts and partners.

Your task is to paraphrase the given text using improved vocabulary and natural language while ensuring uniqueness. The resultant text should be written in English. Here is the text to be rephrased:

An Oregon Ed Reporter Reflects On A Massacre: I Used To Cover Umpqua Community College

An Oregon Ed Reporter Reflects on a Massacre: I Used to Cover Umpqua Community College

This essay was first published on EdExcellence.net. Kate Stringer, a policy intern at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, wrote the original piece.

I believed that I had left Roseburg behind when I reached milepost 125 on Interstate Five, three months ago.

After spending an entire year as the county’s education reporter, I was excited for a change of scenery, a new city, a different coast, and fresh opportunities to write about education. In June, I packed up my car and left, watching the red-tailed hawks disappear from my rearview mirror for the last time.

Or so I thought. This past week, Roseburg has been constantly on my mind.

When my coworker first broke the news about a shooting at Umpqua Community College last Thursday, I was perplexed. The school, and the small county it is located in, doesn’t usually attract national media attention. The massacre that claimed the lives of at least ten students and injured seven others wasn’t supposed to happen there. It felt like it should have occurred in some other city, not in Roseburg.

I don’t mean to say that Douglas County is devoid of noteworthy events. Working as a community journalist exposed me to a whirlwind of local forces and occurrences that significantly impact people’s lives, particularly in the realm of education. Countywide, schools were fighting for funds to introduce iPads into classrooms, allowing students from special education classes and kindergarten reading groups to benefit from twenty-first-century innovation. Teachers would email me daily, hoping for press coverage of the Career and Technology Revitalization grant funds from the legislature, which brought welding, carpentry, and 3-D printers into classrooms. The community college had made tremendous efforts to raise funds for a new health, nursing, and science building, offering impoverished rural students access to an exceptional STEM education.

As recent as three months ago, I was likely the only journalist who had ever mentioned "Umpqua Community College" in a sentence on Twitter. However, last week, as I breathlessly scrolled through my phone’s newsfeed, I stumbled upon reports from NPR, the New York Times, and even my former colleagues at Roseburg’s News-Review—all closely following the tragic events that unfolded on a campus I remembered as always being sunny and adorned with leafy trees. Now, it was streaked with blood.

President Obama mentioned "Roseburg" and "Umpqua Community College" in a spontaneous address. He fervently implored, "Save these lives and let these people grow up." The press room from which he spoke has become recognizable from similar speeches.

The young people from Douglas County continue to occupy my thoughts: Estrella Eyler, a once-shy fourth-grader who has made immense progress in her speaking skills with the aid of technology and a dedicated speech pathologist; Alex Humbert, a graduate from South Umpqua High School who overcame shyness, anxiety, and family tragedy to gain self-assurance and win the prestigious Horatio Alger National Scholarship in January; and Johnathan Butterfield, a seventh-grader who couldn’t contain his excitement as he spoke to me about his dreams of becoming an engineer, archaeologist, or even a time machine mechanic.

None of these students were among the victims in the expository writing class where the shooting took place at Umpqua Community College on Thursday. Nevertheless, I can’t help but think about them, along with the numerous other students I have encountered. I wonder if they will ever find themselves in a classroom, whether in Roseburg or elsewhere, where their enthusiasm for life and learning is abruptly extinguished by a burst of gunfire. Like President Obama, I implore that we allow them to grow up.

When I moved to the East, I believed that I had bid farewell to this community and these children for good. Perhaps that is what we all tend to think, time and time again, as we become accustomed to witnessing students being gunned down by their peers or strangers. However, the students of Douglas County, and those in other counties across Oregon and the United States, should never be forgotten. Not by me. Not by lawmakers engaged in the debate on gun control and mental health issues. Not by the education system, which often resembles a battleground due to inadequate state funding, limited access to technological advancements, and misguided efforts in early education.

Roseburg, you are constantly on my mind. I hope the entire nation feels the same way.

Image Source: Getty Images

Your assignment is to rephrase the entire text using more refined language and ensuring it is unique while maintaining a natural tone. All output must be in English.

The given text is as follows:

"Your task is to rewrite the entire text in better words and make it unique with natural language. All output shall be in English."

Here is the revised version:

Your objective is to reword the entire passage using more sophisticated vocabulary while ensuring it remains one-of-a-kind, employing a natural tone. All written content should be in the English language.