|5-13-16 Education in the News|
NJ Spotlight--DOE Refines Portfolio Review as PARCC Alternative for Graduation
Good news for seniors: Department extends portfolio deadline, changes rules to keep parents in loop, reminds local districts of responsibilities
A legal settlement over the state’s tough new high school graduation requirement is being celebrated by advocates but may have limited impact, since it does not create new ways to meet the requirement and does not substantially change the alternative route to a diploma called a portfolio review.
Portfolios use a sample of student work, rather than a test like the controversial PARCC exam, to show that the student has achieved the required level of knowledge or skill. Several thousand students are using portfolios to graduate this year, and lawyers who sued the Department of Education say the settlement will help those students by keeping parents informed of their graduation status, extending the deadline for portfolio submissions, and reinforcing rules of the portfolio process that some districts may not be following.
Meir Rinde | May 13, 2016
NY Times--U.S. Directs Public Schools to Allow Transgender Access to Restrooms
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is planning to issue a sweeping directive telling every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.
A letter to school districts will go out Friday, adding to a highly charged debate over transgender rights in the middle of the administration’s legal fight with North Carolina over the issue. The declaration — signed by Justice and Education department officials — will describe what schools should do to ensure that none of their students are discriminated against.
It does not have the force of law, but it contains an implicit threat: Schools that do not abide by the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law could face lawsuits or a loss of federal aid.
The move is certain to draw fresh criticism, particularly from Republicans, that the federal government is wading into local matters and imposing its own values on communities across the country that may not agree. It represents the latest example of the Obama administration using a combination of policies, lawsuits and public statements to change the civil rights landscape for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people.
JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS and MATT APUZZO| MAY 12, 2016
Garden State Coalition of Schools