Whiteboard Notes | Congress Passes Education Spending Bill; Report Compares Computer Science Education Across US; School Districts Banning Yoga

Congress Passes Education Spending Bill: On Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved a spending package, in a 361-61, vote that includes funding for the U.S Department of Education in Fiscal Year 2019. The legislation, which was passed by the Senate last week, includes several increases for programs in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), including increases for the Title IV-Part A flexibility block grant. The bill now heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature, which he has indicated he will sign. [The Washington Post
With the Approval of Florida’s ESSA Plan, All 50 State Plans Now Approved: On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced the approval of Florida’s consolidated state plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). With the approval of Florida’s ESSA plan, the Department has approved plans from all 50 states as well as Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. [U.S. Department of Education]

Departments of Education and Justice Investigating Yale University Admissions Policies: On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced they were conducting an investigation into whether Yale University’s undergraduate admissions policies improperly discriminate on the basis of race, specifically in regard to Asian-American applicants. The investigation comes as a similar investigation into Harvard University is about to go to trial. [Inside Higher Education]


Report Compares Computer Science Education Across U.S.: Code.org has released its “State of Computer Science Education” report,  in partnership  with the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), which takes a census of computer science education policy adoption and implementation across the U.S. The report found that of the nearly 24 states that fully participated in the census, , only 35 percent of high schools offered computer science. The study also found that schools with large populations of low-income students, minority students, and students from rural areas are less likely to have computer science access. [Ed Surge]
One-Fifth of Eighth Graders Chronically Absent: The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released a newreport this week examining absenteeism, which found that one fifth of 8th-graders, missed three days or more in the month before the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in 2015. The EPIfound that absenteeism rates were impacted by race/ethnicity, poverty, disability and language status. [Education Dive]
Memphis Improving Public Schools, Moving Away From Priority Designation: Last week, Memphis reported that fewer public schools landed on the newest list of troubled schools in Tennessee. In 2012, 69 percent of schools were designated “priority schools” and the city has continued to make improvements, decreasing to 57 percent in 2014 and this year falling to 43 percent. This is the first priority list under Tennessee’s new system for holding schools accountable, largely based on test scores from the 2015-2017 school years.  [Chalkbeat]


New Report Highlights High Percentage of Disadvantaged African American Students:  The University of Southern California Race and Equity Center recently released a new report that grades universities and states on how well they attract and graduate black students. Findings from the report show that black students barely make-up 10 percent of full-time enrollments at state universities, and 44 percent of public universities have 20 or fewer black full-time faculty members. Additionally, Louisiana earned the lowest rating in the report, despite having the second-highest percentage of black residents. [The Chronicle of Higher Education, subscription model]
High Percentage of Community Colleges Offer First-Year Experiences: According to Inside Higher Ed, 95 percent of two-year institutions offer orientations and 87 percent provide first-year seminars to help students be more successful in their first year of college. Earlier this week, Ithaka S+R and Two Year First Year released a survey, funded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which attempted to assess the types of programming community colleges offer to support first year students. About 175 institutions voluntarily participated in the survey. [Inside Higher Ed]