Dark Money School Groups Are Trying to Buy the Midterm Elections for the GOP

As the Florida primary election results rolled in, in late August, Gov. Ron DeSantis publicly celebrated big wins in posts that traditionally have flown well-below the radar of governors: those of local school boards. This year’s school board races in Florida have received national attention, as dozens of political action committees (PACs) linked to leaders of the Florida GOP, including DeSantis, funneled money to right-wing candidates. And they didn’t do it alone. Also celebrating the school board victories and claiming them as their own were anti-public education groups like Moms for Liberty, a 501(c)(4) group that worked closely with DeSantis…

Missouri School District Brings Back the Paddle to Discipline Students

A school district in southwestern Missouri is bringing back corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure, in the form of spanking with a paddle. Cassville Public Schools announced the option for parents to “opt into” having their children be punished by being “swatted on the buttocks with a paddle,” according to reporting from The Kansas City Star. Under the new policy, students can be hit by a school administrator with a paddle to avoid suspension, with the permission of a parent or guardian. The district’s decision to allow the archaic form of punishment in schools has divided the community. “I do…

Schools Are Facing Shortage of 300,000 Teachers and Staff, Major Union Says

National Education Association president Becky Pringle on Thursday warned that the U.S. teacher shortage has spiraled into a “five-alarm crisis,” with nearly 300,000 teaching and support positions left unfilled and policymakers taking desperate — and in some cases, questionable — measures to staff classrooms. Pringle told ABC News that teachers unions have been warning for years that chronic disinvestment in schools has placed untenable pressure on educators as they face low pay and overcrowded classrooms. “We have a crisis in the number of students who are going into the teaching profession and the number of teachers who are leaving it,”…

Austin Schools Will Now Offer Free Pads and Tampons: Period Equity Is Expanding

Originally published by The 19th. When Austin public school students return to classes this month, they will find a new amenity awaiting them in the bathrooms: dispensers of free maxi pads and tampons. Over the summer, Austin Independent School District spent about $85,000 on dispensers and $70,000 on the first batch of menstrual products to provide to students at no cost. Austin is the state’s fifth-largest district and joins Fort Worth, which will also offer supplies to students for free this fall, following a decision Dallas schools made last year. The Texas districts join a national movement toward period equity,…

WI District Bars Teachers From Displaying Pride Flags & Using Pronouns in Emails

A superintendent in a Wisconsin school district recently announced a policy that allows the school board to restrict employees from expressing support for LGBTQ community members while at work. Superintendent Stephen Plum announced the reinterpretation of an existing policy during a school board meeting on July 26. The new interpretation forbids teachers and other administrative staff from expressing political or religious views at work, and bars actions like displaying Pride flags on their desks or wearing clothes with rainbows on them. School staff will also be barred from including their pronouns in their email signatures, Plum said in his announcement…

Florida School Board Reverses Plan to Censor “Don’t Say Gay” Page in Yearbook

A Florida school board has decided that photos depicting student-led protests against an anti-LGBTQ law in the state will not be censored from a high school yearbook, reversing an action from the county superintendent. A page of the Lyman High School yearbook, located within the Seminole County School District, showcased how students left classrooms earlier this year to voice their collective opposition against HB 1557. Opponents of the legislation called it the “Don’t Say Gay” to highlight how it stifled conversation in classrooms. The bill, which has since passed and become law (though it is not yet enforced), bans teachers…

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