#tellEWA Member Stories (February 3-9)

Here’s what we’re reading by EWA members this week.

The Palm Beach Post’s Kati Kokal tweets about her journey reporting on Florida student-athletes who were asked to report their menstrual histories online. The first story, published in October 2022, highlighted student data privacy concerns post Roe v. Wade. It quickly got the attention of local and state officials and spawned newer stories in which Kokal held leaders accountable for spreading misinformation and holding limited access public meetings. She catches readers up in one of her latest stories.

(Note: Join EWA’s Student Data Privacy Caucus to learn about similar issues.)

Former English-language learners in California performed well on standardized tests, even scoring higher than some Native English speakers. So, school districts then reclassified the top ELL students as proficient in English. But researchers say the bar for students to be considered proficient is too high, Zaidee Stavely reports for EdSource. “If fewer than half of your students are meeting the standard, but you’re going to require English learner students to be at the standard to be reclassified, how is that justified?”

More than 767,000 individuals in prison will be Pell Grant eligible this summer and, therefore, able to pursue a degree or credential. When released, these former prisoners will be ready for classes on college campuses. Writing for The Hechinger Report, Gail Cornwall profiles a California man who is living in a residence for formerly incarcerated students. The “revolutionary” housing solution includes wraparound services and is staffed by formerly incarcerated people.

A veteran music teacher in Chicago became one of 13 finalists for Illinois Teacher of the Year. The educator, Anne Gray, said the honor felt “validating” after pandemic disruptions. Chalkbeat Chicago’s Mauricio Peña profiles Gray and documents her teaching methods, such as helping children play Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are.”

“Write a five paragraph essay explaining the themes of ‘1984’ by George Orwell without plagiarism with quotes in MLA format.” Students who give ChatGPT this request will have a 500-word essay in one minute. This is one of the reasons educators are conflicted about the artificial intelligence chatbot. Reporting for The Dispatch, Jessica Lindsey highlights teachers’ concerns about AI, details its increase in accessibility and explains how it’s used in other aspects of daily life.

Hundreds of thousands of students around the country disappeared from public schools during the pandemic and didn’t resume their studies elsewhere. These missing students have now become a budgeting problem rather than a crisis: “Each student represents money from the city, state and federal governments.” Investigating for The Associated Press and Stanford University’s Big Local News, Bianca Vázquez Toness and Sharon Lurye show why it’s important to examine what happened to the youth who are no longer in school.