#tellEWA Member Stories (May 5-11)

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

The nation’s first explicitly religious, taxpayer-supported charter school could become a reality, but it faces legal challenges. To succeed, the Catholic charter school would need to operate within a regulated charter framework in Oklahoma. And, the state’s virtual charter school board website includes more than 150 regulations, including Open Records Acts rules. “The accountability that comes with charter schools, I think, would be a shock to many Catholic schools …” Greg Toppo explains how the case and others are playing out for The 74.

Nearly six months after an assailant murdered four University of Iowa students, other students and their families are preparing for spring commencement. The start of the academic year – at first – seemed encouraging, with growth in enrollment and new university funding. But the killings led to frightened students fleeing the campus and most experiencing an ongoing healing journey. Idaho Education NewsKevin Richert demonstrates what campus life was like before and after the Nov. 13 murders.

Many schools are experiencing a shortage in educators who teach special education or STEM, a nationwide survey from ABC News showed. Arthur Jones II spoke to educators and experts on the ground to discover the obstacles these subject matter experts are facing. He cited various issues, such as needing more money for students with disabilities; inadequate diversity in STEM; and underwhelming pipeline and recruiting efforts.

“If anyone was holding out hope for a bounce back, we have put that to rest.” Public school enrollment in many of the largest districts hasn’t rebounded since pandemic-related school closures in 2020. These districts have 17 months to spend federal COVID-19 relief funds, which is helping to fill the gap caused by less enrollment-related funding. But after that, they may need to close half-empty buildings and lay off staff. The 74’s Linda Jacobson dives deep into national enrollment trends, providing analysis and infographics.

A Los Angeles trade college invested into a 70,000 square-foot facility to support students earning a culinary arts degree. This seems to be paying off for students who learn professional baking, restaurant management and more. The low-cost-per-credit program has attracted students from all ages and backgrounds. And, the program is preparing them for an industry that is now seeing job openings well above pre-pandemic levels, Jackie Orchard details for LAist.

A Colorado school district has an equity policy, but many indicate it isn’t being enforced. Biracial students reported experiencing racism, bullying and targeted attacks because of their skin color. This comes after an incident two years ago in which Black students said they saw racial slurs, including the N-word, written on bathroom walls. “There’s a continual refusal to fulfill our accountability role around this area,” Suzie Glassman reports for Newsbreak Denver.