#tellEWA Member Stories (October 21-27)

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

“When you start getting educated in prison, you start seeing yourself in a different light.” Open Campus features a Q&A between two podcasters who earned college degrees behind bars, Rahsaan Thomas of Ear Hustle and David Luis Gonzalez of Suave. Gonzalez shares why it took time to earn his degree, how becoming educated helped him fight the system and why it’s important to expand access to higher education for incarcerated people.

Eighteen states passed laws to prevent transgender youth from participating in sports, claiming the legislation was necessary to keep cisgender girls from losing opportunities. There is no basis for this claim, explains The 74’s Beth Hawkins. She analyzed data and public records showing that no harm has come to girls’ or women’s sports at the high school or college levels, and documented the growth in girls’ sports.

California approved new literacy standards and educator performance expectations that teacher-preparation programs must implement by September 2024, Diana Lambert reports for EdSource. Expected to help boost students’ test scores, the standards greatly focus on phonological awareness, word recognition, and fluency. Additionally, the standards support struggling readers, English-language learners and others.

“The pandemic, the politicization of education, fears of a school shooting, low pay, and public disrespect were beginning to outweigh those positives.” In a personal essay, Carly Flandro details why she quit her longtime job teaching English to high school students to become an education reporter for Idaho Education News.

The 74’s Linda Jacobson reports on increased superintendent firings around the country, finding that national and state political debates over COVID-era controversial issues filtered down to local school districts. Jacobson surveyed leadership groups and reviewed news clips about nearly 40 no-cause firings or forced resignations in 26 states to understand the scope of the issue.

“We were trying to teach an increasing number of [ELL] students with predominantly white teachers that speak English.” Writing for AL.com, Rebecca Griesbach shadows an elementary school class for English-language learners and introduces the students of Franklin County, home to Alabama’s largest population of Spanish-speaking immigrants. The local school district is using COVID-relief money to help ELL students succeed after longtime staffing and funding challenges.