The debate over police roles in schools continues

The national debate about the role of police officers in school continued days after a school resource officer in Columbia, South Carolina forcibly removed a student from her desk. The Christian Science Monitor reported that many states give school resources officers “broad authority for charging students with minor offenses”, but more states have begun passing legislative changes to narrow their role in school discipline. The U.S. Department of Education recently hosted a summit for school leaders to discuss best practices in school discipline. The article quotes Janel George of the NAACP who argues for removing “willful defiance” as a cause for suspensions and school discipline.

Rethinking teacher evaluations

The Hillsborough County (Fla.) schools are dismantling the teacher evaluation system developed with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Superintendent Jeff Eakins announced that he has formed a committee to transition away from the $100 million Gates program in favor of a structure that has the strongest teachers mentoring others at their schools. This move comes after a report published Sunday in the Tampa Bay Times showed that the Gates program “fell short of many of its goals and cost more to sustain than the district could afford.” Meanwhile, relations between the district and its teachers union “imploded” on Thursday as salary negotiations for the current school year broke down.

The President: Let’s limit testing

President Obama on Saturday called for a cap on standardized testing as his Administration conceded partial responsibility for the over-reliance on the examinations. Media reporting – including two minutes on CBS – is sympathetic toward the new policy, but also focuses on the previous White House push for the testing as being a significant reason that the education system’s reliance on the tests reached the current level.