A young science student is inventing a metal robot out of cardboard boxes with tools.Now Trending: STEM Toys for Girls

STEM toys for girls are “in” these days, reports Fortune magazine. The production and marketing of STEM toys for girls is part of an effort by educators, technology firms, nonprofits, and other groups to encourage girls to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math education paths and careers to improve diversity in industries that are predominantly male. 

Toy Industry Association trend specialist Adrienne Appell says, “We named it as a major trend in 2014, and we’ve seen it continue in 2015.” 

The Fortune article highlights several toy startups founded by female entrepreneurs who left STEM jobs to inspire young girls to pursue STEM careers. Examples include Jewelbots and Linkitz, which manufacture programmable bracelets for girls.

New York District Allegedly Prevented Refugee Children from Attending School

The immigration issue is heating up in the United States—on and off the political trail—and secondary education is certainly involved in the debate.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has filed a lawsuit against the Utica City School District alleging that refugee children older than 16 were sent into alternative programs that did not offer credits toward earning a diploma. 

The reason, according to Schneiderman, was to prevent immigrants from attending the district’s public high school. Some districts exclude older students in an effort to drive up graduation rates, according to those advocating for immigrants. Every state resident under 21 years old “has a right to attend a public school” in their home district, “regardless of immigration status or national origin,” asserts Schneiderman.

New Mexico Warns District to Follow Hiring Procedures

It may be hard to believe that in 2016 job candidates still falsify credentials or do not disclose criminal actions against them. But they do—and sometimes schools districts need to be more vigilant, as New Mexico educators will attest.

In that state, there have been several high-profile cases of education officials failing to properly assess job candidates who were later found to lack credentials or who failed to complete background checks. Mora Independent School District Superintendent Charles Trujillo recently resigned from his position after it was revealed he had falsified his credentials, and the Albuquerque Public Schools hired an administrator last year who was facing charges of child abuse in Colorado. 

“Schools need to come into compliance to ensure the safety of children and educators, as well as safeguard public funds,” says New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller.

Chicago Reverses Course on School Safety

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel—a former White House chief of staff—is now committing additional resources in support of school safety at Chicago Public Schools. 

That’s a reversal from his earlier decision to divert $58 million away from the school district to the Chicago Police Department. Shortly after he took office, Emanuel used the district’s money to “plug a budget hole at City Hall,” but now the district is facing a $480 million shortfall and considering midyear layoffs. Chicago is often a bellwether for what other school districts in the country will be doing, so secondary school principals will be monitoring this development closely.

The city is poised to raise taxes by $755 million, so Emanuel determined that the city could afford to cover the increased cost of providing police for the city’s schools.