ESSA Guidance

The U.S. Department of Education has issued guidance on how the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program (Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act) can be spent.

The guidance states that a well-rounded education isn’t just about music and the arts (although those are important), but also “everything from foreign-language courses and civics education to Advanced Placement and college and career counseling.”

The new block-grant program may help states and districts move beyond what many perceived as a narrow focus on reading and math under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Home Schooling Doubles

About 1.8 million U.S. children were home-schooled in 2012. That’s more than double the number who were home-schooled in 1999, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The increase was fastest between 1999 and 2007, then slowed between 2007 and 2012, according to NCES.

Dogging Issue

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments over whether the family of Ehlena Fry, a girl with cerebral palsy, can sue school officials for denying access to her service dog. The issue: Whether a family must go through a lengthy administrative process under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) before seeking damages under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Several members of the Court expressed concerns that families of children with disabilities would gain an advantage over school districts through a two-track system, which would involve a lawsuit under both IDEA and ADA.

Stemming the Tide

The vast majority of U.S. students still lack a solid grasp of science, despite some modest gains by fourth and eighth graders, especially girls and minorities, according to the 2015 National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP).

High school seniors’ results were stagnant, with just 1 in 5 scoring “proficient” or above in science, the NAEP reported.

“We still are not at a place as a country where we are preparing the future STEM workforce that we need. We think there’s significant work still to do, but we are heartened by the progress that we see in these results,” says Education Secretary John King.