Texas Pledge of Allegiance Case Heats Up

After Martha Strother, the principal of Windfern High School in Houston, expelled India Landry, a black student who refused to stand for and recite the Pledge of Allegiance for several days, the student’s mother filed suit against the school, arguing her daughter’s constitutional protections to free speech, due process, and equal protection.

“This isn’t the NFL,” Strother said, apparently connecting Landry’s actions to protests led by former quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality.

Now the Texas attorney general has intervened in the federal case to defend the state statute that was challenged as unconstitutional. The law mandates that students recite the pledge, or get a parent’s or guardian’s permission if they wish to opt out.

Gates Foundation Highlights One Country’s Education Success

In its latest “Goalkeepers Report,” the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation cited one country as an outlier in terms of proven success in educating students in math, reading, and science. If you guessed Vietnam, you’re a winner.

That’s right, Vietnam. The report cited the country as part of its rationale for pushing increased use of assessment data in education. Goalkeepers is a campaign developed by the foundation for tracking progress toward the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. This year’s campaign focused on how well young people globally are achieving minimum proficiency in core subjects and the innovations that are helping them do that.

Although Vietnam’s gross domestic product per capita is relatively low, its 15-year-olds outperform students from wealthy countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States on international tests. When Vietnam’s test scores are plotted against GDP, the results were high and outside the norm in math, reading, and science, according to the report.

A Troubling Statistic About Students

The number 114,659—do you think that’s the sum of students attending New York City public schools last year? No, that’s the number of homeless or temporarily housed children who attended New York City public schools during the 2017–18 school year, comprising about 10 percent of the city’s public school students, according to Advocates for Children of New York.

According to their recently released data, that number indicates that there are two-thirds more homeless students within the school district—the nation’s largest in terms of enrollment—since the 2010–11 school year.

In New York state, there were more than 4,600 more homeless students than in the previous school year. In New York City, there were 3,097 more. In the Bronx, for example, one district had 10,804 students living in temporary homes.

Gaming Addiction Can Affect College Experience

Psychologist Michael Fraser treats young adults with gaming disorder—recognized as a mental health disorder by the World Health Organization. “Compared to five years ago, the number of students I’m seeing this year from college [with a gaming addiction] has more than doubled in that time,” Fraser says. He notes that high school students—many of whom suffer from anxiety, depression, and learning disorders—often have a difficult time turning e-games off. The number of secondary school students who are playing video games, such as Fortnite, is increasing substantially.

“If you’re noticing that they’re having those kinds of difficulties in high school and they have any of those conditions … then I would say you have someone who is really at risk for struggling when they go away [to college],” Fraser says.