The Most Overlooked Education Stories of 2012
Pass The Chalk Editors
December 21, 2012

Since its launch just 5 months ago, Pass The Chalk has touched on a broad range of issues, including the Chicago teachers’ strike, how to support students’ mental health, coming out as a teacher or student, life in our nation’s Native American communities, and most recently, the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Conn. But there's also a ton of stuff we didn't talk about. As we approach year's end, we asked some of your favorite contributors to reflect on the most overlooked education stories of 2012. Here’s what they said.

(Note: Pass The Chalk will be on hiatus until January 2, 2013. We look forward to resuming our regular publication schedule in the New Year. Have a wonderful holiday!)

Charter Schools

One issue I’d like to have seen more coverage on is the sheer proliferation of charter schools in Minnesota (and other areas) and the consequences—both positive and negative—it has had. Working in the first state to allow charter schools, I see some massive issues (students switching schools on a weekly basis as they “shop around”), and also some massive strengths (Minneapolis’s Hiawatha Leadership Academy was ranked No. 1 in the state for closing the achievement gap). I haven’t seen tons of coverage looking at both sides of this issue, along with states that still don’t have charter schools. (Blair Mishleau, Twin Cities Corps '12) 

Read past posts from Blair

Chicago Youth Violence 

I was disheartened (though not entirely surprised) not to see more in the media on the violence that wrought devastation in Chicago this summer. For many reasons, the Chicago teachers’ strike not least of all, this story never seemed to own a news cycle. I was particularly curious to hear how educators were approaching this topic in their classrooms. (Ursa Scherer Robinson, Teacher Leadership Preparation and Development)

Read past posts from Ursa

By Stoeffler (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Common Core 

Although it’s been widely discussed in education circles, the implementation of the Common Core Standards seems to have flown largely under the public radar. Given that Common Core Standards have now been implemented in all but 5 states (as well as in D.C. and 4 out of 5 American territories), I’d say that’s a pretty remarkable oversight. (Bailey Hampton, Eastern North Carolina Corps '04)

Read past posts from Bailey

The Latino Vote

This year’s presidential election was largely devoid of meaningful conversation about education; this happened in the context of a growing attention paid to winning the Latino vote. While many people attribute the economy and immigration as top issues in election decision-making for Latinos, in reality education was listed as the number-one issue for 55% of Latino registered voters.  This is a bellwether for the coming years and continued growth of Latinos, especially young Latinos in America. (Robert Carreon, Rio Grande Valley Corps '03)

Read past posts from Robert

Mental Health Education and Awareness 

As highlighted repeatedly this year, and recently (and tragically) in Connecticut, our stigmatization and lack of viable response to mental illness affects everyone. Living in San Francisco, with our embarrassingly large homeless population (most of whom are mentally ill to some degree), I recall daily the struggles I and my school site had effectively reaching students with symptoms of mental instability or who had people in their lives who were fighting that battle. (Seth Saavedra, Connecticut Corps '07)

Read past posts from Seth

Racial Diversity in Rural America 

The growing racial diversity in rural America, particularly in the Midwest, is requiring schools and communities to respond to the radically changing needs of their student populations. In places where there was little to no racial diversity 10 years ago, there are now schools filled with multiple languages, multiple religions, and families and children that need schools to respond to their needs. In the wake of great change, some schools are responding and innovating, while others are in denial. (Anne Mahle, Rio Grande Valley Corps '92)

Read past posts from Anne

Rural Education Reform

Rural education reform doesn’t often make headlines in major publications, and more often than not we’re asking ourselves how to apply lessons learned in urban areas to rural contexts. In West Virginia, though, the American Federation of Teachers, along with 80-plus public/private partners are seeking to turnaround the livelihood of an entire county through the work of the Reconnecting McDowell initiative. Reconnecting McDowell may change how the entire country thinks about rural education and what success takes. (Will Nash, South Louisiana Corps '06)

Read past posts from Will

Category: Education News

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We believe education is the most pressing issue facing our nation. On Pass the Chalk, we'll share our takes on the issues of the day, join the online conversation about education, and tell stories from classrooms, schools, and communities around the nation.

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