It’s that time of year: Time for everyone to put out lists of people, movies, music, photos, and books of the year, so we thought we’d get into the act. For our final Media Monday of 2015, we take note of a few of the many education news stories that took center stage locally and nationally this year. Two troubling national crises found unique expression in Texas schools, and the results are still echoing: fear and suspicion of the Muslim community and the proliferation of guns.
- Ninth-grade tinkerer Ahmed Mohamed, of Irving, built a clock that school authorities believed resembled a bomb. Ahmed was arrested and became a Twitter sensation—with an invitation to the White House.
- Student and community protestors on both sides joined the controversy over legislators’ decision to allow “campus carry” ofguns on state university campuses.
- On the national stage, the much-criticized No Child Left Behind legislation passed under the George W. Bush administration died with a whimper. On December 10, 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replaced NCLB, expanding access to early childhood education but keeping the yearly testing regime mostly in place. Time will tell whether the new system will allow for more innovation and less “teaching to the test.”
- Gaps in educational opportunities based on race, ethnicity, and class were big news in 2015 and cause for more and more student protests, as in-depth reporting revealed funding inequities and persistent segregation in the South and throughout the nation.
- But a surge of grassroots activism brought hope for change and empowerment for students. The “opt-out” movement surged in Texas and nationwide as parents and students rallied against excessive testing and Common Core requirements. At the same time, activism against the growing student debt crisis has led presidential hopefuls to address the situation head-on.
Let us know your thoughts on how these trends affected you and your kids, or if there are other important stories you think ought to be added to this list.