K-12 DIGEST: September 27, 2021

Policy 

House Democrats maneuvers imperil free college, Pre-K

This week could make or break some of Democrats’ most sweeping education proposals, including universal pre-K for the nation’s 3- and 4-year-olds and free community college, as the House prepares to take up two huge bills this week: the bipartisan infrastructure framework and Democrats’ social spending package. - Politico

Wisconsin to consider slate of K-12 bills Tuesday

Tuesday's state Assembly session is full of education-related proposals. Six bills focused on K-12 education, all supported mostly by Republicans at the committee level, will be discussed and voted on. - The Capital Times

Assessment

Will ending standardized testing improve teaching, learning? 

But, according to Avalos, additional changes are needed. She said that although there are changes to the test, the accountability stakes would remain the same, likely retaining the pacing guides and emphasis on passing tests over teaching that is responsive to the learning needs of students. “Progress monitoring according to the state may not be helpful if teachers are required to follow a pacing guide,” she said. “If the pacing guide remains and teachers do not have the authority to decide what they need to teach, then what good is it?”  - University of Miami

Community

As some online school options have long waitlists, teacher shortage hinders efforts to shorten them 

Officials with St. Paul Public Schools say when they initially reached out to families last school year about an online high school, about 450 families showed some interest. But the district said in July that only 50 had signed up. As the school year neared, a mask mandate went into place and COVID numbers grew, and the demand sky-rocketed.- KSTP

Arizona court strikes down bans on mask mandates, critical race theory and more

Along with the ban on face mask mandates, the ruling strikes down several other laws pertaining to COVID-19 mitigation measures and the operation of public schools. That includes laws banning “critical race theory” in K-12 schools, barring colleges and universities from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations or testing of students, prohibiting K-12 schools from requiring students to receive vaccines that have received emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and barring cities and counties from requiring “vaccine passports.” - AZ Mirror