The Churn: Demographic trends

Daily Churn logoWhat’s Churning:

America’s child population is shrinking and now is only 24 percent of the overall population, according to a new analysis of census data. The drop, accompanied by growth in older segments of the population, could have significant implications for education and public support of schools, not to mention the availability of workers in the future. Report from the Population Reference Bureau

Communications magnate John Malone has committed $7 million to the Denver School of Science and Technology system to expand its network of schools. The gift from Malone, chair of Liberty Global and Liberty Media, includes a $4 million gift and $3 million to match other funds DSST raises through 2013. DSST currently has three schools and has been approved to open five more on three campuses in the next five years. News release

Employees of the Jefferson County Schools are generally positive about their district and work, a recent employee survey has concluded. According to a news release, “employees rated their sense of personal responsibility, accountability and feeling respected very high. Staff said the strength of Jeffco Schools is found in the district’s supervision, effectiveness, diversity and values.” News release

Latino adolescents are key to helping family members assimilate into American culture, a new study from the University of Colorado has found. So, said Associate Professor Mike McDevitt, “Schools, news media and campaign strategists should view adolescents as the most effective way to mobilize Latino families for active citizenship. They should not try to reach parents directly, but instead reach out to teens.” News release & link to study

The Denver Federation for Paraprofessionals and Nutrition Service Employees will share in an $800,000 grant from the American Federation of Teachers Innovation Fund. AFT units in five other states also will receive funds from the grant for various projects. The Denver grant is in support of an effort by cafeteria workers, working with school district partners, to design performance pay incentive programs intended to help combat childhood obesity. More information

The Donnell-Kay Foundation has announced its Hot Lunch speaker lineup for the first part of 2011-12. American Enterprise Institute scholar and blogger Rick Hess will speak on Sept. 9, followed by Sajan George, founder of Matchbook Learning, on Oct. 14. Celine Coggins, founder of Teach Plus, is the featured speaker on Nov. 18. Jeff Pionteck, head of school at Hawaii Technology Academy, will speak in January, and speakers for the rest of the series will be announced later. More information about Donnell-Kay

What's Your Education Story?

As the 2018 school year begins, join us for storytelling from Indianapolis educators

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat
Sarah TeKolste, right, and Lori Jenkins at a Teacher Story Slam, in April.

In partnership with Teachers Lounge Indy, Chalkbeat is hosting another teacher story slam this fall featuring educators from across the city.

Over the past couple of years, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from teachers and students through the events. Some of our favorites touched on how a teacher won the trust of her most skeptical student, why another teacher decided to come out to his students, and one educator’s call to ramp up the number of students pursuing a college education.

The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.

For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.

Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.