Education

West Virginia's public schools were closed Thursday, as teachers across the state walked out and protested for better pay and benefits from state lawmakers.

Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill Wednesday to give teachers a 2 percent pay raise starting in July, and an additional 1 percent pay increase in 2020 and 2021.

TULSA HISTORICAL SOCIETY AND MUSEUM

The Tulsa Race Riots lasted two days. Thirty-five blocks of black neighborhoods were destroyed and at least 39 people died. Historians now agree it was among the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. History.

However, State Senator Kevin Matthews, D-Tulsa, says many Oklahoma teachers often brush over the topic, or teach it incorrectly. He hopes a new Tulsa Race Riot curriculum can change that.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

It's been a difficult week for schools in this edition of our weekly roundup.

School shooting in Parkland, Fla.

When Dustin Gordon's high school invited juniors and seniors to meet with recruiters from colleges and universities, a handful of students showed up.

A few were serious about the prospect of continuing their educations, he said, "But I think some of them went just to get out of class."

In his sparsely settled community in the agricultural countryside of southern Iowa, "there's just no motivation for people to go" to college, says Gordon, who's now a senior at the University of Iowa.

A free day at the aquarium! For Marcey Morse, a mother of two, it sounded pretty good.

It was the fall of 2016, and Morse had received an email offering tickets, along with a warning about her children's education.

At that time, Morse's two kids were enrolled in an online, or "virtual," school called the Georgia Cyber Academy, run by a company called K12 Inc. About 275,000 students around the country attend these online public charter schools, run by for-profit companies, at taxpayers' expense.

Do transgender boys or girls have the right to use the restroom at school that corresponds with their gender identity? The U.S. Education Department said Monday that it won't hear complaints about or take action on this question.

Mark Seidenberg is not the first researcher to reach the stunning conclusion that only a third of the nation's schoolchildren read at grade level. The reasons are numerous, but one that Seidenberg cites over and over again is this: The way kids are taught to read in school is disconnected from the latest research, namely how language and speech actually develop in a child's brain.

Mike Moran, the principal at Bryan Adams High School in Dallas, says oftentimes when students are homeless, they're too embarrassed to tell anyone.

"A lot of times it is revealed that there's a temporary living situation, they're in a motel, they're now staying with an aunt and uncle," he says.

Principal Moran has heard similar stories about 50, or so, kids at his school, just one of dozens of high schools in the district. That's why Dallas schools have put something called a drop-in center at nearly every high school in the district.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma lawmakers have butted heads for years over how to increase funding for education, but one recurring idea has been to give schools more flexibility in spending the money they already have.

A new bill filed by Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, is the most recent attempt to do this.

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