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California won’t make children get the coronavirus vaccine to attend schools. The California Department of Public Health said Friday it is not exploring emergency rules to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required school vaccinations. That’s a reversal from Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2021 announcement that the state would add the COVID-19 vaccine to its list of mandated vaccinations for kids to attend school. Last year, state officials delayed that requirement until at least the summer of 2023. Now public health officials say they are no longer moving ahead with the effort as the state prepares to end its coronavirus emergency on Feb. 28.

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Critics of a North Carolina bill that advanced in the state Senate say it could jeopardize the mental health and physical safety of LGBTQ students who could be outed to their parents without consent. The bill would require schools to alert parents prior to a change in the name or pronouns used for their child. Several mental and behavioral health experts, parents and teachers told the Senate health care committee on Thursday that the bill would force teachers to violate the trust of their students and could create life-threatening situations for students without affirming home environments. The proposal now heads to the Senate rules committee.

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A bill advancing in North Carolina’s Senate would prohibit instruction about sexuality and gender identity in K-4 public school classes. The proposal approved Wednesday by the Senate education committee would require schools in most circumstances to alert parents prior to a change in the name or pronoun used for their child. The measure defies the recommendations of parents, educators and LGBTQ youths who testified against it. The bill now heads to the Senate health care committee. A version passed the state Senate last year but did not get a vote in the House.

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The official curriculum for a new Advanced Placement course on African American studies released Wednesday downplays some components that had drawn criticism from conservatives including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who said the class would be banned in his state. In the new framework, topics including Black Lives Matter, reparations and queer theory are not part of the exam. They are included only on a list of example research subjects for student projects which local states and school systems could choose from. The course is currently being tested at 60 schools around the U.S.

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A second former North Carolina State athlete has sued the school alleging that he had been sexually abused by the Wolfpack’s former director of sports medicine under the guise of treatment. The lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court accuses Robert Murphy Jr. of improperly touching the athlete’s genitals and elsewhere between two separate occasions in 2016. The plaintiff’s name is listed as “John Doe” to protect anonymity and doesn’t specify which sport he played. A former men's soccer player was the first to sue the school in August. The lawsuit states the second athlete came forward after learning of that complaint.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced plans to block state colleges from having programs on diversity, equity and inclusion, and critical race theory. It's the Republican's latest step onto the front lines of the nation's culture wars as he considers a 2024 bid for the White House. The second-term governor has emerged as a fierce opponent of so-called woke policies on race, gender and public health. Such positions endear him to the GOP’s conservative base but threaten to alienate independents and moderate voters in both parties who are influential in presidential politics.

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"Maximum Vantage: New Selected Columns" by Bill Maxwell; University Press of Florida (259 pages, $28) ——— For 25 years, Bill Maxwell wrote a column for the then-St. Petersburg Times and the Tampa Bay Times. His award-winning columns were also syndicated, appearing in more than 200 newspapers worldwide. Maxwell’s voice was among the most recognizable on the Times’ pages, not only for his clear ...

Fifteen grade school students in Mexico have been treated after apparently taking part in an internet “challenge” in which groups of students take tranquilizers to see who can stay awake the longest.  The incident occurred Monday in the north-central city of Guanajuato. It came just days after health authorities issued a national alert about the craze. It was the fourth school in Mexico to suffer such incidents in the last year. Guanajuato Mayor Alejandro Navarro said the students were treated at the school, and urged parents to supervise their kids' use of social media.

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The maker of ChatGPT is trying to curb its reputation as a freewheeling cheating machine with a new tool that can help teachers detect if a student or artificial intelligence wrote that homework. The new AI Text Classifier launched by OpenAI follows a weeks-long discussion at schools and colleges over fears that ChatGPT’s ability to write just about anything on command could fuel academic dishonesty and hinder learning. OpenAI cautions that its new tool is not foolproof and the method for detecting AI-written text is imperfect and can be wrong at times.

Several years of pandemic restrictions and curriculum battles have emboldened longtime advocates of funneling public funds to private and religious schools in statehouses throughout the country. Republicans and parents’ rights activists are pushing proposals in a dozen states.

The leader of Missouri's state Senate says Republican senators are unified against letting transgender girls play on girls' sports teams. Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden's comments to reporters Thursday signal that restrictions on transgender student athletes have a good chance of passing this year. He also says Senate Republicans want to ban minors from getting gender-affirming surgery. Efforts to outlaw public drag performances appear to be less likely to advance. Rowden says lawmakers have “more important stuff to talk about" than drag shows.

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An attorney says a Virginia teacher who was shot by a 6-year-old student during class plans to sue the school district. Diane Toscano, a lawyer for the 25-year-old teacher, Abigail Zwerner, said Wednesday that on the day of the shooting, concerned teachers and employees warned administrators three times that the boy had a gun on him and was threatening other students, “but the administration could not be bothered.” The boy shot Zwerner on Jan. 6 as she taught class at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News. Later in the day, the school board voted to relieve district superintendent George Parker III of his duties effective Feb. 1 as part of a separation agreement and severance package.

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The co-creator of the beloved children’s education TV series “Sesame Street,” Lloyd Morrisett has died. He was 93. Morrisett’s death was announced Monday by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit he helped establish under the name the Children’s Television Workshop. No cause of death was given. Sesame Workshop in a statement hailed Morrisett as a “wise, thoughtful, and above all kind leader.” Morrisett and Joan Ganz Cooney worked with Harvard University developmental psychologist Gerald Lesser to build the show’s unique approach to teaching that now reaches 120 million children. Legendary puppeteer Jim Henson supplied the critters.

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This year's North Carolina General Assembly session begins in earnest on Wednesday, two weeks after lawmakers met to pick leaders. While the legislature starts from scratch when each odd-numbered year begins, there should be plenty of familiar issues. They include whether to approve Medicaid expansion, medical marijuana and sports gambling. Republicans also are likely to try to enact looser gun laws and tougher immigration directives given they hold a veto-proof majority in the Senate and are just one seat short in the House. Gov. Roy Cooper and fellow Democrats aim to block more restrictive abortion rules in light of the Supreme Court ruling striking down Roe v. Wade.

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University of Wisconsin System officials say they will prohibit the use of TikTok on system devices. System spokesman Mark Pitsch told The Associated Press about the move in emails on Tuesday.  Earlier this month, Gov. Tony Evers banned the use of TikTok on state phones and other devices, citing potential risks to privacy, safety and security. The order did not apply to the UW System because it isn't an executive branch agency. The system employs about 40,000 faculty and staff. A number of universities across the country have banned TikTok in recent weeks, including Auburn, Oklahoma and Texas.

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For many American schoolchildren, school lunch consists of mass-produced, reheated meals they would rather skip. A small but growing number of school districts are upgrading their cafeteria menus with local organic produce, grass-fed meats and recipes made from scratch. On the outskirts of San Francisco, one school district has hired a former fine-dining chef. He's using the skills he learned in the kitchens of Michelin-starred restaurants to reimagine what school lunch can be. At a recent student taste testing, the chef served homemade baguette sandwiches and free-range chicken simmered in a chipotle broth.

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The family of a student who died from alcohol poisoning while pledging a fraternity will receive nearly $3 million from Bowling Green State University to settle its hazing-related lawsuit. A copy of the agreement announced Monday says the family of Stone Foltz and the university will work together to eliminate hazing on college campuses. A university investigation found that Foltz died of alcohol poisoning in March 2021 after a fraternity event where there was a tradition of new members attempting to finish a bottle of alcohol. Both sides say the settlement will allow them to focus on ending hazing.

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President Joe Biden walked along the splintered boardwalk of a California beach town Thursday and heard from business owners struggling to repair damage to their shops after storms caused devastation across the region and killed more than 20 people statewide. Biden toured a gutted seafood restaurant and the badly flooded Paradise Beach Grille, not far from the collapsed Capitola Pier and brightly painted pink, orange and teal shops that were all boarded up following the storms. Walls were crumbling, debris was scattered everywhere and the floors had been swept away by raging waters.

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