With help from Mel Leonor and Kimberly Hefling
NEW THIS MORNING: EDUCATION DEPARTMENT SENDS GRANT TO BROWARD SCHOOLS AFTER SHOOTING: The Education Department is sending $1 million — which officials called an “initial” grant — to help Broward County Public Schools’ recovery efforts after the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead and 14 others injured.
— The funding is in the form of a Project SERV grant, which provides support to school districts, colleges and universities that have experienced traumatic events and need resources to restore learning environments for students and staff. The money can be used for mental health services, overtime for teachers and counselors, and payment for substitute teachers, among other things.
— “My heart is broken for the students, teachers and families who have had to endure this unthinkable tragedy,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement. “I am committed to helping identify solutions to prevent another tragedy like this one from happening again.”
MOVING FORWARD: President Donald Trump wants a “highly trained” school staff packing heat to shoot back in the case of a school shooting. And his ideal defenders are veterans. “You’d have a lot of people who would be armed, be ready — they’re professionals, they might be Marines,” he said recently. But the reality is very few of today’s educators served in the military, and those who did may not want to carry a gun to class.
— Even with the influx of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in the workforce, just 2.1 percent of U.S. teachers in 2016 were veterans, according to federal data — far from Trump’s estimates of 10, 20 or even 40 percent of the teaching force that might be “gun adept.” In 1960, during the post-World War II era when Trump was a teen, 59 percent of male teachers had military service.
— Some veterans among the nation’s teaching corps back Trump’s idea and see it as a calling to use their skills. But others interviewed by POLITICO said they are adamantly opposed — even if they have the weapons familiarity that comes with military service. They said they worry about accidental discharges and that their skills are no longer fresh. Kimberly Hefling and Tucker Doherty have the full story.
NEXT ON TRUMP’S SCHOOL SAFETY RADAR: VIDEO GAMES? Trump is set to meet with “members of the video game industry” next week as part of his continuing discussions on school safety, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Thursday. Trump has repeatedly blasted violent media, including video games and movies, following the Parkland, Fla. shooting. “The video games, the movies, the internet stuff is so violent. It’s so incredible,” Trump said during a televised meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers earlier this week. “It’s hard to believe that at least for a percentage — maybe it’s a small percentage of children — this doesn’t have a negative impact on their thought process.” More on that here.
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WEST VIRGINIA SCHOOLS EXPECTED TO STAY CLOSED TODAY: A teacher walkout in West Virginia appears no closer to a resolution, as the state’s school districts are expected to remain closed today. A deal announced Tuesday night by Gov. Jim Justice and union leaders that would give them a 5 percent raise passed the House on Wednesday, but has stalled in the Senate. Teachers want more of an assurance that health care costs connected to the Public Employees Insurance Agency won’t go up. The statewide walkout started Feb. 22 and has forced the closure of schools throughout the state since then.
EXCLUSIVE: FOX, FARAGE TO DEBATE NATIONALISM ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES: Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico, and Brexit leader Nigel Farage are launching a tour of college campuses to debate the merits of nationalism versus globalism. The debates take place the first week of April at the University of Colorado in Boulder, University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, University of Maryland-College Park, and Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.
— “Brexit and the election of Donald Trump demonstrate that people have turned against rule by elite, who have been happy to overlook the interests of ordinary citizens in favor of trade and immigration policies that benefit their pocketbooks,” Farage said in a statement, adding he is “honored to speak for these forgotten men and women.”
— Fox said he looks forward to defending the “strivers” who have crossed borders in search of greater opportunities. “Perhaps at no other time in human history have so many people strived to make better lives for themselves and their families by peacefully moving to countries with more opportunity and stronger institutions and engaging in mutually beneficial trade with other cultures,” Fox said in a statement.
— The debate series, dubbed the “Campus Liberty Tour,” is sponsored by the Steamboat Institute, a conservative think tank in Colorado. It kicks off April 2 at the University of Colorado-Boulder. The debates will be moderated by Mary Kissel, editorial board member of The Wall Street Journal; Tom Rogan, columnist at The Washington Examiner; and Robert Kaufman, a visiting professor in conservative thought and policy at CU-Boulder.
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‘I NEED FIVE MINUTES’ — MIAMI SUPERINTENDENT’S FLIP-FLOP LEAVES NYC SCRAMBLING: Alberto Carvalho’s “real-time” decision to walk back an agreement to become New York City’s next schools chancellor left many Miamians celebrating — and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stunned. It had been a week since Carvalho agreed to lead the nation’s largest school district, a spokesman for de Blasio said, and hours since the public got wind. Carvalho was expected to formally resign during a school board meeting Thursday, but instead was caught dithering on live television for hours — and eventually changing his mind.
— The move leaves the New York City mayor scrambling to name a candidate who will come into the job as the clear second pick, POLITICO New York’s Eliza Shapiro and Gloria Pazmino report. No leading contenders have surfaced yet.
— The eyes of observers from Miami to New York remain on Carvalho, whose decision and strategy remain shrouded in mystery. While Carvalho said Thursday that he had broken an “agreement,” a spokeswoman continued to tell reporters he had never given de Blasio his word. There’s also the hours Carvalho spent on live television — the school board meeting was broadcast in both Miami and New York — listening to dozens of Miamians practically beg him to stay, delivering an impassioned speech without signaling what he would do, and afterward saying, “I need five minutes.”
— From city leaders to union leaders in New York, the Miami Superintendent was heavily criticized for his flip-flop. One city councilman called it “unprofessional drama,” while de Blasio’s spokesman tweeted, “Who would ever hire this guy again? Who would ever vote for him?” De Blasio told reporters, “I thought we had found the right candidate.”
DEVOS’ NEW MARCHING ORDERS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS INVESTIGATORS: The Trump administration’s new rules for investigating discrimination in the nation’s schools take effect next week. The administration says the new guidelines are aimed at improving efficiency, but they have sparked outrage among civil rights advocates. Here’s a rundown of the biggest changes:
— Moving away from systemic investigations: The new guidelines scrub all mentions of systemic investigations, in keeping with the Trump administration’s trend of narrowing the scope of investigations from the systemic probes that were a hallmark of the Obama administration. Education Department officials say the old approach led to a massive backlog of cases. But the change has been among the most alarming to advocates. “Full Stop: This scaling back means that [the Education Department] will not fully protect students’ civil rights or address all the underlying issues that are a factor in complaints!” the American Association of University Women wrote on Twitter.
— Education Department spokeswoman Liz Hill said the administration will still launch systemic probes when they are warranted. She pointed out that DeVos recently announced a Title IX investigation into “systemic issues” around Michigan State University’s handling of reports of sexual violence against Larry Nassar. “The previous administration’s broadening of nearly every investigation into a systemic one was the reason this Administration inherited a huge backlog of cases and far too many students never had their cases resolved before they graduated,” Hill told Morning Education.
— Advocates see new roadblocks for complainants: Students or parents who file complaints have a shorter window to provide additional information to the civil rights office, from 20 days to 14. The new guidelines also do away with an appeals process for parents and students who disagree with investigators’ findings. Also, if a student turns 18 during an investigation, the new manual requires the student sign a consent form and send it to the Office for Civil Rights to avoid the case being dismissed. Read more here.
HERE’S WHO IS IN CHARGE OF FIXING CONGRESS’ BUDGET PROCESS:Congressional leaders have named the 16 members serving on the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, created under the budget deal, H.R. 1892. The group has until Nov. 30 to provide “recommendations and legislative language that will significantly reform the budget and appropriations process.” House Budget Chairman Steve Womack (R-Ark.) will chair the panel and set meeting agendas, along with co-chair Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the ranking member on the Appropriations Committee. Check out the DataPoint graphic here. Want to add DataPoint to your Pro account? Learn more.
— Warren, Sanders blast plan to launch charters, vouchers in Puerto Rico: POLITICO.
— As more women are speaking out about past experiences of sexual misconduct, many colleges are struggling with how to handle cases of professors having romantic relationships with undergraduates: BuzzFeed News.
— After court ruling, Gardendale is giving up on its attempt to start its own school district: AL.com.
— Philadelphia has decreased the number of pre-K seats and community schools it planned to open in the next five years after the city’s soda tax revenue falls short: Philly.com.
— Nine Idaho high school students are suing after they say they were kicked off their high school cheerleading team for staging a “sit-in” to protest conflicts with the school’s new cheerleading coach: Idaho Statesman.
— Mississippi lawmakers kill plan to revamp school funding formula: The Associated Press.
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