Easy Tips For Inserting Degree Symbol In Word

In today’s digital age, it is common to see symbols and special characters used in various forms of communication. When working on a document in Microsoft Word, you may come across the need to insert a degree symbol for measurements or temperature. While this symbol may seem elusive, it is actually quite simple to add in your Word document. In this article, we will guide you through different methods for inserting a degree symbol in Word, making your document creation process easier and more efficient. Whether you are a student, professional or just looking to spruce up your text, this guide has got you covered.

Ways to Insert a Degree Symbol in Word

When working with documents that involve temperature or angles, the degree symbol is an essential element. It can also be used to indicate certain measurements or scientific units. However, many users struggle with how to insert a degree symbol in Word. This simple guide will provide you with different methods to easily add the degree symbol to your Word documents.

Using the Insert Symbol Feature

One of the simplest ways to insert a degree symbol in Word is by using the "Insert Symbol" feature. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Place your cursor where you want to insert the degree symbol in your document.
  2. Go to the "Insert" tab at the top of the Word document.
  3. In the Symbols group, click on the "Symbol" drop-down arrow.
  4. A menu will appear, click on "More Symbols".
  5. A Symbol box will open, select "Latin-1 Supplement" from the "Subset" drop-down menu.
  6. Scroll down until you find the degree symbol and click on it.
  7. Click the "Insert" button and then close the window.

Another option is to simply type "degree" in the search bar within the Symbol box and the degree symbol should immediately appear for you to click and insert into your document.

In newer versions of Word, you can also access the Symbol box by clicking on the "Equation" option under the "Insert" tab, and then selecting "Degree" from the list of symbols.

Alternatively, you can also use the keyboard shortcut "Alt+0176" to insert the degree symbol.

Copy and Paste

Another quick way to insert a degree symbol in Word is by copying and pasting it from another source. You can find the degree symbol on the internet or in other Word documents, and simply copy and paste it into your current document. This method might be useful if you need to insert the degree symbol multiple times throughout your document.

AutoCorrect Feature

The AutoCorrect feature in Microsoft Word allows you to create shortcuts for commonly used words or symbols. This means that you can associate a specific shortcut with the degree symbol, thus making it easier to insert in the future. To set up this feature, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the "File" tab and select "Options".
  2. In the Word Options dialog box, select "Proofing".
  3. Click on "AutoCorrect Options".
  4. In the AutoCorrect dialog box, type in the word/phrase you want to associate with the degree symbol in the "Replace" field. For example, you can type "deg" or "degree".
  5. In the "With" field, insert the degree symbol either by copying and pasting or using the "Insert Symbol" feature as mentioned above.
  6. Click "Add" and then click "OK".

Now, every time you type the designated word or phrase, it will automatically be replaced with the degree symbol.

Using HTML Format

If you are working on a website or blog using HTML format, adding a degree symbol is quite simple. You can simply use the "°"code to insert the symbol. For example, typing "30°C" will display as "30°C" on your website.


So now you know some of the easiest ways to insert a degree symbol in Word. Whether you are using the standard "Insert Symbol" feature, copying and pasting, utilizing the AutoCorrect feature, or working in HTML format, adding the degree symbol to your documents should no longer be a daunting task. Use any of these methods depending on your preference and see how easy it is to add this important symbol to your documents.

If you are looking to pursue a degree in business, check out our article on how to get into business school in 2023 for valuable tips and advice.

In conclusion, inserting a degree symbol in Word is a simple and straightforward process that can aid in creating professional documents. Whether you are discussing temperatures, angles, or academic degrees, the correct use of the degree symbol adds a level of accuracy and precision to your writing. With the various methods discussed in this article, you can easily place the symbol in your document using both Windows and Mac operating systems. From using keyboard shortcuts to accessing the symbol through the "Symbols" menu, there are several ways to embed a degree symbol in Word. So next time you’re working on a document, remember these easy steps to accurately incorporate the degree symbol into your text.

Discovering The Best Topics What To Talk About

Welcome to the Ultimate Guide on What to Talk About

Starting a conversation can be intimidating, especially when you’re meeting someone new. Sometimes, we find ourselves at a loss for words, unsure of what topics to bring up. But worry not, because in this article, we will cover everything you need to know on what to talk about in any situation. Whether you’re at a networking event, on a first date, or simply catching up with friends, we’ve got you covered. So read on and become a master conversationalist in no time!

What to Talk About: Keeping the Conversation Going

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you want to strike up a conversation, but don’t know what to talk about? Whether it’s meeting new people or catching up with old friends, sometimes coming up with topics to discuss can be a challenge. In this article, we’ll explore some tips on how to keep the conversation flowing and interesting by discussing different topics to talk about.

The Importance of Good Conversation

Engaging in conversation is an essential part of human interaction. It allows us to connect with others, share our thoughts and ideas, and learn from one another. Not only does it help us build relationships, but it also has many cognitive benefits. Studies have shown that engaging in conversation can improve memory, problem-solving skills, and even empathy. So, it’s crucial to have meaningful conversations with people around us.

However, keeping the conversation going can be challenging, particularly if you’re not a natural conversationalist. Here are some tips to help you find interesting topics to talk about and keep the conversation flowing.

1. Ask Open-Ended Questions

One of the best ways to keep a conversation going is by asking open-ended questions. These are questions that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no,” but instead invite the person to share their thoughts and opinions. For example, instead of asking “Do you like pizza?” which can be answered with a simple “yes,” ask “What is your favorite type of pizza?” This gives the other person an opportunity to expand on their answer and share more about themselves.

Some other examples of open-ended questions include:

  • “What do you think about…?”
  • “How do you feel about…?”
  • “What was your experience like when…?”
  • “What’s your opinion on…?”

These types of questions not only keep the conversation going but also show that you are genuinely interested in what the other person has to say.

2. Ask About Their Interests

Another great way to keep the conversation going is by asking about the other person’s interests. People love talking about things they are passionate about, so this can be an excellent way to get them engaged and excited to talk. You can ask about their hobbies, favorite books or movies, or even their career aspirations.

For example, if you see someone wearing a shirt with their favorite band’s logo, you can ask them about their favorite songs or concerts they’ve been to. If you know someone who loves cooking, you can ask them for their top recipe recommendation. Showing interest in others’ interests is a great way to spark conversation and get to know someone better.

3. Share Personal Experiences

People tend to connect more when they share personal experiences. Therefore, don’t be afraid to share your own stories and experiences when trying to keep the conversation going. It could be something interesting that happened to you or a funny memory. Sharing personal experiences can also make the other person feel more comfortable and open up about their own experiences.

However, be mindful of the context and setting when sharing personal experiences. Avoid sensitive or controversial topics that may make others uncomfortable and stick to lighter and more positive experiences.

4. Keep Up with Current Events

Another way to have interesting conversations is by keeping up with current events and news. This could be local or global news, popular trends, or even interesting facts. This allows for a diverse range of topics to discuss and can also help you learn something new.

You can ask others for their opinions on current events or share your own. Just make sure to be respectful of others’ views and avoid getting too heated in discussions. It’s always good to have healthy debates, but it’s essential to keep the conversation friendly and open-minded.

5. Talk about Shared Experiences

If you’re in a group setting with people who all share a common interest or experience, use that as a topic of conversation. Whether it’s attending the same event, working at the same company, or going to the same school, this shared experience can provide a great starting point for conversation.

For example, if you’re at a party with people from your university, you can talk about your favorite classes, professors, or campus events. If you’re at a work event, you can discuss projects you’ve worked on together or funny office stories. Asking others about their experiences and sharing your own can create a sense of camaraderie and lead to more meaningful conversations.

6. Use Conversation Starters

If you’re still struggling to come up with topics to talk about, you can try using conversation starters. These are questions or statements specifically designed to spark conversation and get to know someone better. Some examples of conversation starters include:

  • “If you could choose any superpower, what would it be?”
  • “What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?”
  • “What’s one thing on your bucket list?”
  • “Describe your perfect day.”

These conversation starters can be great icebreakers and lead to interesting discussions.


In conclusion, keeping the conversation going and finding topics to talk about can be a challenge, but with these tips, it can become easier. Remember to ask open-ended questions, show interest in others’ interests and experiences, keep up with current events, and use conversation starters if needed. Be genuine, respectful, and open-minded in your discussions, and you’ll be able to have enjoyable and meaningful conversations with anyone you meet.

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of online games, check out this article on the educational benefits of online games for children and adults. Playing online games can also be a great topic to discuss, as they offer many cognitive benefits and can be a fun way to connect with others. So, next time you’re struggling to find a topic to talk about, consider bringing up the topic of online gaming and see where the conversation takes you.

In conclusion, having meaningful conversations is an important aspect of our daily lives. However, it can be challenging to know what to talk about at times. By following the tips outlined in this article and utilizing topics such as shared interests, current events, and personal experiences, you can navigate through conversations with ease and effectively connect with others. Remember to also actively listen and engage in the conversation, showing genuine interest in others’ perspectives. With practice and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone, you can master the art of engaging in enjoyable and meaningful conversations. So go ahead, use these tips and start sparking interesting discussions with those around you!

How To Write Essay Step By Step

There is no one way to write an essay. However, there are some general steps that can help you get started.

1. Choose a topic.

Choosing a topic can be one of the most challenging parts of writing an essay. However, it is also one of the most important. You want to choose a topic that you are interested in and that you will be able to write about.

2. Develop a thesis.

A thesis is a statement that you will argue in your essay. It is important to develop a strong thesis statement so that you know what you are trying to argue in your essay.

3. Research your topic.

Research is an important part of writing any essay. You need to make sure that you have enough information to support your thesis. You can gather information from a variety of sources, including books, articles, websites, and interviews.

4. Organize your information.

Once you have gathered your information, you need to organize it. This can be done in a variety of ways, including outlining, diagramming, and creating a thesis statement map.

5. Write your essay.

Now it is time to write your essay. You will want to start with your thesis statement and then develop your argument. Make sure to cite your sources correctly and to provide a strong conclusion.

6. Edit and revise your essay.

Once you have finished writing your essay, you will want to edit and revise it. Make sure to check for grammar mistakes and to ensure that your argument is clear and concise.

Understanding the Essay Prompt

The first step in any successful essay-writing journey is understanding the essay prompt. This seemingly simple task can actually be quite complex, as the prompt may be asking for a variety of different things.

One of the most important things to understand about the prompt is what type of essay it is. Is it a personal essay? A narrative essay? A persuasive essay? This will help you determine what type of information to include in your essay.

Once you have a good understanding of the prompt, the next step is to come up with a thesis statement. A thesis statement is a sentence or two that states the main point of your essay. It is your essay’s roadmap, and will help you stay on track while you write.

After you have a thesis statement, it’s time to start gathering evidence to support your argument. This evidence can come from a variety of sources, including personal experience, research, and expert opinions.

Once you have your evidence, it’s time to start writing your essay. The best way to start is by writing your introduction. The introduction should introduce your thesis statement and provide some background information about the topic.

After the introduction, it’s time to start writing your body paragraphs. Each body paragraph should focus on a different piece of evidence that supports your thesis. Make sure to explain how this evidence supports your argument, and don’t forget to cite your sources.

Finally, it’s time to write your conclusion. The conclusion should summarize your argument and leave the reader with a final thought.

Conducting Research and Gathering Information

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There is no one formula for writing an essay that will guarantee an A grade, but by following some simple steps and conducting research, you can improve your chances of writing an essay that will impress your professor.

The first step in writing an essay is to conduct research and gather information. This involves reading textbooks, journal articles, and other sources that will help you develop a strong understanding of the topic you are writing about. It is also important to take notes as you read, so that you can compile a list of key points that you want to mention in your essay.

Once you have gathered a wealth of information, it is time to start organizing it. Start by creating an outline that includes the main points you want to make in your essay. Once you have your outline written, it is time to start writing your essay.

Begin by introducing the topic of your essay and stating your position on it. Next, use your research to support your position. Be sure to cite your sources correctly so that your professor can easily verify the information you are using. Finally, conclude your essay by restating your position and summarizing the main points you made.

Creating an Essay Outline

How to Write an Essay Outline

The purpose of an essay outline is to help you think through your topic carefully and organize your ideas logically. An outline will also help you to write a more structured and coherent essay.

There are two ways to create an essay outline:

1. Topic-based outline

2. Point-by-point outline

1. Topic-based outline:

In a topic-based outline, you group your ideas together by topic. For each topic, you list the main points you want to make.

2. Point-by-point outline:

In a point-by-point outline, you list the main points for each paragraph of your essay. This type of outline is more detailed, and it can be helpful when you are struggling to organize your thoughts.

Once you have created your outline, you can begin writing your essay. Start by writing the topic sentence for each paragraph, and then fill in the supporting details. When you are finished, check your outline to make sure that your essay follows the correct structure.

Writing a Strong Introduction

Writing a strong introduction is important because it can make or break an essay. A well-written introduction will engage the reader and provide a context for the rest of the essay. A poorly written introduction will not only fail to engage the reader, but it may also give the wrong impression of the essay’s overall quality.

There are a few things that you can do to write a strong introduction:

1. Start with a strong hook.

A good hook will introduce the topic of the essay and will engage the reader. Some possible hooks include a quote, a statistic, a provocative question, or a rhetorical question.

2. Establish the context for the essay.

The introduction should provide the reader with a context for the essay. It should explain what the essay is about and why it is important.

3. Present the thesis statement.

The thesis statement is the main point of the essay. It should be clear and concise, and it should be stated in the introduction.

4. Provide a roadmap for the essay.

The introduction should also provide a roadmap for the essay. It should introduce the main points that will be discussed in the essay.

5. Use strong and concise language.

The language in the introduction should be strong and concise. It should be easy to read and understand.

6. Avoid introducing new information.

The introduction should not introduce new information. It should only introduce the topic of the essay.

7. End with a strong conclusion.

The conclusion should recap the main points of the essay and should leave the reader with a clear understanding of the essay’s main points.

Developing Body Paragraphs with Supporting Evidence

When writing an essay, the body paragraphs need to be well developed in order to support the thesis statement. Each paragraph should include specific supporting evidence in order to persuade the reader of the argument. The following steps can be used to develop strong body paragraphs:

1. Introduce the main point of the paragraph.

2. Support the main point with specific evidence.

3. Explain the evidence in detail.

4. Connect the evidence to the main point.

5. Summarize the evidence.

Introducing the Main Point

The first step in writing a body paragraph is to introduce the main point. This should be a brief summary of what the paragraph will be discussing. In order to introduce the main point, it is helpful to state the evidence that will be used to support it.

Supporting the Main Point with Specific Evidence

After introducing the main point, the next step is to provide specific evidence to support it. This evidence can come from a variety of sources, such as research, personal experience, or expert testimony. It is important to choose evidence that is relevant to the argument and clearly supports the main point.

Explaining the Evidence in Detail

After providing specific evidence, the next step is to explain it in detail. This should include a discussion of how the evidence supports the main point and why it is important. It is also helpful to discuss any opposing arguments and explain why they are not valid.

Connecting the Evidence to the Main Point

The final step is to connect the evidence to the main point. This should be a brief explanation of how the evidence supports the argument and why it is important. It is also helpful to discuss any opposing arguments and explain why they are not valid.

Summarizing the Evidence

Finally, the paragraph should conclude with a summary of the evidence. This should include a brief overview of the main point and the evidence that was used to support it. It is also helpful to state why the evidence is important.

Crafting a Cohesive and Logical Argument

When you’re writing an essay, it’s important to think about the logical order in which you’re going to present your points. This is especially important when you’re writing a persuasive essay, in which you’re trying to make a specific argument.

If you don’t organize your essay in a logical way, your reader will have a hard time understanding your argument. They may also become confused or lost in your essay.

In order to create a cohesive and logical argument, you need to follow a few simple steps.

1. Choose a position

The first step in writing a persuasive essay is to choose a position. This is the argument that you’re going to make in your essay.

It’s important to be clear about your position from the beginning. This will help your reader understand your argument, and it will also make it easier to develop your argument.

2. Support your position

Once you’ve chosen a position, you need to support it with evidence. This evidence can come from a variety of sources, including research, personal experience, and expert opinions.

It’s important to use credible sources to support your argument. If you use sources that are not credible, your reader may not believe your argument.

3. Organize your evidence

Once you’ve gathered evidence to support your position, you need to organize it in a logical way. This means that you need to present your evidence in a clear and concise manner.

It’s also important to make sure that your evidence supports your argument. If your evidence does not support your position, your argument will not be persuasive.

4. Make your argument

Once you’ve presented your evidence, you need to make your argument. This is the part of your essay where you explain why your evidence supports your position.

It’s important to be clear and concise when making your argument. You also need to make sure that your argument is logical and well-reasoned.

5. Refute opposing arguments

If you’re writing a persuasive essay, you’re probably going to be arguing against opposing opinions. In order to strengthen your argument, you need to refute these opposing opinions.

You can do this by providing evidence that disproves the opposing argument. You can also do this by explaining why the opposing argument is flawed.

6. Summarize your argument

Once you’ve refuted opposing arguments, you need to summarize your argument. This means that you need to explain why your position is the best option.

You also need to explain why the evidence you presented supports your position. This will help your reader understand your argument, and it will also leave a strong impression on your reader.

Writing a Clear and Effective Conclusion

A well-written conclusion provides a sense of closure for a paper while also leaving the reader with a few final thoughts to ponder. A conclusion should never be simply a repetition of the introduction, nor should it be a laundry list of all the points made in the paper. Rather, a conclusion should be a thoughtful, well-reasoned essay in its own right, with a beginning, a middle, and an end.

To write a clear and effective conclusion, you should:

1. Restate the thesis statement.

2. Summarize the main points of the paper.

3. Offer a few final thoughts on the topic.

The conclusion of a paper should be well-written, clear, and concise. It should provide a sense of closure for the paper while also leaving the reader with a few final thoughts to ponder. A conclusion should never be simply a repetition of the introduction, nor should it be a laundry list of all the points made in the paper. Rather, a conclusion should be a thoughtful, well-reasoned essay in its own right, with a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Editing and Proofreading for Clarity and Coherence

Editing and Proofreading for Clarity and Coherence
Whether you are a student writing an essay for class or a professional writer, editing and proofreading your work for clarity and coherence is an important step in producing a quality piece of writing. Clarity is the key to making your writing easy to understand for your reader. Coherence ensures that your thoughts and ideas are connected in a logical way.

Here are a few tips for editing and proofreading your work for clarity and coherence:

1. Read your work out loud.
Reading your work out loud can help you to catch errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation, as well as errors in sentence structure and word choice.

2. Use a thesaurus.
If you are having difficulty finding the right word to express your idea, a thesaurus can be a helpful tool. However, be sure to use a thesaurus carefully and only select words that are appropriate for your context.

3. Make sure your sentences are properly constructed.
Your sentences should be clear and concise, and they should always make sense when read in their entirety.

4. Make sure your paragraphs are properly constructed.
Your paragraphs should also be clear and concise, and they should always make sense when read in their entirety.

5. Check for repetition.
Be sure to avoid repeating yourself unnecessarily. If you find that you are repeating yourself, find a way to rephrase your thoughts and ideas.

6. Check for clarity.
Be sure to ask yourself whether your writing is easy to understand. If not, revise your writing until it is.

7. Check for coherence.
Be sure to ask yourself whether your thoughts and ideas are connected in a logical way. If not, revise your writing until they are.

Editing and proofreading your work for clarity and coherence is an important step in producing a quality piece of writing. By following the tips listed above, you can ensure that your writing is clear and easy to understand for your reader.

Georgia Special Election Makes American History; Voters’ Education Marks The Race’s Significance

Georgia Special Election Makes American History; Voters’ Education Marks the Race’s Significance

Today’s special election in the 6th Congressional District of Georgia, known as GA-06, has garnered national attention due to its record-breaking amount of outside spending and President Trump’s personal involvement on Twitter. This election is not only the most expensive House race in American history, but it is also seen as a test of the effectiveness of the democratic system during the Trump era.

According to Nate Cohn of The New York Times, the suspense surrounding this race extends beyond the boundaries of the district. He explains that the competitiveness of the race can be attributed to the impact of education. There are 15 districts in which over half of the adults hold a college degree, and only one of them is represented by a Republican, Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, which was narrowly won by Rep. Barbara Comstock in 2016. GA-06 is currently vacant, awaiting the election results, but it has been consistently held by Republicans since 1978 when Newt Gingrich first won it. In the 2016 election, former representative Tom Price won by a significant margin before being appointed as Secretary of Health and Human Services. However, Donald Trump only won the district by 1.5 points, indicating a close race.

(Photo courtesy The Upshot)

GA-06 is what journalist Ron Brownstein refers to as a "lo-hi" district, meaning it has low levels of diversity but high levels of education compared to the national average. These districts are split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, with Republicans currently holding 44 seats and Democrats holding 39. Elections in these districts are often closely contested. This dynamic was reflected in the 2016 election when traditionally red districts gave Hillary Clinton a surprising majority, while low-education areas in Democratic strongholds fell to Trump. Trump narrowly won GA-06, but lost other Republican-leaning districts to Democrats, including NJ-7, PA-7, and VA-10.

GA-06 has a higher percentage of college graduates compared to those other districts. In this election, Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel both belong to the district’s "hi" percentage of white voters. However, Handel falls into the "lo" proportion of adults without a college degree, as she did not graduate from the University of Maryland. This fact has been used against her by political opponents in previous elections. On the other hand, Ossoff holds degrees from Georgetown and the London School of Economics.

Democrats have not directly focused their campaign on the district’s voters’ educational attainment. However, education is clearly on their minds, as they have used Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a prominent Republican donor, as a target for fundraising purposes. The response to this line of attack will become evident once the voting concludes tonight.

Florida Governor: States Closing Schools During Omicron Are Being ‘Absurd’

Florida Governor: States Closing Schools During Omicron Are Being ‘Absurd’

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Governor Ron DeSantis recently expressed opposition to potential mandates, school closures, or stay-at-home protocols, stating that schools are safe as long as they adhere to safety guidelines.

During a press conference on January 5th, DeSantis stated that he does not anticipate any new mandates in the near future, despite the surge in COVID cases and the rapid spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant in Florida and other areas.

DeSantis deemed the imposition of any type of mandate on individuals as unreasonable. He referenced the closure of schools in Georgia and North Carolina, deeming it absurd. He questioned if we have not learned anything from past experiences.

Although the press conference was intended to announce funding for infrastructure and job growth, the focus shifted towards COVID.

DeSantis urged Floridians to continue testing and assured them that home tests from the Biden administration would be distributed soon. The initial recipients of these home tests would be senior citizens in Florida, eliminating the need for them to wait in long lines for COVID testing, as stated by the governor.

In addition, DeSantis downplayed the severity of the omicron variant, comparing it to the flu. He advised teachers and students who feel unwell to stay home.

According to the Miami Herald, numerous teachers in Miami-Dade public schools are calling in sick, causing concerns for educators, families, and residents of Florida.

Based on reported data from January 4th across a seven-day period (December 28th – January 3rd), Florida witnessed a rise in COVID cases, reaching 380,759 infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This places Florida as the state with the second-highest number of cases, just behind New York (including cases from New York City and New York State).

Overall, Florida has accumulated a total of 4.36 million COVID cases, trailing behind only Texas and California.

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, which is a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. For any inquiries, contact Editor Diane Rado at info@floridaphoenix.com. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.

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Funding Crisis, Charter War, Teacher Shortage: Who Wants To Be WA. State Schools Chief? These Five.

Funding Crisis, Charter War, Teacher Shortage: Who Wants to be WA. State Schools Chief? These Five.

Carolyn Phenicie from takes a closer look at the upcoming local and state level elections in November, highlighting the crucial role that education will play in these elections.

The task of the next superintendent of public instruction in Washington state will undoubtedly be challenging. With the recent passage of the No Child Left Behind rewrite, education leaders in all states, including Washington, will have new authority over schools. This new authority is expected to cover various issues, such as testing, which has been a controversial topic in the state. Last year, numerous junior classes in high schools staged walkouts to protest against the SmarterBalanced tests.

Furthermore, Washington state legislators are currently facing a hefty daily fine of $100,000 from the Supreme Court for their failure to completely fund education. In addition, these legislators are locked in a heated debate over the future of charter schools, which have been declared unconstitutional by the court. The state also faces a teacher shortage that many view as approaching a crisis.

However, despite these challenges, five individuals have stepped up to replace the outgoing state schools Superintendent Randy Dorn, who will not be seeking reelection in November. This nonpartisan position carries a four-year term and pays approximately $122,000 per year. Washington is one of the thirteen states that elects its highest K-12 schools official.

recently interviewed all five candidates. Here is a brief summary of who they are and where they stand on the major education issues:

– Robin Fleming, aged 55, is the Administrator for Health Programs in the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. She grew up in Seattle with a single mother who struggled to care for her brother, who had Down’s Syndrome. Her experiences with individuals with disabilities and her close friend’s suicide due to AIDS inspired her to leave journalism and become a nurse. Fleming spent 13 years as a nurse in the Seattle Public Schools, witnessing various challenging situations, including drug overdoses and gunshot wounds. She pursued further education and obtained a doctorate in educational health and leadership. Her thesis focused on the impact of school nurses on student health and academic achievement, particularly among students from impoverished backgrounds. Fleming currently administers statewide programs that ensure access to school nurses and support students who are temporarily out of school due to illness. She believes she brings a unique perspective to the race and can make a difference for the children of Washington state.

– Erin Jones, aged 44, is an administrator in Tacoma Public Schools. She was adopted by two white teachers from Minnesota, as her birth parents were a younger white mother and older black father. Jones grew up in Europe, where her father taught at the American School of the Hague. She experienced a diverse upbringing, surrounded by the children of ambassadors. After returning to the United States for college, she has lived in various states and pursued multiple careers. Within the education sector, Jones has served as a substitute teacher and taught English and French immersion. She also worked for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for several years. Currently, Jones holds the position of director of AVID, a program that supports first-generation college students from an early age. She has expanded the program to ensure that every middle school student has the necessary skills for college success. Jones believes her diverse experiences and dedication to expanding opportunities for all students make her a strong candidate for the superintendent position.

"I am running because I firmly believe that our students deserve a higher quality of education, and I am running because I want to serve as a unifying voice among various groups of people," she explains.

Gil Mendoza

Age: 61

Deputy superintendent for K-12 programs, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

Hometown: Tacoma

Mendoza’s parents were migrant workers before his father joined the military. He spent most of his formative years in Tacoma. He earned a psychology degree from Gonzaga University in Spokane, along with qualifications to teach social studies and special education.

Mendoza received an ROTC scholarship to attend college and then served in the military for six years, four of which were on active duty and two in the reserves.

After leaving the military, he moved out of state to pursue better job opportunities. He ended up working in human resources and corporate recruiting for billionaire Ross Perot, who also ran for president in 1992.

Mendoza returned to Washington state in the early 1980s and began working in the K-12 education system at various levels. He has been involved in education since 1983, with the exception of three years when he helped establish a technical college. After earning his doctorate, Mendoza worked as a career counselor and teacher before transitioning into administrative roles in the Tacoma schools. He served as superintendent for 13 years in the Sumner schools, located in suburban Tacoma.

Eventually, Mendoza joined the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, starting as a special assistant and leadership coach. He then moved on to his current position as K-12 assistant superintendent. Mendoza decided to enter the race after reviewing the other candidates who had filed and realizing that an individual with a more comprehensive education background in Washington state was needed.

Chris Reykdal

Age: 43

State legislator

Hometown: Tumwater

Reykdal is one of eight children who grew up in poverty in Snohomish, Washington. He attributes his ability to break the cycle of poverty to attending public school.

He attended Washington State University, where he earned degrees in social studies and obtained his teaching certificate. Reykdal taught history in Longview, Washington, for three years.

Reykdal and his wife then moved to Chapel Hill, where he pursued a graduate degree in public administration at the University of North Carolina. After returning to Washington, Reykdal worked for the state Senate and gradually climbed the ranks of the state board responsible for overseeing community and technical colleges. He currently serves as the associate director of the education division there, where he participates in shaping policy and allocating funds for the state’s 30 community college districts. Reykdal also served on the Tumwater school board for four years.

In 2010, Reykdal, a Democrat, was elected to the state house. He currently holds the position of vice chair on the House education committee. He takes pride in his role in passing a bill that requires students graduating from high school in the class of 2019 and beyond to complete 24 specific credits, including three science classes. This change will lead to increased emphasis on math and science education in Washington.

Reykdal’s passion for public service stems from the positive impact that government programs had on his family during times of struggle.

"Now, we have a tremendous opportunity to re-envision the focus of our state office, which is constitutionally responsible for overseeing education in our state."

Larry Seaquist

Age: 77

U.S. Navy veteran, former state legislator

Hometown: Gig Harbor

Seaquist dedicated a major part of his career to the military. He served in the U.S. Navy for 32 years, achieving the rank of warship captain and working in budget and national security roles at the Pentagon.

Eventually settling in Washington state, Seaquist was elected to the state House in 2006 as a Democrat. During his four terms, he served on committees addressing early learning, education, and budgets. He even chaired the House higher education committee.

Over those eight years, Seaquist grew increasingly concerned about the state’s lack of investment in the education system. He identified two issues contributing to this problem: the reduction of education funding as a budget balancing measure and the implementation of ineffective reforms in the K-12 system.

Seaquist aims to utilize his campaign to advocate for specific legislative matters, such as addressing the funding ruling made by the Supreme Court.

"We have been stuck in unproductive legislative battles for several years, and I strongly believe that we cannot simply standby and allow these conflicts to continue in the same unproductive manner."

Where They Stand

Regarding School Funding Equity

Fleming: The legislature does need to fully finance education and agrees with the current superintendent’s remarks on the matter, although believes legislators should be motivated positively rather than negatively.

Does not provide any specific suggestions on how the legislature should obtain the new funds to meet its court obligations. "We need to generate revenue somehow, and that is the responsibility of the legislature to figure out."

Jones: While working for the state superintendent’s office when the Supreme Court addressed the McCleary case, testified as an educator. "It has become a much bigger issue than I initially anticipated."

Lawmakers have continually extended deadlines, which is detrimental to children.

Lawmakers should not impose new requirements until they adequately fund the existing ones. To cover all expenses, legislators should close tax loopholes, including those provided to retain thousands of jobs at Boeing, the largest private employer in the Puget Sound area.

"I understand that we live in a capitalist society with a free market, but we must prioritize serving our children by promoting equity."

Mendoza: Does not believe the legislature will meet the court’s 2018 deadline and sees 2021 as a more realistic target.

The funds allocated by the legislature to meet the court’s demands have not been appropriately allocated. They have fulfilled the requirements for funding materials, supplies, and operating costs but have not included language mandating districts to use that money for its specified purpose.

The legislature should address the local property tax system, which has resulted in significant disparities in teacher salaries across the state. Additionally, supports imposing a tax on capital gains for the wealthiest Washingtonians.

The real issue is that while spending on education has not kept pace with increased spending in other areas of state government. However, does not support cutting other services to fund K-12 education.

"It would not be appropriate to substantially reduce funding for other services that are not part of basic education but benefit our families," such as higher education or state health and welfare programs. "We would be creating more significant problems than what we currently face."

Reykdal: As someone focused on budgeting, believes it is crucial to comprehend the extent of the problem. The legislature has allocated an additional $3.5 billion over two years. To meet the court’s requirement for another $2 to $2.5 billion, lawmakers would need to increase taxes by 8 to 9 percent or reduce other state services by 14 to 15 percent.

Democrats, who have control over the state House, cannot raise taxes enough to cover the shortfall without losing their majority, just as Republicans cannot cut services enough without risking their majority in the state Senate. "The political aspect of this issue is immense."

Proposes implementing a tax on capital gains, an idea supported by Democrats. This would address about a third of the gap. Also agrees with the Republican proposition of a "levy swap," transitioning from a local property tax system to a statewide one. This would address about another third. "I can achieve a bipartisan solution that covers about two-thirds of the gap, but after that, it becomes extremely challenging."

Seaquist: More important than meeting the court-imposed deadline is making a difference for the millions of students who will go through an insufficiently funded school system each year the legislature fails to take action.

The next step should involve involving school district leaders in a task force to determine the actual requirements for basic education expenses and the most effective way to obtain funding from the state.

"If they are unable to do it, I will strive to make my campaign a good government campaign that addresses these issues, consults with the public and educators, rather than just running a campaign solely focused on securing votes."

Regarding Charter Schools

Fleming: Strongly supports innovation in education but believes it can be achieved by "keeping public funds where they should be, with proper monitoring." It is unfair that not every student has the opportunity to attend an innovative charter school.

Jones: I voted against the 2012 initiative that permitted charter schools, although I am not against innovation.

"My initial response was not that I inherently dislike the concept of innovation, but if we are not adequately funding existing schools, how can we responsibly take on the financial responsibility of charter schools?"

Furthermore, I do not believe that charter schools encourage traditional public schools to become more innovative.

Mendoza: Charter schools were established to provide innovative learning opportunities outside the traditional school system. "I believe that we have the potential and ability to offer the same in public education." For instance, the Tacoma School for the Arts offers an arts-focused curriculum closely linked to the local arts community and is governed by a district-supported board of directors.

There were two bills presented to the state legislature to keep charter schools open while complying with the court’s ruling. The superintendent’s office, and I personally, supported the bill that would bring the charters under the authority of local districts. Unfortunately, this bill did not progress beyond the committee stage.

The other bill that did pass through the full Senate keeps charters under a statewide authorizer but funds them through a lottery-based account. I am not concerned about the funding method as long as the schools are overseen by local school boards.

Reykdal: The state Supreme Court’s decision was the correct one, and there is no way to have a statewide authorizer without also involving local districts.

At the very least, local districts should have the authority to authorize these schools. However, I am not yet fully convinced about the concept of charter schools.

"I fully support innovative schools, even those providing contracted-out services, as long as they are authorized by local school districts and have accountability." However, I do not consider these schools as traditional charter schools.

Seaquist: I also voted against the charter initiative. "In my opinion, public schools already have ample creativity." There should be a greater emphasis on what I refer to as "liberating learning." I am concerned about the 1,100 charter school students whose schools are at risk. I am waiting to see the solution the state legislature devises and whether it aligns with the constitution.

On the issue of teacher shortage:

Fleming: Considering the immense pressures on teachers in terms of expectations and accountability, the educational requirements, and the relatively low salary, it is not surprising that there is a shortage of educators. It is crucial to elevate the teaching profession and make it valued.

I would collaborate with higher education leaders and high schools to establish a career pathway for teenagers interested in pursuing a teaching career.

I am not only concerned with the quantity of teachers, but also with having a diverse educator workforce. Given that by 2025, white children will only make up about 40 percent of the student population, this is a matter of utmost urgency.

Jones: "We are facing a crisis, not just in rural areas." In my district, approximately half of the teaching workforce is approaching retirement age.

The state should explore avenues to provide instructional training to individuals who already possess degrees and experience in other fields within a year. Additionally, the state should financially support this training. Why would anyone take out a $20,000 loan to earn a salary of only $35,000 per year?

Furthermore, the state needs to incentivize teachers to work in rural areas. This could involve offering new housing options and expanding loan forgiveness programs that are currently available to urban teachers to those serving in remote parts of the state.

Mendoza: I deal with this issue firsthand as my office approves emergency substitute designations that allow districts to fill vacancies with individuals lacking teaching or educational qualifications. In 2013, we approved 1,500 designations. The following year, it increased to 4,000. I predict that the problem will worsen as teachers who would have retired in recent years, but were financially restricted due to the economic downturn, can now afford to retire.

Compensation is also a concern. Teachers are underpaid, especially at the entry level. I would like to change state laws to allow retired teachers to work as substitutes for a longer period of time. Additionally, I would like to revise the rules to make it easier for individuals from other states to transfer their teaching credentials to Washington.

In order to increase the number of people attending full-time classes, the state needs to provide more incentives. I support the governor’s proposal to raise the starting salary to $40,000 per year, and I believe that professional development should be restored to its previous levels, as it has been severely reduced.

I believe that the teacher shortage is a result of mismanagement of our schools. It is not only concerning that there is a lack of new teachers and experienced educators leaving the profession, but also that mid-career teachers are leaving the classroom after working for several years.

Based on my military experience, I am interested in better managing the group of educators, ensuring that they have access to professional and career development opportunities. I am also concerned about the lack of diversity in the teaching workforce.

Regarding testing, I believe that standardized tests do have a role in education, but there are multiple ways for students to demonstrate their knowledge. I would collaborate with others throughout the state to explore alternative methods of evaluating students, such as portfolios or thesis projects.

I am not opposed to using tests as a small part of teacher evaluations, but they should not be the sole determining factor. It is unfair to evaluate a teacher solely based on a test score, as it is comparable to evaluating a doctor’s performance solely based on their ability to cure cancer.

I am pleased that the new federal K-12 law provides more flexibility on testing and sets a limit on testing time. In my district, students are tested for six weeks each year, which I consider excessive.

I am also skeptical about the use of student test scores in teacher evaluations. I firmly believe in holding teachers accountable and conducting evaluations, but I am unsure if a test can accurately measure a teacher’s effectiveness. Furthermore, I believe it is unfair to evaluate teachers based on test scores, especially considering that many teachers instruct in subjects that are not tested.

While I consider tests to be critically important, I believe that districts that complain about excessive testing may be administering additional tests beyond the state requirement. However, I do not believe that passing a single test should be a requirement for graduation.

I believe that the previous year’s walkout against the SmarterBalanced test by juniors was a result of them not recognizing its value. These students had already passed all the necessary tests for graduation and were unaware that most colleges in Washington use the SmarterBalanced test results for course placement. I believe that over time, students will realize the value of these tests in helping them gain a deeper understanding of themselves.

I do not support linking test scores to teacher evaluations in the traditional manner. Instead, I believe that teachers and principals should use the information provided by the tests as starting points for setting goals. In other words, it should be how teachers respond to the scores, not the scores themselves, that determine their evaluations.

In my opinion, SmarterBalanced tests in Washington are ultimately beneficial because they are aligned with the Common Core. However, there are too many tests overall. I believe that the state should focus on using SmarterBalanced tests and eliminate most other tests.

All states will have to address the discrepancy within the Every Student Succeeds Act, which allows students to opt out of tests but requires states and districts to maintain a 95 percent participation rate. One possibility is to include Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, SAT, or ACT exams in the calculation to reach the 95 percent target.

I believe that the examples from other states clearly indicate that test scores should not be tied to teacher evaluations. The research shows that we have not yet reached a point where this is viable. Perhaps in the future, we will find a better algorithm that can accurately determine a teacher’s effectiveness.

I am highly skeptical of standardized tests as they are currently administered. I am disappointed that the No Child Left Behind rewrite continues to prioritize high-stakes federal tests.

In my view, this high-stakes testing approach has disproportionately affected low-income and minority students. The equity gap exists not only because the economy is leaving families and children behind, but also because our school system is effectively sorting students based on their capabilities.

I believe that standardized tests should be administered more like the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which tests a sample of students rather than every single one.

On alliances, reforming education, and labor unions

Fleming: When most individuals refer to education reform, they often mean the establishment of charter schools. However, that interpretation does not align with the true meaning of reform. "I advocate for making positive changes, and I believe we have a tremendous opportunity to do so" using the new federal education law. Specifically, Fleming desires to promote innovation in education and empower teachers.

She was a member of a union for 13 years while working as a school nurse. "I strongly support labor unions and the rights of individuals to collectively negotiate for their benefits and salaries."

Jones: She is running as a true non-partisan and has dedicated her entire career to bridging divergent views. She has developed good relationships with education reform groups and has friends within the union. As Secretary, she holds a leadership role in the classified employees’ union.

However, not everyone within the union leadership supports her. "I haven’t always had a positive relationship with the teachers union, and they haven’t always had a positive opinion of me." Jones supports great teaching and great teachers but believes that the union can sometimes focus on issues unrelated to improving teaching quality.

Mendoza: When asked to align more closely with education reformers or unions, her position is more nuanced: "I believe in reform, but I also believe in not disregarding everything altogether."

She is mostly frustrated with those who vilify teachers, as they play a crucial role in shaping a child’s future. "I’m not necessarily in favor of the concept of unions, but I wholeheartedly support teachers. I am tired of our education system, our state, and our pundits not only undervaluing teachers but also demonizing them."

Reykdal: He does not lean more towards either a pro-union or pro-reform stance, although he believes the race for education reform could potentially become more divisive on those grounds.

Candidates have mixed opinions about unions. While they support the Common Core Standards, they are concerned about the union’s advocacy for separating exams from teacher evaluations. They also have mixed opinions about business-aligned reform groups, who have been proactive in advocating for increased school funding but often prioritize standardized exams.

"It will be fascinating to observe how this situation unfolds."

(In the 2014 primary, the state chapter of the American Federation of Teachers contributed the maximum donation of $950 to Reykdal, while the Washington Education Association donated the maximum amount in both the primary and general elections, totaling $1,900.)

Seaquist: "My stance is in favor of teachers and educators." He believes it is crucial to "liberate learning" and that the state should provide greater support to teachers. Based on his travels throughout the state, he has not encountered the "bad teachers" that some individuals often talk about. However, he does have certain disagreements with the union.

(Both statewide teachers unions contributed the maximum amount of $1,900 to Seaquist for both the 2014 primary and general elections. A political action committee affiliated with the League of Education Voters, a business-backed group focused on equitable school funding, also contributed the maximum amount. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful in the general election that year.)

DeAngelis: ‘School Choice For America’s Children’ Is A Great Thing. Federal School Choice, As Ted Cruz Proposed, Is Not. Here’s Why

DeAngelis: ‘School Choice for America’s Children’ Is a Great Thing. Federal School Choice, as Ted Cruz Proposed, Is Not. Here’s Why

During his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Trump raised the issue of implementing school choice for American children. However, his statement was not entirely clear in its meaning. It is possible that he was simply using his influential position to advocate for school choice in general, which would be commendable. On the other hand, he might have been referring to Senator Ted Cruz’s plan to establish a federal school choice program, specifically through federal tax-credit scholarships that could be used for private school tuition and fees. This particular approach would be a significant mistake, and here’s why.

The idea of "school choice for all" might seem appealing to families who are in need of more educational options, especially since access to private school choice programs has been slow to expand over the years. It has been almost thirty years since the introduction of the first modern voucher program in Milwaukee in 1990. Currently, there are 54 private school choice programs in the United States, but less than 1 percent of the school-age population actually benefits from them. The prospect of a federal program may be particularly attractive to families living in states with strong Blaine amendments, like Michigan, where it is extremely difficult to implement private school choice programs without amending the constitution.

Federal school choice programs may seem like a treat to families who have been denied educational freedom for too long. However, proponents of school choice must pause and carefully consider the potential risks and whether the benefits outweigh them before getting too excited.

First and foremost, families would no longer have the option to choose their preferred school if a federal program were in place. This is because private schools in all 50 states, along with the District of Columbia, would be subject to the same regulations imposed by the federal school choice program. In the current system, if someone is unsatisfied with the school choice options available in a particular state, they have the freedom to move to another state. However, this would no longer be possible with a federal program, much like the inability to choose an alternative to the U.S. Postal Service. Moreover, not all private school choice programs are equal. Louisiana, for example, conducted the first random-assignment study in the world that found negative effects of a voucher program. Students who won the lottery to attend a private school in Louisiana performed significantly worse in math and reading than their peers in public schools after just one year.

The question arises: what went wrong in Louisiana? By examining empirical evidence, education scholars believe that burdensome regulations may be the root cause. Private schools participating in the Louisiana program are required to accept students randomly, administer state standardized tests, provide a "quality" curriculum, and consider the voucher amount as full payment. Due to these regulatory burdens, only about a third of private schools in Louisiana chose to participate in the program during its first year, while other less-regulated programs in different states saw higher participation rates.

However, low participation rates are only part of the problem. Studies have also shown that the Louisiana program attracted lower-quality private schools, as they are likely the most financially needy. This results in fewer high-quality options for families who are using vouchers.

Families in Louisiana, at least, have the option to move to other states like Florida if they wish to access better school choice programs. Unfortunately, moving states does not allow families to escape federal programs. If private schools in Florida opt to participate in the federal school choice program, they would be subjected to the same regulations as those in Louisiana.

Undoubtedly, Cruz’s proposed federal program would not be the worst-case scenario. He plans to introduce a federal tax-credit scholarship program, which is one of the best approaches to implement a school choice program without excessive regulations. Privately funded tax-credit scholarship programs are generally less regulated compared to publicly funded voucher programs.

However, privately funded school choice programs can still face significant government regulation. For instance, private schools in Florida that accept funding from its privately funded tax-credit scholarship program must gain approval from the state, pass an inspection conducted by the Florida Department of Education, administer standardized tests, and employ qualified teachers with a bachelor’s degree, three years of teaching experience, or special expertise.

Even if Cruz’s proposed program initially has light regulations, this does not guarantee that it will remain that way. A lightly regulated federal school choice program established under President Trump’s administration could potentially become heavily regulated under someone like Bernie Sanders in the future.

Corey A. DeAngelis is an expert on the field of education policy who currently serves as a policy analyst at the Cato Institute. He has attained a Doctorate degree in education policy from the prestigious University of Arkansas.

DeVos Praises Tax Bill’s School Choice Provision At K-12 Education Summit, Sidesteps Funding Threat

DeVos Praises Tax Bill’s School Choice Provision at K-12 Education Summit, Sidesteps Funding Threat

Washington, D.C.

Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, stated on Tuesday that the expansion of 529 savings plans to cover K-12 education expenses is a positive step towards increasing school choice. However, she emphasized that it only addresses the needs of parents from higher income brackets and does not provide significant empowerment to parents from lower incomes. DeVos acknowledged the importance of considering the needs of lower income families in any education policy decisions.

The bill, if passed, would allow families to save up to $10,000 per year in tax-advantaged accounts for tuition at private K-12 schools or homeschooling expenses, similar to the existing provisions for college costs. Advocates have expressed concerns that this will not benefit low-income families who may not have the means to save such amounts in advance.

The tax bill was expected to pass both chambers of Congress on Tuesday, but it was declared by the Senate parliamentarian that three provisions, including the use of 529 plans for homeschool expenses, violate a Senate rule. This rule prohibits the consideration of "extraneous matters" in bills that are being considered under fast-track rules. As a result, the bill will now need to go back to the House for another vote on Wednesday, without the problematic provisions, before returning to the Senate.

DeVos, who rarely engages with the education press, took a few questions after a "Rethink K-12 Education" summit held at the Education Department’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. When asked about the GOP bill’s limit on state and local tax deductions, which advocates fear could jeopardize K-12 school funding, DeVos did not provide specific details but mentioned examples of innovative districts that have achieved success with limited resources.

One district highlighted during the event was Mooresville Unified in North Carolina, which has achieved impressive results through a 1:1 laptop program, despite its relatively low per student spending of $7,500 per year. DeVos expressed confidence that regardless of the outcome of the tax bill, state and local leaders will continue to find unique ways to meet students’ needs.

The "Rethink K-12 Education" event follows DeVos’ "Rethink School" tour in September, which took her to six states, and a similar "Rethink Higher Education" event held in Washington, D.C. last week. The event consisted of three panels, featuring leaders from innovative school districts, charter schools, private schools, and homeschooling representatives.

Although DeVos is widely known for her advocacy of school choice, she emphasized that the K-12 event was not solely focused on school choice. Instead, she stated that it is a conversation about doing what is best for individual students, highlighting the various innovative schools that were showcased during the event.

Discussions during the event explored how school leaders can collaborate to facilitate new opportunities for students, as well as the role of government leaders in supporting this innovation. Diane Tavenner, CEO and founder of Summit Public Schools, emphasized the need for a comprehensive redesign of the teaching profession to achieve true innovation in education. Other school leaders also stressed the importance of teacher training and professional development, as well as the federal funds that support these initiatives.

When questioned about the difference in opinion between the panelists who emphasized teacher training and her own actions to reduce Title II funding, DeVos stated that her department has been focused on promoting flexibility in the allocation of federal funds.

She expressed the importance of having the flexibility to prioritize the types of training and professional development that were discussed during the panel. This flexibility remains a significant priority for her.

Regarding her role in advocating innovation and specific policies, DeVos reiterated her belief that she should have a limited role. She emphasized that her main responsibility is to highlight innovative school models and encourage states to take action.

DeVos emphasized the importance of decisions being made at the closest level to the students. While acknowledging the existence of policy levers, she stated that they are much less significant compared to the encouragement she can provide to states to take on the responsibility of implementing innovative strategies.

In addition, she once again urged state leaders to be innovative in their plans for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act. Her comments echoed similar sentiments expressed by her last month. Critics, including Democrats and civil rights advocates, have argued that DeVos’s Education Department has not done enough to protect vulnerable students, approving plans that may not adequately safeguard their interests.

Baltimore’s New Mayor Proposes $288 Million In Education Spending To Save City’s Schools

Baltimore’s New Mayor Proposes $288 Million in Education Spending to Save City’s Schools

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh made a significant announcement regarding the city’s struggling public school system on Wednesday. In her 2018 budget, she outlined a $22.4 million increase in aid to schools, bringing the total education spending to $287.8 million, a significant jump from the previous year’s $265.4 million.

This increase in funding is a result of an agreement between city and state lawmakers to address the $130 million budget shortfall that Baltimore City Public Schools is facing. The agreement includes an additional $60 million in funding for the schools over the next three years.

Gov. Larry Hogan has fulfilled his part of the agreement by releasing a supplemental budget that provides an additional $23.7 million in state funding to Baltimore schools, with the condition of implementing fiscal accountability measures.

While the increase in funding does not fully cover the projected budget gap, Baltimore Schools CEO Sonja Santelises expressed gratitude to Hogan for agreeing to provide additional aid. She stated that the funding included in the governor’s budget is a vital part of the plan to close the district’s anticipated budget gap for the current year.

In addition to the education funding increase, Mayor Pugh’s budget shifts priorities by allocating more money towards education than law enforcement. She has reallocated $5.5 million from the Police Department to Baltimore City Public Schools, addressing the concerns of advocates and local lawmakers who argue that the city spends more on police than on children.

Baltimore Budget Director Andrew Kleine described this budget as a "historic moment", highlighting that Pugh has designated a total of $512.7 million for schools, education and arts grants, youth recreation, and other programs, with education receiving a larger share than law enforcement.

However, it should be noted that the Police Department’s budget has also increased. Pugh has allocated $497 million, including $10 million for implementing reforms following the 2015 death of Freddie Gray in police custody.

Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young has expressed intentions to go even further by diverting an additional $10 million from the police budget to education. The council will ultimately decide whether to approve Pugh’s budget.

Young’s spokesman, Lester Davis, clarified that the cuts would target areas of excess spending within the police budget, rather than compromising necessary resources. He also highlighted instances of police misconduct that resulted in a federal indictment and a mayor’s audit.

However, not everyone is in favor of reducing police budgets in favor of education spending. Some, like Nathan Willner, president of the Cheswolde Neighborhood Association, argue that crime in the city has reached crisis levels and that the safety of children should be the top priority.

As They Already Do In Florida, More Families Are Going To Embrace School Choice, Personalized Instruction Post-Pandemic

As They Already Do in Florida, More Families Are Going to Embrace School Choice, Personalized Instruction Post-Pandemic

Every year, my wife and I take our three youngest children away from our home in Miami for a few months while I focus on my part-time job, which is located hundreds of miles away. This job is something I truly enjoy as it allows me to utilize my experience as a public school teacher and assistant principal.

This year, like many others in the past, we returned to Miami in March after completing my work, and our children immediately resumed their normal education routine. However, our "normal" was anything but ordinary as the rest of the nation and the world were adapting to the COVID-19 crisis. For most families, there was no sense of normalcy, and it may take some time for things to return to normal.

As a state senator, my part-time job entails traveling to Tallahassee for our annual two-month legislative session. Being a parent, educator, and lawmaker has given me a unique perspective on K-12 education.

When we eventually overcome this challenging period in our lives, I am confident that our education system will evolve and develop into one that truly prioritizes the needs of students.

I have always been an advocate for what is often referred to as education reform. I have consistently pushed for expanded school choice for students and the restructuring of our system so that student performance determines their educational path, rather than relying on an outdated 180-day schedule.

My passion for education stems from my own personal experiences. I attended public schools in Hialeah, Florida, and at the age of 21, I returned to Hialeah to teach various subjects such as world history, government and economics, and honors social studies. By the time I was 26, I had become an assistant principal. This role opened my eyes to the intricate workings and details required to effectively run a school, whereas previously, as a teacher, I had only been aware of what occurred within the four walls of a classroom.

During my time as an assistant principal, I became acutely aware of the systemic barriers inherent in our 19th-century education model that struggled to meet the needs of the 21st century. Despite the best efforts of teachers and administrators, this outdated model treated students as a collective group rather than individuals with unique strengths and requirements.

For far too long, this model has been the only option available. With no competition, there was no urgency to ensure the quality of education provided.

The schools where I taught served a diverse community, including many students from low-income backgrounds whose parents had recently immigrated to the country. Witnessing the level of faith and trust these students and their families placed in the education system was a powerful reminder of how detrimental it was to treat all students as a homogeneous group.

I have three school-age children, aged 7, 6, and 4. Each of them has had the opportunity to experience education through public charter schools, private schools, and virtual schooling. Upon our return from Tallahassee this year, they seamlessly transitioned into the new normal. The only difference was that they eagerly connected with their friends through Zoom instead of seeing them in person.

I have long been an advocate for Florida Virtual School (FLVS), which has been a lifeline for countless students in Florida and across the country this year. Established in 1996, FLVS was the first statewide virtual school and has since grown to serve over 215,000 students.

When the pandemic forced the closure of schools nationwide, we quickly expanded the capacity of FLVS. As a result, we are now able to accommodate over 2.7 million students from around the world. In March, Alaska officials even enlisted FLVS to provide classes for their students, ensuring that they could continue learning despite the challenges faced by their large and rural state.

In Florida, we have consistently advocated for a more diverse and personalized education system. Parents and students have come to expect this level of choice and flexibility. With over 40 percent of students attending a school other than their geographic assignment, Florida leads the nation in school choice opportunities.

Competency-based learning, which allows students to progress as they learn instead of adhering to strict timetables, is another area where Florida excels. These concepts may sound abstract, but they are genuinely transforming the way millions of students in Florida learn. As I witness my own children adapt to this blended learning approach with ease, I believe that more and more families will choose this path. Many parents will realize that this approach is effective and conducive to success, especially if they have the option to work from home.

While the safety of our children and families is currently our top priority, we will emerge from this challenge with a fresh perspective on the multitude of ways our students can learn and prepare for success in both school and life.

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