EduClips: From a Parental Dress Code in Houston to Questions Over a New Parcel Tax in Los Angeles, School News You Missed This Week From America’s 15 Biggest Districts

EduClips is a weekly compilation of the most important education news from the largest school districts in the United States. These districts serve over 4 million students across eight states. For previous EduClips editions, please refer to our archives.

Miami-Dade County — Concerns Raised as State Considers Increasing Scholarship Standards: Proposed bills in the Florida legislature aim to raise the minimum test scores required for a popular scholarship program, leading to discussions about the potential disproportionate impact on minority students. The bills suggest raising the scores needed to qualify for merit-based Bright Futures scholarships. Under the new measures, students seeking the "Academic" scholarship, which covers full tuition and fees at state universities and colleges, would need a SAT score of around 1330, up from 1290. For the second-tier "Medallion" award, which covers 75 percent of tuition and fees, the benchmark would increase from 1170 to approximately 1200. Supporters of the bills argue that these changes align with the scholarship’s purpose of rewarding students who score within a certain percentile compared to the national average. However, the Miami-Dade County school district estimates that 45 percent of eligible students, roughly 770 seniors, would no longer qualify for the "Academic" scholarship if the changes are applied to current students. Of these students, 63 percent of black students and 46 percent of Hispanic students would lose eligibility, compared to 40 percent of white students. Critics argue that these proposed changes would disproportionately affect students of color. (Read more at the Tampa Bay Times)

Houston — High School Implements Controversial Dress Code for Parents: A high school within the Houston Independent School District has introduced a new dress code, but this dress code is not for students, who already have a uniform. Instead, it applies to their parents. The school’s principal, Carlotta Outley Brown, issued a memo outlining the guidelines, which state that parents will be turned away if they arrive at the school wearing pajamas, leggings, hair rollers, or bonnets. While some argue that these guidelines are necessary to maintain a sense of dignity, others see the rules as a way of perpetuating deeper issues related to social class, gender, and race. The new policy was implemented after a parent was denied enrollment for her daughter due to her attire, as reported by KPRC-TV (Channel 2). (Read more at The Houston Chronicle)

Los Angeles — Business Community Calls for Reform Before Implementing $500 Million Parcel Tax: Representatives of the business community in Los Angeles are voicing their objections to a proposed measure that would introduce an annual parcel tax of $500 million. These representatives, including heads of organizations such as the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles County Business Federation, Valley Industry & Commerce Association, and Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, argue that they cannot support the tax until they see evidence of reform within the school district. They claim that the Los Angeles Unified School District (L.A. Unified) has repeatedly failed to enact internal reforms that address deficit spending and improve student outcomes. Instead, the district has relied on new funding to prevent further financial instability. To demonstrate its commitment to accountability, the school board unanimously voted to establish an "independent taxpayer oversight committee" that will monitor the allocation of tax revenue and report on progress in student achievement. (Read more at

New York City — Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of New York City, has been considering a possible presidential run in 2020, despite the fact that 76 percent of New Yorkers do not believe he should pursue the Democratic nomination, according to a recent poll. One of de Blasio’s key talking points has been his record on improving the city’s public school system. He has invested almost a billion dollars to try and enhance the schools instead of closing them down. Additionally, he has advocated for reducing suspensions and implementing restorative justice practices, which are supported by civil rights and community groups. de Blasio has also introduced an ambitious and expensive pre-K program and improved relations with the city’s main teachers union. However, his education record does have its shortcomings. He has been reluctant to address issues of segregation directly, and his "Renewal" program to boost struggling schools has not yielded consistent results, leading to its discontinuation at the end of this school year. Furthermore, the charter school sector, although currently capped, primarily serves low-income families of color who have opted to attend privately-run schools. (Read more at Chalkbeat)

Hawaii — Alakai O Kauai Charter School in Hawaii has the highest rate of vaccination exemptions in the state, with 40 percent of students being exempted, largely due to religious reasons. Fred Birkett, the principal of the school, is unhappy about this ranking and hopes that it was not the case. The district health officer on Kauai, Janet Berreman, is now working to persuade families and school administrators to prioritize vaccinations, as Kauai has high rates of non-vaccination in general. (Read more at Honolulu Civil Beat)

Clark County — Concerns have been raised about the employment of retired personnel in the Las Vegas school system. A Facebook post from a former school police officer blamed "substitute administrators" in the human resources department for exploiting funds from the school system. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the district has paid $84,129 to 10 different substitute administrators in human resources who have already retired from the district and are collecting pension. These administrators mainly work on "special projects," with only two of them being active staff members. (Read more at the Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Noteworthy Essays & Reflections

CHARTER SCHOOLS — Opinion: An analysis highlights the significant funding gap of $13 billion between charter schools and traditional public schools, and the negative impact it has on underserved students. (Read more at

RACE — A discussion on the disciplines where black individuals are not earning Ph.D.s. (Read more at The Atlantic)

EARLY EDUCATION — Opinion: Three ideas from Montessori schools that early education should adopt. (Read more at The Hechinger Report)

STUDENT LOANS — A proposal to eliminate student loans. (Read more at National Review)

CHARTER SCHOOLS — A call for Democrats to support charter schools. (Read more at The Wall Street Journal)

Quotes of the Week

“Parents, we value you as partners in your child’s education. However, it is important to adhere to certain standards." — Madison High School Principal Carlotta Outley Brown, announcing that parents will be turned away if they arrive at the school wearing inappropriate clothing items such as bonnets, pajamas, hair rollers, or leggings. (Read more at The Houston Chronicle)

"The motivation behind the ‘unsafe school choice’ provision was to provide options for families. While we were unable to secure choice for poor students, we could gain majority support by addressing schools that were violent or dangerous." — Former representative Bob Schaffer, a Republican from Colorado, discussing the inclusion of the "unsafe school choice" provision in federal education law. (Read more at

"I don’t want our school to be ranked first on that list." — Fred Birkett, the principal of Alakai O Kauai Charter School, expressing his dissatisfaction with the school being ranked first in the state for vaccination exemptions. (Read more at Honolulu Civil Beat)

"Upon entering a school, one can’t help but feel as if they have stepped into a highly regimented military zone. Does such an environment truly foster a conducive atmosphere for education?" questioned Jagdish Khubchandani, an esteemed professor specializing in health science at Ball State University. (As read in The New York Times)

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  • arthurmacdonald

    Arthur Macdonald is a 39-year-old educational blogger and school teacher. He has been a teaching assistant for 10 years, and has taught middle and high school students in the Atlanta area for the past 5 years.