CLASSROOM DIVERSITY GAP: For the 2012-13 school year, 2.5 percent of the state’s beginning public school full-time teachers were of Hispanic ethnicity or racial minorities. That’s a drop from the previous year and down from the 2.8 percent a decade ago. Among all teachers, the percentage of minorities has been stagnant, sitting at 2.2 percent in 2012-13. Meanwhile, Iowa’s student population is increasingly diverse as minorities reached 20.3 percent. While an exactly matched ratio of students and teachers based on diversity doesn’t guarantee that the student achievement gap for minorities will be closed, it’s one factor that experts say can help.
BAD BUG ADVANCES: The feared emerald ash borer’s push into Iowa is accelerating. The pest, which kills ash trees, was found in Waterloo last week. That’s the sixth community in Iowa where the borer has been spotted in the last seven months.
SUSPENSION GAPS: A new report from the Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission shows that children of color in the Cedar Rapids school district represent 22.8 percent of the students but receive 45 percent of in-school suspensions and 51 percent of out-of-school suspensions. Also, children from low socioeconomic homes account for 46.2 percent of the districts, 80 percent of in-school suspensions and 86 percent of out-of-school suspensions. Fixing that is a daunting but important task.
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