Rise & Shine: The research-backed reading instruction that isn’t happening

Good morning and welcome back for the second first day of school this year. (Happy New Year to those who were celebrating Rosh Hashanah!) Scroll down for the day's local education news, including a mysterious reduction in federal funding, a tally of still-unsafe water pipes in schools, and some last-minute governor's race edu-analysis.

Two other important things to watch: This evening, Chancellor Richard Carranza will appear at a town hall meeting for District 75, the citywide division of schools for students with severe disabilities (6:30 p.m. at Manhattan's P.S. 94). The district hasn't gotten much attention since Carranza took over, but its challenges remain pressing as the city strives to include students with disabilities more often in mainstream schools and classes. That's something Carranza has said he supports — but didn't make a priority in Houston, where a push to deny students special education services created a crisis during his tenure there. Stay tuned for updates on how the conversation is developing here.

Plus, make sure to read American Public Media's report about the research-backed reading instruction that often isn't happening — including in New York City schools that instead use the "balanced literacy" approach. Carranza has indicated that he has questions about the city's approach to teaching reading but hasn't yet elaborated publicly. (Hearing anything different in your school? Let us know.)

—Philissa Cramer, managing editor

THE MYSTERY More New York City schools qualify for federal Title I funds for students living in poverty, but less money is coming in, according to a new report. Chalkbeat, Politico (paywall)

THE LEAD Hundreds of city schools still have lead in drinking fountains, two years into a massive effort to clean them up. ChalkbeatNew York TimesN.Y. Daily News, Politico (paywall), Wall Street Journal

THE PRIMARY Gov. Andrew Cuomo is considered likely to win this week’s gubernatorial primary, but his challenger, Cynthia Nixon, has pushed his education policy to the left. The 74

National teachers union chief Randi Weingarten’s defense of Nixon against charges of anti-Semitism amounted to a “de facto endorsement,” according to a columnist. New York Times

THE DATA Research backs phonics instruction to teach children to read, but the approach is not used in many districtd, especially those that, like New York City, have favored “balanced literacy.” American Public Media

THE CLAIM In a lawsuit, a city teacher says she faced abuse from students after the city placed her temporarily at I.S. 218 in the Bronx in 2012. New York Post

THE STAGE U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s dramatic 2017 confirmation hearing has been turned into a play. Washington Post