This is the Education Briefing, a weekly update on the most important news in U.S. education. .
Today, the story of one TikTok that changed the N.C.A.A. forever.
Sedona Prince of the Oregon Ducks, right, celebrated a win — on and off the court.Credit…Carmen Mandato/Getty Images
The video that changed the game
In March 2021, the college basketball player Sedona Prince posted a video on TikTok.
“This is our weight room,” Prince said in the video, pointing at a sorry stack of hand weights at the N.C.A.A. women’s basketball tournament. “Let me show y’all the men’s weight room,” she said before panning across a state-of-the art facility for the men’s tournament, crammed with machines and benches.
Prince’s video immediately went viral — and, my colleague Billy Witz writes, led to big changes in the N.C.A.A.
After the video, the association commissioned a gender-equity review in college basketball. The video and review also led to a vast array of changes in the women’s tournament, such as branding it with the “March Madness” moniker, a move the N.C.A.A. had previously resisted.
“Every budget line is compared and contrasted,” said Dan Gavitt, the N.C.A.A.’s senior vice president for basketball. “Where there are differences, they are resolved in the name of equity.”
Prince accomplished last March what generations before her could not: She showed the disparity between the tournaments in a manner that could not be explained away.
When asked if there would have been a report without Prince’s video, Cori Close, the coach of U.C.L.A.’s women’s basketball team, did not take long to respond. “The short answer is no,” she said.
In other N.C.A.A. news:
The N.C.A.A. basketball tournaments are beginning this week. You can see (and print) brackets for the men’s tournament and women’s tournament here.
The women: Three of the top seeds were in the same position last season: Stanford, which won it all last year; N.C. State; and South Carolina, with its powerhouse defense. Louisville is the only new No. 1, but just barely: It was a No. 2 seed last year. Read about the rest of the field.
The men: Last year, Gonzaga lost to Baylor in the championship game, spoiling its perfect season. Both teams are among the four top seeds this year, joining Kansas. The surprise of the group? Arizona, which had not even made the tournament in recent seasons. Read about the rest of the field.
Some historically Black universities, like Texas Southern, have low seeds. That often means they must prove they belong in the tournament — even after they’ve already proved it.
What else we’re reading
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California signed a law that will prevent an enrollment drop at the University of California, Berkeley, after a lawsuit challenging the school’s growth.
Lawrence Ray moved into his daughter’s dormitory at Sarah Lawrence College and had a cultlike hold over her friends. Charged with several crimes, including racketeering conspiracy, extortion and sex trafficking, he stands trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan.
The former director of sports medicine at San Jose State University in California faces charges of civil rights violations for sexual assaulting student athletes.
Yale University has begun removing the Sackler name from campus buildings.
From Jay Caspian Kang
The Times Opinion writer looked at issues facing schools trying to find racial equity.
“Perhaps the most existential danger to an egalitarian public education system comes from the understandable decisions of mostly minority-group parents to send their children to charter schools,” he argued in a column about the Oakland Unified School District in California, an equity problem that goes beyond the Black-white, rich-poor binaries.
Jay also looked at efforts to desegregate schools. He examined one such effort in the wealthy city of Piedmont, Calif., which has surprising resistance to integration.
Books and race
An assistant principal at an elementary school in Mississippi read a silly book — “I Need a New Butt!” — to a class of second graders over video. Then, he was fired.
A superintendent in North Carolina apologized for a mock “slave auction,” in which white students pretended to sell their Black classmates.
Gov. Tate Reeves of Mississippi, a Republican, signed a bill that will prohibit “critical race theory” and affect how race is taught in schools.
A teacher in Georgia has created a library full of books that others have tried to ban.
And the rest …
Mayor London Breed of San Francisco replaced three ousted members of the city’s school board. The new commissioners, she said, “are willing to ignore the politics to focus on our kids.”
A top court in India upheld a government order barring Muslim girls from wearing head scarves inside schools.
At a bleak time, this 34-second video will make you smile (or cry).
Tip: Call a hotline for advice from kids
Feeling down? Just pick up your phone and dial a hotline to get cheerful advice — from kids.
If you’re feeling “mad, frustrated or nervous,” press 1. For “words of encouragement and life advice” or “a pep talk from kindergartners,” dial 2 or 3. Press 4 “to hear kids laughing with delight,” or 5 for “encouragement in Spanish.”
“If you’re nervous, go get your wallet and spend it on ice cream and shoes,” one student enthusiastically advises.
“If you’re frustrated, you can always go to your bedroom, punch your pillow or cry on it. And just go scream outside,” another child says.
“If you’re mad or frustrated, you can do what you want to do best,” a third suggests, “or you can do flips on the trampoline.”
Jessica Martin, an art teacher at a small elementary school in Northern California, createdthe hotline with Asherah Weiss, a fellow artist and educator. At various points, the hotline has received 9,000 calls an hour.
They were trying to teach the students about empathy and focus on their resilient joy through the pandemic as well as numerous wildfire evacuations. To record, children lined up single file outside the classroom and shared their thoughts into Martin’s iPhone.
“I think we’re a grieving world right now,” Martin said. “The pandemic, the war in Ukraine — it’s all still very raw, and we’ve never had the time to emotionally recover. But to hear the pure joy from kids is extremely comforting.”
That’s it for this week’s briefing. Thanks for reading!
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