Beth Milne is a past member of the 50CAN team. 

Here are news and opinion stories educators, advocates, policy wonks and makers are talking about today:
News and Analysis 
Today, the White House announced what it’s calling an “ambitious, all-hands-on-deck” initiative to get every student in the United States coding. “In the new economy, computer science isn’t an optional skill–it’s a basic skill, right along with the three Rs,'” President Obama said in his weekly address today. (Education Week)
For the fourth-straight year, state spending on publicly funded preschool has increased, according to the latest report by the Education Commission of the States, a state education policy think tank. (Education Week)
January is preschool open-house season, and parents with the wherewithal to be picky have lots of criteria to think about. In Silicon Valley—home to public schools that produce some of the best test scores in California—hoards of moms and dads are likely narrowing down their myriad options as they tour campuses, review guidebooks, and consult with fellow parents. The area reflects the degree to which American parents have become obsessed with ensuring their kids have an academic edge by the time they start kindergarten. It also reflects the growing national reality that the children born to low-income immigrants are typically among the children who get left behind: Close to three-quarters of Silicon Valley’s low-income preschool-age kids have at least one foreign-born parent, and thousands of them are not enrolled in preschool, meaning that kindergarten may be their first experience with formal education. (The Atlantic)
The political and policy empire controlled by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch is building a non-profit wing its leaders say will work to address deep-seated social ills and “revitalize civil society.” Its initial efforts will focus on poverty and educational quality. (USA Today)
After enrollment in Baltimore public schools unexpectedly dropped following years of growth, officials are bracing for nearly $30 million in funding cuts and investigating whether hundreds of students were mistakenly kept on the rolls. (The Washington Post)
New York
The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio has rejected federal government findings that the vast majority of New York City’s public elementary schools are not “fully accessible” to children with disabilities, in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. (The New York Times)
50CAN in the News
Over the next week I’m going to be writing about some of the key education policy issues bubbling up in the states in 2016, with examples drawn from the local advocacy work our 50CAN network engages in every day across the country. (Education Week)


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