Here are news and opinion stories educators, advocates, policy wonks and makers are talking about today:

News and Analysis
Betsy DeVos’s Team Stumbles on ESSA
Just when they were starting to hit their stride, the new team at the Department of Education made a big unforced error last week. The good news is that it’s almost certain to be corrected, thanks to pressure from Capitol Hill. The issue is the wonky but important feedback that Jason Botel, the acting assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, provided Tuesday to three states regarding their ESSA plans. (Eventually the Department will provide feedback on every state’s plan, but these are the first.) Much of it is boring bureaucratic minutia—pointing out areas where Delaware, Nevada, and New Mexico need to supply additional information in order to be compliant with the federal law. That’s fine and unexceptional. (EducationNext)

States test worksite charter schools for company kids
A rarely applied experiment in education enabling companies to host taxpayer-funded charter schools for their employees’ children may be about to spread. Florida is the only state bringing business-backed charter schools to work sites so far. The first launched in 1999, across the street from the Ryder truck rental company’s headquarters near Miami. (ABC News)

A School That Provides The One Constant In Homeless Children’s Lives
On the last day of school, the fifth grade students at Positive Tomorrows perform last-minute rehearsals for the inaugural “Classy Awards.” Teachers, parents and mentors file into the classroom through a doorway pasted with dangling gold stars, along a red paper carpet. While similar scenes play out in classrooms across the country, this particular group of fifth-graders has a more uncertain future than most. (NPR)

IncluDEd: Engaging Everyday Delawareans to Transform Education
We interviewed more than 150 Delawareans, surveyed more than 400 people and met with more than 100 people at outreach events. We asked questions about how knowledgeable people were about education in Delaware; looked at how involved people were with their neighborhood schools, local school district and at the state level; explored the ways people were becoming involved as local advocates; and asked about perceptions of the Delaware public education system. (DelawareCAN)

Accorsini: School choice helps more students find success
Betton Hills School was founded to serve students whose needs were not being met by traditional public schools. For their disenchanted parents, it made little difference whether the prior school was “low-performing” or “high-performing.” What mattered was their child was falling behind. Thankfully, Florida parents now have options. Most students at BHS use one of three different state scholarships: the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship for low-income students, the McKay Scholarship for students with disabilities and the Gardiner Scholarship for students with special needs, such as autism. (Tallahassee Democrat)

Four school board members in Pr. George’s County allege fraud in graduation rates
Four members of Prince George’s County’s school board have urged Gov. Larry Hogan to order an investigation into what they allege is a systemic effort to fraudulently boost graduation rates in the Maryland school district. The members, a minority bloc on a 14-member board, say the state’s second-largest district engaged in “widespread systemic corruption” that has inflated graduation rates since 2014. They allege that grades were changed and that students were credited for courses they did not take.(The Washington Post)

New York
Two Days Left, and Still No Vote on Who Will Control NYC Schools
With only two days to go in the state legislative session, the question of who will control the city’s public schools remains unresolved. Unless Albany lawmakers vote on the issue by the end of the session, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s control over city schools. WNYC reporter Fred Mogul said if they don’t, it won’t be the first time. When state lawmakers allowed mayoral control to lapse in the summer of 2009, they called a special session before the start of the school year, and renewed it. (WNYC)

Philadelphia public school teachers have voted to approve a tentative contract agreement
Members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers voted Monday night on the pact that was reached Friday after more than four years of negotiations. Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney released a statement thanking members of the city’s largest union for approving the contract and for remaining dedicated to educating students during the “long and difficult process.” (ABC News)

Mimi Woldeyohannes is the Executive Assistant to the CEO at 50CAN. She lives in Maryland.


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