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

A Summer Education Meltdown: Why Everyone in DC Is Mad About ESSA, Congress, Charters, Choice — or All of the Above
The nation’s capital went through a heat wave last week at the same time that a series of education world events sent policymakers’ and advocates’ tempers rising right alongside the thermometer. Several disputes, big and small, erupted throughout the week, but the two main battles involved the Education Department funding bill and the department’s ongoing feedback to states on their plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act. (The 74)

We’re having fewer babies and employers, schools will feel it
There is a dearth of births in the United States and if the trend continues it could further aggravate existing problems employers are having finding workers. Last year the nation’s birthrate hit a record low, falling to 62 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Last year 3.9 million babies were born in this nation of about 325 million people. (Dayton Daily News)

DeVos Wants More Options For Students In Special Education
In her first speech centering on special education, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said students with disabilities deserve better and her agency will work to provide more choices for families. Speaking at the Office of Special Education Programs Leadership Conference on Monday, DeVos said that past administrations — both Republican and Democratic — have not done enough to fulfill the promise of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (Disability Scoop)

Depolarizing the charter school debate
Focusing on specific challenges would improve today’s polarized fight over charter school oversight, in which name calling too often replaces the demanding work of understanding each other or solving shared problems. In previous rounds of charged conflict, I have found that shared work is the best remedy for ideological polarization. Indeed, on the ground, the messy work of charter school policy and authorizing is rarely accomplished through strict adherence to ideology. Concepts and ideology considered without real-world applications tend to feel hollow. Most of the time, decisions are made by local people working to solve common problems. And whatever people choose, future work should stay messy and inclusive. (Fordham)

More charges filed over charter school fraud claims
PENSACOLA, Fla. – Following the filing of racketeering and fraud charges against two Ohio men accused of siphoning public money from charter schools in six Florida counties, the charter school management company itself has been indicted on several charges. Newpoint Education Partners, LLC (“Newpoint”), which formerly managed charter schools in Escambia, Bay, Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Pinellas Counties; and School Warehouse and Red Ignition, which were vendors used by Newpoint, have been charged in Escambia County with thefts of hundreds of thousands of dollars of public funds in connection with fraudulently billing charter schools for computers, furniture, equipment, and curriculum services and then laundering the proceeds of the thefts through multiple bank accounts to conceal the alleged crimes. (News 4 Jax)

New Jersey
How the original purpose of charter schools is working in Newark
It’s often noted that the original vision for charter schools, championed by legendary teachers’ union leader Al Shanker and others, was that they’d be “laboratories of innovation” whose lessons could inform the broader system. It hasn’t worked out that way. Instead, the relationship between charters and district schools has been acrimonious and competitive. But in Newark, quietly, with little fanfare, a course is being charted back to that original vision. (

Judge: Hamilton County Schools violated federal laws in special education case
A federal judge on Monday ruled the Hamilton County Department of Education violated multiple federal guidelines protecting students with disabilities when it removed a second-grader with Down syndrome from Normal Park Elementary School in 2013. In the ruling, federal Judge Curtis Collier said the school district violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, a federal civil rights law prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities. (Times Free Press)

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


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