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

As Congress Probes the Shift to ESSA Under DeVos, Here’s What to Watch For
On Tuesday, the House education committee will hold a hearing on how the Every Student Succeeds Act is unfolding in states and districts. On this general issue, much of the focus (rightly) has been on how Republicans like Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the Senate education committee chairman, are reacting to what U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her team are doing on ESSA oversight. Importantly, Alexander isn’t happy, and says the department seems to be ignoring the law. (Education Week)

Schools collect more data, but how is it used?
State leaders are collecting reams of data on students, but they must do more to put that information into the hands of parents and teachers, according to a new report. Making that information available to school communities consists of more than merely publishing complicated, archaic spreadsheets online, according to the Data Quality Campaign, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that advocates for better data use. School leaders must work to provide data in a format that makes it easy to understand and act upon, the group says. (The Hechinger Report)

Don’t Forget Rural Schools
America’s Good Samaritans have often focused their energies on its big cities. This is especially true when it comes to donors committed to improving education. Inner cities have long experienced disproportionate levels of poor schooling, poverty, joblessness, and crime, making life for children difficult. Philanthropic investments in these areas are squarely on the side of the angels.​ ​But for too long, we’ve neglected the schools serving boys and girls in rural America. There are deep needs there as well—in fact, as a recent Wall Street ­Journal analysis showed, rural counties are now worse off than inner cities in poverty, educational opportunity, male employment, and a host of other measures. Yet few extra resources are directed toward rural schools. That’s a problem philanthropists can remedy.​ (Philanthropy Roundtable)

How’s This for a Yarn? School Bus Driver Crochets a Personalized Toy for Every Student on Her Route
Like any good story, the account of bus driver Trudy Serres starts with a taco.​ ​As a driver for Oconomowoc Transport Co., serving Summit Elementary School in Wisconsin, Serres helped pass time waiting on her route by crocheting.​ ​The elementary school kids took notice, and one boy dared her to try to make him a taco.​ (The 74) ​

Does public education in Florida get a passing grade? Appeals court to decide.
TALLAHASSEE -The Florida Constitution requires the state to provide “a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools” — but is that general standard something that can be measured? That’s what an appeals court in Tallahassee will decide in the latest round of a long-standing battle over whether the Legislature, state Board of Education and the Florida Department of Education are fulfilling their constitutional obligations for 2.8 million children in the state’s public schools. (Miami Herald)

New Jersey
Look What Happens When District and Charter Schools Collaborate
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. (NJ Left Behind)

New York
More Attention to ELLs, Student Suspension, Fewer Test Days: NY Tweaks Its ESSA Plan
proposed accountability plan for New York state schools will measure performance in part by out-of-school suspensions, a greater emphasis on student academic growth, and eighth-grade students’ readiness for high school. The wide-ranging proposal, required under the Every Student Succeeds Act, the nation’s new federal K-12 education law, incorporated public response to an initial draft released in May. Evaluating schools by their use of suspensions, which disproportionately affect students of color, was added in response to comment by school communities, education officials said Monday, as was a reduction of state testing from three to two days. (The 74)

North Carolina
Wake school budget cuts might delay raises for coaches, halt plans to hire counselors
CARY-Wake County school athletic coaches might not get pay raises and nearly 150 new counselors and social workers who would help struggling students might not be hired due to a nearly $29 million budget gap. School administrators said Tuesday that $28.8 million has to be trimmed, largely because the district got less than half of the $45.2 million increase it wanted from the Wake County Board of Commissioners. School officials said eliminating some or all of a $10 million plan to hire more counselors and social workers this year and delaying a $2.6 million increase in extra-duty pay are possible budget options. (The News & Observer)

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


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