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

Democrats Protest Cuts to Teacher Prep and Pell Grants
Hundreds of House Democrats on Wednesday blasted billions of dollars in proposed cuts to federal programs that fund teacher preparation and provide tuition assistance to low-income students, as appropriators seek to finalize a spending plan for the Department of Education. In two separate letters sent to the House Committee on Appropriations, Democratic lawmakers outlined concerns over a proposed $2 billion cut that would eliminate part of Title II – which provides school districts with funding for teacher development and class-size reductions – and a proposed $3.3 billion cut to the Pell Grant program. (U.S. News & World Report)

When the language of privilege is “Git-R-Done”
David Brooks’s recent essay, “How We Are Ruining America,” has touched a nerve with a lot of people, Robert Pondiscio among them. As Robert puts it: There is a language of power. It is the language of privileged parents, affluent communities, and elite universities. It’s the language of David Brooks. But he’d do well to recognize that you don’t learn that language in those places. They don’t let you in until or unless you demonstrate command of it. (Fordham)

Private School Is Becoming Out of Reach for Middle-Class Americans
These days, private school really is just for rich kids. While the enrollment rate for children from middle-income families in U.S. private elementary schools has declined significantly over the last five decades, the level for high-income families has been relatively steady, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research study released this month ― a trend that could come to perpetuate the nation’s growing wealth divide. (Bloomberg)

Palm Beach County School Board to sue state over charter school millions
The Palm Beach County School Board plans to follow the lead of Broward schools in suing the state over a controversial law that will guarantee millions of extra dollars to charter schools. But the board isn’t looking to join the same lawsuit. The board agreed Wednesday to secure its own high-powered legal representation, Boies Schiller Flexner, a national firm with offices in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood. (Sun Sentinel)

Fulton offered top teachers $20,000 to transfer to struggling schools. Did it work?
In 2014, Fulton County announced an ambitious plan to provide top teachers $20, 000 stipends to work in the system’s lowest-performing schools. At the time, the AJC reported: No other system in Georgia offers such pay bumps tied to merit, which are aimed at awarding more money to teachers who elicit high achievement by their students. Fulton is part of a small but growing group of U.S. school systems bucking the long-standing educator pay system to put more focus on rewarding teachers based on standardized tests and other measures. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Maryland state school board eyes possible loophole in governor’s order on school calendars
When Gov. Larry Hogan tightened his executive order to start all public schools after Labor Day, he blocked some educators from wiggling out of the mandate by seeking waivers. But members of the state school board may have stumbled on a loophole. Board members learned Tuesday that the law fails to define a category of schools that could receive a waiver. Hogan originally said waivers could only be granted by the state board for “compelling justification.” Then he narrowed the requirements so waivers could only be granted at charter schools and those deemed “low-performing” or “at-risk.” (The Baltimore Sun)

New Jersey
NJEA, charter group raise concerns over school lottery proposal
It’s not every day the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, and the New Jersey Charter Schools Association find themselves on the same side of an issue. But both groups have expressed concerns about a proposed bill, NJ S3207 (16R), that would change the way charter schools accept students.Sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Patrick Diegnan of Middlesex County, the measure would automatically place the name of every child in a district where a charter school is located into a lottery for a seat at the charter school. A family could opt out if a student is selected but doesn’t want to enroll there. (Politico)

New Mexico
Lessons Learned in New Mexico
From American Enterprise Institute’s video description: Hanna Skandera, Secretary of Education for New Mexico, shares what she has learned about education reform with AEI’s Rick Hess. (AEI)

New York
New York City principals balk at plan to place teachers in their schools; some vow to get around it
Many New York City principals are unhappy that the city is planning to place teachers directly into their schools — and in some cases, they’re vowing resistance. Department of Education officials announced last week that they would place up to half of the 822 teachers who currently do not have positions into jobs that haven’t been filled by Oct. 15. Those teachers are part of the Absent Teacher Reserve, a collection of educators moved to the pool for disciplinary reasons or when their positions were eliminated. They remain on the city payroll in an arrangement that has generated political tension for years. (Chalkbeat)

North Carolina
Who’s in charge of education? Critics of ‘inexplicable’ ruling want NC Supreme Court to decide
RALEIGH –The contest over who controls state education will go another round, with the State Board of Education deciding to appeal a court ruling that upheld a new law and confirmed the superintendent in charge of daily operations. The board sued over the new state law that shifted some of its responsibilities at the state Department of Public Instruction to new Superintendent Mark Johnson. The board argues the law is unconstitutional. A panel of three Superior Court judges disagreed. (The News & Observer)

Washington D.C.
ACLU, advocacy groups demand school officials investigate suspension practices
The D.C. chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and eight youth advocacy organizations are calling on school and city officials to take action against schools that have kicked students out of school for misbehaving but did not record those absences as suspensions. The organizations, which have formed a group called the Every Student, Every Day Coalition, issued a list of demands, which include an audit of suspension records and legislation to ban the use of “do not admit” lists. The move comes after The Washington Post reported that at least seven of the District’s 18 high schools underreported suspensions. (The Washington Post)

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


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