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

Parents deserve an NAACP that fights for schools they choose, not against them
Seven out of eight Black public school students in America attend traditional public schools so, it goes without saying that the traditional public school system is far more responsible than charter schools for the inequities and outcomes of Black students. The inequities include less funding, less access to gifted programs and rigorous high schools, and less effective teachers. Not surprisingly, the outcomes include lower test scores, lower rates of high school and college graduation, and higher rates of discipline. (Huffington Post)

How states can avoid proficiency rates when measuring academic achievement under ESSA
Confusion abounds as the U.S. Department of Education continues to send mixed signals to states regarding their obligations under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), especially when it comes to school accountability. One question is what’s allowed—and what’s required—with respect to the “academic achievement indicator.” Herewith is an explanation of what’s permitted, what’s smart policy, and how states can avoid triggering federal pushback. (Fordham)

‘It Gave Us a Choice When We Didn’t Have One’: Private School Choice Participants Flood Capitol to Tell Their Stories
Private school choice was among the only education pledges made by President Donald Trump on the campaign trail and has been a decades-long focus of advocacy by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Congress reauthorized the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship, the only federally funded program, earlier this year, but like other Trump administration priorities, the odds of any kind of national private school choice program being enacted are looking increasingly slim. (The 74)

DeVos: Backlash to School Choice a ‘Badge of Honor’
Conservative state legislators pushing school choice policies should consider opposition from “the left” a “badge of honor,” Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos told those gathered at the annual conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council on Thursday in Denver. “Instead of seeking today’s headlines, you’ve played the long game,” she said. “We’ve all benefited from this patient approach.” (U.S. News & World Report)

Carney vetoes bill eliminating 5-mile radius for charter schools
Gov. John Carney has vetoed a bill that would have eliminated charter schools’ ability to give enrollment preference to students who live within 5 miles of their campuses primarily because he felt it was unfair to Wilmington students in the Christina School District. The bill would have allowed charter schools to prioritize students who live in parts of a school district “geographically contiguous” to them. This means Newark Charter School, which boasts a waiting list of 3,000, could still give preference to enrollees who live in the Newark part of the Christina School District. Applicants living in a smaller section of Wilmington, also in the district, would not have the same advantage. (Delaware Online)

Florida to Seek Waiver From Key ESSA Provisions
Florida plans to seek a waiver from several fundamental portions of the Every Student Succeeds Act that dictate how schools handle some of the country’s most historically underperforming and disadvantaged students. But the draft request, which seeks to mostly keep intact a state school accountability system that predates the new federal K-12 law, already has inflamed civil rights advocates, and could prove an early test of how the U.S. Department of Education intends to weigh states’ bids for flexibility in the ESSA plans being submitted for approval. (Education Week)

New Jersey
Christie signs bill to create bathroom, other rights for transgender students
TRENTON — Transgender students at New Jersey’s public schools were given new layers of protection under a bill that Gov. Chris Christie signed into law Friday. The legislation (S3067/A4652) — which takes effect immediately — requires the state education commissioner to draft specific guidelines to help schools address “the needs” of transgender students and establish policies that “ensure a supportive and nondiscriminatory environment” for those students. (NJ Advance Media)

New York
How Teachers Are Taught
One charter school teacher-training program gives first-year teachers a part-time workload and allows them to learn alongside mentor teachers. Another has summer workshops that include home visits with students’ families. A third network often starts the year with a week of workshops at a Westchester hotel, has a staff member devoted to professional development, and brings in consultants for math, writing, and reading instruction. (The Atlantic)

Tennessee’s turnaround district gets new leadership team for a new chapter
Tennessee is bringing in some new blood to lead its turnaround district after cutting its workforce almost in half and repositioning the model as an intervention of last resort for the state’s chronically struggling schools. While Malika Anderson remains as superintendent of the Achievement School District, she’ll have two lieutenants who are new to the ASD’s mostly charter-based turnaround district, as well as two others who have been part of the work in the years since its 2011 launch. (Chalkbeat)

Washington D.C.
In D.C. rally, hundreds protest Trump’s planned cuts to education
As people began trickling onto the Mall in Washington on Saturday morning, Massachusetts teacher Jeff Maxwell looked around and told those nearby that he felt like the day would be history in the making. Nolan, his 10-year-old son, had bragged to his friends when his mom attended the Women’s March after President Trump’s inauguration, and then he had asked his dad when he could go to a march, too. (The Washington Post)

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


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