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

Rice: Charter Schools Are Advancing the Cause of Black Education in America for the 21st Century
African-American educators have been at the forefront of education battles through the centuries. Before Brown v. Board, black educators came together to operate schools that were responsive to our community. And after the landmark ruling, black educators worked tirelessly — literally giving their sweat, blood, and tears — to enforce the Supreme Court’s will. (The 74)

Reimagining failure: ‘Last-chance’ schools are the future of American high schools
BOSTON, Mass. — At Boston Day and Evening Academy, there are no such things as freshmen, F’s or detention. Sixteen-year-olds share classrooms with 20-somethings, students earn diplomas at their own pace and if anyone has a problem with a peer, they’re encouraged to talk about it like adults. It is features like these that have helped former high school dropouts like Rocheli Burgos — and other students who have struggled in school — get a second chance at earning a diploma. (The Hechinger Report)

How Accessible Is Gifted Education in Your State?
Nationwide, less than 7 percent of U.S. students participate in gifted education programs, according to an analysis of the most recent 2014 federal civil rights data. In part, that’s because states and districts use different tests and criteria to identify students as gifted or talented. But it’s also because some states have a far greater percentage of schools that even offer gifted education programs than do others, as the chart below shows. (Education Week)

Broward takes lead in challenging state law that benefits charter schools
The Broward County School Board voted Wednesday to sue the state over a new law that requires public school districts to share property tax revenue with charter schools and relinquishes their authority to approve charter applications. Broward was the first to take action, but other districts are holding similar meetings within the next two weeks, said legal counsel Barbara Myrick. Miami-Dade, Orange and Pinellas counties are among the others that may collaborate in the case. (Sun Sentinel)

Future uncertain for Georgia’s online charter schools
The future for Georgia’s online charter schools is uncertain as officials await the final scores from state standardized tests last spring. Poor performance threatens the state-issued authority to operate for three big online schools that collectively enroll 18,000 students. Georgia Connections Academy, Georgia Cyber Academy and Graduation Achievement Charter High School were among low-performing state-authorized charter schools that were called in for performance reviews by the State Charter Schools Commission in May and in June. The underlying message: get your act together or risk loss of your operating charters. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Hawaii Joins Suit Against DeVos For Delaying For-Profit College Rules
Democratic attorneys general from 18 states — including Hawaii — and the District of Columbia sued U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday over her decision to suspend rules that were meant to protect students from abuse by for-profit colleges. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, says DeVos violated rule-making laws when she announced a June 14 decision to delay so-called borrower defense to repayment rules, which were finalized under President Barack Obama and scheduled to take effect July 1. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

New Jersey
Revised school-funding figures due; districts losing aid might qualify for reprieve
With the state budget now settled, school districts throughout New Jersey will soon receive updated information about state aid, a spokesman for the state Department of Education said Thursday. Based on revised figures prepared by the Office of Legislative Services last week, it appears 126 districts will get less in state funding than what they were told in March. (Politico)

New York
De Blasio’s Concessions on Charter Schools Are Disclosed
When Mayor Bill de Blasio received from the State Legislature a two-year renewal of mayoral control of New York City’s schools, the longest extension of his tenure, the victory came with an unwritten concession. As part of the arrangement, the mayor agreed to an increase in the number of charter schools in the city and promised to make it easier for those already in existence to function, City Hall officials said on Thursday. (The New York Times)

North Carolina
Some struggling NC schools will be turned over to charter school operators in 2018
RALEIGH–North Carolina families and teachers will find out in the next two months which low-performing elementary schools could be turned over to charter school operators in 2018. The state’s Innovative School District, originally called the Achievement School District, is a controversial new effort to boost student achievement at low-performing schools. Eric Hall, the district’s superintendent, launched the program on Thursday by laying out a timeline in which at least two schools will join for the 2018-19 school year and up to three more schools will join in 2019. (The News & Observer)

New, $10M special-ed school for Philly kids draws fire
After an outcry from parents, advocates, and politicians, the School Reform Commission last month shelved a decision to spend up to $54 million to establish a school for up to 600 Philadelphia special-education students now attending private schools on the school system’s dime. On Thursday, the SRC is scheduled to consider a scaled-back contract — $10 million for 100 students — but it is still drawing fire. (The Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News)

Metro Nashville Teachers Get Crash Course In Coding From Local Charter School
Nashville’s middle schools are adding mandatory coding class for the first time. It’s part of a larger curriculum overhaul for middle grades. But the district doesn’t have many coding teachers because programmers are in such high demand. So administrators turned to a local charter school that faced the same dilemma three years ago. (Nashville Public Radio)

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


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