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

National
We deserve better: Students nationwide walk out in massive protest over gun violence
Thousands of students across the nation walked out of classrooms and into a political firestorm Wednesday, marking one month since the bloody rampage at a Florida high school shocked the world and fueled their dynamic movement demanding an end to gun violence. Students from about 2,800 schools marked National Walkout Day, many by leaving their classrooms at 10 a.m. to show solidarity for the 17 killed in the attack Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (USA Today)

How To Find A School Your Kids Will Love (And That You Will, Too)
“Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.” That’s one of the many quotes that has made Sir Ken Robinson’s 2006 lecture on rethinking the nation’s schools become one of the most popular TED talks — with more than 50 million views. Over the past two decades, Robinson, an author, consultant and former education professor, has argued, among other things, that dance might be more important than math (though, he admits, both are important). And that our system of education is more like a fast food chain — robotic, formalized and industrial. (NPR)

Black Students Have Longer Commutes Under School Choice
Black children often travel farther to school and face longer commute times than their white and Latino classmates, according to a new report from the Urban Institute. In cities including Denver, New York City and Washington, D.C., black children are more likely to leave their own neighborhood in search of a high-quality school, according to the study, which examined urban school districts that operate school choice programs. (Governing)

The Importance of Boots on the Ground in Schools
ONCE WIDELY DERIDED FOR its abysmal performance, District of Columbia Public Schools has become a shining national example of education reform in recent years, in part due to their rapidly rising graduation rates. In October 2016, President Obama touted the nation’s record-high graduation rates as proof that aggressive education reforms were “making progress,” specifically highlighting DCPS: “Right here in D.C., in just five years, the graduation rate in [DCPS] went from just 53 percent to 69 percent. … That’s something to be really proud of.” January’s alarming report, however, found extensive fraud in DCPS graduation rates, raising serious concerns about how we know progress when we see it. (U.S. News & World Report)

Blog: Public Schools are Free, Unless You Count the House You Have to Buy
I’m having a problem I never had before. Maybe you’ve had the same experience. My wife and I are house hunting and what we’re learning is that it’s more than just the house you’re buying. It’s new to us because, in the past, the where-shall-we-live question was answered with more financial limitations than we have now. We are blessed now with having more resources, and thus, more options. (Citizen Ed)

Report: New CoSN Spring Report
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a rapidly emerging technology being used throughout society – how might it be used in classrooms? CoSN explores the opportunities, as well as the challenges, in a new report titled Artificial Intelligence: Could emerging technologies “humanize” teaching & learning? (Consortium for School Networking)

States
Delaware
School walkouts divide some Delaware schools, unite others
While many of the students who walked out of Delaware schools to protest gun violence Wednesday felt supported by school administrators, others felt their First Amendment rights were squelched and that school officials were effectively silencing them by threatening to punish them for participating. The walkouts, which took place at dozens of mostly high schools statewide, were part of a national movement. At 10 a.m. in every time zone, teachers, students, administrators, parents and allies walked out for 17 minutes – one minute for every person killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day. (Delaware Online)

Louisiana
Louisiana Supreme Court sides with charter schools in challenge of state funding system
The Louisiana Supreme Court sided with charter school backers Tuesday in a lawsuit that had threatened state aid for about 18,000 students. The funding method had been challenged by the Louisiana Association of Educators, one of the state’s two teacher unions.The high court, in an 18-page ruling, reversed a 3-2 decision by the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal. The appeals court held last year that the funding was unconstitutional because the schools did not meet the legal definition of public schools. “While there is no definition of public elementary and secondary schools in the Constitution, our Legislature has expressed that charter schools are independent public schools,” according to the Supreme Court ruling, written by Justice James T. Genovese, of Opelousas. (The Advocate)

New York
Bill to Fund Full Day Kindergarten Passes in Senate, Assembly
Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) announced Monday that full day kindergarten for all children in New York State is closer to becoming a reality. Sen. Carlucci and Ken Zebrowski’s (D-Rockland) bill (S.700-B/A.1625-B) passed today in the Senate and the Assembly. The bill ensures schools get the continued aid they need to fully transition to full day kindergarten. “It’s a very exciting day because this bill had never passed in the Senate, despite passing in the Assembly last year. I am proud to have worked across party lines to get this done. Research shows that attendance in full day kindergarten helps our children with early reading skills and improved math skills,” said Sen. Carlucci. (Hudson Valley News Network)

North Carolina
Denied, delayed and redacted: Our quest to get minutes of CMS board’s closed meetings
Like public bodies across North Carolina, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board regularly closes its doors to the public to discuss matters that are exempted by law from public scrutiny. But the state’s Open Records law provides a backstop for public accountability: Each board must keep minutes and release them to the public when it no longer “frustrates the purpose” of closing the meeting. For instance, a public body might discuss a pending property negotiation, contract or legal matter in private, but must release the minutes when that matter is concluded. (The Charlotte Observer)

Pennsylvania
School boards in Pa. are lining up against a proposed school choice bill
School boards across Pennsylvania have signaled their opposition to a state Senate bill that would allow students in struggling districts to use state money for private school tuition and other pre-approved expenses, a move that critics say would hurt public schools. Proponents say the move would offer alternatives to students in low-performing school districts. (Pittsburg Post-Gazette)

Tennessee
In-state tuition bill for Tennessee’s undocumented immigrants clears first legislative hurdle
Seventeen-year-old Nellely Garcia watched with elation Tuesday as a bill that would make it easier for her to attend college cleared its first hurdle in Tennessee’s legislature. Nellely Garcia is a senior at Wooddale High School in Memphis and does not have legal status to receive in-state college tuition when she graduates. An immigrant from Mexico who has lived in Memphis since she was a baby, Garcia traveled to Nashville during her spring break to support legislation that would provide in-state tuition to any student who attends a Tennessee high school for at least three years, regardless of their immigration status. The bill is aimed at students like Garcia, who has attended public school in Tennessee since kindergarten after her parents moved their family to Memphis without legal permission. (Chalkbeat)

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

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