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

America’s Schools Are ‘Profoundly Unequal,’ Says U.S. Civil Rights Commission
“The federal government must take bold action to address inequitable funding in our nation’s public schools.” So begins a list of bold recommendations released today by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an independent, bipartisan agency created by Congress in 1957 to investigate civil rights complaints. Today’s report comes after a lengthy investigation into how America’s schools are funded and why so many that serve poor and minority students aren’t getting the resources they say they need. (NPR)

Is School-Discipline Reform Moving Too Fast?
One of the more radical transformations in public education today begins with a simple greeting each morning among second-graders. “Good morning, Mahlet,” says one student to another at McMicken Heights Elementary School in SeaTac, Washington. “Good morning, Liliana,” the second student responds. The exercise continues briskly until all 23 students seated in a circle have been recognized; then the children stand and greet three classmates each with handshakes and solid eye contact. Next, a handful of students are chosen to ask questions of their peers. While the query can be basic, such as “What kinds of movies do you like?,” some of the seven-year-olds struggle to formulate a question and ask it with a strong voice. “I’m not comfortable with that question,” one girl says after she receives a vague inquiry about her feelings. When another student is asked about her favorite color, she politely says, “Can you ask me a harder question?” (The Atlantic)

New Mexico
SFPS board caps enrollment at crowded Amy Biehl school
Parents of students attending the Amy Biehl Community School at Rancho Viejo were surprised to learn at a meeting earlier this week that the district, in an effort to ease overcrowding, had been considering a plan to either alter the school’s zone boundaries and send some of their children to another south-side facility or abolish transfers into Amy Biehl from other schools. The school board decided Tuesday night to instead cap the enrollment number for each grade level at Amy Biehl and send overflow students who are new to the school’s zone — a couple of hundred square miles of west-central Santa Fe County — to Piñon Elementary, an older school about four miles north. That move, decided in a 4-1 vote, will not affect any of the 515 students currently attending Amy Biehl. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

New York
New York’s most segregated school districts can now apply for integration training
Though New York’s schools are among the nation’s most segregated, few districts are doing much about it. But now, the state education department is making them a deal: If you commit to integrating your schools, we’ll show you how. The state’s most segregated districts can apply for training grants of up to $70,000, which will allow school and district leaders to attend workshops on how to identify the causes of segregation in their local schools and come up with plans to reduce it, the department announced Wednesday. (Chalkbeat)

North Carolina
Class-size mandate to put a big squeeze on some Durham schools
The struggle for classroom space is real for students and teachers at Forest View Elementary School. The school, located in the western part of the county on Mt. Sinai Road, is currently 100 students over capacity, and its teachers and staff have been forced to stretch their creativity to limits to accommodate them all. And after the controversial K-3 class size mandate is factored into the equation for next school year, the Forest View staff will be forced again to tap into their inner-Hephaestus to come up with nine additional classrooms needed to accommodate the roughly 769 students projected to enrolled there during the 2018-19 school year. (The News & Observer)

South Carolina
Here’s how legislators can make sure poor SC kids get a decent education
STATE LEGISLATORS, freshly empowered by the Supreme Court to use whatever methods and timetable they choose to provide all children with a decent education, prefiled a blizzard of school-related bills in advance of the 2018 legislative session that begins on Tuesday.There’s a bill to eliminate standardized testing, one to let districts start classes earlier and another to shortchange students a day of education for “forgiving” a day schools were closed for hurricane evacuations. There are bills to prohibit public schools from recruiting student athletes, to turn the school bus program over to the districts, to create a STEM Education Day and to require metal detectors in schools. There’s also a bill that orders the state Board of Education to “develop a standard, durable poster for use in displaying” the mottoes of the United States and South Carolina, which would be displayed in all public schools. (The State)

Hamilton High students protest principal’s suspension
More than 50 students gathered in front of Hamilton High School Wednesday to protest the suspension of the principal, Monekea Smith. Some were holding signs that said, “Justice for principal Smith.” “We are having a peaceful protest to get our principal back,” said student body president and senior Danyell McAdams. “This is my fourth year here and we’ve had three principals since I’ve been here. All we want is answers and we want our principal back. They did it without any justification.” The protest began around 8:15 a.m. as the students left their first period class. They gathered in front of the school on Person Avenue.”We want answers about why Ms. Smith is not here any longer,” said junior Alexus Jones. “She was our guardian and we want her back.” (The Commercial Appeal)

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


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