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

National School Choice Week: Celebrating Educational Options — and the Pursuit of Happiness — for Every Parent and Student
When you think about school choice, what comes to mind? Is it achievement gains, graduation rates, or efforts to make systems more responsive to the needs of parents? Is it policy, programs, or accountability? If you attend an education conference or panel discussion, you hear a lot about these things — and they are important. What you don’t hear about enough is happiness. Throughout 2017, I heard a lot about happiness during my travels to 25 states meeting with parents, educators, and students. These are the very people who help to make National School Choice Week so impactful every year. (The 74)

How to Rile Up Education Debates With One Word
A new poll by the pro-voucher group American Federation for Children is meant to illustrate Americans’ support for school choice. But it also offers some insight into how advocates choose to talk about hot-button education issues. Something striking was buried in the polling memo: Voters said they narrowly opposed school vouchers, 47 to 49 percent, even though similar approaches like “education saving accounts” and “scholarship tax credits” garnered much more support. (The Atlantic)

Watch: A Parent’s Campaign to Break Down Language Barriers for ELL Families
When Teresa Garcia moved to suburban Seattle, she struggled to communicate with her children’s teachers, to help her children with homework assignments, and to understand the notes that came home in their backpacks. Garcia, who was still learning English, felt like she was failing her daughter, who needed specialized services. She set out on a campaign to ensure that other English-as-second-language families in the Federal Way, Wash., schools did not feel as hopeless as she once did. (Education Week)

Lawsuit could bulldoze the political minefield of school funding: Albright
Systemic reform of Delaware’s education system has long been an un-crossable political minefield. The road to fundamentally better schools is littered well-intentioned reform plans from task forces, advocates and public officials that ultimately went nowhere. This week, the ACLU and the NAACP announced their bold attempt to bulldoze the political obstacles that have blocked progress. They are doing what many have long threatened: Filing a lawsuit that argues Delaware’s school funding system is so unfair to disadvantaged students that it violates the state constitution. (Delaware Online)

Like predecessors, Deal lets Georgia’s scorned school formula persist
When Georgia leaders wrote a groundbreaking formula in 1985 to change the way the state subsidizes public schools, most students were writing term papers on typewriters and only dreamed of using a “videophone,” like the one in the futuristic cartoon show called “The Jetsons.” More than three decades later, tablets and cellphones are commonplace in schools. Yet Georgia still relies on the Quality Basic Education formula, an aging rubric that distributes more than $9 billion to them. And some say the QBE is so outdated that it robs school systems of flexibility while lavishing money on some districts that don’t need the cash so sorely. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

New Mexico
Pre-K solutions: How other states did it
As other states and communities across the country expand preschool programs, they have run into a familiar stumbling block: How does a state expand education to younger children without losing federal Head Start dollars or hurting the business model of private child care providers? Oregon, Georgia and Washington, D.C. all have found a way to combine state and federal funding into the same classrooms. Ditto for Oklahoma. Here’s how two states addressed the issues: (Santa Fe New Mexican)

Hopson weighs charters as school turnaround tool for Shelby County Schools
Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson has opened a crack in the door to charter school partnerships that might help his district avoid losing more schools to Tennessee’s turnaround district. Hopson emailed his principals this week to clarify his recent comments to the editorial board of The Commercial Appeal about possibly recruiting charter organizations for turnaround work. The report’s original headline read: “Hopson says he’s willing to hand schools over to charters, if they have a plan for improvement.” (Chalkbeat)

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


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