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

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

News and Analysis

Michelle Obama to Young Americans: Empower Yourselves with Education​

Michelle Obama used her final speech as first lady on Friday to address young​ ​Americans, with a message that they belong and are important to the country.​ ​Fighting back tears throughout her 20 minutes at the podium, she shared with the crowd what she called her “simple” last message to the country: “Young people, don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourselves with a good education, then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise.” (Newsweek​)

Democrats Seek Delay for Betsy DeVos’ Confirmation Hearing Over Ethics Review
Democrats want to push back a confirmation hearing for President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, until her paperwork detailing any potential conflicts of interest has been cleared by the congressional Office of Government Ethics.​ (Education Week)​

Flexible seating helps students wiggle while they work
Students in Sheremy Haas’s classroom don’t work in rows of desks with chairs. Many don’t sit in chairs at all.​ ​The first-grade Harvey Dunn Elementary School teacher encourages choice in where her students sit. Some find cushions on the floor. Others sit on yoga balls or wobble chairs, hard plastic stools shaped like empty spools of thread that tip gently side to side and require both feet to stay firmly planted on the ground.​ (Argus Leader)​

New York

City to Close or Merge 9 Schools That Were in Support Program
The city’s Education Department plans to close or merge nine schools next year that are part of its high-profile turnaround initiative, among a group of 22 schools to be closed or merged, according to a document obtained by The New York Times.​ (The New York Times​)

He seeks more black men to teach in Philly and beyond​ ​
Sharif El-Mekki vividly recalls every black male teacher who ever taught him: two in elementary school, two in high school.​ ​”They were transformative figures in my life,” said El-Mekki, a veteran Philadelphia educator.​ ​For 2017, El-Mekki has a goal to organize 1,000 black men to show up for the first day of school, encouraging city youths to be their best​. ​(Philly.com)


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