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

Want to Run for Your Local School Board? New Database Makes It Easy
Learning how to run for a seat on your local school board just got simpler. A complete database of the more than 80,000 elective school board positions across 13,090 districts in all 50 states is now accessible online at, so anyone can search by state or address to find out when school board seats will be up for election, who is eligible to run, and where and when to file paperwork to launch a campaign. (The 74)

Bill Gates’ Education Priorities Reflect His Respect for the Field
In the last 17 years, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has spent $3.4 billion dollars to improve public education. Among other things, Gates helped develop the Common Core standards, drove the science of teacher evaluation in partnership with teachers unions in a handful of key school districts, supported the growth of charter schools and helped several large urban districts break up some large, underperforming high schools into smaller ones. (Education Post)

LA charter is closing the ‘savvy gap’ for poor and immigrant students through high school internships
High school seniors at Academia Avance, an independent public charter school in northeast Los Angeles, show up to school looking like they’re headed to work. That’s because they are. Three days a week, all students in the senior class head off to internships where they are mentored by medical, legal, and business professionals.“Privileged kids grow up being exposed to college and professional life or have parents that have the connections that their children can take advantage of, but not these kids,” said Ricardo Mireles, executive director of Academia Avance. (LA School Report)

Georgia Cyber Academy gains popularity
For cancer survivor Rylee Buchanan, attending a traditional “brick-and-mortar” school wasn’t an option. Thanks to technology and an innovative approach to learning, she’s able to get a public school education from the comfort of her own home. Rylee, 14, is one of 14,000 students enrolled in Georgia Cyber Academy, a free, online, public charter school that’s gotten so popular, there’s currently a waiting list. Rylee remembers well her first-grade year at Holly Springs Elementary in Cherokee County. That was the year she learned she had a tumor on her optic nerve. (CBC46)

New Jersey
Newark charter school touted by Christie weeks ago abruptly announces closure
NEWARK — A charter school that opened its doors to great fanfare in August with Gov. Chris Christie in attendance will shutter at the end of the school year. M.E.T.S. Charter School opened to 230 students in grades 9-12, promising to offer robotics, engineering and rigorous math courses. But letters posted to the school’s website Wednesday night announced the closure of the Newark campus in June. (NJ Advance Media)

New Mexico
APS School Choice Fair is Thursday
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque Public Schools will host its annual School Choice Fair from 4:30-7 p.m. Thursday at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Students and families are encouraged to attend the fair to learn more about what APS has to offer. Representatives from many of our elementary, middle and high schools as well as magnet and charter schools will be on hand to provide more information and answer questions. (Albuquerque Journal)

New York
New York City inches towards a diversity plan for middle schools in a segregated Brooklyn district
After sustained pressure from advocates and elected officials, the New York City education department is taking steps towards a plan to promote diversity in middle schools across an entire district — which would make it one of the most far-reaching integration efforts under Mayor Bill de Blasio to date. In the coming months, the department will launch a community-input process to gather ideas about how to create such a system in Brooklyn’s District 15, where the middle schools are sharply segregated by race and class. (Chalkbeat)

Black, disabled students disproportionately suspended in Virginia, report says
Black students in Virginia were suspended about four times as much as Hispanic and white students in 2015-16, according to a report released Tuesday. In total, Virginia schools issued more than 131,500 out-of-school suspensions during the 2015-16 school year, according to the report from the Legal Aid Justice Center, a Virginia-based organization that works to fight injustice. The out-of-school suspensions were given to about 70,000 students, meaning the average student who was suspended received about two suspensions in 2015-16. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

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


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