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

The ‘A‘ Word: Accountability — The Dirty Word of Today’s Education Reform
Accountability. On its surface, the word simply means a willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions. Accountability as applied to schools, however, has become so twisted and polarizing that it is now the equivalent of a dirty word. To mention it is to risk being met with stern, disapproving looks and accusations of being anti-teacher and a corporate raider looking to profit off the backs of kids. What? How did we get here? (The 74)

How the Kochs are trying to shake up public schools, one state at a time
With school choice efforts stalled in Washington, the billionaire Koch brothers’ network is engaged in state-by-state battles with teachers’ unions, politicians and parent groups to push for public funding of private and charter schools. One of the newest campaigns is the Libre Initiative, a grassroots drive targeting Hispanic families in 11 states so far, under the umbrella of the Charles and David Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, a powerful conservative and libertarian advocacy group. (Politico)

More Than 1 Million K-12 Students Are Homeless. What One District Is Doing About It
With more than 4,000 homeless students in its schools last year, educators in the Dallas district decided they needed to try something new, especially to support the most extreme cases—students living in cars, parks, or abandoned buildings. The district is teaming up with After8toEducate, a local nonprofit, to turn one of its unused elementary schools into a 35-bed shelter and a 24-hour drop-in center that would provide homeless students with wraparound services, such as mental health counseling, primary medical care, and tutoring. (Education Week)

Betsy DeVos’s Schedule Shows Focus on Religious and Nontraditional Schools
WASHINGTON — For years, Betsy DeVos traveled the country — and opened her checkbook — as she worked as a conservative advocate to promote the expansion of voucher programs that allow parents to use taxpayer funds to send their children to private and religious schools. A detailed look at the first six months of Ms. DeVos’s tenure as the secretary of education — based on a 326-page calendar tracking her daily meetings — demonstrates that she continues to focus on those programs as well as on charter schools. (The New York Times)

School board members, advocates mull over Einstein Charter’s ‘egregious’ transportation issues
The Einstein Charter School network received heavy criticism Thursday afternoon (Oct. 26) during an Orleans Parish School Board committee meeting, where education advocates and residents gathered more than a month after the network fell out of “good standing” with OPSB once the district learned school buses “were not being advertised or provided” to families of Einstein’s schools. (The Times Picayune)

New York
NYC Details First Districtwide School Diversity Plan
New York City is forging ahead with its first effort to diversify elementary schools in an entire community district by overhauling admissions to give priority for seats to disadvantaged children. City officials spelled out the updated plan Thursday for District 1, which covers Manhattan’s Lower East Side and East Village. The change marks the city’s first effort to diversify elementary schools in one of 32 districts. In the past, a small group of individual schools set aside seats for children in poverty or facing other challenges.

First of two hearings on Hampton’s Confederate-named schools is Thursday
For a second time in about a year and a half, the Hampton School Board will hold two public hearings after requests were made to rename Davis Middle School and the Campus at Lee. The first hearing will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Syms Middle School, with the second to follow at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at Hampton High School. Two groups — the Hampton Branch of the NAACP and the Peninsula chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference — requested in August that the schools be renamed. Those requests came after white nationalists and counter-protesters clashed in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, which ignited a national conversation about Confederate monuments. (Daily Press)

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


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