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

The Trump Administration’s Slow But Steady Undoing of the Department of Education
Nearly one year ago, on November 23, 2016, then-President-elect Donald Trump announced that he would nominate Betsy DeVos, a pay-for-play billionaire with no experience working in public schools, to be his secretary of education. This move signaled to students, parents, educators, and public school advocates that Trump intended to make good on his promise to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education. During his 2016 campaign, Trump rarely mentioned education except to call repeatedly to eliminate the department or to chastise urban public schools and districts. Once in office, he quickly nominated DeVos to turn his campaign rallying cry into a reality. (CAP)

Betsy DeVos on Preparing Youth for Future Jobs
Education is consistently a top concern of executives at The Wall Street Journal’s annual CEO Council gatherings. Preparing youth for the jobs of today, as well as the ever-evolving workplace of tomorrow, is a challenge that many business leaders think we aren’t meeting. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke with Matt Murray, the Journal’s executive editor, about how American education can better rise to that challenge and the role of the federal government in making it happen. Here are edited excerpts of their conversation. (The Wall Street Journal)

What 150 Years of Education Statistics Say About Schools Today
Long before there was an independent federal education department—before many states had school systems, in fact—there was a federal education statistics agency. Today, the National Center for Education Statistics celebrates its 150th anniversary (albeit without a permanent commissioner in place). Though the agency remains independent of the Education Department, its work has laid a bedrock for education policy in the United States in areas from large-scale testing, to tracking students over time, to using surveys and local administrative data to understand changes in schools. (Education Week)

Schools adept at shoring up security at any hint of danger
It’s a familiar scenario: A school official, hearing about a potential danger that’s too close for comfort, locks down the building. A nearby bank may have been robbed. Officers might be serving a warrant in the neighborhood. There are reports of shots fired in the area. For a northern California elementary school, the quick action is credited with thwarting greater disaster Tuesday when a gunman on a deadly rampage was kept from walking through the school’s doors. (Yahoo)

New Jersey
Almost 10 percent of all students attend “apartheid schools,” where 99 percent or more of the student body is nonwhite. The unflattering ranking has grown all too familiar: New Jersey is home to some of the most segregated public schools in the country. The latest statistics come courtesy of report released last week by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, an organization that has tracked school segregation nationwide for decades and consistently found New Jersey in the bottom 10. (NJ Spotlight)

New York
Success Academy rips de Blasio for ‘discriminating’ against charter students in six-figure ad campaign
Success Academy has launched a six-figure ad campaign slamming Mayor de Blasio for “discriminating” against charter students — and it’s not ruling out taking that message on the road. The charter network, helmed by longtime de Blasio foe Eva Moskowitz, says the city won’t provide space for more than 700 of its students who are aging out of elementary schools and need a space to attend middle school — even though the charter network believes there are enough empty desks in traditional public schools to serve those kids. (NY Daily Post)

Philadelphia School Reform Commission Votes to Abolish Itself After 16 Years
Members of Philadelphia’s state-sanctioned School Reform Commission — a controversial five-member panel that has governed the city’s public schools in lieu of a school board for the past 16 years — moved to abolish that body in a historic vote on Thursday, triggering both exultation and concern from local education observers. (The 74)

South Carolina
Decades-old education funding lawsuit ended by South Carolina Supreme Court
COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Supreme Court has closed a nearly quarter-century long fight for adequate education funding, three years after ordering state legislators to improve opportunities for poor, rural children. The 3-2 decision releases lawmakers from the high court’s oversight, ending their requirement to overhaul the system with more than 766,000 students. (The Post & Courier)

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


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