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

Are States Changing Course on Teacher Evaluation?
Bolstered by new research and federal incentives, experts decided about a decade ago that better teacher evaluation was the path to better student achievement. A flood of states started toughening their teacher-evaluation systems, and many of them did it by incorporating student-test scores into educators’ ratings. And while those policies are still in place in a majority of states, there are signs the tide is turning: Over the past two years, a handful of states have begun reversing mandates on using student-growth measures—and standardized-test scores, in particular—to gauge teacher quality. (Education Week)

How a powerful senator schooled Betsy DeVos
Several months ago, Sen. Lamar Alexander phoned Education Secretary Betsy DeVos with a message: Back off. Alexander, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, was furious that a top DeVos aide was circumventing a new law aimed at reducing the federal government’s role in K-12 education. He contended that the agency was out of bounds by challenging state officials, for instance, about whether they were setting sufficiently ambitious goals for students. (Politico)

Poor Girls Are Leaving Their Brothers Behind
MERCED, California—Nita Vue’s parents, refugees from Laos, wanted all nine of their children go to college. But Nita, now 20, is the only one of her brothers and sisters who is going to get a degree. A few of her sisters began college, and one nearly completed nursing school, she told me. Her brothers were less interested. “The way I grew up, the girls were more into schooling,” she said. “Women tended to have higher expectations than men did.” (The Atlantic)

U.S. ranks No. 13 in new collaborative problem-solving test
The United States may be known for its rugged individualism. But it turns out American teens are, surprisingly, much better at group collaboration than at individual academic work. That’s according to a new, unusual version of the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, which tested collaborative problem-solving skills among 15-year-olds in more than 50 countries and regions around the world in 2015. Those results were released last week. (The Hechinger Report)

Gov. Carney meets with Christina families ahead of Wednesday public meeting
Gov. John Carney on Wednesday will hold a public meeting on plans to re-purpose schools in Wilmington, give school leaders and teachers more authority, and raise achievement levels for Christina School District students living in the city.  Carney has been knocking on doors in Wilmington to personally invite families to the event, which will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at Stubbs Elementary School. “Hello, it’s your governor,” he told families living near Pulaski Elementary School Monday night. He was armed with fliers about the event.  One woman, Jamie Mitchell, answered the door and talked to Carney about the upcoming meeting. Of her 24 grandchildren, seven go to Pulaski, she said.  (Delaware Online)

Hawaii Has Fewer Certified Teachers This Year
Teacher positions in Hawaii’s public schools are filled by fewer certified teachers this year than last, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Hawaii Department of Education. The latest figures show that while the number of instructors who’ve fulfilled a state-approved teacher education program is slightly up this year, the percentage of certified teachers in relation to total teaching positions statewide fell slightly to 92 percent from 93 percent the year before. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

New Jersey
State denies application for all-boys charter school in Atlantic City
ATLANTIC CITY — A South Jersey proposal for an all-boys charter school, which would have been the first of its kind in New Jersey, was denied by the state Department of Education earlier this month. The Frederick Douglass Charter School for Boys, the brainchild of Atlantic City teacher Ricardo Belgrave, was one of 17 charter school proposals up for approval in the state of New Jersey this year. (Press of Atlantic City)

New York
No moratorium on Buffalo charter schools, state says
A moratorium on charter schools in Buffalo won’t happen, but don’t expect the issue to go away. Both the state Education Department and the State University of New York nixed the request from the Buffalo Board of Education, which asked the state in September to slow down the expansion of charters across the city. The two are the authorizing entities for charters in New York State. “The SUNY Board of Trustees does not have the authority to institute a moratorium on charter schools in the City of Buffalo,” H. Carl McCall, chairman of the SUNY Board of Trustees, said in a letter to the School Board. (The Buffalo News)

Environmental Charter School at Frick Park eyes expansion
Another generation of students may again walk through the halls of the old Rogers school building in Garfield. As early as next month, Environmental Charter School at Frick Park could sign a lease with the developer that now owns the largely gutted former Pittsburgh Public school, with plans to begin construction in April. (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

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


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