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

Election Day 2017: 8 Important Education Races to Watch Tuesday
After last year’s wild Election Day, including nearly two dozen races and ballot questions that centered on education, Election Day 2017 is set to be a significantly sleepier Tuesday. That said, schools and students have come up in some of the state and local-level races.  (The 74)

Today’s education system is perfectly designed for no one
In 2013, Harvard faculty member (and high school dropout) L. Todd Rose made the case that we should abandon the notion of the average student. His TEDx talk, “The Myth of the Average,” explained that the United States Air Force used to build cockpits based on the “average pilot,” a profile made up of 10 different body measurements calculated from their 4,000 pilots. The common belief was that a cockpit built for the average pilot would work well for any pilot. They were wrong — and because of that, highly trained pilots and sophisticated fighter jets were not meeting expectations. (The Hill)

Competition Is Ruining Childhood. The Kids Should Fight Back.
Like the crack of a starting pistol, November begins the official college application season. But for students, this race started long ago. Many of today’s kids have lived their entire lives, from sunup until midnight, in a fierce tournament with their peers. (I was one of them. A decade after graduation, I still can’t think of a period when I’ve worked harder than in high school.) From kindergarten to 12th grade, schools brag about how “competitive” they are. That means it’s not enough for students to do their best. Whether in the classroom, on the athletic field or at home on the computer, they must always be better. Youth has become a debilitating endurance test. (The New York Times)

Politicians Aren’t Talking About the Biggest Challenge to the Labor Market
Whenever Nigel Cameron gets into an Uber or Lyft, he says to the driver, “You do realize you’re just cannon fodder here, right?” Cameron, the president and CEO of the Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies (C-PET), isn’t trying to be rude—he’s trying to prepare them for an imminent reality. Jobs as drivers are among those at risk of becoming obsolete because of automation, and the ridesharing sector could be one of the first industries to see that evolution take place. Two years ago, Uber announced that it was partnering with researchers at Carnegie Mellon University to create the Advanced Technologies Group Center. Since then, the company’s self-driving engineering team has, like Google and Apple, been working hard to make driverless cars a reality. (The Atlantic)

New advocacy group aims to put kids first in educational policy
For David Miyashiro the roots of his position at the helm of HawaiiKidsCAN trace back to his time teaching special-education students at Wahiawa Middle School, a job he loved. “It was everything I thought it would be, seeing kids blossom and grow when they felt empowered and supported,” said Miya­shiro, who was with Teach for America. Then came Furlough Fridays in 2009, when public schools across Hawaii were shut down one day a week to save the state money. (Honolulu Star Adviser)

New Jersey
2017 N.J. election guide: Where the candidates stand on education
Whoever wins next Tuesday’s election to succeed Chris Christie as New Jersey’s governor will help shape education in a state with 1.3 million students in 590 public school districts — as well as 33 public colleges.  The new administration will also help determine what’s in store for the state’s oft-debated school funding formula, as well as the future of charter school expansion, standardized testing, and graduation requirements — all controversial topics during Christie’s tenure. (NJ Advance Media)

New York
Thousands of City Children Not Getting Special Education Help
Tens of thousands of New York City public school children did not receive mandated special education services last year, the education department said in its annual report to the City Council on Wednesday, offering further evidence that eligible children are not getting the education the city is obligated to provide. There are nearly 200,000 students in the city school system with individualized education plans, which means that they are supposed to get services for difficulties like speech impairments, emotional disturbance or learning disabilities. But many thousands of the children each year are not having their needs met. (The New York Times)

From the classroom to the campaign trail: Candidates push education agenda
HENRICO, Va. — As a history and civics teacher in suburban Richmond, Schuyler VanValkenburg has seen his class sizes climb over the years. When he began teaching more than a decade ago, he averaged 25 students in a class. Now it’s 30. And it even reached 35 once. “We’re seeing a huge assault on public schools,” said VanValkenburg, 35, who teaches at Glen Allen High School. “Public schools are the main way you can create opportunity for people . . . and the main way to have a thriving locality and state.” (The Washington Post)

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


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