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

TFA, Alternative Programs Marginally Better Than Traditional Teacher Prep, Study Finds
Students whose teachers were trained in alternative teacher preparation programs such as Teach For America tend to perform slightly better academically than students whose teachers had traditional teacher training, according to a recent meta-analysis. The study aims to put to rest a long-held debate about whether alternative route teacher training programs, which tend to provide a quick path to the classroom for people who already have a bachelor’s degree, can sufficiently prepare new educators. About 20 percent of new teachers enter through alternative programs, according to a 2016 report from the Education Commission of the States. Traditional teacher preparation programs, on the other hand, generally serve undergraduate students and culminate in a bachelor’s degree or teaching credential. (Some master’s degree programs also have a certification component.) (Education Week)

Jeb Bush Calls for ‘New Coalitions of the Willing’ to Back Education Reform in Era of Intense Divisiveness
Bipartisanship is essential to advancing education reform efforts, former Florida governor Jeb Bush said Thursday, even if it’s harder and harder to come by these days. “Education should not be a partisan issue. There are enough partisan things we can fight over … We need to have broader coalitions, broad left-right coalitions, and that’s been tattered,” Bush said at the annual summit of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, the organization he founded a decade ago. (The 74)

Why are charter schools more popular in some states than others?
The August release of the latest Education Next poll set the education-reform field ablaze, for it showed a sizable and worrying decline in support for charter schools. We wonks weighed in with our best guesses about what might explain this unexpected trend. Among the factors raised: the overall political environment as we passed from the Obama Era to the Age of Trump, which might chill support for charters on the left; charter scandals and lackluster performance, at least in some states; and the movement’s own obsession with ultra-progressive causes, which might impede support on the right. If only we could improve charter quality, some advocates claimed, we’d see our poll numbers turn around. Or perhaps, others wondered, we need to widen the base of charter support by expanding charters into the affluent suburbs. (Fordham)

Wilmington residents voice concern over Christina school consolidation proposal
Christina School District parents raised concerns about school consolidation at a public meeting with district officials and Gov. John Carney Wednesday. The Carney administration is working on a plan to increase educational opportunities for students in Wilmington.The draft agreement calls for consolidating four elementary schools and one middle school into two. The new K-through-eight schools would be housed in what’s now Bayard Middle School and Bancroft Elementary Schools. (Delaware Public Radio)

Furloughed in Paradise: My Journey From Teacher to Community Advocate in Hawaii
Thousands of miles from any continent is a cluster of islands, set in a crystal blue sea, beneath a sky of flawless serenity. It’s not just a land of unparalleled beauty. It’s the place I’m proud to call home. It’s also a place with unique educational opportunities and challenges. (Education Post)

Baltimore school board considering closing more city schools
The Baltimore school system has recommended closing four more city schools, in addition to two others previously announced, because of declining enrollment and poor academic performance. The new schools targeted for closure at the end of the academic year are Coldstream Park Elementary/Middle School and Friendship Academy of Engineering and Technology in Northeast Baltimore, Knowledge and Success Academy in Southwest Baltimore and William Pinderhughes Elementary/Middle School in West Baltimore. (The Baltimore Sun)

New Mexico
Deming Intermediate teacher the only New Mexico educator to win a Milken Award this year
DEMING – The students of Deming Intermediate School, and one teacher in particular, got a big surprise on Thursday morning. The event had been publicized simply as a visit by New Mexico Education Secretary-designate Christopher Ruszkowski, to congratulate students and faculty at Deming Intermediate School for improved student achievements. Deming Public Schools cabinet officials were present along with Superintendent Arsenio Romero, members of the school board, the mayors of Deming and Columbus, and city and county officials. The Superintendent and the Secretary both gave speeches praising students and teachers for recent gains in student and school evaluations. (Deming Headlight)

New York
Teacher tenure case morphs into referendum on 2015’s education-focused legislative session
A 40-month-old lawsuit seeking to invalidate New York’s teacher tenure laws became a referendum Thursday on a legislative session many education reformers would prefer to forget. The crux of the renewed debate — heard by a federal appeals court in Brooklyn — was whether the 2015 state legislative session had tweaked teacher protection rules enough to make the lawsuit irrelevant. (Politico)

Washington D.C.
Why Issues At Ballou Matter For DCPS — And Public Education
The prospect that a D.C. high school ignored widespread student absenteeism even as it touted a 100 percent college acceptance rate among graduates may be a cautionary tale for education systems across the country. The sudden success at Ballou High School fed a feel-good story line that many school officials and administrators quickly endorsed. But beyond the graduation day photo ops and headlines last spring, more than half the students at Ballou had racked up at least 60 unexcused absences during the school year. (WAMU)

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


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