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

As DeVos Approves Education Plans, She Finds Skeptics in G.O.P. Governors
The majority of states now have the green light from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to begin implementing a sweeping federal law passed in 2015 to replace the much-maligned No Child Left Behind law. But state and federal education policymakers are running into a surprising source of opposition: governors. (The New York Times)

Trump’s proposed education budget: more for school choice, less for teacher training
In a similar proposal to last year, the Trump administration said Monday that it wants to spend more federal dollars on a school choice program — which includes private school vouchers — and less on after-school initiatives and teacher training. Last year, the administration’s budget proposal was largely ignored, and many see this year’s as likely to suffer a similar fate. The plan doubles down on the administration and its Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s belief that families should be able to use public money set aside for education to attend any school: public, private, charter, or virtual. It also highlights a key tension for DeVos, who praised the budget but has been sharply critical of past federally driven policy changes. (Chalkbeat)

DC graduation scandal shows how chronic absenteeism threatens America’s schools
Each year in the United States, approximately 5 to 7.5 million students in the nation’s K-12 schools miss a month or more of school. That means 150 to 225 million instructional days are lost every school year. The problem is more pronounced in low-income urban communities throughout the country. In elementary school, for example, students who live in poverty were found to be as much as five times more likely to be chronically absent than their advantaged peers. (The Conversation)

Inside The Virtual Schools Lobby: ‘I Trust Parents’
A free day at the aquarium! For Marcey Morse, a mother of two, it sounded pretty good. It was the fall of 2016, and Morse had received an email offering tickets, along with a warning about her children’s education. At that time, Morse’s two kids were enrolled in an online, or “virtual,” school called the Georgia Cyber Academy, run by a company called K12 Inc. About 275,000 students around the country attend these online public charter schools, run by for-profit companies, at taxpayers’ expense. (NPR)

Low-performing school rebounds with academic rigor, investment in teachers
Laurel is a rough little rural town. The municipality of 4,000 residents near Delaware’s southwestern tip is surrounded by watermelon farms and chicken houses. There’s no other industry in town to speak of, and the nondescript Main Street is mostly deserted at noontime on weekdays. So it’s no surprise that more than half of Laurel School District’s nearly 2,500 students live in poverty. Superintendent Shawn Larrimore, who took over in 2015, was once one of them. (WHYY)

New Mexico
Effort to end ‘social promotion’ stalls again
On a vote that cut against traditional party positions, Democratic members of a House committee voted today to table a Republican-backed bill increasing New Mexico minimum teacher pay levels. The legislation divided the state’s two largest teachers unions, and critics argued it represented an unfunded mandate that could lead to disillusionment among veteran educators. (Albuquerque Journal)

Why one Philly elementary school is paying kids not to fight
Mikel Lindsay is acutely aware what the world thinks of him — a 14-year-old attending a public school in a particularly tough corner of Philadelphia. “People look at me and say, ‘You should be fighting,’” said Lindsay, an eighth grader at Mitchell Elementary at 55th Street and Kingsessing Avenue. But that’s not him, Lindsay said. And this year, he’s proving it. He’s part of an eighth-grade class whose principal is attempting an unusual and, some would say, audacious experiment: If Mikel and his 32 classmates make it to graduation with no physical altercations, each gets a $100 bill. (The Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News)

South Carolina
South Carolina’s teacher shortage nears crisis, but it’s not all about money
At a June 2017 Berkeley County School Board meeting, a young history teacher at Summerville’s Cane Bay High School approached the podium in a dress shirt and tie and boldly announced his career in education was over. “I will not be returning to the classroom,” Jeremy Cantrill told the school board, reading from a typed speech he had prepared and practiced at home. “After four years, I no longer have the motivation or willpower to teach.” (The Post & Courier)

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


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