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

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

News and Analysis

Governors, State Lawmakers Roll Out School Choice Proposals

As the Trump administration appears poised to make school choice the centerpiece of its education agenda, Republican-led legislatures in Arkansas, Arizona, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas, and elsewhere are rolling out charter school and voucher bills in what could be a more receptive environment.​ ​U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos—now the nation’s most visible school choice advocate—takes the helm at a time when Republicans control the governor’s house or the state legislature in 44 states and have full control of the executive and legislative branches in 25 states.​ (Education Week)​

What If Every Struggling Student Had a Tutor? It Won’t Be Cheap, but It Might Be Worth It
When a student is struggling, what better way to help than by providing a personalized tutor? Families of means can afford this, but those less well-off can’t. And, it would seem, neither can their schools.​ ​Instead, teachers’ jobs can be incredibly challenging, and low-performing students can stay trapped at the bottom.​ ​“Imagine being a teacher in a classroom that has 25, 30, even 35 kids, and some of the kids are at a ninth-grade or 10th-grade math level, and other kids are a fourth- or fifth-grade math level,” said Jonathan Guryan, a professor at Northwestern University. “From the standpoint of a teacher trying to teach kids who are at such different levels of math knowledge — it just makes the job of being a classroom teacher very difficult.”​ ​(The 74)​

Did Betsy DeVos Make You Want To Run For School Board?
Early one morning, the week before Betsy DeVos’ confirmation as education secretary, 23-year-old Allison Kruk was dropping her boyfriend off at the Philadelphia airport when she decided to swing by the office of her U.S. senator and give him a piece of her mind.​ ​Kruk was a Hillary Clinton supporter, and the nomination of DeVos “just felt like a low blow,” she says. “I had been calling and emailing and writing letters about how I thought she was incredibly incompetent, regardless of your position on school choice.”​ (NPR)​

Public schools step up fight to win back charter students

When Quakertown Community School Superintendent Bill Harner realized his district was shelling out $250,000 a year in tuition reimbursements for 17 students studying dance at a performing arts charter in nearby Allentown, he came up with a battle plan.​ ​The Upper Bucks district, he decided, would beat the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts at its own game.​ (Philly.com​)

​North Carolina
New Wake charter school helping teen parents succeed in class

RALEIGH ​-​Jayda Hunter isn’t going to school just for herself as she works to graduate this year from Central Wake High School in Southeast Raleigh.​ ​The 16-year-old Raleigh mother is thinking of her 2-year-old daughter, Alana, when she plows through one course after another to get her diploma and eventually become a nurse. Hunter is working hard to overcome the obstacles that teenage parents face so she and her daughter can have a brighter future.​ ​“Going to school is just for her,” Hunter said. “…I’m just trying my best to reach my goal so everything can be better for her.”​ (The News & Observer) ​

​Washington D.C.
The Glue Helping At-Risk Students Stick With School

The percentage of students at Washington, D.C., public schools who graduate from high school in four years is at an all-time high. But at 69 percent, the district’s graduation rate is well below the national average, which is north of 80 percent.​ ​So in a move that mirrors a broader national conversation about how to help kids who have more than a few obstacles in front of them succeed, the district this year put what it’s calling “pathway coordinators” into its schools to make sure kids at risk of dropping out get a diploma—and to help students who’ve gotten off track rebound.​ ​(The Atlantic​)​


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