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

Another School Shooting—But Who’s Counting?
A high-school shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday afternoon has left 17 people dead and numerous others injured, according to officials. The suspect, a 19-year-old former student named Nikolas Cruz who was expelled for unspecified disciplinary reasons, is in custody, according to officials. As details of the attack emerge, news organizations are engaging in a grim tradition: tallying the massacre on an ever-growing list of school shootings in the U.S., and of mass shootings more generally. The Daily Beast, for example, on Wednesday cited data from Everytown, the gun-control advocacy group, which called it the 59th shooting at or near schools this academic year. (The Atlantic)

Our Stories, Our Struggles, Our Strengths
America is experiencing a diverse, cultural shift and the teacher workforce is lagging behind: While Latino students make up 25 percent of the U.S. student population, and that percentage is growing rapidly, just 8 percent of the nation’s teachers identify as Latino. And although greater numbers of Latino teachers are entering the classroom, they, like other teachers of color, are leaving the profession at higher rates than their White peers. (The Education Trust)

Who’s Missing From America’s Colleges? Rural High School Graduates
When Dustin Gordon’s high school invited juniors and seniors to meet with recruiters from colleges and universities, a handful of students showed up. A few were serious about the prospect of continuing their educations, he said. “But I think some of them went just to get out of class.” In his sparsely settled community in the agricultural countryside of southern Iowa, “there’s just no motivation for people to go” to college, says Gordon, who’s now a senior at the University of Iowa. (NPR)

Attorney general wants $45 million more for at-risk kids
Attorney General Matt Denn is urging lawmakers to allocate an additional $45 million to help children and teenagers, primarily those who come from low-income households, have criminal histories or are fighting drug addiction. Appearing before the Joint Finance Committee Wednesday, Mr. Denn pushed for a plan developed by a coalition of nonprofits and government agencies that allocates over four years $55 million in unforeseen revenue they say will better prepare Delaware youths for the future. (Delaware State News)

Florida Shooting: Nikolas Cruz Is Charged With 17 Counts of Murder
The authorities on Thursday charged a 19-year-old man who is suspected of gunning down students and adults at his former high school with 17 counts of premeditated murder. The suspect, Nikolas Cruz, was booked into jail in Broward County. He had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, a small, bucolic city about an hour north of Miami, which on Wednesday became the site of one of the deadliest shootings in modern United States history, adding to the growing toll of mass killings on school grounds. (The New York Times)

Waialua teacher among finalists in contest for $1 million
Waialua High School’s Glenn Lee, who kicked off Hawaii’s robotics movement, is the only American to reach the top 10 as a finalist out of 30,000 entries in the $1 million Global Teacher Prize competition. The London-based Varkey Foundation created the award four years ago to elevate the role of teachers in society with the kind of purse that typically goes to movie stars and top athletes. Philanthropist Bill Gates announced the 10 finalists Tuesday. (Star Advertiser)

Educators take ‘Black Lives Matter’ message into Baltimore schools
Diamonte Brown stood at the front of Western High School’s auditorium wearing a shirt that read, “Black lives matter at school.” The English teacher told the few dozen students, teachers and community advocates gathered there that Baltimore students need to learn from a curriculum based on black empowerment — one that expands on narratives of black history before 1600 and also reflects the experiences of a student body that is roughly 80 percent African-American. (The Baltimore Sun)

New Jersey
No tests, no homework, no grades … no problem at unschools
Sapphire Srigley, now 16, was halfway through the ninth grade at Ewing High School in central New Jersey when she realized she wasn’t cut out for “the social pressures and academic stress” of public education. “English pushed it over the edge — they were constantly teaching things that were not pertinent to literature and that took away from what I was really interested in, which was French,” said Sapphire. So she was thrilled to find a radical alternative: An unconventional program called the Bucks Learning Cooperative run out of an old white schoolhouse in Langhorne where a teen’s interests set the curriculum. (The Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News)

New Mexico
Efforts by teachers union mystifying
The Albuquerque Teachers Federation (ATF), New Mexico’s largest teachers union and affiliate of AFT NM, constantly beats the drum for higher teacher pay. This is what any good union does for its members. Included as part of “What We Stand For,” ATF writes, “Educators need compensation comparable to others with similar education and experience levels.” Teachers work hard and deserve better pay. I fully agree. As a former union teacher and the child of a lifelong ATF member, I’m on board. (Albuquerque Journal)

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


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