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

These 7 Black Educators Shaped America
Black teachers have influenced countless students over the years, and America wouldn’t be what it is without them. As we celebrate Black History Month, let’s highlight some of the greatest Black educators to enter America’s classrooms. (Education Post)

More US teens are rejecting ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ gender identities, a study finds
More teenagers are identifying themselves with nontraditional gender labels such as transgender or gender-fluid, according to a new study. The research, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, found that almost 3% of Minnesota teens did not identify with traditional gender labels such as “boy” or “girl.” That number is higher than researchers expected. A UCLA study from a year ago estimated that 0.7% of teens identified as transgender. (CNN)

Want to Make Gifted Education More Equitable? First, Be Aware of the Political Winds That Drove (and Derailed) Innovative Policies in These States
A bill that could have helped close the access gap to gifted education programs stalled out in the Washington state legislature Tuesday night, potentially ending for this legislative term a measure that advocates call “the absolute right thing to do.” The bill would have required universal screening for gifted students and supported professional development to help educators identify and serve them. This is important at a time when low-income and minority students are shut out of gifted programming due to biases in screening or lack of access to testing: Children in poverty and minority groups are 250 percent less likely to be identified for gifted and talented programs than their white, more affluent peers. (The 74)

Jury sides with Atlanta schools in teacher whistle-blower suit
A Fulton County jury sided with Atlanta Public Schools in a lawsuit filed against the district by a teacher who alleged she was fired after she blew the whistle on the districtwide cheating scandal. On Tuesday, “the jury found the non-renewal” of Imogene Redwine’s contract “was due to the employee’s performance and not retaliation,” APS said in a statement released hours after the verdict. Redwine sued the school district in 2015, and alleged she was harassed and wrongfully terminated during the 2013-2014 school year after she reported cheating at Brown Middle School. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

In wake of high-profile child deaths, lawmakers eye greater home schooling oversight
The push comes in the wake of a high-profile child abuse death in Hilo: 9-year-old Shaelynn Lehano died in 2016 of starvation and her parents and grandmother are facing murder charges. Lehano had been pulled from school before her death. “Peter Boy” Kema, who died at 6 in 1997 and whose parents last year admitted to manslaughter, was also home-schooled. State Sen.Kaialii Kahele, who represents Hilo, said the cases underscore that more needs to be done to ensure kids who are home-schooled are safe. “We have to fight for some of these kids,” he said. (Hawaii News Now)

New push to oust Education Superintendent John White fails in court
A new bid to oust state Superintendent of Education John White was rejected by 19th Judicial District Court Judge Todd Hernandez. In a two-page ruling, Hernandez, of Baton Rouge, said critics of the superintendent who filed the lawsuit did not have the legal standing to do so. “Therefore, the court finds that the plaintiffs do not have a right of action to bring this suit,” he wrote. A similar effort to remove White failed in 2017 for the same reason. (The Advocate)

New York
Charter advocates descend on Albany but could see fewer battles in 2018
With few explosive issues on the horizon and a leading advocacy group in tatters, supporters of charter schools nevertheless gathered in Albany on Tuesday to drum up political support that they hope will result in more funding. Though some top legislative leaders were not present, nearly 1,000 parents, students and educators continued their annual tradition of descending on Albany to keep charters in the legislative spotlight, according to the event’s organizers. (Chalkbeat)

North Carolina
NC Supreme Court hears power struggle lawsuit between superintendent, state ed board
The North Carolina Supreme Court heard two State Board of Education lawsuits on Wednesday, including the board’s yearlong battle with Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson over control of the state’s $10 billion public school system. At issue was whether Republican lawmakers should have been allowed to transfer the Board of Education’s powers to Johnson in December 2016 – a month after the Republican he was elected. Johnson has been blocked from assuming that power as the case has worked its way through the court system, and he and the state board have continued to clash during that time. (WRAL)

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


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