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

Echoing Bush and Obama, Trump calls education ‘the civil rights issue of our time’ — and asks for a school choice bill

“Education is the civil rights issue of our time,” President Donald Trump said Tuesday night.​ ​The line inserted a bit of boilerplate — and bipartisan — education reform-speak into his first address to a joint session of Congress. Former Presidents George W. Bush and President Obama also used the phrase, and it has come to represent the education reform movement that has encompassed policies like expanding charter schools, testing, and school accountability.​ (Chalkbeat)​

Thriving State Economies Support Robust Public Education Systems
States with robust education systems tend to have thriving economies with opportunities for advancement, a functioning government and healthier people – to name a few advantages.​ ​It’s little wonder then, that when it comes to K-12 education, Massachusetts is king. The state’s success can largely be traced directly to a 1993 overhaul of its education system, which increased funding for districts with many impoverished students, introduced more rigorous academic standards and required students to pass a high-stakes test in order to graduate.​ (US News)​

After Backlash, DeVos Backpedals on Remarks on Historically Black Colleges
Facing a fierce backlash after she called historically black colleges and universities “real pioneers” of school choice, Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, spent Tuesday afternoon backtracking on the controversial statement and highlighting the institutions’ roots in racism and segregation.​ (The New York Times)​

The Nonwhite Student Behind the White Picket Fence
As the nation’s capital continued to clean up from a historic blizzard last winter, five immigrant students—unaccompanied minors who had recently arrived from Central America—walked through almost two feet of snow to Montgomery Blair High School in Montgomery County, Maryland, a close-in Washington, D.C., suburb. Montgomery County Public Schools had canceled classes for students during the weather emergency. But the teens didn’t speak English and, coming from a tropical climate, didn’t know the meaning of a “snow day.” They arrived at the high school shivering and covered in snow from walking in the frigid cold without hats, gloves, or boots. School employees on duty gave them hot drinks, found leftover sweatshirts and hoodies to warm them up, and did their best to stave off hypothermia.​ (The Atlantic)​

Washington D.C.
Former first lady Michelle Obama has made a surprise visit to a Washington high school.

Students and staff at Ballou STAY High School in southeast Washington were told their special guest Tuesday would be Antwan Wilson, the new chancellor of D.C. public schools. Then Mrs. Obama walked in, continuing her practice of dropping in unannounced at local schools to encourage students to focus on getting an education. (ABC News)

New Jersey
Newark Charter school parents flood State House

When he was a student attending the College of New Jersey in the late 80s and early 90s, Dexter Williams would frequently pass the State House in Trenton on his way from the train station to campus.​ ​”I never stopped in, not once,” the Newark resident said.​ ​But that changed today when he joined hundreds of other parents from Newark, Paterson, Camden, Jersey City and other communities to work the hallways of the State House complex and lobby lawmakers in support of charter schools.​ (TAPinto)


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