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
Senate scraps Obama regulations on school accountability

The Senate narrowly approved a measure Thursday to scrap Obama-era regulations outlining how states must carry out a federal law meant to hold schools accountable for student performance. The vote was 50 to 49, mostly along party lines. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) split with the GOP to vote against the measure. The Republican-led House approved the legislation last month 240 to 181. It now goes to President Trump, who is expected to sign it. (The Washington Post)

Why the Left Should Work With Betsy DeVos
As many on the left decry U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, they overlook what they may have in common with the new secretary: a skepticism of test-based accountability policy and top-down reform. DeVos’ comment last month to the conservative website Townhall that the teachers she’d met during her first public school visit were in “‘receive mode’” was widely viewed as a criticism of teachers. But her intended target appeared to be the role that current federal education policy plays in the classroom. (Education Week)

America’s school facilities get a near-failing grade
Most parents aren’t very happy when their children bring home a report card with anything less than a C-.​ ​They’ll be even less encouraged by the near-failing grade awarded to the nation’s school facilities Thursday by the American Society of Civil Engineers.​ ​Close to a quarter of all public schools in America are in “fair or poor condition,” according to the group’s latest report card, which gave most of the nation’s infrastructure a near-failing grade.​ (CNBC)​

Getting Into College Is Easier Than Applicants Think
“Record Number of Applications Flood Area Colleges” “Applications for the Class of 2021 Are Seriously Exploding” “UCLA Receives More Than 100,000 Freshman Applications” Headlines like these strike fear in the hearts of high school seniors and their parents every year around this time. But behind the tales of teary-eyed applicants who didn’t make the cut is the reality that, with the exception of a tiny handful of extremely selective schools, getting into a good college today is easier – not harder – than many students realize. And it is likely to get easier still in the years ahead. (US News)

Senator promotes education spending account plan, says it’s not a voucher bill

Tennessee lawmakers are hoping to expand an education spending account program to the state’s more than 950,000 students statewide.The expansion would funnel millions away from districts across the state. Senate Bill 395, introduced by Sen. Dolores Gresham, R-Somerville, seeks to expand access to a program currently limited to disabled students whose families decide not to enroll in an area public school. (The Tennessean)

South Carolina
Battle over control of special-needs scholarships turns ugly

A storm is raging over control of a program that has awarded tuition grants for special needs students to attend private schools since 2014, after the program’s director was fired less than a month into the job for accidentally releasing sensitive student information. The result has been a school year filled with inflammatory social media posts that led to insults being lobbed from the current scholarship funding organization to the leaders of one of the previous scholarship groups as the sides angle for control of the program in a year when lawmakers may expand it or make it a permanent part of the state’s budget.​ ​Each side says it’s all about the children.​ (Greenville Online)​

New York
A Brooklyn Charter School Looks Past ‘No Excuses’

Four years ago, while reporting on the difficulties of life in Brownsville, Brooklyn, one of the poorest neighborhoods in New York, I met a school administrator named Marsha Gadsden who worked for the Ascend Public Charter Schools network. Ms. Gadsden had grown up not far away, attended prep school on a scholarship and later went to Georgetown and Harvard, and she told me she worried about the unforgiving disciplinary codes used by her employer and so many urban charter schools around the country.​ (The New York Times)​


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