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

The Fight Over Teacher Salaries: A Look At The Numbers
The teachers’ strike in West Virginia may have ended last week, when Gov. Jim Justice signed a law giving educators a 5 percent pay increase, but the fight in other states is just warming up. “You can make anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 more by driving 15 minutes across the state line,” said Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association. “We’re having trouble keeping and attracting young teachers.” And this refrain is not new or unique to West Virginia. (NPR)

School Segregation Is Not a Myth
Is school segregation getting worse? Plenty of people say yes, including scholars, journalists, and civil-rights advocates. For the first time in years, there’s something approximating a consensus: Racially divided schools are a major and intensifying problem for American education—maybe even a crisis. There’s seemingly compelling numerical evidence, too. According to my analysis of data from the National Center on Education Statistics, the number of segregated schools (defined in this analysis as those schools where less than 40 percent of students are white), has approximately doubled between 1996 and 2016. (The Atlantic)

Teachers Aren’t Just Striking, They’re Running for Office
Being a teacher might not be the best training for being a politician, but it doesn’t hurt. “You’re always engaged as a teacher with a group of 30 people, trying to convince them of your points,” says Schuyler T. VanValkenburg, one of two educators elected to the Virginia state House in November. Cheryl Turpin, the other Virginia teacher elected last year, argues that people in her profession are used to bringing people together to work toward a common goal. (Governing)

‘Personalized Learning’ Plays Role in Many States’ ESSA Plans, Report Finds
Personalized learning, or some of its components, appears in most state accountability plans submitted under the Every Student Succeeds Act, according to a study released by the nonprofit KnowledgeWorks. But assessments—which can be a key element in shaping personalized learning—are notably under-represented in those state policy blueprints, said Lillian Pace, the senior director of national policy for KnowledgeWorks, which focuses on advancing personalized learning so every child is empowered to take ownership of his or her success. (EdWeek Market Brief)

Joining National Effort, Thousands of Connecticut Students Walk Out In Protest Of Gun Violence in Schools
Wanting their voices to be heard, thousands of students across Connecticut left their classrooms Wednesday morning and walked out of their schools in response to the violence that has struck their peers at home and across the country. In walkouts, demonstrations, speeches, chants and on signs, their message was clear: “Enough.” (Hartford Courant)

Delaware high school graduation rate up
Delaware’s high school graduation rate hit a record high in 2017. The state’s dropout rate also slightly increased. The annual Delaware Department of Education reports, which will be presented to the State Board of Education tonight, show an overall graduation rate of 85.75 percent in 2017. The graduation rate for several student subgroups – African American, Asian, Hispanic, low-income, multiracial, white and students with disabilities – also are up from 2016. The rates for two other subgroups – American Indian and English learner – declined. (Delaware Department of Education)

‘We’re alive. They’re dead.’ Baltimore-area students join nationwide demonstration against gun violence
Standing on the bleachers and staring out onto Baltimore Polytechnic Institute’s football field, 16-year-old Barrett Wynn looked angry. He yelled into his megaphone, a fist balled up at his side. Wynn told his classmates — hundreds of whom had gathered on the field Wednesday as part of a national protest against gun violence — that he was more than just mad. He was afraid. (The Baltimore Sun)

New Jersey
Jersey City’s 4,000-member teachers union strikes for first time since 1998
Strike! Jersey City’s public-school teachers walked off the job for the first time in 20 years today, leading to confusion and some chaos across the 29,000-student district as teachers led boisterous protests outside city schools. Students all over Jersey City skipped class to join their teachers on the picket line. A loudspeaker outside School 20 blasted Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” Teachers at McNair Academic High School yelling “scab” tried to block substitute teachers from entering the school. (

After I-Team investigation, state releases report on corporal punishment in schools
The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has released its report on the use of corporal punishment statewide, confirming that what the News 4 I-Team discovered happening to Tennessee’s most vulnerable students was just the tip of the iceberg. The investigation found that students with disabilities received corporal punishment at a higher rate statewide than students without disabilities for two of the three most recent reporting years. The report also found that for the schools that used corporal punishment for students with and without disabilities, about 80 percent used corporal punishment at a higher rate for students with disabilities in all three reporting years. (WSMV)

More families are staying in Richmond, but the school system still only enrolls 73 kids for every 100 born here
It’s a long-discussed but little-documented phenomenon: Families in Richmond who can afford it either send their kids to private school or move to a neighboring county to avoid the city’s struggling school system. The issue emerged last month as a frequent talking point among supporters of a meals tax increase to boost school funding. But just how many leave Richmond Public Schools compared with neighboring jurisdictions? (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

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


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