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

Trump’s first school visit as president will be to a Catholic school in Florida

In the newest expression of his commitment to expanding school “choice,” President Trump is making his first official visit to a school Friday — to a Catholic school in Florida. Trump will stop at St. Andrew Catholic School in Orlando, where several hundred students attend with help from a tax credit scholarship program that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has praised in her declarations about the value of school choice. (The Washington Post)

Trump Highlighted This Unusual School Choice Idea Last Night
In his speech last night, President Trump asked Congress to pass a broad school choice initiative.”I am calling upon members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children…These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them.” It’s not clear yet exactly how a program like this could be funded. There isn’t that much money that is fungible from the federal education budget,” points out Samuel Abrams, an expert in education policy at Teachers College, Columbia University. (NPR)

Trump’s Call for School Vouchers Is a Return to a Campaign Pledge
President Trump, returning to a promise that won him cheers on the campaign trail, signaled in his first address to Congress on Tuesday that he will move aggressively to allow more public school students to use tax money to pay for tuition at public charter schools, private schools and even religious schools. (The New York Times)

Is Charter School Growth Flat-Lining?
A recently released annual update from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools included a surprising fact: a mere 329 charter schools opened across the country in the 2016-2017 school year. In no year since the Alliance began tracking new charter openings has the total number of new schools been so low. Looking back at CRPE’s Hopes, Fears, and Reality series, it appears that it was the early 2000s when we last saw fewer than 350 new charter schools open. When you take closures into consideration, the total additional growth of charter schools last year was just over 100 schools, or nearly 2 percent. (Education Next)

North Carolina
African-American legislators in NC voice support for school vouchers and charters

African-American state legislators voiced their support for charter schools and school vouchers at a news conference Tuesday, backing positions espoused most frequently by Republicans. At the news conference organized by Parents for Educational Freedom, legislators said they support traditional public schools, but that parents should be able to choose the school that works best for their children. Eight African-American legislators, all Democrats, attended the news conference. Some were long-time charter supporters, while others are newer to the issue. (The News Observer)

Want Another Parent to Homeschool Your Child? Welcome to Georgia’s Homeschool Schools

When Rebecca Freitag picks up her seventh-grade son at school every day, he might talk about his social studies presentation on ancient Egypt or the math lesson he breezed through.​ ​What he won’t be talking about are his classmates.​ ​Freitag’s son is homeschooled. But it’s not his mother who does the teaching — it’s Zahavah Stilman, another Georgia mom.​ (The 74)​


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