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

After explosive allegations of anti-union intimidation, KIPP files a federal lawsuit against the UFT​

A d​ispute between one of the city’s most visible charter networks and the country’s largest local teachers union sparked a federal lawsuit this week, with KIPP asking the courts to block the union from enforcing its contract at a South Bronx charter school.​ ​The argument centers on KIPP Academy Charter School, the first of the network’s schools to open in the city, and whether it is covered by the contract between the city and the United Federation of Teachers.​ (Chalkbeat)​

Can DeVos sell school choice to America?
This is the moment Betsy DeVos has been waiting for.​ ​With the president’s proposed budget calling for a major investment in charters and private schools, DeVos faces a test that could define her tenure as Education Secretary — selling school choice to America.​ ​Donald Trump’s budget blueprint seeks to redirect tens of millions from student financial aid and teacher training, among other programs, to charter schools and private school tuition vouchers, including a $1 billion boost in Title 1 funds that for the first time would follow students to the public schools of their choice.​ (Politico)​

New Research May Build Discrimination Case for Widely Used Principals Exam
The most common exam required to become a principal in the U.S. is not related to performance on the job, and candidates of color who take it are three times as likely to fail as white candidates, according to a recent study in Tennessee.​ ​This combination — a weak connection to job performance and higher failure rate among some racial groups — creates concerns about whether the exam is permissible under federal civil rights laws, according to an employment lawyer and U.S. equal employment opportunity guidelines.​ (The 74)​

Don’t Forget Magnet Schools When Thinking About School Choice
With the new administration in Washington, school choice is in the news. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is a long-time school choice proponent, and the administration has signaled it is likely to pursue some big-ticket school choice reforms. Whereas most of the energy in the school choice debates has focused on vouchers and charter schools, relatively little attention has been paid to another important choice model that serves as many students as charters and has been in existence for longer—magnet schools.​ (EducationNext)​

How Betsy DeVos Could End the School-Integration Comeback
Under President Trump, the federal role in education is set to be drastically curtailed. Last Thursday, Trump proposed slashing federal spending on schools by $9 billion. His education secretary, Betsy DeVos, has vowed to shrink her agency and return power to local officials, which could mean scaling back civil-rights enforcement. All of these signals may also foreshadow a retreat on school integration.​ (The Atlantic)​

Tennessee Legislators Seek State’s First Voucher Law With Targeted Program for Memphis Kids

A new, bipartisan proposal to give needy kids in Memphis vouchers to attend private schools is winding its way through the Republican-controlled Tennessee legislature.
Dubbed the “Opportunity Scholarship Pilot Program,” the legislation would offer about $7,000 worth of tuition assistance to students who currently attend Shelby County Schools and qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch. (The 74)

Atlanta schools battles city over control of school property

Atlanta Public Schools has 50 unused schools, buildings and pieces of property it would like to sell, but the City of Atlanta is standing in the way.​ ​When the school system legally parted from the city’s control years ago, the deeds stayed with Atlanta.​ ​It has not been a problem until the last few years, as APS student populations shrank, leaving excess property. The school system wants to sell them, but Mayor Kasim Reed has refused to turn over all of the deeds. He forced the school board to adopt a policy that would make sure affordable housing is included in school property redevelopments. Then he offered to turn over 10 of the 50 deeds for the school board’s yielding his demand.​ (AJC)​


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