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

School Choice: Classes or Commutes
The Denver Public School system has been widely celebrated for embracing choice-friendly policies that allow its 92,000 students to enroll in virtually any public school in the city. Thanks to its adoption of what’s known as a portfolio model, families can choose from more than 200 traditionally zoned neighborhood schools, schools outside those boundaries, charter schools and magnet schools. But for a school system shaped like a giraffe – with its long, narrow neck and head rising northeast from the heart of the city – getting students to school on time can be a logistical and costly nightmare, not to mention have a serious impact on academic outcomes. (U.S. News & World Report)

As DeVos Faces Congress, Officials Say She Hid Plans to Overhaul Department
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will go before a House panel on Tuesday to defend her agency’s budget, including a sweeping overhaul of the Education Department that has strained relations within her agency and with Congress — and defies the White House’s budget office. In recent weeks, Ms. DeVos has clashed fiercely with department staff members over the plan, which they say she tried to withhold from Congress as she imposed on the department what they call an illegal collective bargaining agreement. (The New York Times)

Data Analysis Finds Charters More Inclusive for Special Ed Students
Charter schools tend to serve more students with disabilities in more inclusive settings. Nearly 85 percent of students with disabilities in charter schools attended class in general education classrooms for 80 percent or more of their day compared to 68 percent of students with disabilities in traditional public schools. Those findings were shared in a new report produced by the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS), a non-profit formed in 2013 to advocate for students with “diverse learning needs.” (The Journal)

Automation will change jobs, not eliminate them, study finds
As technological changes continue to restructure society and citizens begin to grasp that automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning will accelerate the pace, educators are wrestling with how these innovations will ripple through the classroom. The concept of artificial intelligence being used in the classroom was the topic of one keynote at the Consortium for School Networking’s 2018 annual conference, as was the role of school system CIOs in facilitating adjustment to the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.” (EdScoop)

Letter to the Editor: Support bill to increase funding for Georgia’s charter schools
As a parent, I want to ensure my child has everything she needs. When we moved to Georgia a few years ago, we realized that our local public school, despite its great teachers, administrators and culture, was not the best fit for our daughter. We chose to enroll her in a public charter school here in Cherokee County. She’s currently thriving and it works for her! I want schools like my daughter’s to flourish and to have the resources they need to be successful so that parents can find the best fit for their children and so kids can be challenged. (Cherokee Tribune & Ledger News)

Gunman at Maryland high school dies after armed school officer intervenes; 2 others injured
A student gunman opened fire Tuesday at a high school in southern Maryland, injuring two students before an armed school resources officer intervened, authorities said. The gunman, identified as Austin Wyatt Rollins, 17, was killed, but St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron said it was not immediately clear whether the school officer fired the fatal shot or whether the gunman killed himself. (USA Today)

New Jersey
Waters: New Jersey’s New Governor Says He Wants to Scrap PARCC Tests but Doesn’t Know How. Here’s What It Would Take — and It’s Not Easy
Eighteen months ago, Governor-to-be Phil Murphy vowed during his keynote address at the 2016 New Jersey Education Association convention to “scrap PARCC Day One.” Two and a half months later, his new education commissioner, Lamont Repollet, announced the beginning of the process to fulfill that vow, in a method he recently described as “thoughtful,” “deliberative,” and designed to “ensure compliance with state and federal law” and be implemented “in a manner that is most beneficial and least disruptive to the students whom we serve.” (The 74)

Eastern Pa. school to issue 200 detentions over student walkouts
Officials at an Eastern Pennsylvania high school say they will issue detentions to more than 200 students who walked out of school as part of a nationwide protest against gun violence. Jacqueline Rattingan, superintendent of the Pennridge School District in Perkasie, Bucks County, announced the punishment Wednesday against the 225 Pennridge High School students who walked out of school instead of attending an in-house assembly remembering the 17 killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

South Carolina
Odds of getting into Buist Academy? A little worse than getting into Harvard
A child in Charleston County has a better chance of going to an Ivy League college than getting into Buist Academy, a downtown public magnet school serving kindergarten through eighth grade. Buist had a 2.7-percent acceptance rate for its fall 2018 class, making it more selective than Harvard University (5 percent), Yale (6 percent) or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (8 percent).​ (The Post & Courier)

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


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