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

The collapse of academic standards

While ersatz “credit recovery” and grade inflation devalue the high school diploma by boosting graduation rates even as NAEP, PISA, PARCC, SAT, and sundry other measures show that no true gains are being made in student achievement, forces are at work to do essentially the same thing to the college diploma. Observe the new move by CalState to do away with “remediation” upon entry to its institutions and instead to confer degree credit for what used to be the kinds of high-school-level content and skills that one had to master before gaining access to “credit-bearing” college courses. (Fordham Institute)

Trump School Choice Proposals Drive Wedge Between Charter School Advocates
The Trump administration’s plan to ax $9 billion in federal education spending but direct millions to a new program that would help students afford private school exposed a fissure among charter school advocates, one not publicly acknowledged but privately widening at an increasingly fast pace since the election. (USA Today)

African American Leaders Unhappy with K-12 Education System; Eager to Make Change
Only three percent of influential black leaders think public schools are preparing black students to attend and graduate from college; however, the majority of leaders are optimistic they can help improve the quality of education for black students, according to a new report issued by UNCF’s Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute (FDPRI).​ (UNCF)​

Examining Poor School Performance in the U.S.
American teens spend far more time on sports than they do on their studies. At least that’s how international students see it, according to a report out Wednesday from the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution. In an effort to “shed light on what is peculiarly American about American high schools,” the report surveyed hundreds of foreign-exchange students for a “fresh perspective” on the U.S. educational system.​ (The Atlantic)​

Charter school legislation clarifies access to funding, “unused” buildings

Easier access to money and school buildings are among the benefits for charter schools of proposed changes to Georgia education law.​ ​House Bill 430 is being praised by advocates for more than 60,000 students in more than 90  independent charter schools — public schools that operate under authority of contracts with local school districts or with the State Charter Schools Commission.​ (AJC)​

This year’s list of school voucher bills just got shorter in Tennessee

Tennessee lawmakers advocating for vouchers and similar school-choice programs are now rallying behind a single bill.​ ​One tuition voucher bill died Wednesday in committee due to a lack of votes, while a more expansive voucher-like measure was tabled until next year. And the sponsor of a third bill, which would expand another voucher-like program for special education students, pulled that proposal from consideration as well.​ (Chalkbeat)​

Larry Hogan, Betsy DeVos Encounter Protesters During Bethesda School Visit

BETHESDA, MD — Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos were met by protesters outside a Bethesda elementary school Thursday morning, multiple news outlets report.​ ​Hogan and DeVos went to Carderock Springs Elementary School to read a Dr. Seuss book to the second graders, Montgomery Community Media reports. Dozens of protesters stood outside of the school in the cold, holding up signs expressing their negative opinions of DeVos and Hogan.​ (Bethesda Patch)​


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