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

Linda Brown, Who Was At Center Of Brown v. Board Of Education, Dies
Linda Brown, who as a schoolgirl was at the center of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that rejected racial segregation in American schools, died in Topeka, Kan., Sunday afternoon. She was 76. Her sister, Cheryl Brown Henderson, confirmed the death to The Topeka Capital-Journal. The 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education, involved several families, all trying to dismantle decades of federal education laws that condoned segregated schools for black and white students. (NPR)

Puerto Rico’s Lawmakers Pass Bill to Expand Choice and Revamp Public Schools
Puerto Rico’s legislature has approved a major education bill that will overhaul the island’s educational system and pave the way for vouchers, as well as schools intended to resemble charters. The legislation, which passed the Senate Monday and the House on Tuesday, would break the island’s system, which is currently comprised of one unified school district, into seven different regions where local officials would have more control. (Education Week)

As funding questions persist and states face the possibility of West Virginia-style teacher strikes, more school districts across the country are asking whether changing to a four-day week could answer a number of their problems – or even prove beneficial to students. A practice traditionally isolated to rural communities, more urban districts are considering the change.For Dr. Chris Fiedler, the superintendent of the 27J district in the north eastern suburbs of Denver, Colorado, the reason for the change was simple: “it’s an underfunding issue.” (Newsweek)

The Push for Harsher School Discipline After Parkland
The February 14 Parkland shooting that killed 17 people has led to a slew of policy proposals, including the headline-grabbing call from President Trump and others for laws that would arm educators with guns. There have also been appeals for schools to increase the number of armed law-enforcement officers on campus and to fortify their buildings. Trump says he wants schools to be as secure as airports. (The Atlantic)

Exclusive Analysis: New Harvard Study Shows Public Support for Charter Schools Has Jumped 10 Points In Last Year
For Democrats and Republicans alike, charter schools have long provided a happy compromise between vouchers for religious schools and no school choice at all. Charters give families an alternative schooling option but remain publicly funded, secular institutions authorized by government agencies. They have been warmly endorsed by Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. (The 74)

ACLU lawsuit: Wilmington students disenfranchised by system
A wide-ranging lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware charges that that the state’s school funding system unconstitutionally deprives poor, disabled and non-English speaking students of an adequate education. But one section of the 55-page lawsuit, filed in January, says it’s not just the funding system that’s illegal. The way Wilmington schools are governed also violates the Delaware Constitution. The ACLU is suing on behalf of the Delaware NAACP and a citizens group. Beyond the plaintiff’s claim that not enough financial resources are directed to disadvantaged children, they contend Wilmington students and their parents don’t get a fair shake. (WHYY)

Legislation to increase state charter school funding advances, but with big changes
Legislation that would increase funding for schools operating under the authority of the State Charter Schools Commission was amended in the Senate Friday to give less money than originally proposed, and some people are unhappy about it. “Unfortunately, this morning the Senate Education and Youth Committee passed a gutted bill that would actually furnish less equitable funding to our public charter schools and imposes unreasonable measures of accountability,” said Tony Roberts, president and CEO of the Georgia Charter Schools Association. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Proposal would fine parents if their child doesn’t stop bullying
Fines are a strategy intended to get parents’ attention, whether their child is bullying a classmate or missing school, so they will intervene and deal with the behavior. But do they work? The Guardian tried to answer that question in 2014 after a Pennsylvania mother died in jail because she couldn’t pay truancy fines for her children. In the article, Joanna Heilbrunn, director of the National Center for School Engagement, said that fines don’t address the reasons why the behavior is happening. (Education Dive)

Parents of truant schoolchildren can avoid jail time through Operation Safe Serve
Judge Loyce Lambert Ryan offered a blunt warning Thursday to a gathering of parents charged with violating the state’s school compulsory attendance law. “This ain’t no joke,” she advised the parents gathered in her Shelby County General Sessions courtroom. Continued violations could lead to jail time, possibly even intervention by the state Department of Children’s Services, which has power to initiate action to remove neglected children from homes. “You don’t want me in your business. And I know you don’t want DCS.” (Commercial Appeal)

Washington D.C.
After the Bell: DC charter schools extend the day to improve English learners’ skills
Sitting around classroom tables at 5 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, the students at Center City Public Charter School’s Petworth campus look at the images spread in front of them and read aloud statements about what they think is happening in the picture: “I see kids writing. I see only boys. I wonder why girls can’t go to school.” In the classroom next door at the Northwest Washington, DC, school, Alicia Passante, the charter network’s English-as-a-second-language program manager, confers with two 2nd graders on how a news story about a 15-year-old advocate for African girls’ education relates to Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (Education Dive)

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


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