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

Does the March 5 DACA Deadline Still Matter? 5 Things to Know About the Countdown to a Meaningless Monday — and Why Dreamers Should Still Be Worried
All eyes have been on March 5 since the Trump administration announced last September that in six months it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has provided work permits and deportation relief to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. (The 74)

What Kids Think About Bullying And Kindness In The Trump Era
“There was a girl in my class who had on dirty clothes. The other kids laughed at her but I played with her during recess.” That’s an everyday act of kindness toward a child who is being ostracized. It was reported by an elementary school student who took part in a new, nationally-representative survey of children ages 9 to 11. The purpose was to capture not only the bad, but also the good of how children treat each other, and even a little bit of the why. (NPR)

Can sending public money to private schools improve equity?
PARIS — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says she first became passionate about school choice after visiting a private school in Michigan that provided scholarships to low-income students. Although the scholarships gave students a “chance to succeed and thrive,” she knew that for every student who received a scholarship, “there were others stuck in schools not meeting their needs,” she said in a speech this March. She added, “The realization of this injustice moved me to get involved.” (The Hechinger Report)

The Janus Case and the Future of Teachers Unions
n 21 states and Washington, DC, teachers and other public-sector unions may compel nonmembers to pay agency fees, which average about two-thirds of the dues union members pay. Nonmembers must pay agency fees because unions are the exclusive representatives of all teachers, union and nonunion alike, in contract negotiations with school districts. Unions call these “fair share” fees because they prevent teachers from “free-riding,” or getting representation for nothing. Some state employees, such as plaintiff Mark Janus, argue mandatory agency fees violate their first amendment rights of speech and association. (AEI)

Howard school leaders warn of budget cuts, larger class sizes and furloughs
Facing a deficit projected to reach $50 million by summer, Howard County school officials are scrambling to find ways to stop a prolonged bleed in the school budget. Howard County Superintendent Michael Martirano has introduced a spending reduction plan that could include an increase in class sizes and staff furloughs as part of his effort to stop the deficit from growing next fiscal year. (The Baltimore Sun)

North Carolina
CMS says enrollment will shrink but costs will rise in 2018-19. Here’s why.
For the first time ever, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is planning for an enrollment slump, albeit a small one. But in an early budget workshop, officials said costs will continue to rise in the coming year, for everything from state-mandated raises to opening new schools to passing through money to charter schools. And while he didn’t lay out specifics, Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said he expects to ask the county for money to make schools safer, provide more social and emotional support for students and help educators cross cultural boundaries. (The Charlotte Observer)

South Carolina
Publicly funded charter school system in ‘state of chaos,’ SC senator says
A public feud between the state’s publicly funded charter-school district and four of its low-performing schools is drawing pointed criticisms from lawmakers, asking whether charter schools, granted more freedoms in exchange for better results, are working. “It appears to me like the charter school program is in a state of chaos,” state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, told S.C. Public Charter School District superintendent Elliot Smalley during a state budget hearing Thursday. (Greenville News)

McQueen: If Memphis school leaders won’t convert American Way to a charter, the state will
Two days after Memphis leaders voted to move a long-struggling school into the district’s highly regarded turnaround program, the state’s top education official said that’s not enough to deter her plan to take over the school. Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said Thursday that American Way Middle School must be converted to a charter school in the fall of 2019 under the state’s new accountability plan. If Shelby County Schools doesn’t decide by March 15 to do that on its own, she said, the state will take over the school and move it to Tennessee’s Achievement School District. (Chalkbeat)

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


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