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

Trump Makes His First Visit To A School As President, And It’s A Private Religious One

President Trump made his first visit to a school as president on Friday, amid reports that he is planning an expensive and widespread federal school choice program.​ ​He did not visit one of the traditional public schools that 90 percent of American students attend. Instead, he spent the afternoon in a private Catholic school that participates in Florida’s tax credit scholarship program. That program gives tax breaks to corporations and individuals who donate money to a scholarship granting group. This group, in turn, helps low-income kids attend private schools. ​(The Huffington Post)​

Two Possible Paths for a Tax-Credit School Choice Plan in Congress
Of the various school choice bills that might enter the arena in Congress, creating tax credits to fund private school choice might be the most logical, and it’s one of the options the Trump administration is considering.​ ​There’s already a recent blueprint for such tax credits in the form of a 2015 bill, the Educational Opportunities Act, written by Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind, and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. And in his address to Congress Feb. 28, President Donald Trump specifically urged lawmakers to take up school choice legislation to help disadvantaged children, which could impact the policy specifics of any tax-credit bill.​ ​(Education Week)

South by Southwest Education: 10 New Ed Tech Startups About to Grab the Spotlight in Austin
As the ed tech industry continues to expand, breaking into the game means facing stiffer competition from companies keen on occupying the same space. But as teaching, student learning, and the delivery of educational content continue to evolve, there has never been a greater opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the students.​ (The 74)​

13 states, DOJ reach settlement in litigation over transgender student rights
The state of Texas and the Justice Department appear to have reached a settlement of a multi-state federal lawsuit over transgender student rights, according to a new filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.​ ​Thirteen states, led by Texas, are expected to drop a suit they filed against the Obama administration last year after it released a directive saying that Title IX — a federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded education programs — protects against gender-identity discrimination. Former President Barack Obama’s Education and Justice departments told schools they must allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identities, and threatened withdrawal of education funds for those that did not comply with the non-binding guidance. The directive prompted nearly half of the states to sue. (Politico) ​

It’s time for us to be what my grandmother was to me after my mother’s murder: An advocate
The core of the American promise is that all human beings ought to have equal access to prosperity, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender or other aspects of their identity that might have historically closed the doors of opportunity.​ ​​Unsurprising for a nation birthed in slavery and in which women could not vote until 1920, our nation has been in perpetual struggle to deliver upon this promise for all its people. This history has been characterized by ebbs and flows, where periods of progress (like Reconstruction) are followed by periods of retrenchment (like the post-Reconstruction nadir when Jim Crow apartheid took root throughout the South).​ (Hechinger Report)​

Washington D.C.

‘If it’s good for kids, then I want it’: D.C. schools chief talks one month into the job
There’s a green check mark on a map for every school that Antwan Wilson has toured since he was selected last fall to be the chancellor of D.C. Public Schools.​ ​Now in his second month on the job, he has been to 40 out of 115 schools. He plans to go to all of them by the end of the school year in June.​ ​(The Washington Post) ​



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