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 Silicon Valley startup that’s raised $133 million to fix the broken education system takes its next step

Silicon Valley education start-up AltSchool has added five new executives to help take its software platform — built in eight private “lab schools” — to more schools. “We’re staffed to really support not just independent private schools like ourselves, but in the future, public schools where the majority of kids are educated,” said AltSchool CEO Max Ventilla. AltSchool has an ambitious plan to revolutionize education with its software platform, and to offer a more personalized learning experience. The company has raised $133 million in venture capital funding for research and development, and counts Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg among its backers. (CNBC)

DeVos praises this voucher-like program. Here’s what it means for school reform.
Florida has channeled billions of taxpayer dollars into scholarships for poor children to attend private schools over the past 15 years, using tax credits to build a laboratory for school choice that the Trump administration holds up as a model for the nation.​ ​The voucherlike program, the largest of its kind in the country, helps pay tuition for nearly 100,000 students from low-income families.​ ​(The Washington Post)​

Beyond Vouchers: States Are Way Ahead of the Feds on School Choice
The school choice movement finally has the federal platform it never really needed. Donald Trump, in campaign mode, pledged to invest $20 billion in private school vouchers for poor children—an epic sum that will likely fund a federal version of the tuition tax credit scholarships 17 states already offer. Right-of-center witnesses to two cycles of centrally driven education reform warn against a repeat performance: Further federal overreach could hobble the school choice movement’s stalwart state-level march, coopting and corrupting its quiet gains.​ (The Weekly Standard) ​

Yes, Twitter, DeVos Met Pitbull at a Charter School — and Yes, He’s Worked on Education for Years
Pitbull, a rapper known by the nickname Mr. Worldwide, is becoming more and more well-known as Mr. Education. And today that moniker got some added juice following his meeting with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos this afternoon at the Sports Leadership and Management Academy (SLAM).​ (The 74)​

Maryland Legislature Overrides Struggling Schools Bill Veto

The Maryland General Assembly on Thursday overrode Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill that creates a blueprint for identifying and assisting struggling schools. Both votes in the Democrat-led chambers were mostly on party lines: 32-15 in the Senate and 90-50 in the House. Under the bill, academic performance would comprise 65 percent of a formula to identify struggling schools, with a variety of other indicators also playing a role in evaluating performance. (U.S. News & World Report)

​New Jersey
Princeton Charter School lottery draws big number of participants

The Princeton Charter School saw a surge in families from town trying to have their children admitted for September, despite a barrage of criticism by the Princeton school district and others against a school often seen as a lighting rod within the community.​ ​In the enrollment lottery held Wednesday, 320 children were vying for 96 slots in the upcoming academic year; the figure did not include the 91 children from outside of Princeton who tried to get into the lottery but were not included, charter school officials reported.​ (CentralJersey.com)​


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