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

U.S. Secretary of Education Announces Chief of Staff and Additional Staff Hires

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced the hiring of several senior staff members.​ ​Today’s announcement was the first official staff announcement, with additional hiring announcements expected to be made in the coming weeks. In addition to today’s announcement, the White House announced the President’s intention to nominate Carlos Muñiz as the U.S. Department of Education’s General Counsel.​ ​(U.S. Department of Education)

Why Aren’t There More Black Teachers? Racial Discrimination Still Plays A Role
Policy surrounding the nation’s shortage of black teachers tends to focus around recruitment or retention. However, new research suggests that those two issues are only part of the problem. The other culprit is blatant racial discrimination. A Harvard Educational Review study looks at the hiring patterns of one large unidentified public school district. Job applicants in this district apply to a central office before human resources sends the relevant resumes to school principals. Principals then set up interviews with applicants and decide to whom they want to extend an offer.​ (The Huffington Post)​

LeBron James to open public school for at-risk kids
LeBron James understands what it’s like being a kid on the outside looking for hope.​ ​He’s giving them some.​ ​James, who has been committed to helping kids in his hometown through a variety of educational programs, is teaming up with Akron public schools to open the “I Promise School” dedicated to aiding at-risk children who might otherwise be left behind.​ (ABC News)​

Bipartisan Group of Ed Leaders Commits to ‘Productive Dialogue’ on Race, Social Justice, School Reform
A​ ​number of top education leaders, writers, and thinkers are publicly vowing to change the way they talk about improving American education.
The new group, composed of 24 signatories who span a diverse range of political perspectives, ethnicities, and education organizations, released a brief with specific guidelines, expressing its collective commitment to respectful and productive dialogue — particularly during a time of intensifying political tensions, polarization, and marginalization, when disagreements can quickly turn personal and derail efforts to improve the educational system.​ (The 74)​

School-based daycare in South Baltimore helps teen parents graduate

Nicole Alvez and her 10-month-old daughter arrive at Benjamin Franklin High School in the mornings around 7:45, changes her baby’s diaper, gets her settled for the day and heads down the hall to class.​ ​Alvez, a 17-year-old senior at the school in Curtis Bay, is set to graduate in about two months. She has defied the odds for teen parents with the help of a fledgling program at the school that provides free day care, coaches new moms and dads and monitors their academic performance.​ (The Baltimore Sun)​

​North Carolina
Where Corporal Punishment Is Still Used In Schools, Its Roots Run Deep

Robbinsville High School sits in a small gap in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Green slopes dotted with cattle hug in around the school before they rise into a thick cover of pine trees.​ ​David Matheson is the principal here. And he’s the only high school principal in the state who still performs corporal punishment. At Robbinsville, corporal punishment takes the form of paddling – a few licks on the backside Matheson delivers with a long wooden paddle.​ ​North Carolina state law describes corporal punishment, as “The intentional infliction of physical pain upon the body of a student as a disciplinary measure.”​ ​Robbinsville High School’s policy allows students to request a paddling in place of in-school-suspension, or ISS. Last year, 22 students chose it.​ (NPR)​

Early-grade student suspension bill passes House

Tennessee could soon undertake a comprehensive look at discipline practices that lead to any prekindergarten and kindergarten kids being suspended from school.​ ​The Tennessee House of Representatives voted in favor of passing along House Bill 872, a bill that calls for a review of all laws and policies related to discipline that removes an early-grade student from school. Senate committees have approved the proposal, but it has yet to be scheduled to be heard on the floor.​ (The Tennessean) ​


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