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

Expanded School Choice Not in State Ed Plans – So Far

As states begin delivering their proposed school accountability plans to the Department of Education – so far, 10 in total – most seem to be shirking Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ suggestion that they include policies to expand school choice. Only three of the 10 plans submitted thus far include language aimed at addressing school choice – New Mexico, Tennessee and Washington, D.C. – and none propose anything new related to choice, opting instead to highlight policies already in place. (U.S. News & World Report)

Democrats ask GAO to examine tax-credit programs as Trump pushes public dollars for private schools
Senate Democrats are asking the Government Accountability Office to examine state programs that offer tax credits in exchange for donations for private-school scholarships, arguing that it’s important to identify potential risks of financial misconduct at a time when the Trump administration might push for a new tax credit at the federal level. (The Washington Post)

Is the Push for Women in STEM Hurting Female Artists?
Madeline Johnson comes from a family of scientists. Her father studied aeronautical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her brother has a Ph.D. in particle physics. But Johnson, a 2014 graduate from Skidmore College, studied ceramics. “I am the only artistic person in my entire extended family,” Johnson says. “That’s what made me happy.” Despite her arts education, Johnson works as an executive assistant at a finance firm in Boston. After a stint at a local bakery, then quitting to devote her time to ceramics, she needed a job to meet the high cost of living in the city, she says. (The Atlantic)

Today’s Teaching Force Is Larger, Less Experienced, More Diverse Than Ever
Over the past 25 years, the U.S. teacher workforce has grown larger, less experienced, and more diverse. But according to a new report, these changes have not affected all types of teachers and schools equally. The report by Richard Ingersoll, a professor of education and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, and Lisa Merrill of New York University’s Research Alliance for New York City Schools, an organization that studies the local education scene, used the Schools and Staffing Survey to analyze changes in the elementary and secondary teaching force from 1987 to 2012. The Schools and Staffing Survey includes information on teachers’ backgrounds, qualifications, and work locations. Key findings fall into several categories. (Education Week)

New Jersey
N.J. won’t change mistakes in teacher attendance data

New Jersey schools that reported inaccurate and misleading data about teacher attendance won’t be able to change those statistics in the state’s school report cards, according to the state Department of Education. ​​The decision means more than 100 errors, some more obvious than others, will remain on the public website. Mistakes range from implausible reports of no teachers using sick days in some school districts to no data reported at all for the state’s largest district.​ (NJ.com)​

​North Carolina​
Competing bills would alter method for funding charter schools

For the better part of a decade, charter and traditional school advocates have bickered over charters’ share of North Carolina dollars.​ ​But two bills drafted by influential state Senate leaders in recent days want to settle the issue this session. One, Senate Bill 562, has the blessing of public school advocates; the other, not so much.​ (NC Policy Watch)​

Tennessee promises this year will be different when TNReady testing begins, but some educators are anxious

Amanda Nixon has waited a long time to see how her fifth-grade students in Memphis perform on Tennessee’s new standardized test.​ ​Last spring, her students at Riverwood Elementary School didn’t get to finish their tests after technical and logistical problems led state officials to cancel the assessment altogether for grades 3-8. (Chalkbeat​)​

Washington D.C.
Study: Parent groups in Northwest D.C. raise thousands for schools

Five elementary schools in Northwest D.C. consistently raise hundreds of thousands of dollars each school year through parent organizations, including one that raised nearly $1.4 million in single year, money that pays for extras like a new art teacher and classroom aides, according to a new study.​ (The Washington Post)​


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