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

New Study: 3 Ways to Tell If a Charter School Will Struggle Before It Even Opens Its Doors

What if a bad school can be stopped before it ever exists? That’s not the plot of an education-themed sci-fi show, but the aspiration of a new Fordham Institute report attempting to identify “risk factors” that predict the failure of a charter school. The study, based on data from four states, concludes that charters are more likely to be low-performing when their application does not identify a principal, states a commitment to a “child-centered instructional model,” and indicates plans to serve disadvantaged students without providing individualized tutoring. (The 74)

It’s Bigger Than Teaching, It’s Love: How KIPP Is Getting Students To and Through College
Although Nathan Woods was a good student, adjusting to college was difficult. He lost his brother to gun violence as a high-school sophomore and the uncertainties of being a first-generation college student weighed on him. Deceptively minor issues threatened to veer him from the path to graduating. Improbably, Woods credits his primary school for keeping him on course in college. For years after graduation, Woods’ counselors from his middle school, KIPP DC KEY Academy in Washington, D.C., kept in close touch, encouraging him when the pressure felt so intense he was tempted to drop out. (Education Post)

Schools Will Soon Have To Put In Writing If They ‘Lunch Shame’
Every day in this country students come to school without a way to pay for lunch. Right now it’s up to the school to decide what happens next. Since new legislation out of New Mexico on so-called lunch shaming made headlines, we’ve heard a lot about how schools react. Some provide kids an alternative lunch, like a cold cheese sandwich. Other schools sometimes will provide hot lunch, but require students do chores, have their hand stamped or wear a wristband showing they’re behind in payment. And, some schools will deny students lunch all together. (NPR)

The states with the most and least state-level school funding
Public K-12 education has always been a contentious topic among political parties. Federal funding, the Common Core State Standards Initiative and more recently, voucher-like tax programs for private institutions are just a few of the issues debated when it comes to educational reform in our country.​ ​Public elementary and secondary schools in the United States are funded through a combination of federal, state and local contributions, although the latter two constitute the majority of each state’s educational funding. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, state and local funds make up about 44 percent each of the total school funding, with federal contributions at around 12 percent.​ (MSN)​

New Jersey
Parents and advocates fight Paterson teacher cuts

Parents and local education advocates continue to fight against the school district’s plan to eliminate 208 jobs, including 96 teaching positions.​ ​Some Board of Education members said they had reached an agreement with district officials last month to accept a 2 percent increase in Paterson’s school taxes as a concession to avoid any layoffs involving teachers.​ (NorthJersey.com)​

North Carolina
New NC class-size rules could cost schools $388 million more a year, report says

New state-mandated smaller class sizes in elementary schools will cost North Carolina school districts as much as $388 million more per year in operating costs as well as significant capital costs, according to a new report. Districts will need to find between 3,000 and 5,400 teachers to comply with smaller kindergarten through third-grade class sizes, which the liberal N.C. Justice Center’s Education & Law Project says is the equivalent of an unfunded mandate of between $188 million to $388 million. (The News & Observer)

Unlike last year, TNReady testing starts without hiccups in Tennessee

One hour. That was all it took last year for Tennessee’s new online testing system to buckle. But this year, the first day of standardized testing went off on Monday without a hitch, reports the Tennessee Department of Education.“Day 1 of TNReady was a success — both for students who took the test online and for those who took it on paper,” Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said in a statement. (Chalkbeat)


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