Here are news and opinion stories educators, advocates, policy wonks and makers are talking about today:

ESSA Progress Report: How the New Law Is Moving From Policy to Practice
The Every Student Succeeds Act becomes a working reality in district central offices and schools this fall. But it’s unclear if the law, which passed in a haze of rare bipartisanship more than two years ago, will live up to its promise. ESSA allows states—rather than the federal government—to ride herd on accountability, school improvement, and teacher quality, while requiring them to maintain key protections for vulnerable groups of students, such as minorities, English-learners, and those with disabilities. But already, clashes are occurring at the state and federal levels over the right balance between those two priorities, on issues such as calculating school grades. (Education Week)

As teachers across the country demand higher pay, here’s how much salaries have stalled — and why it matters for kids
It started in West Virginia. Now, Oklahoma teachers are on day two of a walkout that has closed schools across the state. Teachers in Kentucky staged in all-day protest at the state capitol. Arizona teachers are also planning a walkout. Teachers in states across the country say they’re underpaid and their schools are underfunded. Some have already gotten results: Both West Virginia and Oklahoma teachers have won substantial raises. And the protesters are making the case that they’re not just fighting for themselves but for their students and state. (Chalkbeat)

The Larger Concerns Behind the Teachers’ Strikes
One demand of the striking Oklahoma teachers has gotten a lot of attention: They want higher salaries. Superficially that demand may seem like a somewhat selfish concern—a question of their own bank accounts, not students’ needs. But the teachers’ complaints go far beyond compensation, and when viewed in the context of their other demands, it’s clear that the strike gets at the heart of some of the biggest issues facing America’s children: access to effective teachers, high-quality learning materials, and modern facilities. (The Atlantic)

Fuller: To Truly Honor Dr. King, Teachers Must Fight for Justice Beyond the Schoolhouse Doors for Their Poor Black Students
Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated April 4, 1968. Since that time, much has been written and said about this “drum major for justice.” In my view, there seems to be a conscious or unconscious process at work to create a sanitized notion of this great man. We hear a lot about the power of his intellect, the man who spoke of his powerful dream, the man who believed in nonviolence, the man who preached about love. He was indeed intellectually gifted, but he was not abstract. He was a dreamer, but primarily, he was a doer. King was indeed nonviolent, but he was not passive. He preached about love, but he connected it to justice. He stated, “The Negro needs not only love, but also justice. Love that does not satisfy justice is no love at all. It is merely a sentimental affection, little more than what one would have for a pet.” (The 74)

Report: Leadership Matters: Investing in Sustained School-Systems Leadership
Students benefit measurably when their school systems are led by bold superintendents and state Chiefs of education who put the needs of young people at the center of decision making, and those benefits are even greater when that leadership is sustained through leadership transitions. Yet, as a nation, we’re doing so little to build a pipeline of well-prepared education leaders, diverse in race and gender, from all ends of the political spectrum who are ready on their first day in the Chief’s job to make a difference for kids. That has to change. (Chiefs for Change)

Atlanta lawyers step in to address students’ living conditions
Thomasville Heights is another example of the strong link between students’ living situations and their performance in school. Multiple studies show that frequent school changes and chronic absenteeism can negatively impact student attendance, performance and behavior. High mobility rates can also have an adverse effect on the students in a school who don’t move. (Education Dive)

South Carolina
SC senators back away from hiring back retired teachers, police officers
The state of South Carolina could open itself up to a lawsuit if only some retired educators and police officers can be rehired without facing the state’s $10,000 cap on retiree earnings, senators warned their colleagues Wednesday. That concern caused the Senate’s powerful Finance Committee to send the proposal — filed by state Sen. Mike Fanning, D-Fairfield, to address the state’s teacher shortage — back to a subcommittee for more work. (The State)

Memphis district’s first academic plan since 2013 is out for review. Take a look
A huge academic plan that’s meant to “reset” Tennessee’s largest school district is out for review. District leaders on Tuesday gave Shelby County Schools board members a first copy of an academic blueprint that’s been shepherded by Sharon Griffin, who was named chief of schools last year. The plan is the first for the Memphis district since the 2013 merger of city and county schools, and its goal is to get the district on track to reach its Destination 2025 goals, an ambitious plan introduced in 2015. (Chalkbeat)

Mimi Woldeyohannes is the Executive Assistant to the CEO at 50CAN. She lives in Maryland.


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