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

As NAEP Turns to Electronic Tests, State Officials Say Scores May Be Lower Due to Students’ Basic Computer Skills—a Problem That May Have Affected 1 in 10 Testing Administrations
When results from the nation’s most highly regarded test of academic progress are released next week in Washington, D.C., they won’t include evidence from some states indicating that students performed worse than their peers — not as a result of an academic deficiency but because they had less experience using a computer. Significant differences between students who took this year’s test on tablets and a small group who continued to take it on paper were found in about 1 out of every ten administrations of this year’s test, according to sources who discussed the results with officials from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which supervises the testing. (The 74)

DeVos Meets With Supporters, Critics of Discipline Rules as GAO Says Racial Disparities Persist
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos met with supporters and critics of an Obama-era directive on school discipline Wednesday as she considers whether to rescind the document. That 2014 civil rights guidance—jointly issued by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice—put schools on notice that they may be found in violation of federal civil rights laws if they enforce intentially discriminatory rules or if their policies lead to disproportionately higher rates of discipline for students in one racial group, even if those policies were written without discriminatory intent. (Education Week)

Disparities Persist In School Discipline, Says Government Watchdog
Black students, boys, and students with disabilities are disproportionately disciplined in K-12 schools across the country. That’s according to a new report, out Wednesday, from the non-partisan federal watchdog, the Government Accountability Office. Those disparities were consistent, “regardless of the type of disciplinary action, regardless of the level of school poverty, and regardless of the type of public school attended,” says Jacqueline Nowicki, who led the team of researchers at the GAO. (NPR)

Delaware General Assembly considers helping teachers pay down student loans
Von Morgan loves teaching music at Richardson Park Elementary School near Elsmere. But with $68,000 of student loan debt bearing down on him, the 28-year-old says he is tempted to find higher-paying work elsewhere. “I’m torn because I know these kids need me,” he said. “But I can’t help them if I can’t help myself.” Morgan is exactly the type of teacher Gov. John Carney and state lawmakers are hoping to reach with a proposed student-loan assistance program targeted to educators at high-needs schools and those teaching high-demand subject areas. (Delaware Online)

New York
Parents rally to demand good schools in city’s poor neighborhoods
Protesters mobbed the steps of City Hall on Tuesday to call for new schools Chancellor Richard Carranza to break from Mayor de Blasio and upend the status quo by bringing good public schools to the city’s poorest neighborhoods. The demonstration organized by pro-charter group StudentsFirstNY drew about 100 parents, despite the rain. “Chancellor Carranza, parents are ready for a change. Don’t let us down,” said Shelevya Pearson of Brownsville in Brooklyn. (NY Daily News)

For $20M, some Philly schools to get makeovers
The Philadelphia School District will spend $20 million on updating primary grade classrooms in 11 city schools next school year. If you want to know whether the investment is worth it, just ask Katherine Carter. Carter, principal of Alain Locke Elementary in West Philadelphia, surveyed a first-grade class — some children writing sentences, others reading books, others stringing letter beads together, some puzzling through literacy activities on iPads — and nodded definitively. (The Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News)

South Carolina
Their profession is in crisis. But will SC public school teachers walk out?
Public school teachers fed up with their lawmakers have gone on strike and shut down schools in West Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma, where Monday, thousands protested at the Oklahoma State Capitol, demanding higher pay and more education funding. But those same efforts are unlikely to carry over to South Carolina, where a lack of collective bargaining rights means teachers are not allowed to go on strike. (The State)

Will Tennessee become the next state to see a teacher strike?
With teachers going on strike or walking out in several states across the nation in recent days and weeks, what are the odds it can happen in Tennessee? It’s unlikely, but not out of the realm of possibility. That’s because there are numerous issues at play that make a Tennessee teacher strike doubtful. Gov. Bill Haslam has placed millions into teacher raises in this year’s and previous budgets. The state has a healthy teacher retirement fund. And it’s also illegal for teachers to strike. (Tennessean)

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


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