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

The Power of One: New Research Shows Black Students See Big Benefits From a Single Black Teacher

New research shows that years after having even one black teacher in elementary school, black students experience major benefits, from being less likely to drop out of high school to being more likely to aspire to college and take college entrance exams.​ ​The recent study comes as there has been increasing attention to diversifying the teaching force, which remains overwhelmingly white, even as the public school student body has become significantly less so.​ (The 74)​

The New Champions of School Integration
Policies that promote school integration by race and class took a significant hit last week when the U.S. Department of Education announced that it was killing a small but important federal program to support local diversity efforts. The initiative, “Opening Doors, Expanding Opportunities,” was slated to provide $12 million to school districts to boost socioeconomic diversity. The brainchild of President Obama’s Secretary of Education, John B. King Jr., the program had attracted interest from 26 school districts across the country that believed kids would be better off in schools that educate rich and poor, and white and minority students, together rather than separately.​ (The Atlantic)​

Curriculum becomes a reform strategy
“Structural” education reformers—the kind who worry about school governance, choice, standards, accountability, ESSA, universal pre-K, graduation rates, collective bargaining, etc.—have long been faulted by “inside the classroom” educators for neglecting pedagogy and curriculum. When Hoover’s Koret Task Force was active, for example, Don Hirsch and (the former) Diane Ravitch regularly noted that fellow members such as Paul Hill, Paul Peterson, Rick Hanushek, and myself were obsessed with policy and structure and all but oblivious to what really matters in the education of children, namely what and how they are taught​. ​(Fordham)

Betsy DeVos isn’t listening to parents: Column
Betsy DeVos, our new secretary of Education, claims that she wants the federal government to become more responsive to the will of the American people. As she argued at her Senate confirmation hearing: “[I]t’s time to shift the debate” about school reform “from what the system thinks is best for kids to what moms and dads want, expect and deserve.” The solution for what ails public education won’t be found in Washington, D.C., she added. “The answer is local control and listening to parents, students and teachers.”​ (USA Today)​

New York
Budget deal could spare de Blasio mayoral-control fight

State legislators are expected to include a one-year extension of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s control over New York City schools into the late budget deal, city and state officials said Wednesday.
The deal, which has yet to be formally approved, was first reported by the Daily News.​ ​It would mark the third consecutive one-year extension for de Blasio, whose fractured relationship with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Republicans in the state Senate has prevented him from securing a permanent extension of the system, which was created under former mayor Michael Bloomberg.​ (Politico) ​

​South Carolina​
SC education bills make it past ‘cross over’ deadline

The deadline for moving legislation from one chamber of the South Carolina Legislature to the other so that it can pass this year is fast approaching, a consequence of this year’s first-of-its-kind, shorter legislative session.​ ​In order to pass this year, bills have to “cross over” from at least one chamber to the other by Monday, giving both a chance to act before the session ends in mid-May. The annual session previously concluded in June.​ ​Lawmakers plan to be out next week, meaning any bill that didn’t pass one chamber by Thursday most likely is done for the year.​ (Independent Mail)​

Tennessee voucher bill stalls as lawmakers strip TNReady testing requirement

A proposal to create a school voucher program in Memphis is losing some momentum while lawmakers tussle over the issue of testing.​ ​After sailing through several committees in Tennessee’s General Assembly, the bill stalled Wednesday for a second straight week in the House Government and Operations Committee.​ (Chalkbeat)​


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