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

ESSA State Plan Submission

The following States have submitted plans under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for the spring peer review window. Please note that a link is provided to the State plan for those that are determined to be complete and have been sent forward for peer review. The Department is still determining whether the other State plans are complete. (U.S. Department of Education)

Poll: Schools With Mostly White Teachers ‘Not Really Trying’ to Educate Students of Color
Black and Latino parents whose children’s teachers are mostly white are more likely to believe schools are “not really trying” to educate students of color than those with mostly black or mostly Latino teachers. That’s one of the major findings in the second annual poll from The Leadership Conference Education Fund and Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, which aim to capture the views of parents and families of color on education – a group, the poll organizers underscored, whose members are often left out of debates about education policies that directly affect them despite the fact that their children constitute a majority of public school students. (U.S. News & World Report)

A Little-Noticed Target in the House Health Bill: Special Education
While House Republicans lined up votes Wednesday for a Thursday showdown over their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Vickie Glenn sat in her Murphysboro, Ill., office and prayed for it to fail. Ms. Glenn, a Medicaid coordinator for Tri-County Special Education, an Illinois cooperative that helps more than 20 school districts deliver special education services to students, was worried about an issue that few in Congress were discussing: how the new American Health Care Act, with its deep cuts to Medicaid, would affect her 2,500 students. (The New York Times)

U.S. at Risk of Not Reaching 90 Percent Graduation Rate Goal by 2020
Since 2001, 2.8 million more students have graduated from high school rather than dropping out. In an economy that prizes educational attainment more than ever before, these rising rates have created enormous benefits for individuals, communities and our entire nation. But even now with the current national graduation rate at 83.2 percent, it is becoming more evident that the nation will be unable to meet its high school graduation rate goal without intensifying efforts to reach the students who have historically faced the greatest challenges.  The country remains off-pace to reaching its goal for the second year in a row. (PR Newswire)

Charter school meets first of five deadlines set by state officials

Cirrus Academy has updated one portion of its special education practices, but it has several more changes to go under orders by the state. Earlier this spring, three teachers at the Macon charter school filed a formal complaint under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. They expressed concerns that services and plans listed in students’ individualized education programs were not being followed. The Georgia Department of Education investigated the allegations and responded with a report March 31 detailing corrective actions that Cirrus had to take. (The Telegraph)

New Jersey
Sweeney threatens N.J. government shutdown over school funding

New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney on Tuesday threatened to shut down state government next month, declaring he would block a budget that doesn’t change the formula the Legislature uses to fund schools. “The Senate is not going to pass a budget that doesn’t start to address the unfairness in this funding formula,” Sweeney (D., Gloucester) said at a rally Tuesday outside the Statehouse Annex, where he was joined by school officials and advocates from Cherry Hill, Robbinsville, Freehold, and other districts. (The Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News)

North Carolina
Durham County commissioners want DPS, charters to collaborate

Durham County commissioners want to get Durham Public Schools and charter school leaders together to talk about what’s working and not working in educating local children. The task may not be as easy as it sounds, said Commissioner Heidi Carter, a former school board chairwoman. Carter said the Board of Education wanted to collaborate on a vision for quality public schools in Durham about four years ago, but the charter schools and DPS couldn’t agree on all the tenets of that vision. (The Herald Sun)

Before voucher legislation comes back in 2018, Tennessee lawmakers want a plan to determine whether vouchers work

While Tennessee lawmakers will go home this year without passing school vouchers into law, they’re not leaving the idea behind. In the coming months, lawmakers who backed the proposal to start a five-year pilot program in Memphis will fine-tune it. One goal: clearing up questions about what kind of tests students need to take so lawmakers can determine if the program is “working.” (Chalkbeat)

Washington D.C.
Trump praises D.C. voucher program with mixed record

President Donald Trump on Wednesday celebrated Washington, D.C.’s voucher program despite findings that it had a negative impact on children’s reading and math scores — saying it makes an “extraordinary difference” to students in the nation’s capital. Flanked by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Vice President Mike Pence and several D.C. student participants, Trump said that 98 percent of scholarship recipients get “their high school diplomas and they’re really very, very special, they go onto tremendous successes.” (Politico) 


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