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

Parent Activists Flex Their Muscles in Education Policy Debates
From room mom to PTA president, parents have long played an important and active part in their children’s schools. But increasingly, parents are taking on a new, potentially powerful, role — activist. In many states, parent groups have become a political force to be reckoned with — swarming city halls and state capitols and flooding the phone lines of elected officials to voice their opinions on issues such as the Common Core State Standards, standardized testing, and school choice. (EWA)

What Bullying Looks Like in Today’s Classrooms: 3 New Charts That Explain Changes in School Violence
Reports of bullying and violence in America’s public schools are on the decline, according to a report published Thursday by the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics. The figures come from the department’s latest report on crime, violence, discipline, and safety in America’s public schools, which outlines data from a national survey of 3,553 schools during the 2015–16 academic year. The department first conducted the survey in the 1999–2000 school year; the most recent survey was administered in 2009–10. (The 74)

Urban Colleges Move Into K-12 Schools to Help Kids and Themselves
Colleges have long encouraged students to tutor area children and funneled aspiring teachers into nearby classrooms for training. Some operate pricey private “lab” schools to test new pedagogy like play-based learning or bilingual instruction, or to attract faculty with families. Now they are taking over entire public schools. (The Wall Street Journal)

New Jersey
In Response to Federal Feedback, N.J. Seeks Testing Waiver From ESSA
New Jersey has asked U.S. Secretary Betsy DeVos for a waiver from the way the Every Student Succeeds Act requires states to test its middle school students, joining Florida and Kentucky in their intention to ask for waivers under the new federal K-12 law. (Education Week)

New York
Do charter schools hurt their neighboring schools? A new study of New York City schools says no — they help.
Far from hurting existing schools, new charter schools in New York City have actually helped their neighbors improve, according to a new study. The study’s surprising conclusion adds some hard data to a divisive debate: Do the privately operated yet publicly funded institutions sap resources and hurt traditional public schools? Or do they exert competitive pressure that lifts all boats? (Chalkbeat)

How one group is defying conventional wisdom on parental involvement in Memphis schools
Adorning one hall of the North Memphis headquarters of Memphis Lift, photos chronicle the parent advocacy group’s meteoric rise from obscurity to influence on the city’s education landscape over the course of two years. One snapshot captures founding executive director Sarah Carpenter posing with a public housing resident as the group canvassed its first neighborhood to show parents the data behind Memphis schools, especially those in the state’s bottom 5 percent. (Chalkbeat)

Washington D.C.
One in four D.C. public schools have had at least three principals since 2012
More than a quarter of D.C. Public Schools have had at least three principals since August 2012, a pattern of upheaval that worries parents and teachers who say constant change in leadership can generate instability, inhibit trust and stall academic progress. (The Washington Post)

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


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