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

Fewer Than 1 in 3 Americans Support Kids Opting out of Tests; About Half Confused on What ‘Opt Out’ Means
A majority of Americans are familiar with the opt-out movement — parents withdrawing their children from standardized tests — and nearly half of them oppose the practice, according to a new survey from Columbia University’s Teachers College. But even among the one-third who support opting out, many have misconceptions about the true goals behind it. (The 74)

Editorial: A rare shot for school choice in Illinois
For too long, low-income children in Illinois have been prisoners of their ZIP codes. Their educational opportunities are determined by arbitrary lines on a map that pen families inside a school district’s boundaries. Lawmakers who are wrestling over a new school funding formula this week should embrace a compromise that would rescue those children. They can advance a proposal creating scholarships for low- and middle-income kids to attend school outside their district boundaries. (Chicago Tribune)

Silent progress on education
If you’re anything like me, you can’t help but grow really discouraged at what seems like a lack of progress toward improving public education. I’ll admit there are days when I just want to throw in the towel. I keep noticing, though, that there is actually a substantial amount of good news about American education that never seems to get any traction in either traditional or social media. I also suspect education reformers are so accustomed to calling out the bad news in order to incite action that we fail to appreciate the importance of good news. I’ve discussed this previously, but feel the need to revisit it as there’s been a spat of generally unheralded good news. (Fordham)

Laundry machines at New Orleans schools provide clean clothes, confidence
Irene Thu Hoang treats students at Foundation Preparatory Charter School like her own children, going as far as giving them another uniform to change into whenever she notices a child wearing dirty clothes. Some students might not have reliable access to laundry facilities: Their parents might not be able to afford a laundromat, or the electricity might have been shut off at their home. So Hoang, director of office and family services at the school, washes the students’ dirty uniforms by hand and then hangs them out to dry. (The Times-Picayune)

New Jersey
Jackson principal raps in Ted Talk against ‘standardizing’ students
JACKSON – Middle school principal, coach and spoken word poet. Carl Perino of the Goetz Middle School in Jackson has turned his artistic talents and years of educational expertise toward spreading a message — a rhythmic ode urging a seismic shift in adult expectations for children. Perino, 47, of Point Pleasant, might seem an unlikely critic of a culture that pushes for educational excellence. Yet, in a four-minute spoken word performance, Perino rails against a system he describes as putting pressure on kids to focus on test scores over social skills and academic performance over happiness. (Asbury Park Press)

New York
Comment on Race Reopens New York Democrats’ Split Over Schools
The 55-word Facebook post had a remarkably short life span, especially for one from Daniel S. Loeb, a charter school proponent and activist investor known for his acid-penned missives. Mr. Loeb wrote this week that “hypocrites who pay fealty to powerful union thugs and bosses do more damage to people of color than anyone who has ever donned a hood,” singling out the minority leader of the State Senate, who is African-American. Mr. Loeb, a hedge fund giant and political megadonor, quickly deleted and disavowed the incendiary comment after it became public, but the damage was done. (The New York Times)

Tennessee Schools Learn a Lesson in Reform
Not too long ago, teachers, instructional coaches, principals and other educators poured into Memphis, Tennessee, energized by and drawn to an aggressive effort to turn around the state’s chronically poor-performing schools – schools that, for decades, had been failing generations of students. Memphis, once the epicenter of the civil rights movement and now an economically devastated blip along the banks of the Mississippi, wasn’t simply home to a majority of the state’s worst schools. At the time, it was home to nearly all of them – 69 out of the 83 identified as the bottom 5 percent in Tennessee. (U.S. News & World Report)

Washington D.C.
Teacher contract proposed in D.C. for the first time in five years
Teachers in D.C. Public Schools, who are among the best paid in the country, will be offered salary increases of 9 percent over three years under a proposed contract that could end a lengthy labor impasse. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) was expected to publicly announce the tentative contract deal at a news conference Monday morning. D.C. and union officials provided The Post with a summary of what they said were the highlights of the agreement, but they did not provide a copy of the agreement itself. (The Washington Post)

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


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