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

DeVos charges ahead on school choice
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has become an ardent foot soldier for President Trump’s deregulatory agenda while aggressively pushing her own school choice initiatives. The billionaire businesswoman was one of Trump’s most controversial Cabinet selections, with Democrats and liberal groups assailing her lack of experience in public schools and her years at the helm of an organization that promoted school privatization. The criticism hasn’t faded, but DeVos is charging ahead. (The Hill)

Education Reform Isn’t in Retreat
Is big, bold education reform in retreat? The Every Student Succeeds Act ended the Bush-Obama era of sweeping federal action embodied by the No Child Left Behind Act, Race to the Top and the School Improvement Grant program. It also severely limited the U.S. Department of Education’s ability to unilaterally exert its will on states and districts. Moreover, the Trump administration’s budget proposed significant cuts across federal programs. And all of this is on top of the public backlash to Common Core, teacher-evaluation reform, testing and similar initiatives associated with Uncle Sam. (U.S. News & World Report)

For Many Reasons, Parents and Students Choose Public Charter Schools
Charter schools are good for students. A 2017 study found the highest performing charters have lasting effects, carrying students through college at unprecedented rates. Charter students are graduating from college at 3 to 5 times the national average. Even though they make up less than 10 percent of public high schools, charter schools comprise 34 of the top 100 High Schools in the nation. A 2017 study by U.S. News & World Report of 22,000 public high schools found that charter schools are over-represented among the best public schools in the country. (Excel in Ed)

The High-Speed Preschool Experiment
When they arrived, many of the soon-to-be kindergarteners in Miami Elementary School’s summer preschool program in Lafayette, Indiana, could not spell their names or grip a pencil. They hadn’t learned to line up silently or raise their hands. At lunch, a few tried slurping their applesauce through straws. Many working-class families in this manufacturing city across the Wabash River from Purdue University cannot afford to send their children to private pre-kindergarten, nor can they rely on government-funded programs—like Head Start and subsidized childcare—which serve a fraction of eligible children. The city resembles Indiana as a whole, where 60 percent of children miss out on preschool. (The Atlantic)

How New Science Standards Avoided the Backlash of Common Core
After the Common Core standards in reading and math ran into backlash from critics claiming federal overreach, the supporters of new science standards decided to take a different tack. They explicitly asked the Obama administration to sit out the promotion of the science guidelines. They also encouraged states to take time to get local buy-in. The strategy appears to have paid off. (The Wall Street Journal)

More special needs classrooms is top Harford school construction priority
More than $1 million worth of improvements to facilities for students with special needs is at the top of the priority list as Harford County Public Schools leaders develop their capital improvement program for the 2019 fiscal year. The CIP, which is the list of capital projects the school system will submit to the state and county government for funding, is being developed throughout the summer. The improved classroom accommodations were at top of the funding list under a scoring system discussed with Board of Education members during a Monday evening work session. (The Baltimore Sun)

New Jersey
Schools have trouble finding long-term superintendents
Saddle Brook has had five in six years, Glen Rock has had three in eight years, and the Northern Valley Regional School District went through five in less than 10 years: Call it the Great Revolving Door of North Jersey superintendents. School districts have had trouble holding on to superintendents in recent years as school leaders — seeking higher pay amid salary caps — play musical chairs with their appointments. “A principal can make $190,000 — why would they take a superintendent’s job for less?” said Joseph Argenziano, president of the Northern Valley Board of Education. Many good candidates, he said, are lured to New York State by higher salaries. (

North Carolina
Why 50 young teens at UNCC embody the future of public education in Charlotte
Shamon Carter and Neal Kapur are only 14, but they know there’s a lot riding on their freshman year in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. They and 48 fellow ninth-graders are the founding class of a new high school on the UNC Charlotte campus. It’s part of a trend in CMS and statewide to create small, specialized schools that prepare students for careers. In this case it’s not some high-tech career of the future, but a calling that’s at the heart of public education. These teens have decided coming out of eighth grade that they want to become teachers. (The Charlotte Observer)

Shelby County Schools will seek a judge’s input on grade-adding controversy with state-run schools
Shelby County Schools will ask a judge to rule on legal issues surrounding state-run schools that have added grade levels, General Counsel Rodney Moore said. The district will seek “declaratory relief,” Moore said, a type of guidance from the court system on legal issues. Moore said Tuesday the district will “ask the judge to provide an interpretation as for what the law requires or allows” in relation to the schools that have already added grade levels to their schools. (The Commercial Appeal)

Last, but certainly not least, please be sure to check out 50CAN’s statement on Charlottesville.

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


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