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

More Americans Give Top Grades to Public Schools
Americans’ support for public schools has risen in the last year—across the country and across the political spectrum—but the public also wants schools to go beyond academics to provide more career and student health supports, according to the 49th annual education poll by Phi Delta Kappa International. The percentage of Americans rating K-12 education quality—at both the national and local levels—at an “A” or “B” is the highest it’s been since the 1980s. (Education Week)

When school districts resegregate, more black and Hispanic students drop out
After courts lift school desegregation orders, students of color are more likely to drop out, a new study finds — the latest signal that school segregation harms black and Hispanic kids. Court-mandated integration efforts across the U.S. have sharply declined in recent decades. Of 480 school districts that had an integration order in place in 1991 (and at least 2,000 students), 214 had the court order eliminated by 2010. Officials often moved quickly to dismantle assignment systems designed to achieve integration. (Chalkbeat)

Teacher shortages affecting every state as 2017-18 school year begins
The 2017-18 school year has started in many places across the country, and federal data shows that every state is dealing with shortages of teachers in key subject areas. Some are having trouble finding substitute teachers, too. The annual nationwide listing of areas with teacher shortages, compiled by the U.S. Education Department, shows many districts struggling to fill positions in subjects such as math, the traditional sciences, foreign language and special education, but also in reading and English language arts, history, art, music, elementary education, middle school education, career and technical education, health, and computer science. That is not an exhaustive list. (The Washington Post)

O’Keefe & Rotherham: Data Should Tell Parents How Their Kid’s School is Doing. Right Now, It Doesn’t
May, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced, “parents know — or can figure out — what learning environment is best for their child.” Her spokeswoman Liz Hill backed her up, saying parents don’t need “more data sets, they need more options.” No data sets? Wonks, to the barricades! Sure, there is a common-sense appeal to this kind of talk, but it’s heresy for those of us who think accurate data and strong accountability systems are important. It’s also not totally off-base. Yes, DeVos and her team are wrong to dismiss data and accountability out of hand. The 74’s David Cantor wrote recently that this approach “should be seen as an attack on the idea that school quality matters.” (The 74)

‘Compromise’ school bill dramatically moves big step closer to reality
SPRINGFIELD — It took several hours, three roll-call votes and no shortage of drama, but the Illinois House on Monday passed a “compromise” school funding bill — setting the stage for state government to overhaul the way it bankrolls public education. The measure, which initially failed, cleared the chamber 73-34. The Senate on Tuesday plans to take up the bill — which Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he’ll sign. (Chicago Sun Times)

Houston Schools Chief: Many Students Will Lose Everything
Public school students in Houston won’t be starting school until at least Sept. 5, as the powerful storm dubbed Harvey continues to swirl overhead, dropping epic amounts of rain that’s caused severe flooding and has submerged large swaths of the sprawling city. “Thank goodness it seems like we’re pulling through, but the flooding is not over yet,” says Richard Carranza, superintendent of the Houston Independent School District. “Probably the most obvious thing is we’ve had to call off the whole first week of school, but our first concern is the safety of our students, teachers and community.” (U.S. News & World Report)

U.S. Education Secretary DeVos to visit two schools in Florida on Tuesday
TALLAHASSEE–U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a controversial champion of school choice, is making another trip to the Sunshine State with plans to visit two schools in the state capital on Tuesday, one public and one private. DeVos will spend the morning at Holy Comforter Episcopal School, a private Christian school that opened in 1955, before visiting Florida State University High School, an “A”-rated public charter school that’s known as “Florida High” and is affiliated with FSU’s College of Education. (Miami Herald)

1,500 Atlanta high schoolers to receive home internet on free devices
Doing homework at home will get a little easier for 1,500 Atlanta high schoolers who soon will be able to access the internet outside of school. Atlanta Public Schools started passing out electronic devices with internet service this week to students thanks to a partnership with Sprint and the Sprint Foundation. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Coatesville schools try ‘rebranding’ to win back students
The last few years haven’t done wonders for the reputation of the Coatesville Area School District, where headlines over school fights went viral on social media, the former superintendent and athletic director were caught sending racist and sexist texts, and about 100 teachers have left. With hundreds of students abandoning the Chester County district for nearby charter schools, officials have turned to a strategy that’s more typically associated with McDonald’s or Oldsmobile. (The Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News)

Teachers fired, principal out at Petersburg school where Va. report says staff helped students cheat on SOLs
Some students at A.P. Hill Elementary School in Petersburg had to raise a hand after answering questions on state accountability tests last spring for a proctor to check their work. If the answer was correct, they could move on to the next question. If it was not, the students were told to check their work, according to a state report issued Thursday stemming from an investigation that began in June. Others made rapid-fire corrections to wrong answers within minutes before submitting computerized tests, data show. (Richmond Times Dispatch)

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


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