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

DeVos Asks the Education Establishment to ‘Rethink’ Schools
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos slammed the established “education system” Tuesday, kicking off a “Rethink School” tour to highlight innovative ways educators are meeting the needs of students in K-12 and higher education. “It’s time to rethink school,” DeVos said to students at the Woods Learning Center in Casper, Wyoming, Tuesday morning, where she began the weeklong tour. (U.S. News & World Report)

Dear States, Learn From ESSA Plans Already Submitted
With the school year starting up in earnest, educators and education officials are preparing to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a bipartisan law passed and signed into law in 2015. As a former Florida Commissioner of Education, I hope that policymakers are hard at work crafting a system of education that works best for all of its students. (Real Clear Education)

Certification rules and tests are keeping would-be teachers of color out of America’s classrooms. Here’s how.
Becoming a certified teacher in America usually means navigating a maze of university classes and certification tests — and paying for them. The goal is a high-quality teaching force, and an array of powerful advocates have been pushing to “raise the bar” further. But the rules likely come with a hefty cost: a less diverse profession. A Chalkbeat analysis has found that virtually every step in the common teacher certification process risks disproportionately excluding prospective teachers of color. The requirements for entering schools of education, passing teacher-prep exams, and a host of other factors each hit black and Hispanic prospective teachers hardest. (Chalkbeat)

Personalized Learning’s Unknowns: Silicon Schools’ Five-Year Journey
Five years and more than $50 million dollars. The Silicon Schools Fund got started in 2012 by Brian Greenberg, a former high school principal and John Fisher, heir to the Gap fortune, with the idea of finding ways to scale promising charter schools. Now Greenberg and his team, including Caitrin Wright and Rob Schwartz, have published a five-year reflection on what they’ve learned. (EdSurge)

Preschool In Hawaii: Expensive And ‘Ridiculously Hard to Find’
When it came time to find a public preschool for his 4-year-old son this school year, James Peck was one of the luckier parents. His son, Leo, is one of 15 kids enrolled in the inaugural preschool program at Kamalani Academy, a new Hawaiian-focused arts integration charter school in Wahiawa that serves pre-kindergarten through grade 8. “As everybody knows, pre-K is ridiculously hard to find — free public free-K,” Peck said as he accompanied his son on the first day of preschool. “I’m going to presume this is going to be really hard to get into later on when people find out about it.” (Honolulu Civil Beat)

Baltimore area school superintendents call on governor to protect undocumented students
A coalition of Maryland superintendents representing large school districts is asking Gov. Larry Hogan and other elected leaders to protect the rights of undocumented students and their families. In a letter to Hogan and legislators, the leaders of five of the largest school systems in the state said President Donald Trump’s recent announcement that he would discontinue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA, in six months is having a direct impact on 9,000 undocumented young people in the state. (The Baltimore Sun)

New Jersey
After More Than 20 Years, Newark to Regain Control of Its Schools
NEWARK — In 1995, when Marques-Aquil Lewis was in elementary school, the State of New Jersey seized control of the public schools here after a judge warned that “nepotism, cronyism and the like” had precipitated “abysmal” student performances and “failure on a very large scale.” For more than 20 years, local administrators have had little leverage over the finances or operations of the state’s largest school district. Choices about curriculum and programs were made mostly by a state-appointed superintendent, often an outsider. The city could not override personnel decisions. (The New York Times)

New York
New York just made it easier for teachers to get certified
ALBANY — Prospective teachers: New York just made it easier for you to become certified. The state Board of Regents approved a number of changes to the state’s teacher certification process Tuesday, as educators and advocates statewide debate how to get more people into the teaching field while still ensuring candidates are well-trained and effective at the craft. (Times Union)

Study highlights long-term costs of charter school expansion
Pennsylvania school districts may be able to reduce some expenses when more of their students enroll in charters, but they still face significant financial costs long after those students have gone, a report being released Wednesday says. Those continuing expenses include pension costs and making required payments to bondholders for facilities. And the study by Research for Action (RFA), an independent research group in Center City, found that the fiscal impact on a school system depends not only on the rate of charter growth, but also the size of the district. (The Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News)

Nashville schools board restricts the sharing of student contact information
The Nashville schools board made clear it won’t share its students’ contact information with the state’s special district after a 6-2 vote on a policy to limit data sharing with outside districts. The passage of the policy on Tuesday night is aimed at the Achievement School District, whose request for student contact information under a new state law set off a fight with Metro Nashville Public Schools and Shelby County Schools. Nashville school board members Tyese Hunter abstained during the vote. (Tennessean)

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


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