Beth Milne is a past member of the 50CAN team. 

Here are news and opinion stories educators, advocates, policy wonks and makers are talking about today:
News and Analysis 
The Obama administration is stepping up pressure on the gatekeepers of billions of dollars in federal aid to crack down on colleges and universities where students fare poorly. (The Wall Street Journal)
How do you fix a school? For more than a decade, test scores have ruled the day—and the idea that if students didn’t perform well, teachers and schools should be held accountable. Shut down the schools with low scores, the thinking went, and start over somewhere else or as charter schools. (The Atlantic)
Kevin Jennings begins his class on cultural identity for African-American boys with a daily affirmation: “I am focused. I am ready to learn. Let’s turn up!” The subject is how society sees black men, and the lens is the Matrix, a metaphor borrowed from the sci-fi film. Students identify the negative cultural stereotypes and expectations for black men and boys — what the Matrix wants you to think — that wreak havoc on a youngster’s self-image. (The New York Times)
The conversation about how to make college more accessible is not new, but a critical piece of the debate has been largely ignored. The geography of where schools are located and the impact of so-called education deserts on students is the topic of a new paper by a pair of researchers from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. (The Atlantic)
50CAN in the News
Advocacy itself is hard, but advocating for something as conceptual as personalized learning? That can seem at first to be an impossible task. We are used to thinking about education advocacy as supporting ideas that can be put to a “yes” or “no” vote: new funding formulas, the adoption of standards or the particulars of teacher evaluation systems. Yet one of the most talked about concepts in education this year doesn’t easily fit into the policy-centric approach to educational change. There is no one-size “personal learning” policy that would help translate this idea to action. That’s why, if proponents of personalized learning want to drive change at the local level, they will need to match their personalized learning goals with a more personalized approach to advocacy. (Education Week)


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