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 
More than six million children in the United States receive special-education services for their disabilities. Of those age 6 and older, nearly 20 percent are black. (The New York Times)
Last year, the national group that represents state education chiefs called on states to figure out ways to reduce the burden of testing on their schools. Now it’s following up with a framework that states can use to evaluate their assessment regimens and cut back where they can, and it announced that 39 states are working to ways to do that. (Education Week)
Unicef warned Monday of what it described as grim trend lines for the world’s poorest children over the next 15 years, saying in a new report that many millions face preventable deaths, diseases, stunted growth and illiteracy. (The New York Times)
Back in 2013, the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote that MOOCs—massive open online courses—were about to change everything. (The Atlantic)
The Obama administration is giving seven more states and the District of Columbia continued flexibility from the requirements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law. Besides the nation’s capital, Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Tuesday announced the renewal of waivers for Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, New York and West Virginia. Current law requires schools to use standardized tests in reading and math to measure student progress. Schools in states with waivers could develop and put into effect their own plans to measure progress that go beyond the required testing. (The New York Times)
The new academic standards known as the Common Core emphasize critical thinking, complex problem-solving and writing skills, and put less stock in rote learning and memorization. So the standardized tests given in most states this year required fewer multiple choice questions and far more writing on topics like this one posed to elementary school students: Read a passage from a novel written in the first person, and a poem written in the third person, and describe how the poem might change if it were written in the first person. (The New York Times)
Enough, Congress! Time to finally get rid of No Child Left Behind. That’s the message that the nation’s two largest teachers unions and eight other major education groups, including the National PTA, are planning to deliver at a Tuesday news conference. They want the Senate to vote on a bill to revise No Child Left Behind, the long-expired and widely reviled federal education law. (The Washington Post)
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has signed a bill requiring districts to notify parents of their right to opt their children out of standardized exams. But you might have troubling discerning that from her press office. (Education Week)


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