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

News and Analysis

Head of Democrats For Education Reform blasts DeVos, calls push for vouchers a ‘sideshow’
It’s a tough time to be a Democrat for education reform.​ ​After eight years with one of the original DFER members, President Obama, in the White House, the well-financed organization is under siege from both the left and right. (Chalkbeat)

Why It’s So Hard To Know Whether School Choice Is Working
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been a passionate proponent of expanding school choice, including private school vouchers and charter schools, and she has the clear backing of President Trump. But does the research justify her enthusiasm?​ ​
Experts say one single, overarching issue bedevils their efforts to study the impact of school choice programs. That is: It’s hard to disentangle the performance of a school from the selection of its students.​ (NPR)​

Do charter schools serve special needs kids? The jury is out
Five-year-old Nico Rosenblatt cannot speak and struggles to learn because of a rare genetic condition, yet thrives when surrounded by other children in a regular classroom, according to his parents. However, they say neither the public school system nor a charter school in the nation’s capital could provide an inclusive environment for him.​ (ABC News)​

Floridians are weighing in on public schools bill. Most want a veto.
TALLAHASSEE–By a margin of at least 3-to-1 so far, Floridians are telling Gov. Rick Scott they want him to veto a controversial $419 million K-12 public schools bill House Republicans pushed through at the end of session, according to information requested from Scott’s office Thursday evening. (Miami Herald)

New Mexico
New Mexico budget woes bring national teachers union leader
The national president of the American Federation of Teachers is coming to New Mexico amid the state’s budget woes. Randi Weingarten is scheduled to visit Santa Fe on Wednesday as state lawmakers begin a special session that will likely address education funding in one of the nation’s poorest states. Weingarten will speak with a coalition of Democratic lawmakers to urge Republican Gov. Susana Martinez not push for education funding cuts. (The News & Observer)

 New York
New Report Shows NYC’s Alternative to Charter Schools — Supported by De Blasio and UFT — Aren’t Getting Results
A program touted as a union-blessed alternative to charter schools in New York City isn’t getting results for the kids it serves, according to a new report. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has long been hostile to charters, launched the Progressive Redesign Opportunity Schools for Excellence (PROSE) program that allows up to 200 schools to remain unionized but frees them from the chancellor’s regulations and some contract rules, with the city and the union’s blessing. (The 74)

Rhode Island
Reps state case for charter bill before House committee
PROVIDENCE—As public school districts around the state chafe under tight budgets, administrators have increasingly put charter schools within their crosshairs. State law requires public school districts to pay for tuitions of residents who attend local charter schools, but many public school leaders have said the costs are too great and public oversight too little. (The NK Standard Times)

In case you haven’t heard, 50CAN has a bold new vision for the 4 million kids entering the education system in America. Read it here:

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


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