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

News and Analysis
Some Hires by Betsy DeVos Are a Stark Departure From Her Reputation
WASHINGTON — Since her confirmation as the education secretary, Betsy DeVos has been the Trump cabinet member liberals love to hate, denouncing her as an out-of-touch, evangelical billionaire without the desire or capacity to protect vulnerable poor, black, immigrant, gay or transgender students. (The New York Times)

White House orders agencies to ignore Democrats’ oversight requests
The White House is telling federal agencies to blow off Democratic lawmakers’ oversight requests, as Republicans fear the information could be weaponized against President Donald Trump. At meetings with top officials for various government departments this spring, Uttam Dhillon, a White House lawyer, told agencies not to cooperate with such requests from Democrats, according to Republican sources inside and outside the administration. (Politico)

Solving the Rural Education Gap: Experts Weigh In on New Report’s Findings Tying Gap to Prosperity
About half of all U.S. public school districts are considered rural, and they collectively enroll some 12 million students, or one-quarter of the total public school population, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Whether these students end up graduating from high school and college, and how they fare in the workforce, is linked inextricably to their rural education experiences, a new report finds. (The 74)

K-12 Spending: Where the Money Goes
It’s well known among K-12 budget analysts—not to mention school district finance staff—that the vast majority of spending in education occurs on people. Recently released federal data provide clarity on what’s generally known about the huge amount of money in districts that’s consumed by the salaries and benefits of teachers, administrators, and support staff. The data also offer a general breakdown of how districts spend money in different areas connected to administration, student support, and instruction. (Education Week)

Investigation into Atlanta school purchasing grows
Two more Atlanta Public Schools employees are facing discipline in connection with the hiring of a company owned by the district’s then-purchasing director to provide parking and staffing services, and an internal investigation into the school district’s purchasing practices has grown. More than $60,000 in revenue from those parking services may be missing. The former purchasing director, who was fired, had been accused of fraud at his previous job. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

New Jersey
N.J. students say admins publicly shamed kids over late lunch money, fees
Fair Lawn-Students at Fair Lawn High School say administrators conducted a public shaming over owing delinquent lunch and book money – and students were told they won’t graduate unless they pay. Senior Benny Koval on Wednesday tweeted a photo of a school assembly where he said administrators were demanding money and naming students who owed cash. (

New York
New York City eyes buyout to reduce teacher reserve pool
The city will offer buyouts to roving educators who lack permanent assignments at schools, Education Department officials said Thursday. The city seeks to shrink the Absent Teacher Reserve pool with offers of one-time payments of $50,000 or payments of $35,000 and six months of health benefits. Teachers may be assigned to the reserve pool under circumstances including when schools are downsized. (NY Daily News)

North Carolina
Rise of charter schools: Some say they offer stability, safety from reassignment
More than 4,700 new Wake County students are expected to attend public schools this fall – but the majority of those newcomers will likely go to charter schools. Charter school enrollment is rising statewide, but particularly in Wake, where the number of charter students has doubled since state lawmakers eliminated the limit on charter schools in 2011. The growth has been particularly strong in western and southwestern Wake, where charter schools are promoting how they can provide stability at a time when growth is causing the county school system to reassign students each year. (The News & Observer)

Trezevant principal who uncovered grading scandal resigns
The Trezevant High School principal who uncovered a grading scandal at the school last year is resigning from Shelby County Schools over the way he says the district handled the investigation. Ronnie Mackin sent a letter to board members and Superintendent Dorsey Hopson alleging he was brought in to the school to be a “scapegoat” for “corrupt, illegal, and unethical activities” by district staff. (The Commercial Appeal)

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


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