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

New Report Provides Independent Review of State ESSA Plans
States are making strides to broaden and improve their accountability systems but are struggling to identify and assist low-performing subgroups of students, according to a new independent review of state education proposals required under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Collaborative for Student Success and Bellwether Education Partners brought in more than 30 education experts from across state and party lines to evaluate the 17 state plans (including the District of Columbia’s) that have been submitted to the Department of Education. (Real Clear Education)

Why Betsy DeVos is cheering the Supreme Court’s church playground decision
Advocates for private-school vouchers cheered the Supreme Court’s 7-to-2 decision Monday that the state of Missouri could not deny a playground resurfacing grant to a church, calling the decision a first step toward an end to state bans on using public money to pay tuition at parochial schools. “School choice is on a great footing, a better footing today than it was yesterday,” said Michael Bindas, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, which advocates for private-school voucher programs. “The court’s reasoning sends a strong signal that just as the court would not tolerate the exclusion of a church from a playground resurfacing program, it will not tolerate the exclusion of a child from a school-choice program solely because they want to use a scholarship at a religious school.” (The Washington Post)

GOP health-care bill could strip public schools of billions for special education
School superintendents across the country are raising alarms about the possibility that Republican health care legislation would curtail billions of dollars in annual funding they count on to help students with disabilities and poor children. For the past three decades, Medicaid has helped pay for services and equipment that schools provide to special-education students, as well as school-based health screening and treatment for children from low-income families. Now, educators from rural red states to the blue coasts are warning that the GOP push to shrink Medicaid spending will strip schools of what a national superintendents association estimates at up to $4 billion per year. (The Washington Post)

Report: High Schoolers Motivated to Learn, but Varying Engagement Levels Point to Need for Tailored Instruction
For the better part of a century — roughly as long as the concept of the teenager has existed — parents and educators have agonized over how to reach adolescents. Stereotyped as indifferent to schoolwork and alienated at home, they have often confounded the adult world’s efforts to transform them into productive citizens. Today, new research from the Fordham Institute brings welcome news: Though their interests are piqued by different methods in the classroom, most want to learn and are willing to work hard to do so.​ (The 74)​

Gov. Rick Scott signs private school choice legislation
The nation’s largest private school choice program will offer more generous scholarships to participating students. And the largest education savings account program will be able to serve more children. Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday signed school choice legislation supported by a majority of the Legislature’s Democrats and all of its Republicans. The governor has long supported school choice and had already approved a more-contentious education bill. (redefinED)

Pressure Mounts on School District to Prove It Didn’t Cheat on Graduation Rates
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is asking the state board of education to investigate claims that officials in the Prince George’s County school district altered grades in order to inflate the district’s graduation rate. The allegation of grade-fixing surfaced at the end of May when four of the county’s 14 school board members alleged that the district changed students’ grades and credits in an effort to meet state graduation requirements, according to WAMU, an NPR affiliate based in Washington. (Education Week)

North Carolina
Dispute over NC public schools control, money lands in court
RALEIGH – The question spelled out nearly 150 years ago yet repeatedly fought over by politicians over the past quarter century is back: Who runs North Carolina public schools that educate 1.5 million students at a cost of $13 billion a year? A lawsuit over that question will be heard by a three-judge panel of state judges beginning Thursday. The case involves Republicans on both sides of the dispute and legislators who have steadily diminished the powers of new Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. (Citizen-Times)

New Mexico
Reviewers: New Mexico education plan best in the nation
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico has the best plan to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act among the 17 states that have submitted documents to the federal government so far, according to a new independent review. Bellwether Education Partners and the Collaborative for Student Success announced Tuesday that New Mexico was the only state to receive the highest marks in the majority of categories – five out of nine – that were reviewed, including standards and assessments, student success indicators and measures of academic progress. (Albuquerque Journal)

New York
How a High School Gets Students to Graduation, Against Many Odds
Aminata Diop, a senior at Broome Street Charter Academy in lower Manhattan, slipped out of her anthropology class and headed down the school’s spiral staircase, her North Face backpack slung over her shoulder. She ambled into a carpeted waiting room, and eventually sunk into a soft leather recliner where she greeted a dental hygienist who placed a paper bib around her neck and bellowed: “Open big for me!”​ Dental checkups are one of the many non-academic activities the 17-year-old senior does at school in between anthropology, English 12, and economics.​ (WNYC)​

Tennessee’s ESSA plan gets solid marks in independent review
Tennessee’s proposed plan for school accountability rates strong on measuring academic progress, but weak on counting all kids, according to an independent review released Tuesday by two education groups.​ ​For the most part, the state landed in the upper middle of an analysis spearheaded by Bellwether Education Partners and the Collaborative for Student Success.​ (Chalkbeat)​

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


Recent Posts

More posts from Today in Education

See All Posts