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

How One State Changed Its ESSA Plan in Response to the Trump Team
You might have heard a lot by now about The Feedback That Shook the World—also known as the official comments from the U.S. Department of Education about states’ Every Student Succeeds Act plans. But how have states actually responded to what U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ agency has said? We now have an interesting response from at least one state. (Education Week)

The School Accountability Dodge
Is anyone really for accountability? Everyone says they support it in principle, but in practice, it seems almost everyone in the system, from school boards and administrators to teacher unions and anti-testing zealots, finds ways to dodge it. Lately, resistance to accountability is coming from some on the political right who, after decades arguing for school choice based on low test scores in traditional public schools, are now arguing that choice alone provides pretty much all the accountability we need. Moreover, they add, test scores aren’t a very good measure of school quality or linked to better outcomes in life. (U.S. News & World Report)

Study: Holding Kids Back A Grade Doesn’t Necessarily Hold Them Back
Our education system has this funny quirk of grouping kids by birth date — rather than, say, intellectual ability or achievement or interest. But developmental pathways are as individual as kids themselves. And so there’s a perpetual back-and-forth about whether to put certain kids in school a grade behind or ahead of their actual age. (NPR)

The Supreme Court, religion and the future of school choice
The Supreme Court recently decided that Trinity Lutheran Church should be eligible for a Missouri state grant covering the cost of recycled playground surfaces. Though the state originally rejected the church’s application on grounds of separation of church and state, the Supreme Court ruled that this rejection was, in fact, religious discrimination. (The Conversation)

How We Are Ruining America
Over the past generation, members of the college-educated class have become amazingly good at making sure their children retain their privileged status. They have also become devastatingly good at making sure the children of other classes have limited chances to join their ranks. How they’ve managed to do the first task — giving their own children a leg up — is pretty obvious. It’s the pediacracy, stupid. Over the past few decades, upper-middle-class Americans have embraced behavior codes that put cultivating successful children at the center of life. As soon as they get money, they turn it into investments in their kids. (The New York Times)

Hawaii Teacher: Welcome To The Islands — Now Help Us Improve Our Schools
An open letter to new Hawaii’s new school superintendent, Christina Kishimoto: Dear Mrs. Kishimoto, Aloha, my name is Ethan ʻOnipaʻa Porter. You do not know me yet, but I am going to be one of your employees very soon. You are facing a very difficult task ahead, and I wanted to give you some well wishes and advice as you continue the transition into becoming our new superintendent. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

How We Use Students’ Voices to Turn Them Into Activists
It seems like a simple idea — listening to what students have to say. Schools do that all the time. What we learned was that our students were telling us something very important. They were sharing not only ideas like wanting to listen to music during lunch, needing less homework or wanting to eat snacks during class. When we really listened to their voices, and asked questions that dug deeper, we heard who our students really are — their hopes, their dreams, what will help them reach their goals and, most importantly, how they want to make a difference in the world. (Youth Today)

New York
Mayor de Blasio’s Renewable Schools program for troubled public schools called too pricey
Mayor de Blasio’s controversial Renewal Schools program for troubled public schools is working — but it costs more than Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s old method of hitting them with an “F,” a new report says. The study to be published by the conservative Manhattan Institute in July found increases in 2016 state test scores at roughly five dozen elementary and middle schools in the $400 million program translate into 65 added days of math instruction and 93 added days of reading instruction — and likely mean more students passed the tests, said study author Marcus Winters. (NY Daily News)

How a Philly charter school benefits Local 98
In 2002, labor leader John J. Dougherty championed a new charter school whose goals included guiding more minority workers into his overwhelmingly white union. In its founding documents, Philadelphia Electrical & Technology Charter High School committed, in part, to providing students the skills needed for “participation in the apprenticeship program offered to qualified individuals by Local 98.” (The Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News)

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


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