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

House Subcommittee Advances Education Funding Bill as Democrats Protest ‘Anti-Teacher’ Cuts
A House subcommittee Thursday approved a bill that eliminates some funding for the Education Department, even as Democrats protested cuts to teacher training and other education programs. The bill would fund the department at $66 billion, $2.4 billion less than the current fiscal year. Almost all of that decrease comes from ending $2 billion in grants that support teacher training and salaries. President Donald Trump had proposed slashing the so-called Title II educator training spending while seeking to take $9 billion overall from the federal education budget. (The 74)

Education Department Staffing Has Plummeted Over Time, Report Finds
President Donald Trump came to Washington pledging to slash the federal workforce and drain the swamp. But he may be jumping on a train that’s already left the station, at least as far as the U.S. Department of Education is concerned. Staffing at the department has dropped 36 percent over the past thirty-four years, from a high of 6,391 in federal fiscal year 1981, to 4,077 in fiscal year 2015, according to a report released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ investigative arm. (Education Week)

Cell Towers At Schools: Godsend Or God-Awful?
School districts — hard up for cash — are turning to an unlikely source of revenue: cell towers. The multistory metal giants are cropping up on school grounds in Chicago, Milpitas, Calif., Collier County, Fla. and many other places across the country. The big reason: money. As education budgets dwindle, districts are forming partnerships with telecom companies to allow use of their land in exchange for some of the profits. Last year, for example, cell towers on seven school sites generated $112,139 in revenue for the schools in Prince George’s County, Md., just outside Washington, D.C. (NPR)

Homework Banned For Elementary Schools In One Florida County
For 31 elementary schools in Marion County, Florida, homework will no longer be en vogue. Superintendent Heidi Maier sent out a “no homework” mandate, rendering daily assignments a thing of the past. Spokesman Kevin Christian admitted that science projects or research papers may be assigned to work on at home from time to time, but elementary school students won’t be returning home daily with work to do. The school district has suggested that parents read with their children for 20 minutes every night, though. (CBS Sacramento)

The Scramble To Recruit New Teachers — And Keep Them In Hawaii
Kaitlyn Cleveland was halfway through her first year teaching fourth grade at Solomon Elementary School in Wahiawa earlier this year when she entertained the idea of leaving Hawaii to go back to the mainland once the school year ended. For the Washington state native, living in the country’s most expensive state on a teacher’s salary isn’t easy: rent is more than half of her monthly take-home pay, fresh produce is no longer on her grocery budget and trips back home are too costly. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

Maryland expands apprenticeship programs
Maryland labor officials have approved new sponsors and employers for apprenticeship programs designed to help workers prepare for careers, the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation said Thursday. Nestle Dreyer’s Ice Cream Co. will offer an apprenticeship in the trade of industrial maintenance mechanic, and the Tree Care Industry Association will offer an apprenticeship in the trade of arborist, marking the first time an arborist program has been approved in the state. The department also approved Delaware-based Bauguess Electrical Services Inc. The employers are among more than 130 offering registered apprenticeship programs in Maryland. (The Baltimore Sun)

New Jersey
Williams: In Praise of New Jersey, Illinois, Louisiana — 3 States Smartly Using ESSA to Help English Learners
Advocates for English learners (ELs) celebrated the 2015 passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act as a significant step forward for these students. The new law, which replaced the much-maligned No Child Left Behind, includes a number of big changes that give states room to rethink how they serve English learners. As ESSA neared passage in 2015, I worried that there was no “reason to believe that states are willing to design accountability systems that actually require them to focus on schools with lots of underprivileged and underserved kids.”​ (The 74)​

​New York
​Some New York charter schools could soon be allowed to certify their own teachers. What could that look like?
One charter school teacher training program gives first-year teachers a part-time workload and allows them to learn alongside mentor teachers.​ ​Another has summer workshops that include home visits with students’ families.​ ​A third network often starts the year with a week of workshops at a Westchester hotel, has a staff member devoted to professional development, and brings in consultants for math, writing and reading instruction.​ (Chalkbeat)

​North Carolina​
NC’s prekindergarten efforts shown to help children for years, report card finds
North Carolina’s prekindergarten program for 4-year-olds, established 15 years ago, has produced learning gains for children, sometimes well into elementary school, a new report from UNC concludes. The new summary report, from UNC’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, reviewed years of data and annual evaluations on NC Pre-K, which began under the name More at Four. The free program primarily serves children whose family income does not exceed 75 percent of the state median.​ (The News & Observer)

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


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