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


DeVos: Civil rights office will return to being a ‘neutral’ agency
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said she is “returning” the Office for Civil Rights “to its role as a neutral, impartial, investigative agency.” In a July 11 letter to Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, DeVos asserted that the department’s civil rights arm under the Obama administration “had descended into a pattern of overreaching, of setting out to punish and embarrass institutions rather than work with them to correct civil rights violations and of ignoring public input prior to issuing new rules.” (Politico)

Richmond: Autonomy or Accountability? Good Charter School Authorizing Means Balancing the Two
There was a hint of authorizing in the air at this year’s National Charter Schools Conference. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made clear her belief that it is too difficult for good charter school proposals to get approved in many cities. That same day, as the head of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), I had the honor of being inducted into the National Charter School Hall of Fame. (The 74)

High-stakes testing may push struggling teachers to younger grades, hurting students
Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade are often free of the high-stakes testing common in later grades — but those years are still high-stakes for students’ learning and development. That means it’s a big problem when schools encourage their least effective teachers to work with their youngest students. And a new study says that the pressure of school accountability systems may be encouraging exactly that. (Chalkbeat)

When Black Hair Violates The Dress Code
Raising teenage girls can be a tough job. Raising black teenage girls as white parents can be even tougher. Aaron and Colleen Cook knew that when they adopted their twin daughters, Mya and Deanna. As spring came around this year, the girls, who just turned 16, told their parents they wanted to get braided hair extensions. Their parents happily obliged, wanting Mya and Deanna to feel closer to their black heritage. (NPR)

Nationwide search for Georgia school “turnaround” chief begins soon
Georgia’s nationwide search for a school “turnaround” leader will begin in earnest later this month, when the state formally advertises the position. The Chief Turnaround Officer’s job will be posted in the national education journal Education Week, from July 24 through Aug. 18. The Georgia Board of Education hopes to harness the publication’s list of email recipients to further publicize the unique job, which was designed by the Georgia General Assembly this year, with plenty of advice from education advocacy groups. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Activist DeRay Mckesson to leave Baltimore school system
Civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson plans to leave his position as head of human resources for Baltimore’s public schools by the end of the month. Mckesson, who has served as the school system’s chief human capital officer for more than a year, said in an interview he intends to remain in Baltimore, continue hosting his popular podcast and focus on social justice activism. “It was an honor to come back to city schools and serve in this role,” Mckesson said. “I believe in the superintendent. I believe in the kids of Baltimore. I think of it as complementary and inclusive to the other organizing work I do with social justice.” (The Baltimore Sun)

North Carolina
Marcus Brandon: New district another innovative piece of the education equity puzzle
At last week’s State Board of Education meeting, Eric Hall officially announced the North Carolina Innovative School District, which he will lead as its first superintendent. With this launch, North Carolina added a tool to provide educational equity for all children. We at NorthCarolinaCAN are excited to partner with Dr. Hall, as well as the parents, educators and community members who care deeply about their children and schools. Working together, we will ensure the ISD is successful in fulfilling its mission of dramatically improving student achievement across the state. (News & Record)

KIPP Philadelphia expands and creates new feeder networks
KIPP Philadelphia, affiliated with one of the nation’s largest and most well-known charter organizations, has almost reached its goal of creating a K-12 network of schools in West Philadelphia. Earlier this year, the School Reform Commission approved KIPP’s plan for a new elementary school in Parkside, serving grades K-4. KIPP opened its first school in Philadelphia in 2003. To round out its presence here, KIPP Philadelphia plans two networks of elementary, middle, and high schools that can take students all the way from kindergarten through 12th grade in high-poverty areas in West Philadelphia and North Philadelphia. (Philadelphia Public School Notebook)

Parent: Shelby, Achievement school districts’ fighting is ‘like when my parents first divorced’
As lawyers, politicians and school leaders meet behind the scenes, Cheryl Harris just wants to know where her son will attend the eighth grade in three weeks. “It kind of feels a little bit like when my parents first got divorced,” the Aspire Coleman parent said of the controversy that has her son’s academic future up in the air. “It feels like it’s just two parents arguing, ‘well we’re the better person to have the kids,’ ‘No, we have to have the kids,'” Cheryl Harris said. “It’s very frustrating.” (The Commercial Appeal)

Washington D.C.
Trump wants to spend millions more on school vouchers. But what’s happened to the millions already spent?
Congress dedicates $15 million a year to a program that helps low-income D.C. students pay tuition at private schools, but it’s impossible for taxpayers to find out where their money goes: The administrator of the D.C. voucher program refuses to say how many students attend each school or how many public dollars they receive. (The Washington Post)

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