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

This Week’s ESSA News: Science Test Debate, a Career Readiness Blind Spot, and Massachusetts Has Work to Do
Feedback from the U.S. Department of Education continues, with Secretary Betsy DeVos “issuing critical feedback that has rattled state school chiefs and conservative education experts alike,” according to Erica Green of The New York Times. But some lawmakers aren’t so happy. Sen. Lamar Alexander, one of the main authors of the Every Student Succeeds Act, argued that acting assistant secretary Jason Botel “hasn’t read the law carefully.” In his comments, the Tennessee Republican, himself a former education secretary, maintained his support for local control, telling Education Week that “The heart of the entire law … was that it’s the state’s decision to set goals, to decide what ‘ambitious’ means, to make decisions to help schools that aren’t performing well.” (The 74)

Why school choice should be about possibility — not partisanship
Journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s mother — a union Democrat who worked at the phone company during the day and sold Tupperware at night — lied about her address so Lemmon could attend a better elementary school. Lemmon talks about her own experience with school choice and why she now sees it not as an “issue,” but as a matter of life and death. (PBS)

K-12 Funding Entangled in States’ Budget Drama
K-12 school spending this year got caught up in budget standoffs that, in some states, led to brief government shutdowns. And the drama isn’t over yet. Though most state legislatures now have wrapped up business for the year, several this summer still are trying to design new revenue models, K-12 funding formulas, and—in the case of Kansas and Washington—awaiting court approval to assure their new school spending plans are constitutional. (Education Week)

Why Americans Think So Poorly of the Country’s Schools
Each year, parents responding to the Phi Delta Kappan poll report high levels of satisfaction with their kids’ education. Asked to assign letter grades to their children’s schools, the vast majority of parents—generally around 70 percent—issue As and Bs. If those ratings were compiled the way a student’s grade point average is calculated, the public schools would collectively get a B. When asked to rate the nation’s schools, however, respondents are far less sanguine. Reflecting on public schools in general, a similar share of respondents—roughly 70 percent—confer a C or D. Again calculated as a GPA, America’s schools get a C or C-. (The Atlantic)

Palm Beach can’t reject charter schools over lack of innovation, judge rules
The Palm Beach County School Board cannot reject a charter school simply because it thinks the school is not innovative enough, a state judge has ruled. The decision, released this week, could clear the way for two more Renaissance charter schools to finally open. Both were rejected by the school district during the past three years. Renaissance currently has six schools operating in the county that were approved before the School Board developed more stringent rules for charter school applications. (Sun Sentinel)

New Jersey
Camden charter school accused of unfair enrollment practices
The Camden school district has accused the city’s oldest charter school of unfair enrollment practices, alleging that the staff of LEAP Academy University discourages some parents from enrolling their children, while urging others to lie on applications in order to increase their child’s chances at being selected. The allegations were detailed in a letter obtained by the Inquirer that was sent to the Department of Education last week and signed by Paymon Rouhanifard, superintendent of the state-run district. (The Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News)

New York
N.Y. to scale back standardized tests in accordance with Trump’s ‘Every Student Succeeds’ education guidelines
State education officials will cut back on standardized tests, begin evaluating schools based on student suspensions and start measuring middle school students’ readiness for high school under proposed policy changes issued Monday. The plans are meant to keep the state within the guidelines of the Every Student Succeeds Act. President Trump updated the law in March, replacing rules that had been set by President Barack Obama. (NY Daily News)

​North Carolina​
Judges side with NC education chief and legislature over control of department
State Superintendent Mark Johnson should have more control over public education operations as allowed under a new law, a three-judge panel ruled Friday. The judges ruled against the State Board of Education in its lawsuit trying to hold on to powers that give it control of high-level hiring and spending at the state Department of Public Instruction. In its lawsuit, the board said the legislature was trying to take away responsibilities conferred by the state constitution and give them to the superintendent. (The News & Observer)

​Washington D.C.
​Some D.C. high schools are reporting only a fraction of suspensions
D.C. Public Schools has reported a dramatic decline in suspensions at a time when school systems around the country have been under pressure to take a less punitive approach to discipline. But a Washington Post analysis shows that at least seven of the city’s 18 high schools have kicked students out of school for misbehaving without calling it a suspension and in some cases even marked them present. (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