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

ESSA Reviews Are In: New Mexico, Louisiana Rise to the Top; Michigan, Arizona Falter
Most of the noise surrounding the Every Student Succeeds Act this week was focused on the highly anticipated rollout of the independent peer review project from the Collaborative for Student Success and Bellwether Education Partners. While many groups, advocates, and experts have weighed in on specific pieces or trends in the plans, the peer review project is one of the only efforts giving a full analysis of what’s been cooked up in each state plan. More on that below. (The 74)

The Charter-School Equity Push
When Josue Bonilla started at STRIVE Prep Federal, he spent a lot of time trying to earn happy-face stickers and string cheese. These were the rewards for sticking to his behavior plan. At times, they seemed hopelessly out of reach. One day, Josue was caught playing with a lighter in the bathroom. Another day, he hit a teacher’s aide in the face. Now, as the 13-year-old completes his second year in the middle school’s special-education classroom—named “Wisconsin,” for the teacher Wendi Sussman’s alma mater—Josue is off the behavior plan and spending 90 percent of his time on academics. (The Atlantic)

Teachers union leader: We won’t work with Trump and DeVos because ‘I do not trust their motives’
The president of the country’s largest labor union, Lily Eskelsen García of the National Education Association, told delegates at her organization’s annual gathering that they would not work with the Trump administration because the president and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos could not be trusted to do what is in the best interests of children. (The Washington Post)

Delaware teachers not as diverse as their students
Delaware is on track to be one of the most diverse states in the nation by 2060, with its student population on track to mirror the overall population change, data shows. Teachers, on the other hand, are still mostly white. Despite efforts to increase the diversity of public school staff, relatively few people of color are educators in Delaware. (Delaware Online The News Journal)

Charter schools could get $96M in capital aid from Florida school districts next year
TALLAHASSEE –Florida’s 650 charter schools could see as much as an extra $96.3 million coming their way in 2017-18, thanks to a controversial provision in a sweeping education bill Gov. Rick Scott signed into law that forces school districts to hand over some of their local tax dollars. An aspect of HB 7069 that most concerned school district administrators and locally elected school boards requires districts to give a cut of their taxpayer funding earmarked for construction and maintenance projects to privately managed charter schools, which are independent of the district. (Miami Herald)

State charter schools make case for survival
Ten state charter schools that collectively enroll thousands of students, many in metro Atlanta, met Wednesday with the state commission that gives them authority to operate, in what for some was a final chance for a course correction before their contracts are up for renewal. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Here’s Some Help Understanding Hawaii’s Plans For Improving Public Schools
Anyone following education news in the state lately knows there’s no shortage of plans for improving public schools. There’s the Strategic Plan for 2017-2020 approved in December by the Hawaii Board of Education; Hawaii’s Blueprint for Education released in March by a task force selected by Gov. David Ige; and the state’s plan to qualify for federal funds under the Every Student Succeeds Act that the board voted to approve last week. The plans are supposed to complement and build off one another and chart a path for the future of public education in the state. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

Experiment seeks to transform troubled Baltimore schools as federal grants end
Mary E. Rodman Elementary School in Southwest Baltimore had troubles long before the incident this spring. Misbehavior, meager test scores and absenteeism were persistent before the day some fourth-graders cut their arms in a gang initiation. Such troubles led school district administrators to take drastic action after the school year ended in June. They made all the teachers reapply for their jobs — then transferred almost everyone out. They also enrolled Mary E. Rodman in an experiment to transform Baltimore’s worst-performing schools. (The Baltimore Sun)

New Jersey
While beach photos of Gov. Chris Christie and debates over Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield may have gotten most of the attention, the agreement to end New Jersey’s three-day government shutdown resulted in some very significant news for one of the state’s stickiest challenges: school funding. Central to the budget agreement reached by Christie and Democratic leaders in the state Senate and Assembly late Monday night was an additional $181 million in school funding and, just as important, the first meaningful move in nearly a decade to follow the state’s school funding law. (NJ Spotlight)

North Carolina
NC superintendent, school board await judges’ decision in power struggle lawsuit
RALEIGH, N.C. — A power struggle that has been brewing for months between the state superintendent and State Board of Education was brought before the court Thursday. A panel of three Superior Court judges heard arguments from both sides about who should have the power to supervise the state’s 1.5 million public school students and $10 billion-plus budget. The judges ended Thursday’s hearing without making a decision. A ruling could come in the following days. (WRAL)

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


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