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

Trump Must Keep DACA Protections for Now, Judge Says
WASHINGTON — In the middle of an intense political fight about the program that shields from deportation young immigrants who were brought illegally to the United States as children, a federal judge in California issued a nationwide injunction late Tuesday ordering the Trump administration to start the program back up again. Saying the decision to kill it was improper, Judge William Alsup of Federal District Court in San Francisco wrote that the administration must “maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis” as the legal challenge to the president’s decision goes forward. (The New York Times)

New Sens. Doug Jones and Tina Smith Join Senate Education Committee
Sen. Doug Jones, the Alabama Democrat who scored a big political upset in winning his seat last month, will join the Senate education committee, along with fellow congressional rookie Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn. Jones and Smith will take the place of Al Franken, the former Democratic senator from Minnesota who resigned last month after facing allegations of sexual misconduct, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., who is no longer on the committee’s roster of Democrats. Smith was selected by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, to take Franken’s place. (Education Week)

Analysis: Is Scapegoating Charter Schools on Segregation Actually a Stealth Attack on Educational Excellence for African-American Students?
You don’t have to look far to find cogent rebuttals to a recent Associated Press story on charter schools and segregation. That analysis — which blames charter schools for intensifying segregation in public schools — is reminiscent of a political campaign where, running from a suspect track record, an incumbent blames the challenger for something he himself has done. (The 74)

Rural Kids Need Better Schools Too
I didn’t really think much about rural representation until I first got involved in educational leadership. For the first time, I learned that there was an entire world of organizations, social media campaigns and professional-development sessions all dedicated to improving schools and closing achievement gaps in Kentucky. “Wow!” I thought. “How awesome to see so many educators who had dedicated their professional lives working to improve equity and enhance opportunities for their students.” (Education Post)

Is the ‘War on Teachers’ as Dire as It’s Made Out to Be?
Is a “war on teachers” driving them out of the classroom? In many states, teachers and their unions have made that case, noting that it’s become tougher to earn tenure, bargaining rights have been diminished, and more of their evaluations are based on test scores. A new study tries to find out whether the two—recent policy changes and teacher turnover—are really linked. Its findings make it the latest in a handful of recent studies to suggest that the weakening of teachers unions and job protections hits already-struggling schools the hardest. (The Atlantic)

Budget tops General Assembly agenda
The Delaware General Assembly started its session this week and the top priority will be making sure the governor’s proposed budget is balanced. Other hot topics include the marijuana legalization and consolidation of school districts. “We have 62 legislators, and each have their own priorities going into session, but we need to remain laser-focused on the overarching priority, which is passing a balanced budget for Delaware,” said House majority leader Valerie Longhurst (D-Bear, 15th District). Gov. John Carney will deliver his State of the State address at 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, in the House chambers of Legislative Hall in Dover. (Dover Post)

Held back, but not helped
NEW ORLEANS — If Domonique Crosby has her way, she will graduate from high school this spring at age 20. To her, earning her diploma, even two years late, feels like something of a miracle. Held back in the fourth grade, Crosby was 16 years old when she entered George Washington Carver High School in New Orleans. As a freshman, she constantly got into fights, and spent long hours in a disciplinary classroom. As a sophomore, she worked six hours a night at a burger joint in a shopping mall. She became chronically absent and lethargic when she was in class. (The Hechinger Report)

New York
Report: NY must invest more to expand Pre-K education
ALBANY, N.Y. – A new report is slamming the state of New York for the slow pace of expansion in pre-kindergarten programs. The analysis released Monday by the left-leaning Alliance for Quality Education found last year’s investment in full-day schooling for four-year-olds in 14 districts resulted in only 476 new slots for kids. At that rate, it will take the state 163 years to offer enough slots for all four-year-old students. The report concludes that more money is needed to follow through on the state promises to provide universal pre-K throughout the state. Currently it is only offered for all four-year-olds in New York City. (Press Connects)

North Carolina
Why some NC schools want to operate more like charter schools while others are wary
RALEIGH–Some North Carolina school districts are rushing to take advantage of the ability to operate low-performing schools more like charter schools, while others are taking a more cautious approach. The State Board of Education voted Thursday to allow eight schools, including four in Johnston County, to use the “restart model” as a way to improve school performance. Schools in the program have the same flexibility of charter schools when it comes to setting calendars, spending state money and hiring teachers. (The News & Observer)

A 2-year wait for retirement pay? Philly schools have a backlog of millions
Patricia Randzo gave 34 years of her life to city kids, retiring as principal of the school system’s Philadelphia Military Academy in April. Randzo didn’t like to spend much time away from the students she worked with, so she had plenty of unused sick, personal, and vacation days when she left the district: roughly $69,000 worth. She was going to use the money to buy a house. But nearly a year after Randzo left the system, she hasn’t bought the house because she’s still waiting for her money. And she is not alone: The Philadelphia School District is sitting on a years-long backlog of unpaid termination payouts, some dating to the early 2000s. (The Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News)

South Carolina
Charleston County School Board expected to waive missed school days in the wake of historic snowfall
The Charleston County School Board is expected to waive three missed instructional days after near-record snowfall and treacherous road conditions forced districts across the region to shut down schools for three days last week and again Tuesday. Board members unanimously approved a recommendation to waive the missed days during a Committee of the Whole meeting Monday. The decision will be finalized at the next board meeting Jan. 22. (The Post & Courier)

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


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