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

Congress Begins Vote to Re-Open Government, Extend Children’s Health Insurance — With A Pledge to Continue Work on DACA
After three days of closure, the Senate voted Monday to re-open the federal government for three weeks, pushing off sticky immigration issues until next month.
The bill funds the government through Feb. 8 and reauthorizes the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years. Senators voted 81-18 to limit debate on the bill, a procedural step before final passage; it was expected to pass the Senate and House later in the day. (The 74)

Experts Agree Social-Emotional Learning Matters, and Are Plotting Roadmap on How to Do It
A national coalition of researchers, policymakers, and educators has forged a consensus on why schools need to be more responsive to students’ social, emotional, and developmental needs, and it will now finalize recommendations for how to carry out that vision. The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development has convened working groups and visited schools around the country that are using strategies around social-emotional learning and student engagement. (Education Week)

Apple CEO Tim Cook and Malala are joining forces to get 100,000 underprivileged girls into school
Apple and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai have announced a long-term partnership that aims at getting 100,000 girls into education. CEO Tim Cook and Malala met in Beirut, Lebanon, last Saturday, and gave The Independent an interview in which they discuss the initiative. Lebanon is one of the initial target countries, alongside Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, and Nigeria, with the goal to expand over time and increase the number of underprivileged girls who will get into primary school. The two met last October in Oxford, where Malala is currently studying, and the idea came about pretty quickly, according to them. (Business Insider)

Hawaii Education Plan Gets A Green Light From The Feds
Hawaii’s plan for complying with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act got the federal nod of approval Friday, four months after the 135-page document was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education. The document lays out the state’s plan for complying with ESSA, which in 2015 replaced the No Child Left Behind Act. The law, which extends federal funding, requires states to help disadvantaged students but unlike its precursor, gives states greater flexibility in setting goals for student academic growth and improvement in areas like English language proficiency and graduation rates. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

New York
Some struggling New York City schools can lose ground and still hit performance targets
Despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious promise to transform struggling schools, some of New York City’s bottom-ranked schools can backslide this year and still hit new goals that the city has set for them. For the first time, the city has told schools in its $582 million “Renewal” program to aim for test scores, graduation rates, or attendance rates that fall within a certain range, rather than hit a specific target. But some ranges include goals that are below the schools’ current levels. (Chalkbeat)

Rhode Island
RI League of Charter Schools to Host Annual Fair at Times2 Academy in Providence
The Rhode Island League of Charter Schools is set to host its annual Charter Schools Fair at the Times2 STEM Academy in Providence.
The fair will be held on Wednesday, January 24 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. “The R.I. League of Charter Schools welcomes the opportunity to share with Rhode Island families the wonderful and high-quality public education options that our schools offer. We welcome all Rhode Island parents and families to come and learn more about our charter schools and the public school choices that we provide,” said executive director Keith Oliveira. (Go Local Prov)

Bill pushes prosecution for improper transcript changes
With a grade-changing scandal at Trezevant High rocking Shelby County Schools, Rep. Antonio Parkinson is pushing legislation designed to put a harsh “deterrent” on illicit transcript changes: criminal prosecution. Parkinson, a Memphis Democrat, is sponsoring a measure in the General Assembly requiring local education association to set policies for altering transcripts and making violations of the policy a Class A misdemeanor. Alterations to transcripts would have to be supported by documentation explaining the need for the change accompanied by evidence the student earned the grade change. He acknowledged grades are changed often for good reasons. (The Nashville Ledger)

Washington D.C.
D.C. invalidates science exam scores after discovering errors
The science exam given annually to District students was so error-ridden that the superintendent announced Friday that she is throwing out scores for the past two years and canceling this year’s test. The decision puts the city in violation of federal law, and the superintendent’s office said some federal funding could be in jeopardy. Under the law, school districts must test students in science once during their elementary school years, once in middle school and once in high school. Tests vary by district, and state and local school leaders determine how exams are administered. (The Washington Post)

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


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