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

U.S. States Ranked by Educational Choice Share, 2018
How many K–12 students use educational choice out of all students in your state? Find out in this list. We have arrived at that time of year where we look at where each state’s students are educated. Similar to last year, the EdChoice Share looks at what proportion of all K–12 students are enrolled in an education savings account (ESA), voucher or tax-credit scholarship program. To get this number, I divided the total number of a state’s program participants by the total number of K–12 students in the state. All of the charter school enrollment data, public district school enrollment data (total public minus charter), private school enrollment data, and homeschooler estimates are for 2015–16. (EdChoice)

House bills revive effort to let 529 money pay for home schooling
Parents who double as their children’s teacher would get to use money in 529 savings plans for their home-schooling expenses, under legislation recently introduced in Congress. Two new measures would allow 529 plan withdrawals to pay for home-schooling expenses. Although the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act expanded what educational expenses can be paid for with these accounts by including private-school tuition, an amendment to extend the change to home-schooling expenses was axed at the last minute, after Democrats successfully challenged it for violating Senate rules. (CNBC)

New survey of minorities adds dissenting view to public satisfaction with schools
How do members of racial minority groups view public education in the U.S.? This question is important, given both the widely recognized achievement gap between white students and students of color, as well as systematic differences in public schools by neighborhoods—differences which strongly correlate with income and race. Yet, public opinion polls typically do not offer detail on racial differences in opinions of local public schools. (Brookings)

Commission shares progress on efforts to expand social-emotional learning in schools
Stand-alone social-emotional learning (SEL) programs can lead to better student behavior and boost academic growth, but educators need more guidance and training on how to blend SEL into their teaching, according to a midterm report released today from the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development. (Education DIVE)

To spark a Catholic school renaissance, we need to put our faith in autonomous school networks
News of Catholic school closures has become so commonplace over the past few decades that it’s almost not news anymore. What was once a vibrant nationwide school system serving five million students a year has become a struggling sector serving fewer than half that number. Last week, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced its plan to close another five schools at the end of this year, citing declining enrollment and financial challenges. One of these schools has been serving students on Chicago’s South Side for over 115 years. In Memphis, the diocese announced yesterday that all nine of its inner-city Jubilee Schools will close this year. It’s long been clear that something has to change. (Fordham)

Can Child-Care Benefits Keep Teachers in the Classroom?
While school initiatives to boost teacher retention tend to focus on mentoring, instructional coaching, or salary bonuses, they rarely address one of the most common reasons teachers leave: family. Yet a handful of districts nationwide have found that the upfront costs of providing child care for their teachers pay for themselves in greater teacher flexibility and retention. “This is a huge need of that workforce,” said Taryn Morrissey, an associate professor of public policy at American University who studies child-care and labor issues. (Education Week)

Bill would expand Delaware Autism Program, provide resources statewide
Jennifer Cinnelli Miller always wanted her daughter, Liberty, to go to school near their home in Milford. At first blush, that sounds like a fairly modest dream. But Liberty, now in seventh grade, is one of more than 2,000 students in Delaware with autism spectrum disorder. Though Delaware has a specialized program to serve those students, it only operates out of six school districts. A new bill could change that. (Delaware Online)

Metro Atlanta school police officers to get body cameras
Atlanta school resource officers are getting a new addition to their uniforms — body cameras. Atlanta Public Schools announced it would equip its officers with body-worn cameras, along with school officers from Clayton and DeKalb school districts, using money from a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, part of the U.S. Department of Justice. But, on Thursday, DeKalb County School District spokesman Andre’ Riley said it has withdrawn from the grant because of long-term costs associated with the project, and the school’s officers won’t receive the cameras. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

New Jersey
Court rejects school district’s challenge to East Brunswick charter school
EAST BRUNSWICK – A court has rejected the Highland Park and East Brunswick school boards’ appeal of the state Department of Education’s approval to allow the Hatikvah International Academy Charter School to expand. In turning down the appeal, a state appellate panel wrote that the school boards’ arguments that Hatikvah should not be allowed to expand from grades K-5 to K-8 “lack sufficient merit” while noting that there is “sufficient credible evidence” to support the state’s decision to allow the expansion. (My Central Jersey)

New Mexico
State adopts national arts education standards
Against the backdrop of a slideshow featuring artwork by public school students and amid live student performances of music, dance and theater at a downtown Santa Fe museum, New Mexico Public Education Secretary-designate Christopher Ruszkowski announced Tuesday new statewide arts education standards. The state has adopted the National Core Arts Standards, Ruszkowski said, which cover dance, music, theater, visual arts and media. The change, he said, set to take effect in July, will ensure that public school students in grades K-12 have an opportunity to study at least one of the five disciplines. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

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


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