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

Teach Students To Use Social Media (The Right Way) And The Possibilities Are Endless
CJ Marple wanted to teach his young students how quickly information can spread on the Internet. So earlier this year, the third-grade science teacher wrote up a tweet with the help of his students, asking for other users to retweet the message, or even reply to the message with their location. The Kansas teacher says he expected 1,000 or so retweets, but within days the tweet went viral and gained more than 227,000 retweets and 75,000 replies from users all over the world. His students, who are probably a little too young for their own social media accounts, learned a lot that week about the power of social media. If used right, Marple says, “The possibilities are endless.” (NPR)

What Do Schools Teach About Sexual Harassment?
Twice a month, 8th grade English teacher Stephany Copeland hosts what she calls a “gender assembly” for the 55 girls she teaches at the KIPP Rise Academy in Newark, N.J. They’re usually oriented around things that the girls want to talk about, and given their age, that often means the power dynamics between boys and girls. “Little things will happen—a boy will take a picture of a girl after school, and she will say, ‘Delete that,’ and he’ll refuse, so we do things like address that,” Copeland said. (Education Week)

Feb. 9: TEDxWilmington to debut ‘Education Possible’
Educators, students and public officials from all over the country will be sharing their stories and ideas about how to improve education in Delaware and beyond at the inaugural TEDxWilmingtonED event, Education Possible. The daylong event at Hotel du Pont on Friday, Feb. 9 will feature 25 speakers. Expect to hear about the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to education, with actionable ideas for making things better. (Technically Delaware)

Finding Harriett A Home – The Struggle New Charter Schools Face
The words of Michelle Obama’s quote helped inspire the creation of Harriet Tubman Charter School. Many new charter schools face challenges with getting communities and families on board with their vision. The mission of HTCS is to create lifelong academic, self-esteem and career skills in tech and engineering for all students. The vision of HTCS is to be a ‘Lighthouse in the Community’. The goal is to create an excellent school that also provides socio-economic support systems to parents and families in the community. (EdLanta)

New Jersey
Bill Would Protect Students From Sexual Abusers
New Jersey lawmakers want to stop teachers who’ve abused children from moving unnoticed from one school district to another. A bill advancing in the legislature would require public and private schools to disclose whether there were allegations of abuse or sexual misconduct against teachers they fired. Liza Kirschenbaum with Court Appointed Special Advocates of New Jersey says on the rare occasions when a school employee has been involved in sexual misconduct with a student, it should be disclosed to other schools that might potentially hire that person. (WBGO)

Rhode Island
State House bill aims to increase school choice, raise tax credit cap
Rhode Island State Representative Robert Lancia R-16 proposed a bill on Thursday that aims to increase the number of children who can afford to attend private school. Lancia’s House Bill 7055 would allow for total business donations to need-based scholarships, in exchange for a tax credit, to reach $5 million, as opposed to the $1.5 million cap previously determined by a 2013 House bill, said Sheila Konis, director of Rhode Island Families for School Choice. Bill 7055 comes in honor of National School Choice Week, an annual event that highlights the variety of educational options for students in Rhode Island and beyond. (The Brown Daily Herald)

With the defeat of vouchers, Memphis Catholic leaders seek charter conversion
With no ability to get public funding through a school voucher program that Tennessee lawmakers have refused to create, the Catholic Diocese of Memphis is turning to another possible avenue: converting a network of schools to charters. Diocese leaders announced plans this week to close its Jubilee Catholic Schools Network, as well as St. Michael Catholic School, at the end of the 2018-19 school year. The diocese only has enough funding to take the schools through next school year, according to an announcement posted online. (Chalkbeat)

Washington D.C.
Some D.C. educators felt pressured to pass failing students, union survey finds
Some teachers in the District’s public schools feel pressure to alter grades and attendance records so that underperforming students can pass, according to survey results released Thursday by the Washington Teachers’ Union. The survey comes in the wake of reports that teachers at Ballou High School in Southeast Washington were pressured by administrators to graduate students who missed much of the school year and scarcely grasped the academic material. (The Washington Post)

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


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