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

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

News and Analysis

Senate panel to vote on Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education secretary nominee

A Senate panel convened Tuesday for a scheduled vote on President Trump’s nominee for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, a Michigan billionaire and private school voucher advocate who has become one of Trump’s most controversial Cabinet picks. (The Washington Post)

Bradford: Dangerous for Charter Advocates to Embrace Elizabeth Warren and Trash School Vouchers
Ga​ry Larson’s famous comic strip The Far Side was as insightful as it was hilarious. But given the recent consternation in the education reform movement, there is one of his best that comes to mind. In it, two bears are caught in the crosshairs of a rifle. The one most clearly in the hunter’s sights points nervously at the unsuspecting companion to his right.​ ​The comic sheds a great deal of light on the behavior of many charter school advocates with the now-increased interest in private school choice bubbling up in D.C. with Betsy DeVos’s nomination as education secretary. (The 74)

A Look at Trump’s Supreme Court ‘Finalists’ and Education Cases
President Trump will announce his pick for the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court tonight. After​ w​​innowing his list of 21 possibilities, the president says he is ready to nominate a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Feb. 13 last year. The finalists are now down to three. Or two, or four or five, depending on which account you want to put stock in. So I thought it would be a good time to provide an initial discussion of some of the education-related jurisprudence of those most likely to be named to the high court. (Education Week)

Five Surprising Facts About Jason Botel, Trump’s Pick for Senior White House Adviser on Education
​Su​pport for school choice options like charter schools likely just got a whole lot stronger in the Trump White House. But when it comes to questions of national standards and social justice, things just got even more unpredictable.​ ​Last week, Politico reported that Jason Botel has been tapped to serve as a senior White House adviser for education. Botel, generally viewed as a progressive, has been engaged in education reform for decades, most recently as executive director of MarylandCAN, the Maryland branch of education reform advocacy group 50CAN.​ (The 74)​

In Delaware, Critics Worry That ESSA Plans Will Give Low-Performing Schools Too Much Wiggle Room

The Delaware Department of Education is working on an implementation plan for the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act that gives districts more wiggle room in improving their schools.​ ​Instead of forcing districts with schools in the bottom 5 percent of academic performance to replace their staffs or extend their school days, a blueprint released earlier this month allows districts to determine their own reform plans.​ (The 74)​

New Jersey
Charter Schools Seek More Leeway in Hiring Teachers

M.E.T.S. Charter School in Jersey City, N.J., focuses on math, technology and science, but its push to recruit teachers in these hard-to-staff subjects has drawn only a handful of resumes from certified candidates over the past year. Its leaders are among many charter advocates fighting for a state proposal that would give high-performing charters more leeway to hire teachers and principals who lack traditional teacher preparation and state certification. (The Wall Street Journal)


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