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

Turning the Page on No Child Left Behind: Why America’s Next Chapter Needs Understandable Data That Lead to Better Results
Sixteen years ago this week, the bipartisan creation of No Child Left Behind led to an era of raised expectations for all schools and students. Schools no longer could overlook students who were not reading and doing math at grade level. Nor could schools hide struggling learners behind the success of students who were mastering their courses. The results from the independent, annual state exams that NCLB required held schools responsible for the performance of all students. (The 74)

Concerns Mount Over K-12 Education Plans
As states cement education plans for their schools under the federal K-12 law, the Department of Education is working furiously to assess them amid mounting concerns about states’ commitment to following the law, their proposals to ensure historically disadvantaged students have access to quality education, and the department’s capacity – and in some cases, lack of desire – to police it all. The Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, gives states new flexibility to create accountability systems that suit their unique needs. Those plans must be vetted and cleared by the Department of Education before states begin implementing them in the near future. (U.S. News & World Report)

Modern apprenticeships offer path to career — and college
At least in word — if not always in deed — school districts across the United States have shifted from preparing students for college or careers, to preparing students for college and careers. District missions and visions have been re-written to reflect efforts to ready graduates for both paths, a signature goal of former President Barack Obama’s Race to the Top education program. But the difference between word and deed is an important one. And closing this gap is a major challenge for schools. (The Hechinger Report)

The 529 Plan Change That Could Help Families Save On Education And Taxes
Beginning in 2018, taxpayers will be able to increase their tax savings when funding their children’s private school educations. According to the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, 529 plans, a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future college costs, have recently been expanded to include elementary and secondary school expenses. This means that taxpayers will be able to withdraw up to $10,000 per year tax-free for elementary and high school expenses, such as tuition and books. (Forbes)

National School Choice Week expects record-breaking celebrations for 2018
As education options continue to increase for parents and students, one organization is set to help spread the word later this month championing school choice with thousands of events and millions of participants. National School Choice Week, which started in 2011 and “is now the world’s largest annual celebration of opportunity in education,” is Jan. 21-27. During the week, public and private schools, homeschool groups, organizations and individuals plan independent events to celebrate. (

DOJ backs state move equalizing tax money for charter, choice schools
The Delaware Department of Justice is backing a Department of Education move to equalize the amount of local tax revenue charter and choice schools receive from students’ assigned school districts. The agency issued an opinion Dec. 22 saying it was well within the state Education Department’s rights to make a controversial adjustment to the state funding formula. After a delay in 2016, DOE started instituting changes this year to ensure districts do not hold back certain local tax revenue from payments made to both charter and choice schools based on the number of students who have opted for alternative education. (Delaware Online)

An Inside Look At Ige’s Request For Millions More In Education Spending
Gov. David Ige’s supplemental budget request to the Hawaii Legislature for next fiscal year includes an additional $24 million in state Department of Education operating funds and an extra $150 million for public school improvement projects, including the construction of an elementary school on Oahu. Tucked within the request is a modest $2 million increase to the weighted student formula, the method that determines per-pupil-funding. But it proposes funding for other areas previously overlooked, such as $4.1 million in workers’ compensation benefits for injured DOE employees, students and volunteers. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Frigid Classrooms
Baltimore’s public schools closed Thursday after parents and educators there complained students were enduring frigid classrooms with plumbing issues — conditions the local teachers union called “inhumane.” Four of Baltimore’s public schools were closed Wednesday because of facilities problems but the rest had remained open through below freezing temperatures. Some schools hovered around 40 degrees inside. (NPR)

​Nashville Classical shines in city’s early literacy efforts
Nashville Classical Charter School may be newer on the list of the city’s public schools, but leaders there hope their students’ work on state testing gets some notice. After all, the school joined some of Metro Nashville Public Schools’ top elementary schools in helping students attain high literacy rates on the state’s TNReady test. “The thing that is important for us is we wanted to be a proof point about what is possible for diverse students,” said Charlie Friedman, founder of the school that opened in August 2013. “That really begins with literacy.” (Tennessean)

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


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