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

The Evolution of Betsy DeVos
In her most resolute wording to date, the Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said that the federal government should not create a new private school choice program – a far cry from where she stood on that issue upon her confirmation eight months ago.”I wholeheartedly believe the future of choice does not begin with a new federal mandate from Washington,” she said Sept. 28 during a speech at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. (U.S. News & World Report)

Hispanic dropout rate hits new low, college enrollment at new high
The high school dropout rate among U.S. Hispanics has fallen to a new low, extending a decades-long decline, according to recently released data from the Census Bureau. The reduction has come alongside a long-term increase in Hispanic college enrollment, which is at a record high. (Pew Research Center)

October is National Dropout Prevention Month
The month of October is dedicated to raising awareness for dropout prevention efforts, an issue that slowly but surely has been improving in our country. Since 1986, graduation rates have risen to the current 83%–an all-time high for our nation.But as long as we aren’t at a 100% graduation rate there is still work to be done. We know the students in the remaining 17% who decide to dropout are lost potential in so many ways, and often make this choice not because they dislike school and learning but because they feel they don’t have any other choices. (Getting Smart)

Sandberg KIPP scholarship to ‘cut through’ unequal access to opportunity
About four years ago, Richard Barth, CEO of KIPP Public Charter Schools, was visiting Capitol Hill with a few colleagues for a series of meetings with lawmakers. At each office, the group met young people who served as greeters, gatekeepers and legislative staffers — the people who keep Capitol Hill humming. After a few encounters, it soon occurred to Barth: “We didn’t meet a single person of color.” (USA Today)

States Have Stepped Up, but Community, National Pressure Still Needed to Ensure Quality Schools Under ESSA, Chiefs Say
In the two years since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, civil rights groups have feared that a return of authority to states and a drawdown of federal oversight would allow some progress to backslide, particularly in making sure kids historically underserved by schools were getting a good education. (The 74)

In hurricanes’ aftermath, technology eases return to school
Smartphone exchanges, social media, messaging apps and websites rendered students and their teachers at once disconnected and connected in the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Now, as the hardest-hit schools reopen, advocates of technology that has been growing ever more present in American classrooms say it will only become more important in aiding students scattered by the storms. This recovery, administrators say, has potential to demonstrate how much instruction can carry on outside school walls amid future natural disasters and other disruptions. (ABC News)

Waiting In The Dark: In NOLA, School Choice Brings Early Mornings, Long Bus Rides
On a corner in the Ninth Ward, four elementary school kids are waiting for their bus under a street lamp. It’s dark outside. A bony cat slinks across the street, and a rooster crows somewhere — prematurely since the sun is nowhere in sight. Minutes later, headlights appear at the far end of the street, and a yellow school bus pulls up. The kids climb aboard and wave goodbye to David Brooks — dad to two of the kids and uncle to the others. Their school day has begun, and it’s barely 6 a.m. (New Orleans Public Radio)

Memphis district robo call tells parents to opt out of data sharing: “We do not want to lose any students to charter schools”
With less than a month before Memphis parents must decide whether to share their children’s information with charter schools, the Shelby County Schools district is ramping up its efforts to get them to say no. Shelby County Schools used robocalls to tell parents to opt out of having their children’s information shared with charter schools, a district spokeswoman confirmed Friday. That’s on top of sending home the forms that allow parents to block their information from being shared. (Chalkbeat)

Washington D.C.
DC Councilman wants to make school lunches free for all students
Councilmember Brandon Todd wants to make school lunches free for all students in the District. Todd introduced a bill on Tuesday, at the council’s first legislative meeting. He hopes the Education Committee will have a hearing on the proposal, before the year ends. He believes providing free lunches to all students will stop “lunch shaming”, which some students experience when they cannot afford school lunches.​ (ABC 7)

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


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