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

A quarter of the schools Betsy DeVos has visited are private
When Education Secretary Betsy DeVos arrived in Omaha last month for her back-to-school tour, she bypassed the city’s 82 public schools and decided instead to go to Nelson Mandela Elementary, a tuition-free private school. There, unlike students in nearby public schools, “scholars” at Nelson Mandela attend class year-round, take violin lessons — learning works composed specially by a local conservatory — and get swim and golf lessons in the summertime. The school serves just 180 children, who get in by lottery, and has a long waiting list. (The Washington Post)

Do Parents’ Views on Gifted Education Vary by Ethnicity?
Is getting your child into a gifted-and-talented program a mark of good parenting? How you answer may depend largely on your race or ethnicity, according to new research. Allison Roda, an assistant professor of education at Molloy College in Long Island, interviewed more than 50 white, black, and Hispanic parents at an unidentified New York City school to learn about their attitudes towards gifted programs. (Her sample did not include any Asian parents.) (The Atlantic)

Charter school prepares teachers to personalize learning for every student
A leading charter school organization is combining what many regard as two of the most promising education innovations to prepare a new generation of teachers for California and the nation. Summit Public Schools, which operates 11 schools in California and Washington State, has established what are called teacher “residencies,” innovative training programs based on the medical residency model that enables new doctors to work under the supervision of an experienced physician. In the case of teacher residencies, teachers-in-training work closely with an experienced teacher for an entire school year. (EdSource)

Georgia hires first school ‘turnaround’ chief
The hire of Savannah native Eric Thomas as Georgia’s first school turnaround chief was formalized Wednesday. Last week, after interviewing three finalists, the Georgia Board of Education settled on Thomas to shepherd the improvement of low-performing schools. On Wednesday, after subsequent negotiations with Thomas about the terms of his employment, the board voted unanimously to hire him as a state employee. Pay and other details were not immediately available. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Will Regular Classrooms Better Serve Hawaii’s Special Ed Students?
Amanda Kaahanui decided to enroll her 14-year-old son, Ikaika, at Kailua Intermediate School in 2016 due to a special education inclusion initiative that features classrooms co-taught by a general education and special education teacher. Though the school is located outside her home district, Kaahanui was drawn to the co-teaching inclusion model for her eighth-grader, who is deaf, and requires special instruction. She’s glad she made that decision. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

Gov. Wolf to consider bill that would weaken teacher seniority, among other school policy shifts
The Pennsylvania Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would alter a wide range of state policies related to public education — including the weakening of seniority protections for teachers. The chamber agreed to the omnibus school code bill, as passed last week by the House of Representatives, by a vote of 35 to 15.  Now it will go before Gov. Tom Wolf, who says he has “serious concerns” about some of its provisions. (WHYY)

South Carolina
Charter schools get high marks on SAT, Governor’s School gets the best
Three Greenville charter high schools outperformed most of the traditional public schools in Greenville County on the SAT college admissions test in 2017, according to the College Board. Greenville Tech Charter High School, for instance, bested 13 of the 14 traditional public schools in Greenville County on the SAT. “GTCHS students continue to amaze me with their achievement,” said Mary Nell Anthony, principal of Greenville Tech Charter High School. (Greenville News)

Thousands of Memphis families opt out of sharing contact info with charter schools
After a month of urging parents to leave their contact information out of a list that may be shared with state-run charter schools, Shelby County Schools says 7,700 families have heeded their call. Superintendent Dorsey Hopson updated school board members Tuesday night on the number of families who have opted out of sharing their information. (Chalkbeat)

Washington D.C.
‘They Can’t Just Be Average’: Lifting Students Up Without Lowering The Bar
“They can’t just be average.” Charles Curtis is talking about the roughly 100 young, black men in the inaugural freshman class at Ron Brown College Prep, a radical new high school in Washington, D.C. Curtis, the school psychologist, puts it simply: “There is no place in the world for an average black person.” (NPR)

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


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