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

A Guide to State ESSA Plans: Goals, Teacher Quality, and More
After more than a year of preparation, the Every Student Succeeds Act is on the verge of hitting classrooms nationwide. And nearly all states have now laid out their blueprints for how they intend to hold schools and districts accountable for requirements of the new federal K-12 law. ESSA is sparking significant shifts in state autonomy after more than a decade of a heavier federal footprint under the law’s predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act. But getting there hasn’t been a smooth or simple process, as states hammered out detailed plans for ESSA implementation and submitted them to the U.S. Department of Education. (Education Week)

AI Is on the Upswing in Optimizing K–12 Education
Artificial intelligence may seem like a future technology waiting in the wings to burst on to the K–12 scene, but it has made its presence known in classrooms already. Most teachers are using AI and may not even know it. Thanks to AI automation, educators are saving time and diving deeper into personalized learning and differentiated instruction. (Ed Tech)

Senate HELP Democrats Continue to Sound Alarm on Weak ESSA Implementation
Tuesday’s hearing in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee was supposed to focus on state innovation unleashed through the Every Student Succeeds Act. That’s not what happened. Democrats instead homed in during the two-hour session on what they say are failures by the Trump administration and state leaders to write strong implementation plans to protect all students. (The 74)

‘Exorbitant’ fees for a ‘dearth’ of special education services — An LA school may lose its charter for fighting back against LAUSD policies
An independent charter school says LA Unified charges too much for special education services and offers too little, so it wants to hold onto the option to get those services elsewhere. But because the San Fernando Valley school hasn’t indicated who will provide those services — and hasn’t promised to use LA Unified’s — it may lose its charter at Tuesday’s board meeting. The district’s charter division has recommended denial of the five-year renewal petition for Lashon Academy, a K-5 charter school in Van Nuys. Academic performance is not one of the reasons, and the district called the school’s academic performance strong to moderate. (LA School Report)

New school weapons policy signed into law Friday
A bill being signed Friday by Gov. John Carney moves away from a “zero-tolerance” approach and gives school boards more discretion when it comes to deciding whether to suspend a student for possession of a “deadly weapon.” The bill was prompted by the case of a Brandywine School District student who was suspended for five days in 2015 after two credit card knives were found in his backpack. The student’s family filed a lawsuit over his suspension, which Brandywine School officials settled earlier this year for $60,000. (Delaware Online)

New York
Study Finds Test-Score Growth at NYC Charter Schools Outpaces District School
A new study says that on average, New York City charter school students show growth equal to 23 extra days of learning in reading and 63 more days in math each year, compared with similar students in traditional public schools. Released Wednesday by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University, the study found black and Hispanic students in poverty posted especially strong test-score growth at charters. At the middle school level, students at charter networks showed more robust gains overall than those at independent charters. (The Wall Street Journal)

South Carolina
Area superintendents discuss problems facing education at chamber meeting
Superintendents from Lexington and Richland County school districts met with business leaders at Tuesday’s monthly Columbia Chamber of Commerce meeting, outlining the challenges they face in retaining teachers and meeting students’ needs while fighting a negative perception of public schools. “When we talk to teachers, salary is a big issue,” said Stephen Hefner, Lexington-Richland District Five superintendent. “There’s not a draw toward the profession. Teachers tell me it’s not as respected as some other jobs. I feel teachers are under a far greater duress than any other time in history.” (SC Biz News)

Tennessee education commissioner says improving literacy an elusive task
Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen says improving literacy rates has always been an elusive task. (Tennessean)

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


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