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

Minnesota Supreme Court to hear teacher tenure challenge
The Minnesota Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a lawsuit contending that state laws make it too difficult to boot “chronically ineffective” teachers from classrooms. The state’s highest court revives a case that was dismissed by lower courts. A state Court of Appeals ruling said it was up to the Legislature, not the courts, to make the rules on teacher tenure. In its order, the Supreme Court granted just one issue for review: whether the court can judge the parents’ claims about tenure laws harming students’ rights. (Star Tribune)

States will soon be free to transform standardized testing, but most won’t
Trendy styles tend to flare and fade, only to reappear decades later, back in vogue with a new generation. Education innovation can follow a similar pattern. In the early 1990s, Kentucky districts were among those grading student portfolios and assessing performance tasks, instead of standardized tests, and they found themselves on the cutting edge of educational assessment. More than 25 years later, some of the country’s most forward-thinking schools are embracing these strategies once again. (The Hechinger Report)

Can School Choice Keep Children Safe from Bullying?
Twelve-year-old Mallory Grossman recently ended her own life rather than endure any more bullying from peers at her school. According to her family, the bullying had gone on for months. They’d reported it to school officials who, they believe, did not take it seriously, and the parents are suing the school district they believe neglected the issue. (EducationNext)

New Study Finds That 4.2 Million Kids Experience Homelessness Each Year
Marquan Ellis was evicted from his home in Las Vegas, Nevada when he was 18. His mother battled with a drug and gambling addiction while he stayed at his godmother’s house. But he couldn’t stay there forever. He found his way to the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth where he enrolled in the independent living program. He isn’t sure what he would have done if he hadn’t found that program: “I would have been on the street looking for someone to help, looking for my next meal, looking for my next shower, looking for my next place to sleep.” (NPR)

Christina vote to keep class sizes small could cost $1.4M
In a move that could add huge expense, the Christina School Board voted against a waiver system that allows it to have more than 22 students in its kindergarten-to-third grade classes, forcing the district to hire new staff or be in violation of state law.  “This is my ninth time voting ‘no’ on this,” school board member John Young said. “And the ninth time was the charm.”  Young has long spoken out about large class sizes in Christina, insisting waivers that let local school boards bypass class size limits are contradictory and confusing. (Delaware Online)

Georgia begins effort to turn around low-performing schools
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s board of education is considering how to improve the state’s low-performing schools. Members of the board met recently to discuss how they’ll start the process of attempting to turn around struggling schools across the state, WABE Radio reported. The Georgia Department of Education recently released scores for the College and Career Ready Performance Index. Using that data, the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement issued a list of 104 schools that are “turnaround eligible.” Schools that made the list scored below 60 percent on the index for three consecutive years. (Education Week)

North Carolina
What you don’t know could hurt your child: Important changes in CMS magnet lottery
If “choose a school for 2018” is on your list of things to do after the holidays, you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is taking applications for magnet programs from now through Dec. 18, almost two months earlier than in previous years. That means it’s time to make decisions quickly, especially if you have children who will start kindergarten or prekindergarten in August. Here are half a dozen key points to know if you’ll have children in school next year. (Charlotte Observer)

Tennessee’s two big school turnaround experiments are yielding big lessons, researchers say
A national pioneer in school turnaround work, Tennessee this month received a report card of sorts from researchers who have closely followed its two primary initiatives for five years. The assessment was both grim and promising — and punctuated with lessons that already are informing the state’s efforts to improve struggling schools. (Chalkbeat)

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


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