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


State Spending on K-12 Rises Slightly in 2017, Despite Headwinds
State spending on K-12 education rose over the past year despite lackluster tax collections, as budgets continue to tick upward from the abyss of the Great Recession. Funding in the states for education increased by 4 percent in fiscal 2017, a bump from 2.9 percent a year before, according to a report released today by the National Association of State Budget Officers. (EdWeek Market Brief)

How Mass Shootings Are Forcing Schools To Re-Evaluate Safety
After gunman Kevin Janson Neal killed his wife and then two neighbors Tuesday morning he headed for Rancho Tehama Elementary School, weapons in hand. It was just before 8 a.m. when teachers heard the crackle of gunfire in the small, rural town of Rancho Tehama, in Northern California. The elementary school — with about 100 students and 9 staff — immediately went on lockdown. (NPR)

Early Education Is a Game Changer: New Report Shows That Reaching Infants and Toddlers Reduces Special Education Placement, Leads to Soaring Graduation Rates
Access to early-childhood education significantly reduces students’ chances of being placed in special education or held back in school and increases their prospects of graduating high school, according to new research published by the American Educational Research Association. The report synthesizes evidence of the lasting, long-term benefits of high-quality preschool programs, which have often been dismissed as transient. (The 74)

New York
More Than Half of Renewal High Schools Fall Short on Graduation Rates
More than half of the high schools that the de Blasio administration has targeted for rapid improvement have fallen short of their goals for raising their graduation rates, according to preliminary data released by the Education Department this week. Of the 28 high schools in the $582 million Renewal program for struggling schools, 19 schools missed either their targeted four-year or six-year graduation rate in the last school year, the data showed. Results for one school, Multicultural High School, were not available. (The New York Times)

Push for Pa. graduation standard delayed once again
When finalizing the state budget last month, Pennsylvania lawmakers inked yet another delay for a plan that would require students to pass standardized tests before graduating high school. That leaves supporters of the Keystone Exams grappling with the prospect that mandated statewide graduation standards are not to be. “It would seem to me that a parent in Norristown and a parent in Johnstown, their kids should know the same things to graduate,” said Donna Cooper, head of Public Citizens for Children and Youth, who as a member of Gov. Ed Rendell’s cabinet was an early champion of the tests. “But we’re reverting to a system where we have 499 school districts with their own requirements for graduation.” (WHYY)

Washington D.C.
25 Years, 1 Million Kids. How Expeditionary Deeper Learning Engages Students Through Inquiry, Discovery & Creativity
Rapping wasn’t part of their usual curriculum, but the fifth-graders at Two Rivers Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., decided last spring that they were going to learn how to drop a beat … along with a lot of Colonial history. That’s because, at the beginning of the semester, the students discovered a problem. They took home a survey to find out what their parents thought about learning history — and most called it boring. But they also agreed that history is relevant and important. (The 74)

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


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