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

Confused By Your Public School Choices? Hire A Coach
Erin Roth faced a tough choice in 2015. She needed to select a school for one of her two daughters. And in Washington, D.C., where she lives, she faced a dizzying array of traditional and charter schools from which to choose. It’s a familiar problem for parents in areas with a lot of school choice: charter, magnet, traditional, progressive, project-based, Montessori, STEM, STEAM, immersion … the list goes on. (NPR)

Video Exclusive: 4 School Founders, 4 Inspiring True Stories — How Summit Public Schools, Gestalt Community Schools, and Democracy Prep Came to Be
When The 74 originally published The Founders: Inside the Revolution to Invent (and Reinvent) America’s Best Charter Schools, Richard Whitmire’s acclaimed history of the high-performing charter schools movement, we also launched an online oral history featuring in-depth interviews with more than two dozen educators, school leaders, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists. (The 74)

Special education’s hidden racial gap
WASHINGTON — At the age of 3, Tyrone Colson was diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic abnormality that is often accompanied by developmental disabilities. Because of this diagnosis, an individualized education plan (IEP) — documents detailing Colson’s special needs, and a plan for how his school would help him reach his potential — was already in place when Colson arrived for his first day of school. (The Hechinger Report)

NAACP calls for ‘state of emergency’ to close achievement gap in SF schools
Despite years of targeted programs, San Francisco district schools have failed to close an achievement gap in which black students lag behind their peers and fall short of state learning standards. The gap has persisted for a quarter century, even as scores across all ethnic subgroups have risen, according to a report to the school board by Superintendent Vincent Matthews. As educators prepare to implement new fixes, the San Francisco NAACP is calling for the district to declare a state of emergency. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Baltimore County teachers protest discipline problems in schools
Baltimore County teachers protested the lack of discipline in some schools, saying it is putting teachers at risk of being harmed by their students. A couple dozen teachers stood with red T-shirts before the school board on Tuesday night. The teacher’s union President Abby Beytin said five teachers had been hurt this school year in one school, including one who is still out with a concussion. (The Baltimore Sun)

New Jersey
‘Apartheid’ schools on the rise in N.J., study says
New Jersey may be one of the most racially diverse states in the nation, but many of its public schools don’t reflect it, according to a new report. The nearly 1.4 million public school children in New Jersey remain among the most segregated in the nation, according to an analysis by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angles. The percentage of New Jersey students attending “apartheid schools” — where only between 0 and 1 percent of the pupils are white — has nearly doubled from 4.8 percent to 8.3 percent since 1989, the report concluded. (NJ Advance Media)

New York
Charter schools draw thousands, with Rochester Prep leading the way
Among the chants, the calls and responses, the stomping and the singing, Mariah Welch’s opening emerged. A third-grader at Rochester Prep Charter School in northeast Rochester, she had followed along as principal Emily Volpe led the students in an assembly on a convoluted series of cat stories. One teacher had six cats, another had three times as many. How many legs were on the first teacher’s cats? (Democrat & Chronicle)

Rhode Island
Providence mayor want Achievement First to offset cost of expansion
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Mayor Jorge Elorza won’t approve a major expansion of Achievement First until the charter school promises to raise the money needed to offset the cost of moving more than 2,000 students from the school district to the charter network. By one estimate, the Providence public schools could lose as much as $32 million if Achievement First more than triples its enrollment by 2026-2027. Elorza said he has asked the Providence School Department to conduct its own study on the impact of a sweeping expansion. (Providence Journal)

Tennessee to resume task force to improve TNReady testing
Tennessee’s education chief is once again reconvening her testing task force in an attempt to provide further fixes to state testing. The promised move by Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen comes after issues once again arose with TNReady testing and the scrutiny that followed by state lawmakers. “This task force has been critical in our work to improve the testing experience for students while providing better information to teachers and parents,” McQueen said in a news statement. “As in the past, I am confident that this group will continue to provide meaningful, actionable recommendations for improving both district and state assessment programs.” (Tennessean)

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


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