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

Many U.S. States Fail at Teaching High School Students About Money
You can count on one hand– that’s right, just one hand — the number of states that do a stellar job of producing financially literate high school students. Just five states — Utah, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia and Alabama — earned an “A” in the 2017 National Report Card on State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools. Sadly, 12 states earned a C, four states a D, and 11 states an F, according to Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College, publisher of the third such report card on state efforts to improve financial literacy in American high schools. The 2017 report card measures how well high schools are providing personal finance education. (The Street)

Exclusive: Middle Schoolers Without Broadband Access Feel Set Up for Failure, New Survey Finds
As educators nationwide grapple with a digital divide that leaves millions of children who don’t have high-speed home internet access behind at school, a new survey suggests middle school students with limited tech exposure worry about their ability to compete in the future. More than half of surveyed middle school students who say their schools lack new technology reported feeling stressed or even depressed about their ability to be successful, according to results of a new nationwide survey conducted on behalf of the Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of telecommunications giant Verizon Communications. (The 74)

Teaching the ‘unwritten Constitution’
Millions of Americans, on both left and right, either don’t understand or don’t buy key democratic principles like freedom of speech. In a recent Pew Research Center study, 53 percent of all Americans were rated “less committed” to representative democracy or not democratic at all. Given that nearly 85 percent of all U.S. adults have at least high school educations, it is safe to say that many in this group took at least one civics, government, or American history class. (Brookings)

Baltimore children practice reading with dogs, learn compassion
The gray and white pit bull sat in the center of the circle of fifth-graders. He listened attentively as the students took turns reading to him. At times, his droopy eyes appeared to lock with those of the readers. Four-year-old Knox is one of the “pet ambassadors” who travel to Westport Academy Elementary/Middle School every Tuesday to listen to students read as part of an effort to improve their reading skills and boost their self-esteem. (The Baltimore Sun)

New Mexico
New Mexico education secretary reaffirms value of charter school option
New Mexico Public Education Secretary-designate Christopher Ruszkowski touted school choice as “quintessentially American” on Saturday during the Charter School Coalition’s annual conference in Albuquerque. “This is a country built over the last 250 years on things like freedom, choice, competition, options, going west, Manifest Destiny — these are the fundamental principles of this country,” he said. “That’s why charter schools make so much sense — high-quality options — in the context of where we are as a country.” (Las Cruces Sun-News)

New York
New York eases graduation requirements for students with disabilities
In a significant change to New York’s graduation requirements, students with disabilities will soon be able to earn an alternative diploma without passing any of the state’s exit exams. Instead, the state will allow them to replace a minimum score on the Regents exams with a work-readiness credential, which they can earn through work experience and vocational classes or by passing an exam that assesses entry-level work skills. (Chalkbeat)

Committee shuffle could make difference for Pa. school choice bill
A contentious proposal to let students use Pennsylvania funds to pay for private school is getting another chance to make it onto the Senate floor. Senate Bill 2 would create education savings accounts — a similar concept to private school vouchers — that would let students in the lowest-performing public schools use the money the state would have spent on their education for alternative school options, as well as textbooks and other related expenses. (WHYY)

Washington D.C.
Ted Cruz makes DC school choice push
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has reintroduced legislation that would expand school choice options in Washington, D.C., and make students in the district eligible to open educational savings accounts. The Educational Freedom Accounts Act is part of Cruz’s school choice push, a topic he has consistently backed since his 2012 election to the Senate. He calls it the “civil rights issue of the 21st century.” (Washington Examiner)

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


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