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

How Effective Is Your School District? A New Measure Shows Where Students Learn the Most
CHICAGO — In the Chicago Public Schools system, enrollment has been declining, the budget is seldom enough, and three in four children come from low-income homes, a profile that would seemingly consign the district to low expectations. But students here appear to be learning faster than those in almost every other school system in the country, according to new data from researchers at Stanford. The data, based on some 300 million elementary-school test scores across more than 11,000 school districts, tweaks conventional wisdom in many ways. Some urban and Southern districts are doing better than data typically suggests. Some wealthy ones don’t look that effective. Many poor school systems do. (The New York Times)

U.S. high school graduation rates rise to new high
The nation’s graduation rate rose again to a record high, with more than 84 percent of students graduating on time in 2016, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Department of Education. That is the highest graduation rate recorded since 2011, when the Education Department began requiring schools to report rates in a standardized way. The graduation rate rose by nearly a percentage point from 2015 to 2016, from 83.2 percent to 84.1 percent. It has risen about 4 percentage points since 2011, when 79 percent of students obtained a high school diploma within four years. (The Washington Post)

Is Teacher Recertification Broken?
Every five years, teachers across the United States engage in a ritual of sorts, submitting paperwork to prove they’ve sat through a specified number of hours of coursework and paying a fee to renew their licenses. It’s hard to think of something that has more influence over teachers: Relicensing affects all 3.5 million public school teachers who currently hold a standard license. But, curiously, it is rarely ever the topic of much debate. (Education Week)

U.S. Fourth-Graders Lag Behind Other Countries in Reading
Reading comprehension among fourth-grade students in the U.S. has flatlined since 2001, allowing education systems in other countries whose students used to perform worse than those in the U.S. to catch up – and even surpass – the U.S. in an international ranking. That’s the latest finding from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, also known as PIRLS, which measures the performance of fourth-grade students in reading. The test has been administered every five years since 2001. In 2016, 58 education systems participated in the test. (U.S. News & World Report)

Board Of Education Seeks Public Money For Charter School Facilities
The Hawaii Board of Education is urging the Legislature to help public charter schools pay for their facilities and offer a centralized support structure so the schools can better leverage financial resources. The recommendations come on the heels of an annual report issued last month by the Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission that said the “academic performance of charter schools continues to be mixed.” (Honolulu Civil Beat)

New Jersey
As Newark transitions back to local control, an exciting time is made all the more so by the burgeoning collaboration between charter and traditional district schools Evidence is growing that, when it comes to making sure all children have the high-quality education needed to reach their full potential, the word “and” will take us a lot further than the word “or.” In school districts across New Jersey and especially in Newark, where my experience is focused, children are benefitting from a collaborative approach that emphasizes what can be accomplished together by traditional public schools and charter public schools. That is as opposed to defining the educational options as traditional public schools or charter public schools. (NJ Spotlight)

New York
New Study of 70,000 NYC Kids Shows Achievement Gaps Widening Over Time — Except for Asian Students
Racial and ethnic achievement gaps in New York City public schools worsened over time, a new study using state test results has found, with Asians students improving in both reading and math between third and fifth grade while white students held steady and black and Hispanic students fell further behind. Measured in standard deviations, test-score gaps between white and black students were already .53 in ELA and .54 in math in third grade, and grew to .73 and .85, respectively, over five years. (The 74)

With SRC on way out, Bill Green gets handed a loss by state court
With Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission on its way out the door, a state court tied up a bit of unfinished business Monday, handing Bill Green a defeat in his quest to regain chairmanship of the panel. Green, who was named to the SRC and appointed chairman by Gov. Tom Corbett in 2014, was essentially demoted by Gov. Wolf in 2015. He was replaced by Marjorie Neff and then, when she left the panel, by Joyce Wilkerson, the current chair. (The Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News)

Washington D.C.
Ballou HS principal removed during graduation scandal investigation
WASHINGTON (WUSA9) – The principal at Ballou High School has been removed from her position as the district looks into a scandal surrounding last school year’s graduation. DC Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson announced Dr. Yetunde Reeves has been assigned to another function in the district. “We take this issue very seriously, and we know that policies must be explained clearly and implemented with fidelity,” Wilson said in a statement. “This investigation will restore integrity to the process by providing students, parents, and the broader community with answers.” (WUSA)

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


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