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

What A Tax Overhaul Could Mean For Students And Schools
The House and Senate are working to reconcile their versions of a tax plan, but one thing is certain: Big changes are ahead for the nation’s schools and colleges. (NPR)

A ‘portfolio’ of schools? How a nationwide effort to disrupt urban school districts is gaining traction
Several years ago, Indianapolis Public Schools looked like a lot of urban school districts. The vast majority of students attended traditional public schools, though enrollment was dwindling, and the district had an adversarial relationship with its small but growing number of charter schools. That’s no longer true. The district is actively turning over schools to charter operators, and it’s rolling out a common enrollment system for district and charter schools that could make it easier for charters to grow. Nearly half of the district’s students now attend charters or district schools with charter-like freedoms. (Chalkbeat)

The Futile Resistance Against Classroom Tech
Imagine a classroom in the not-too-distant future. Textbooks, slideshows, and notes all interface neatly with devices that once called “phones” and “laptops”—but now those learning materials proliferate through desks, walls, clothes, jewelry, glasses, and maybe even tattooes or contact lenses. The teacher, trained to teach in the 2010s, wants to say, “close your laptops and put away your phones.” But when the phone is embedded in a fingernail, what can a teacher do? (The Atlantic)

State auditor: It’s unclear how much money goes to students
In a system where one school district reported spending $200 on “computer supplies” when in reality it was used to buy sticky buns for an employee breakfast, it’s next-to-impossible to tell how much money is being spent on students, State Auditor Tom Wagner said. Wagner’s office tried to break down school expenditures to compare them district by district, but quickly ran into complications, he said. (Delaware Online)

Georgia low-performing schools selected for ‘turnaround’
The first Georgia “turnaround” schools have been identified, and none are in metro Atlanta. The 11 schools picked by the state’s first Chief Turnaround Office, Eric Thomas, are mostly in south Georgia. All are south of Atlanta; they are in Bibb, Clay, Dooly, Dougherty and Randolph counties. Thomas said all these districts agreed to be part of the program, which was established this year by The First Priority Act. The new state law came in reaction to voter rejection last year of a constitutional amendment that would have created a statewide “opportunity” school district with authority to seize “chronically failing” schools. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Following fraud probe, a Md. district drafts plan to improve grading
Prince George’s County school leaders say they are tightening controls on student records, upgrading technology to improve graduation certification and rethinking credit recovery programs that allow students to make up for work they have failed. The efforts are part of a plan to address problems cited during an investigation of alleged grade-tampering and fraud in graduation rates in Maryland’s second-largest school system. (The Washington Post)

New Jersey
Joseph Meloche: Recognized for Leadership in Elevating Student Voice
When Superintendent Joseph Meloche weighs a major decision for his school district, he often turns to some of his most trusted advisers: students. Helming the Cherry Hill, N.J., public schools since 2015, Meloche has made student opinion and feedback a central part of his strategy to get the best performance out of his already high-flying suburban district. (Education Week)

New Mexico
PED taps four schools for ‘rigorous intervention’
The New Mexico Public Education Department has placed four low-performing public elementary schools – three within Albuquerque Public Schools – on a list for “More Rigorous Interventions” that could include closure or relaunch as charter schools. Hawthorne Elementary School, at 420 General Somervell SE, and Whittier Elementary School, at 1110 Quincy SE, landed on the list after receiving six consecutive F grades since 2012. (Albuquerque Journal)

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


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