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

Budget Deal Offers Funding for Disaster-Ravaged Schools, Child Care, But No DACA Fix
Congress and the White House came together Friday on a two-year budget deal to boost domestic spending, help schools ravaged by hurricanes and wildfires, and invest in child care and children’s health. But K-12 advocates aren’t popping the champagne just yet. For one thing, it’s unclear just how much—or if—K-12 schools will benefit from the spending increase. And Congress still hasn’t come to an accord on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, leaving the fate of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrations brought to the country as children in doubt, including teachers and students. (Education Week)

The Gap Between The Science On Kids And Reading, And How It Is Taught
Mark Seidenberg is not the first researcher to reach the stunning conclusion that only a third of the nation’s school children read at grade level. The reasons are numerous, but one that Seidenberg cites over and over again is this: The way kids are taught to read in school is disconnected from the latest research, namely how language and speech actually develop in a child’s brain. Seidenberg is a cognitive scientist and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In his latest book, Language at the Speed of Sight, he points out that the “science of reading” can be a difficult concept for educators to grasp. He says it requires some basic understanding of brain research and the “mechanics” of reading, or what is often referred to as phonics. (NPR)

Learning From Olympians: How Classroom Champions Is Pairing Athletes With Schools to Offer Unique Lessons on Grit, Goals, and Perseverance
She’s one of the best bobsledders in the world. She was one of the first women to compete against men in the four-man bobsled. She’s won two world championships, Olympic silver and bronze, and is a favorite for the gold this year in PyeongChang, South Korea. Olympian Elana Meyers Taylor is also a mentor for six classrooms in the United States, sharing her own lessons in perseverance, determination, and grit with hundreds of students every month. (The 74)

Honoring Black History Month By Elevating Student Voices
Today’s students will write the next chapter of Black history. So to celebrate Black History Month, EdTrust–NY teamed up with the New York State Education Department and the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to find out what students want the future to look like. More than 100 students from Buffalo to Brooklyn have submitted reflections. (The Education Trust-New York)

Delaware education officials seek $52 million in new funding
Delaware education officials are asking lawmakers for more than $52 million in additional spending next year, citing the need for more teachers to address skyrocketing numbers of students identified as having special needs. The request presented to the legislature’s budget committee Thursday includes about $16.4 million for 190 new positions, on top of 52 positions currently funded with the state budget office’s contingency money. (Ledger Enquirer)

FL House OKs bill that includes Naples legislator’s school bullying measure
The Florida House passed an education bill Thursday with a provision sponsored by a Naples legislator that would allow public school students who say they were bullied to use tax dollars to pay for private school. The House voted 66-43 in favor of the 200-page bill (HB 7055), which contains numerous other measures. The Senate has not passed a companion bill. The House adopted an unprecedented budget tie-in that would make the bulk of next year’s per student public school funding contingent on the passage of the education bill. (Naples Daily News)

Georgia senators consider alternatives to state standardized testing
A proposal to replace Georgia’s state standardized tests with more frequent, but smaller local tests made headway in the Georgia Senate Wednesday. Senate Bill 362 establishes a pilot program for school districts to try alternatives to the Georgia Milestones. It passed out of the Senate Education Committee and should soon get a vote on the Senate floor. “I don’t forsee any problems with it in the Senate,” said its author, Sen. Lindsey Tippins, R-Marietta, the committee chairman. “I don’t know what’s going to happen in the House.” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Despite funding increases under Wolf, Pa. school districts still ‘treading water’
In announcing a budget plan that included more money for Pennsylvania schools, Gov. Wolf this week trumpeted the growth in state education spending during his tenure. “The first thing I did when I got to Harrisburg was to draw a line in the sand on education,” Wolf told lawmakers during Tuesday’s budget address, as he declared that investments in schools were paying off. (The Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News)

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


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