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

New Report Shows Charter Schools Less Likely to Be Unionized Than They Were 6 Years Ago; Majority of Those Schools Located in 4 States
The percentage of charter schools represented by a teachers union decreased slightly over the past seven years, according to data released in a report that also found that more than 60 percent of unionized charters are located in just four states. The report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, a pro-charter advocacy and research group, found that 11.3 percent of the nation’s charters in the 2016–17 school year were unionized, down from 12.3 percent in 2009–10. The number of unionized charter schools increased by nearly one-third over that time, from 604 to 781, but the number of all charters rose by 41 percent. (The 74)

How To Talk With Kids About Terrible Things
For the more than 3,000 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Wednesday’s mass shooting was terrifying and life-changing. But what of the tens of millions of other children, in schools across the country, who have since heard about what happened and now struggle with their own feelings of fear, confusion and uncertainty? For their parents and teachers, we’ve put together a quick primer with help from the National Association of School Psychologists and Melissa Reeves, a former NASP president and co-author of its PREPaRE School Crisis Prevention and Intervention curriculum. (NPR)

Students plan to walk out of schools to protest gun laws
Students across the country say they are planning to walk out of schools in protest in the aftermath of the shooting this week in South Florida. The pleas and demands from young voices who survived the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., have brought new pressure to an old debate: gun-control laws. A walkout in South Florida on Friday and rally in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday helped anchor support, and other protests are planned in coming weeks, including one that would mark the 19th year since the Columbine High School massacre. (USA Today)

The Struggle to Find the Perfect Standardized Test Is Real
So it looks like the standardized test known as Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is now a dead man walking in Illinois. I might have stopped to mourn if the promise of state-by-state comparability hadn’t been on death row for the past several years. At one point, some 45 states had agreed to adopt one of two Common Core-aligned tests, which not only raised the bar nationwide, but also created some shared understanding of what grade-level proficiency really looks like from Nevada to New Jersey. (Education Post)

Charter School Accountability Committee recommends conditions on Delaware Academy of Public Safety and Security’s charter
The Delaware Department of Education’s Charter School Accountability Committee today recommended four conditions that Delaware Academy of Public Safety and Security (DAPPS) must meet to retain its charter for next academic year due to academic, organizational and financial problems at the New Castle school. A public hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m. March 9 at the Collette Building, 35 Commerce Way, Dover. Public comment will be accepted through March 9. After reviewing the full record, Secretary of Education Susan Bunting will present her decision regarding the school’s future to the State Board of Education for its assent at the State Board’s March 15 meeting. DAPSS was placed on formal review by the Department of Education with the assent of the State Board of Education on January 19. (Delaware Department of Education)

Baltimore school board adopts policy requiring employees to report misconduct
The Baltimore school board has approved a policy that requires district employees to report any financial wrongdoing or improper conduct they see in the school system, while protecting whistleblowers from retaliation. The policy, approved by the board this month, clarifies a district employee’s duty to report if they see someone wasting money or participating in bribery or embezzlement or some other financial impropriety. Employees are required to report if they know of someone tampering with or forging documents. (The Baltimore Sun)

New Jersey
New Jersey high school graduation rate continues to climb
For the sixth year in a row, the number of students graduating from high school in New Jersey has grown. According to data released Friday by the state Department of Education, the high school graduation rate for 2017 is 90.5 percent, up 1.9 percentage points since 2014. “These increases in high school graduation rates are exciting, as they demonstrate we are on a path toward closing our achievement gaps and achieving excellent and equitable educational opportunities for our children,” said acting Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet. (The Press of Atlantic City)

McQueen outlines state intervention plans for 21 Memphis schools
Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen has identified 21 Memphis schools in need of state intervention after months of school visits and talks with top leaders in Shelby County Schools. In its first intervention plan under the state’s new school improvement model, the Department of Education has placed American Way Middle School on track either for state takeover by the Achievement School District or conversion to a charter school by Shelby County Schools. The state also is recommending closure of Hawkins Mill Elementary School. (Chalkbeat)

Washington D.C.
Activist Peggy Cooper Cafritz, who helped build a model for public education, dies at 70
Around Washington, D.C., Peggy Cooper Cafritz will be remembered as a passionate civil rights activist, educator, philanthropist and avid art collector. She died Sunday in a local hospital from complications with pneumonia, according to The Washington Post. She was 70. As a founder of the city’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts in the early 1970s, she helped establish a model for magnet schools across the United States and created school that has produced a wealth of renowned artists and performers. (USA Today)

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


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