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

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

News and Analysis

​Trump Rescinds Rules on Bathrooms for Transgender Students

President Trump on Wednesday rescinded protections for transgender students that had allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity, overruling his own education secretary and placing his administration firmly in the middle of the culture wars that many Republicans have tried to leave behind. (The New York Times)

5 Million English Language Learners: A Vast Pool Of Talent, At Risk
About 1 out of every 10 public school students in the United States right now is learning to speak English. They’re called ELLs, for “English Language Learners.”​ ​There are nearly 5 million of them, and educating them — in English and all the other subjects and skills they’ll need — is one of the biggest challenges in U.S. public education today.​ ​As part of our reporting project, 5 Million Voices, we set out to gather up all the data and information we could find about who these students are and how they’re being taught. ​(NPR)​

‘Alternative’ Education: Using Charter Schools to Hide Dropouts and Game the System
Tucked among posh gated communities, and meticulously landscaped shopping centers, Olympia High School in Orlando offers more than two dozen Advanced Placement courses, even more afterschool clubs, and an array of sports from bowling to water polo. U.S. News and World Report ranked it among the nation’s top 1,000 high schools last year. Big letters painted in brown on one campus building urge its more than 3,000 students to “Finish Strong.”​ ​(ProPublica)


Many were hoping to win the lottery Tuesday in the Somerton section of Philadelphia.​ ​But the prize was not a pile of cash, rather a shot at giving their children a good education.​ ​Over the years MaST Community Charter School has earned a solid reputation, driven by its award-winning math and science programs.​​”The kids, it’s their place, so if there’s an idea they want to do here and we can make it happen, if we get that feedback, then we try to make it happen. We’re always looking futuristically at what’s coming next in​ ​education and what’s current in the economy,” MaST CEO John Swoyer said.​ (6 ABC)

N​orth Carolina
​New CMS assignment twist: Transfer option could open doors for 27,000 students

Up to 27,000 students in 35 low-performing Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools could get a new path to transfer out, as school board members asked staff to prepare a revised policy to take effect this spring.​ ​The proposal to allow transfers from schools graded D or F emerged from a special three-hour committee meeting Monday night, attended by six of nine school board members and only a handful of citizens. If approved – which would require a public hearing and full board vote – attending a low-graded school would join the short list of acceptable reasons for seeking a new school assignment, along with medical necessity, “extreme hardship” and being the child of a CMS employee.​ (The Charlotte Observer)​

Tennessee will halve science and social studies tests for its youngest students

Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced Wednesday plans to slim down science and social studies assessments for third- and fourth-graders as she seeks to respond to complaints of over-testing in Tennessee.​ ​McQueen has been mulling over that option since meeting last summer with her testing task force. The State Department of Education received more public feedback on testing during the last eight months while developing the state’s new plan for its schools in response to a new federal education law.​ (Chalkbeat)​

​Washington D.C.
Teachers at a D.C. charter school push to form a union

Teachers at a D.C. charter school are pushing to unionize, citing the need to provide more resources for students, improve the school’s culture and reduce churn in the teaching force.About three quarters of the staff at Paul Public Charter School in Northwest signed a petition asking the school’s governing board to recognize their union, the District of Columbia Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff.​ ​(The Washington Post)


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