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

Are Teachers’ Unions on the Brink of Demise?
The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to deliver a major blow to teachers’ unions in the coming months: Teachers in about half of states may no longer have to pay mandatory fees if they’re not union members, which could cause drops in both revenue and membership. There’s national speculation about what this all could mean—while observers say this case won’t be unions’ demise, it could cause the political juggernauts to lose some power. And some teachers are wondering whether this will signal a shift in how teachers’ unions operate. (Education Week)

Now Live in D.C.: Governors Talk With Axios’ Mike Allen About the State of American Education at Friday Morning Town Hall
The 74 is proud to partner with Axios and the Walton Family Foundation in presenting a special conversation about schools and state-level education policy with a trio of governors from across the political spectrum. “Raising the Bar: A Conversation on Education in America” (see details and RSVP here) will bring together Governors John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Roy Cooper (D-NC) and Jeff Colyer (R-KS) to speak with Axios Executive Editor Mike Allen in Washington, D.C. Friday morning. The program begins at 7:45 a.m. eastern. (The 74)

Students across US walk out of class to protest gun violence
In a wave of demonstrations reaching from Arizona to Maine, students at dozens of U.S. high schools walked out of class Wednesday to protest gun violence and honor the victims of last week’s deadly shooting in Florida. The protests spread from school to school as students shared plans for their demonstrations over social media. Many lasted 17 minutes in honor of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. (ABC)

My Hands Will Ache and My Voice Will Shake, But I’ll Be the Change That Helps Protect My Students
This week I came back to work after a five-day break. My 116 high school students should have been returning from a long weekend filled with too much sugar, trips to the movie theater and binge-watching Netflix. Instead, they spent the weekend wondering why this had to happen again. “This,” of course, is the news of the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. It comes as the young people in my classroom are still adjusting to the aftermath of the October 1 mass shooting that happened here in Las Vegas. (Education Post)

The Simple Way A Growing Number Of States Are Hoping To Improve Kids’ Brains
Middle school students at Kaleidoscope Academy, a district charter school in Appleton, Wisconsin, are constantly moving. Everyone has a physical education class, called “phy-ed” here, at least twice a week. On top of that, there’s a daily lunch break that comes with time for kids to get outside and move around. Students can also choose from two additional exercise-focused electives — dance and personal fitness — which for some students can mean a 40-minute exercise period every day. (HuffPost)

Hawaii Teacher: Can ‘Social Emotional Learning’ Help Deter Violence?
“Please remember to lift up your chairs.” Screeching and scraping sounds permeated the room as giddy students dressed in pink and red and hopped up on chocolate assembled their chairs in a circle. It was Valentine’s Day and we were trying something new. “I appreciate you because you help me in math.” said a fourth-grader with two long braids reaching to her waist. “I appreciate you because you are a good friend,” said the student beside her. Around the circle, with stifled giggles and smiles, each child turned to pay a compliment to the person on their left. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

New Jersey
There is always a lot of discussion and debate when it comes to education. It makes sense, there’s nothing that rightfully should elicit more passion from a community than its children. Sometimes, however, what gets lost in that passion can be the examples of real collaboration and partnership that ultimately are the keys to student success. In Camden, though they rarely get talked about or mentioned, we’ve seen the fruits of this collaboration begin to emerge through a true partnership approach to school improvement — Community Schools. (NJ Spotlight)

New Mexico
The New Mexico Reform Story
When most people think about aggressive, envelope-pushing education reform, a familiar cast of characters and a familiar set of locales come to mind: Michelle Rhee in Washington, D.C., Paul Pastorek and John White in Louisiana, Tony Bennett in Indiana, Kevin Huffman in Tennessee. Not many people think of Hanna Skandera in New Mexico. They probably should. As public education secretary of New Mexico, Hanna Skandera dug in fast, set an ambitious agenda, and broke a lot of china. Her ability to inspire and subsequently ignore controversy is clear: from the outset, she was deemed so contentious that the state senate refused to confirm her for four years, during which she performed her duties as “secretary-designate.” When those same legislators failed to vote on a new teacher-evaluation system, she implemented it via regulation. (Education Next)

North Carolina
In North Carolina, a Move to Allow School District Secession
When a group of state legislators in North Carolina meet Wednesday to study whether large county school districts should be allowed to break apart into smaller school systems, it will mark the opening bid in a divisive debate over the limits of local control that has consequences for the entire country. The state has been steadily consolidating its school districts since the 1960s, from 167 then to 115 today, largely in an attempt to ensure it is distributing money and resources fairly and to better integrate schools. But major demographic shifts in the last decade have led some to call for the creation of smaller school systems that more closely represent their immediate community. (U.S. News & World Report)

SRC plans vote on seven new charter applications today
The School Reform Commission will consider applications for seven new charter schools on Thursday, Feb. 22. Two additional applications have been withdrawn since the process began in November. Four established Philly charter operators are applying to open five new schools, along with two operators new to the city. The District’s Charter Schools Office has released its evaluations critiquing each application. Unlike with renewals, the charter office does not make specific recommendations to the SRC about whether a new charter should be approved or denied, letting the detailed evaluations speak for themselves. (Philadelphia Public School Notebook)

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


Recent Posts

More posts from Today in Education

See All Posts