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

National
Betsy DeVos Opens Up ESSA Pilot Allowing Federal Money to Follow Students
School districts: Interested in having your local, state, and federal funding follow children, so that kids with greater need have more money attached to them? Now’s your chance. The U.S. Department of Education is officially opening up the “Weighted Student Funding Pilot” in the Every Student Succeeds Act. The department can allow up to 50 districts to participate initially, and ESSA leaves open the possibility of opening that up to more districts down the line. (Education Week)

Screen Addiction Among Teens: Is There Such A Thing?
Look up from this screen right now. Take a look around. On a bus. In a cafe. Even at a stoplight. Chances are, most of the other people in your line of sight are staring at their phones or other devices. And if they don’t happen to have one out, it is certainly tucked away in a pocket or bag. But are we truly addicted to technology? And what about our kids? It’s a scary question, and a big one for scientists right now. Still, while the debate rages on, some doctors and technologists are focusing on solutions. (NPR)

School Shooting Simulation Trains Teachers for the Worst
Teachers across the country will soon be able to train for an active shooter on school grounds using a computer simulation that includes realistic details like gunfire, shattered glass and the screams of children. This vivid and realistic digital simulation was created by the federal government. It was modeled after a real school and includes 20 classrooms, a library, a cafeteria and a gymnasium with blue-padded walls. (The New York Times)

States
Delaware
EastSide Charter School opens parents’ horizons with free computers
A Wilmington charter school is trying to bridge the digital divide by giving free computers to parents and connecting them to low-cost internet service. EastSide Charter School on Tuesday gave families 24 Dell desktop computers for completing a five-session computer training class. For many, it opens a door to a new world, Head of School and CEO Aaron Bass said. Some were looking for a way to take online GED or college classes, while others wanted to sign up their kids for free tutoring sessions and videos offered by the online schooling community Khan Academy. (Delaware Online)

New Mexico
New Mexico’s Kids Deserve Great Public Schools So We’re Launching NewMexicoKidsCAN
So many things make New Mexico enchanting. There are sunsets over the Sandia Mountains, adobe buildings with hundred-year histories, lush green bosque surrounding our life-giving Rio Grande and hundreds of hot air balloons that dance in our October skies. But the most beautiful part of New Mexico is our children—all 347,000 enrolled in public schools—and their ability to reach their full potential. (Education Week)

North Carolina
NC offers debit cards to families of disabled students, but some worry about fraud
Libby Bradford can’t speak and she has trouble walking, but the 8-year-old’s perseverance has inspired other kindergarten students at Immaculata Catholic School in Durham. Liz Bradford, Libby’s mom, says the private school has helped her child learn, but it doesn’t offer the speech therapy and physical therapy that Libby used to receive as a student in the Durham public school system. So she’s turning to a new state program that provides taxpayer-funded debit cards to parents of students with disabilities to cover education-related services. (The News & Observer)

Tennessee
Gordon Ferguson New Vice Chair TN Board of Education
Murfreesboro resident and community leader Gordon Ferguson has been named vice chair of the Tennessee Board of Education. He was appointed to the Board in 2016, and represents the fourth congressional district. Ferguson is president and CEO of Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital and president of Saint Thomas Regional Hospitals. He has served as Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital president and chief executive officer since 2006 and as the president of Saint Thomas Regional Hospitals since 2015. He was named Rutherford County’s Business Person of the Year in 2010 at the Annual Business at its Best Gala. (WGNS)

Virginia
Bill to cut long-term suspensions clears House Education Committee
A bill to substantially cut the maximum length for a long-term suspension in Virginia schools has made it out of committee. House Bill 1600 from Del. Jeff Bourne, D-Richmond, would cap the length of a long-term suspension at one marking period — or 45 school days — compared with the 364 calendar days it is now. The House Education Committee on Wednesday voted 18-2 to have it reported to the full chamber. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

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

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