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

The Bureau of Indian Education Is Broken
The Bureau of Indian Education recently wrapped up its tribal consultation process on its latest proposed strategic plan “to guide its work and service delivery to [Native] students, schools, and tribes.” While the BIE creates plan after plan intended to restructure, realign, reform, redesign, revise, and redo their education system, in actuality these plans are rarely carried out. The necessary changes to schooling simply remain words written on paper. Meanwhile, tribes, schools, educators, parents, and students continue to wait for the federal government to meet its legal trust responsibility to provide a quality education to American Indian students. (Education Week)

Cutting-edge research to support students with reading disabilities
Current approaches to identifying students with reading disabilities are often problematic and ineffective, and will not lead students to academic success. However, there have been significant improvements in identification and screening that are allowing us to provide greater—and earlier—support. In “Cutting-Edge Research to Empower Schools to Support Students with Reading Disabilities,” Rick Wagner, associate director for the Florida Center for Reading Research, discussed problems with current methods and how to better help students with these disabilities. (eSchool News)

Government seeks delay of Obama rule on race in special ed
The Education Department is seeking to delay an Obama-era rule meant to counter racial disparities in special education, an official said Monday. In December 2016, the Obama administration said “students of color remain more likely to be identified as having a disability and face harsher discipline than their white classmates” and issued a rule that required states to intervene if there were strong racial disparities in their districts. The rule was to take effect in July 2018. Department Press Secretary Liz Hill told The Associated Press Monday that the agency wants to postpone the rule by two years. (AP)

Pensions Under Pressure
For many teachers, a defined-benefit pension plan at retirement is hardly a “fringe” benefit—rather, it is a long-anticipated payoff at career’s end, after years of modest take-home pay. Public school teachers who stay on the job for 25 or 30 years count on retiring in relative security, with monthly benefit payments until death. But for many young teachers, that pension promise is broken. Nationwide, teachers’ plans are drowning in $500 billion in debt, driven in part by a financial crisis in which nearly all state plans failed to meet their target rates of return. (EducationNext)

Ft. Bend ISD teacher teaches confidence through hairstyle
Leigha Bishop and 4-year-old August Burroughs are two peas in a pod. They work on their letters together at Lakeview Elementary School. They give each other hugs. And now, they have the exact same hairstyle. “August always changes her hair, kind of like I do. And when she got here Monday, she got out of the car and I was like, ‘August, your hair is so cute,'” Bishop explained. “And she was like, ‘Yep, thank you, whatever.’ And I was like, ‘No, I’m really going to go home and do my hair.'” (ABC 13)

Christina tables Wilmington partnership agreement once again
The Christina Board of Education has once again postponed voting on a memorandum of understanding with Gov. John Carney and the state Education Department, voicing concerns about taking action on a plan to consolidate five Wilmington schools into two at a sparsely attended meeting held in Newark. “We have to be OK with taking that vote here, tonight, with this audience,” board member Elizabeth Paige said, making it clear that she wasn’t. Besides a News Journal reporter, photographer and two of Paige’s children, there was only school staff in attendance. (Delaware Online)

Female Athletes Get The Short End Of The Stick At Some Hawaii High Schools
Without an athletic locker room, the girls at James Campbell High School who play after-school sports are forced to get creative. They change clothes in school restrooms, empty classrooms or sometimes on the bleachers outside as teammates provide cover. They lug their heavy sports bags during the day or convince a teacher to let them store their gear in a classroom. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

New Jersey
In N.J., new administration giving ‘pause’ to charter schools
Kindergartners spun around in hula hoops and chased each other across a gym floor at Camden’s Pride Charter School this week, a joyful explosion of energy as recess began. Most of them likely will stay with the charter network until they graduate from high school, predicts Superintendent Joe Conway. Demand has grown at his Camden’s Promise network, which enrolls 2,000 students, up from 100 sixth graders in 1998. But Conway and other charter operators are concerned about what their future holds under the Gov. Murphy administration. (The Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News)

North Carolina
North Carolina’s top court deciding who runs public schools
North Carolina’s top court will decide whether legislators can interpret the state constitution in a way that gives control of about $10 billion a year in public school spending to an elected schools superintendent instead of the appointed state school board. The state Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday over whether lawmakers can diminish the authority of the appointed statewide board. The panel’s lawyers argue the state constitution clearly states the school board “shall supervise and administer the free public school system and the educational funds provided for its support.” (The State)

Report: Tennessee’s student intervention process works, but in need of improvements
A third of Tennessee teachers find a state-driven process meant to address individual student needs to be ineffective, while implementation of it across the state can vary. That’s according to a report focused on Response to Instruction and Intervention’s fourth year in Tennessee — RTI², as it is known, is an approach to the identification and support of students with academic deficiencies. Although the report says that overall the process has been crucial for getting many students the right type of support to learn, challenges in perception and in its implementation exist. (Tennessean)

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


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