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 Education Adviser Wants ‘Robust Portfolio of Options’ For K-12 Students

Jason Botel, a top adviser to President Donald Trump on education issues, sees school choice as a vehicle for furthering educational equity for all students. And he thinks a new pilot program in the Every Student Succeeds Act could help districts expand those student choices.​ ​”We need to build more robust portfolio of school options,” said Botel in a speech Wednesday to the National Parent Teacher Association’s legislative conference. The White House and the U.S. Department of Education are working together, Botel, said, “on the best ways to ensure that all students have the resources they need, as some choose to attend public schools, some choose to attend public charter, public magnet schools, and some choose private schools, online learning.”​ (Education Week)​

Senate Blocks Teacher Preparation Rules, Ending ESSA Accountability Rules on Deck
Two key Obama administration education rules, governing teacher preparation programs and how states judge and improve schools under the Every Student Succeeds Act, are on their way out.​ ​Senators voted 59 to 40 to block the teacher preparation rules, with eight Democrats joining the Republican majority. More contentious is the pending debate, which kicked off Wednesday afternoon with a vote likely Thursday, over blocking the Obama-era rules that set out how states should rate and improve low-performing schools through the accountability provisions included in the Every Student Succeeds Act.​ (The 74)​

The Battle Over School Choice Is Happening in Statehouses Across America
In last week’s speech before a joint session of Congress, President Donald Trump once again brought up the issue of school choice, signaling to lawmakers an interest in pursuing federal legislation that would divert taxpayer dollars to private school tuition. But the real action is already taking place in statehouses across the country.​ (Mother Jones)​

The State of State Teachers’ Pension Plans
As teachers across the country retire, their pensions are being subsidized by newly hired teachers to a surprising degree. Teachers’ pension plans have always rewarded long-serving veterans at the expense of short-termers. But now, as more and more plans develop shortfalls, states have been imposing cost-cutting measures, and recent research shows that the newest hires are bearing the brunt of the changes, raising questions of fairness.​ (The New York Times)​

Too many school districts forgo acceleration and leave bright students behind
A recent High Flyer post made a strong case for how acceleration can benefit high-ability students and help administrators and teachers more effectively address the individual needs of their unique learners. It echoes findings in dozens of previous studies that show that acceleration works.​ ​Despite mountains of evidence demonstrating its benefits, most decisions about acceleration policies are made locally. According to a recent report by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, forty-one states either do not have acceleration policies or permit school districts to decide whether to institute them.​ (Fordham)​

​New York
Only 10 percent of offers at New York City’s specialized high schools went to black and Hispanic students

Four years after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio railed against the way students are admitted to some of the city’s top high schools on the campaign​ ​trail, black and Hispanic students are still rarely accepted into the elite schools.​ ​Only 3.8 percent of offers to attend eight specialized high schools went to black students and 6.5 percent went to Hispanic students this year, according to data released Wednesday, though those populations comprise about 70 percent of city students. The vast majority of eighth graders who received offers were white or Asian.​ (Chalkbeat)​


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