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

National
What If Students Only Went to School Four Days a Week?

Barring unexpected closures, students enrolled in San Francisco Public Schools will have seven three-day weekends this school year; there are five three-day weekends on the Hartford Public Schools calendar for 2016-2017; and Atlanta Public Schools students are scheduled to have three three-day weekends this year. In Bonners Ferry, Idaho, however, students can plan for 29 three-day weekends. (The Atlantic)

The federal government should let the states lead on school choice.
While activists and lobbyists in Washington, D.C., wrangle over the federal education bureaucracy, much of the important action on school choice has been taking place in state capitals. Governors and legislatures in more than a dozen states are considering ways to give students and their families better access to quality learning opportunities that meet their individual needs. (National Review)

Trump Calls for New School Choice Initiatives, Big Cuts to K-12 Budget
President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal includes a huge increase for school choice while making big cuts to the Education Department’s overall budget.
The budget includes increases for the charter school fund, a new program for private school choice, and incentives for states to make sure some Title I dollars for low-income students follow them as they move among schools. The $1.4 billion in new dollars for school choice eventually will ramp up to $20 billion, the budget says, matching the amount Trump pledged to spend on school choice during his campaign. (The 74)

White House: There’s No Evidence After-School Programs Help Kids’ Performance
The White House claimed on Thursday that there’s no evidence students benefit from after school programs, which President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would stop funding. The budget eliminates funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which supports before and after school programs for 1.6 million children, the Washington Post reports. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney claimed at a press conference that there’s no evidence those programs benefit student performance. (Fortune)

State
Tennessee
For third straight year, TNReady prompts Tennessee to adjust teacher evaluation formula

First, Tennessee asked lawmakers to make temporary changes to its teacher evaluations in anticipation of switching to a new test, called TNReady.​ ​Then, TNReady’s online platform failed, and the state asked lawmakers to tweak the formula once more.Now, the State Department of Education is asking for another change in response to last year’s test cancellation, which occurred shortly after the legislative session concluded.​ ​Under a proposal scheduled for consideration next Monday by the full House, student growth from TNReady would count for only 10 percent of teachers’ evaluation scores and 20 percent next school year. That’s compared to the 35 to 50 percent, depending on the subject, that test scores counted in 2014-15 before the state switched to its more rigorous test.​ (Chalkbeat)​

 

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