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 signs bills overturning Obama-era education regulations

President Trump signed bills Monday overturning two Obama-era education regulations, continuing the Republican majority’s effort to undo key pieces of the previous administration’s legacy. Trump’s move scraps new requirements for programs that train new K-12 teachers and rolls back a set of rules outlining how states must carry out the Every Student Succeeds Act, a bipartisan federal law meant to hold schools accountable for student performance. In a signing ceremony at the White House Monday, the president hailed the measures for “removing an additional layer of bureaucracy to encourage freedom in our schools.” (The Washington Post)

More HS Students Are Graduating, but These Key Indicators Prove Those Diplomas Are Worth Less Than Ever
Last October, in perhaps the final triumphant moment of his administration, President Obama announced that America’s soaring high school graduation rate had risen, again, to an all-time high of 83 percent. Before he took office, the percentage of students earning diplomas languished for decades in the low to mid-70s; now the news was made still better by some narrowing of the persistent gaps between white and minority students. (The 74)

What Would Trump’s Proposed Cut to Teacher Funding Mean for Schools?
President Donald Trump has proposed getting rid of the Title II program, which has been around for more than a decade and aims to help districts and states pay for teacher and principal development, reduce class-size, craft new evaluation systems, and more.​ ​The program, which is officially called the Supporting Effective Instruction State Grant prorgram, or Title II, Part A, is the third largest in the U.S. Department of Education’s budget that goes to K-12 education. Eliminating it would be a really big deal, state, district, and school officials say. Zeroing out Title II could hamper implementation of the new Every Student Succeeds Act, lead to teacher layoffs, and make it tougher for educators to reach special populations of students, or use technology in their classrooms. (Education Week)

Washington D.C.
D.C. school system launches effort to help girls of color — but not an all-girls school

D.C. Public Schools has no plans for an all-girls high school like the one it opened in August for black and Latino boys. Instead, the school system plans to create support groups for girls and host a systemwide all-girls conference later this year.​ ​Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, an all-male school, opened its doors last summer. The 100-student school aims to boost achievement for black and Latino boys, who historically have the lowest test scores and graduation rates in the city.​ (The Washington Post)​

New York
To test or not to test? That’s the question families face as students head into state exams this week

Starting this week, thousands of New York City students in grades 3-8 will sit for the state’s controversial standardized tests — a gauge of student progress that has become an educational lightning rod in recent years.​ ​Across the state, parents have been opting their students out of the tests in record numbers to protest what they say is an educational culture too focused on test preparation. Statewide, the percentage of students opting out was 21 percent last year, while the city’s rate was much lower at less than 3 percent refusing to sit for exams, an uptick from the year before.​ (Chalkbeat)​


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