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

DeVos Offers ‘Tough Love’ to State Chiefs on ESSA Plans That She Says Miss the Mark
Consider Betsy DeVos unleashed. The education secretary, 13 months into her term, was cautious in her first months on the job after a wounding confirmation process and widespread public protests. She largely toed the party line, keeping to Republican orthodoxy that there should be less regulatory interference from Washington, and pledged she’d approve every state plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act that met the law’s minimum requirements without asking for more. (The 74)

What If America Didn’t Have Public Schools?
On a crisp fall morning, parents lined the school’s circular driveway in Audis, BMWs and Land Rovers, among other luxury SUVs, to drop their high-schoolers off at Detroit Country Day School. Dressed in uniforms—boys in button-down shirts, blazers with the school crest, khaki or navy dress pants, and ties; girls in largely the same garb, though without the ties and the option of wearing a skirt—the students entered a lobby adorned with green tiles from the nearby Pewabic Pottery, a legendary Detroit ceramic studio. (The Atlantic)

Can the Parkland Survivors Inspire a New Focus on Civics Education?
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas students-turned-activists are fast becoming a powerful model of civic engagement for educators across the country. Survivors of the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla., have taken to social media and TV, arguing eloquently for gun-control policies—and citing skills garnered from their Advanced Placement U.S. Government courses. They have successfully pressured major companies to drop their affiliations with the National Rifle Association and spurred thousands of students nationwide to draft petitions, plan walkouts, and start grassroots groups of their own. (Education Week)

Report: Connecting What Teachers Know About State English Language Arts Standards for Reading and What They Do in Their Classrooms
In a 2016 report, RAND researchers explored English language arts (ELA) teachers’ implementation of their state standards, with a specific focus on three key aspects: teachers’ instructional materials, their knowledge about their standards, and their instructional practices. This report provides an update based on data from a spring 2016 survey of the RAND American Teacher Panel (ATP). In particular, the authors connect teachers’ approaches to reading instruction with their understanding of two ideas aligned with most state standards related to reading: use of complex texts and close reading of texts. (RAND)

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Announces Initial Recovery Support for Parkland
Following the tragic events in Parkland, Florida, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced the Department will award Broward County Public Schools a Project School Emergency Response to Violence (Project SERV) grant. The initial $1,000,000 grant will support recovery efforts at schools in the Broward County Public School system following the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead and 14 others injured on February 14, 2018. (U.S. Department of Education)

Fulton schools to hold safety meetings
Fulton County Schools will hold two specially scheduled meetings Tues., March 6, at Banneker High School and Thurs., March 8, at Centennial High School to talk about school safety. Both will be held 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the school gymnasiums. Superintendent Jeff Rose will lead the discussion on security measures, including the way training, drills and safety plans prepare schools for potential scenarios as well as the investments being made in safety. Also, he will introduce members of the FCS police force, local police departments, and the school system’s Psychological, Counseling and Social Work department to speak about community partnerships, mental health, and preventative strategies. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Feds Say Hawaii Falls Short In Dealing With School Bullying
Nearly half of the Hawaii public school students who said they’d been bullied or harassed at school in recent years did not report the incidents, often because they felt school officials wouldn’t do anything about it, according to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. A 22-page compliance review, delivered by federal officials to the Hawaii Department of Education in late January, assessed the statewide school district’s handling of student-on-student bullying. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

Getting a GED while still enrolled in high school
When Laci Hargrove turned 16, she was a sophomore in high school with nowhere near the credits she needed for her grade level. She had once planned to graduate with her class by the age of 17. But her young life had taken a few twists and turns and she started to slide behind. Then she dropped out for an entire year to have a baby. When she was ready to return to school, she didn’t want to sit in sophomore-year classes. (The Hechinger Report)

New York
Crime is up in NYC public schools, NYPD data shows
Crime has spiked in the city’s public schools, officials said Friday. New data published by the NYPD shows that major crimes, arrests, summonses and the use of restraints all increased in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in the year before. The gains come after the city schools reported record-low levels of crime for the school year that ended in June. But critics say the current school year that started in September is one of the bloodiest in years. (NY Daily News)

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


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