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

ESSA Offers Testing Flexibility. So Why Aren’t States Using It?
More than two years after the Every Student Succeeds Act passed, only a handful of states are considering taking advantage of the testing flexibility the law offers—despite long-standing calls by many state officials for a freer hand on assessments. ESSA lets states take new approaches to measuring student learning. But it doesn’t appear likely that those new opportunities will make a deep national impact on assessment anytime soon. (Education Week)

Walkouts And Teacher Pay: How Did We Get Here?
Teachers in Arizona are staging what they’re calling a walk-in today. They’re asking lawmakers for a 20 percent pay raise and for school funding to return to pre-recession levels. This comes as teachers in Oklahoma continue their walk-out. After more than a week of protests and dozens of closed schools across the state, Oklahoma lawmakers have already agreed to increase teacher pay and school funding. But teachers say, after a decade of deep cuts, it’s not enough. These protests follow a strike in West Virginia that lasted nine consecutive school days and ended with a five percent pay raise for the state’s teachers. (NPR)

Later school start times help teens’ moods, study says
Is your teen tired and grumpy? Part of that comes with the territory, but new research shows that it might not be entirely their fault. A new study published by the Sleep Research Society found support for pushing back school start times, showing that a later start to the day led to more sleep and better mood in teenage girls. The research was conducted at an all-girls school in Singapore and focused on about 150 students in seventh through 10th grade (average age 14). The school delayed its start time by 45 minutes, changing from a 7:30 a.m. to an 8:15 a.m. beginning, and studied the effects on its students. (ABC News)

Black Students Have Longer Commutes Under School Choice
Black children often travel farther to school and face longer commute times than their white and Latino classmates, according to a new report from the Urban Institute. In cities including Denver, New York City and Washington, D.C., black children are more likely to leave their own neighborhood in search of a high-quality school, according to the study, which examined urban school districts that operate school choice programs. (Governing)

National Test: Connecticut Students Continue To Be Stronger In Reading, Weaker In Math
Connecticut’s fourth and eighth graders continue to outperform the average on a national test given last year, but math continues to be a weaker area, particularly for fourth graders. Overall, state officials said, the Connecticut students performed about the same as they did two years ago when the test was last administered. (Hartford Courant)

What national test scores do and don’t tell us about Delaware
Delaware continues to fall in the middle of the pack on national test scores and state officials can’t explain the lack of improvement or why gaps between high-needs and white students are just as pronounced today as they were two years ago. “There’s no clear reason why the scores haven’t risen this year,” said Theresa Bennett, director of the Office of Assessment with the state Department of Education. “Our gaps are not increasing. They’re maintaining and staying stable.” (Delaware Online)

Ige’s Pick To Lead School Board Has An Unusual Background: Education
Catherine Payne has been a teacher, vice principal and principal during her 36-year tenure with Hawaii’s public schools. Now she’s positioned to step into a new leadership role as chairwoman of the Hawaii Board of Education for a three-year term starting July 1, pending Senate confirmation. Payne, whom Gov. David Ige nominated last week as chair of the nine-member panel to replace the outgoing Lance Mizumoto, would be the first board chair in at least a decade who is an educator. (Civil Beat)

South Carolina
This SC agency wants to recruit more teachers. Have you seen its new ad?
In a first for it, the S.C. Department of Education is shelling out about $500,000 for a new statewide advertising campaign that it hopes will encourage more South Carolinians to become teachers. The campaign started last week, with Phase 1 tackling negative perceptions of the education field, said agency spokesman Ryan Brown. Phase 2 will target younger people — for example, high school students — who might be interested in becoming teachers. (The State)

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


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