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

State, Local Officials Tussle Over Who’s in Charge Under ESSA
The Every Student Succeeds Act has yet to debut in the classroom, and already it’s controversial among state and local policymakers. Political observers expect all that to continue as ESSA rolls out this coming school year. Meanwhile, the 2018 midterm elections are coming to a head, with education already resonating as a campaign issue in many states and new K-12 spending plans taking effect. At issue in many states is which branch of state government oversees public education. (Education Week)

25-Year-Old Textbooks and Holes in the Ceiling: Inside America’s Public Schools
Broken laptops, books held together with duct tape, an art teacher who makes watercolors by soaking old markers. Teacher protests have spread rapidly from West Virginia to Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona in recent months. We invited America’s public school educators to show us the conditions that a decade of budget cuts has wrought in their schools. We heard from 4,200 teachers. Here is a selection of the submissions, condensed and edited for clarity. (The New York Times)

New Research: As Enrollment in Public Pre-K Surges, Quality Fails to Keep Pace
About one-third of American 4-year-olds were enrolled in state-funded preschool programs in 2017, a sharp increase from the 14 percent enrolled in 2002, though spending on those programs and their quality hasn’t necessarily kept pace, a new report finds. Enrollment is growing, but not fast enough, and it shouldn’t come at the expense of quality, said Steven Barnett, senior co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, which released its annual “State of Preschool” report Wednesday. (The 74)

Charter commission defends standards: ‘Failing school of choice is not a real choice.’
Gregg Stevens is the deputy director and general counsel of the State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia. In this piece, he explains the process by which the commission approves and denies charter schools in Georgia. This is a timely piece as the decision by the state’s first online charter high school to shut down in June has prompted discussion of whether the commission’s performance standards are unrealistic. Graduation Achievement Academy was facing losing its charter from the State Charter Schools Commission on the basis of its chronic inability to meet its academic benchmarks. About 2,100 students attend the statewide virtual school, with 271 seniors eligible to graduate in June. Advocates for the school argue standards were too high for a charter that embraced students failing or struggling in their home high schools. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

New Mexico
Online charter school Connections Academy sues to stay open
The leaders of a Santa Fe-based charter school offering an online education for nearly 2,000 students across New Mexico have filed a lawsuit in the state’s First Judicial District Court, appealing a recent decision by the Public Education Department to revoke the school’s charter. State Public Education Secretary-designate Christopher Ruszkowski said he based his decision on the recommendation of the Public Education Commission, a panel that approves or denies charter school applications and renewals. The commission found that New Mexico Connections Academy had failed to meet state education standards. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

Education savings accounts will help more Pa. children attend the best schools for them | Opinion
Both of my sons like to be part of the team, but they thrive at different sports. My older son is in his second year on the basketball team, perfecting his rebounding skills. Meanwhile, my younger son has discovered that he loves soccer, especially scoring goals for his team. I couldn’t be prouder of them both. As a parent, I know that not every sport is right for my children – or anyone else’s. By the same token, neither is anyone school right for all children. (The Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News)

‘I do not plan to resign,’ McQueen tells lawmakers over latest testing missteps in Tennessee
Candice McQueen adamantly told state lawmakers Wednesday that she will not step down as Tennessee’s education commissioner over the state’s bungling of standardized tests for a third straight year. One day after House Democrats called for the embattled leader to resign, McQueen reported that students were testing successfully online on the third day of TNReady. She said the problems of the first two days had been addressed — at least for now. The commissioner opened a two-hour legislative hearing with an apology to students, parents, and educators for technical problems that stalled testing and affected tens of thousands of students this week. (Chalkbeat)

Washington D.C.
Dual language charter schools attract the longest waiting lists in D.C.
Elsie Whitlow Stokes school, a Northeast Washington preschool and elementary charter that teaches classes in two languages, has the longest waiting list of any D.C. charter school, with 1,827 students still hoping to land a slot. The D.C. Public Charter School Board released waitlist data Tuesday for the 2018-2019 academic year. The data shows that dual language and Montessori-style schools are in high demand. Six of the 10 schools with the longest waiting lists, including Mundo Verde Bilingual and DC Bilingual, are known as dual language schools. (The Washington Post)

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


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