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

How More Meetings Might Be The Secret To Fixing High School
The week before winter break, snow is piled up around St. Louis Park High School, a low-slung, rambling brick complex in suburban Minneapolis. And more snow is falling. This is a big, diverse school with proud roots. Alumni include Joel and Ethan Coen, who shot their semiautobiographical 2009 drama, A Serious Man, in this area, once a Jewish enclave, which today has immigrants from all over the world. But in 1998, when Angela Jerabek was a school counselor for freshmen here, she was “discouraged.” For five years running, about half the ninth-grade students had been failing at least one course. (NPR)

Laptops, Chromebooks or tablets? Deciding what’s best for the nation’s schools
Google and Apple both made big education technology announcements this week, unveiling new products designed for schools. That means two new options for administrators to consider in selecting the best devices for their students. Google’s first Chrome-powered tablet will create new competition for Apple, just as the company announced a new iPad, complete with augmented reality capability, the Apple pencil and a 10-hour battery. (The Hechinger Report)

Dear White Parents
A leading writer on race challenged white liberals to put their kids where their ideals lay: by sending them to public schools with more black and brown children. Nikole Hannah-Jones, one of the nation’s most provocative writers on race, issued that chellenge in a lecture at Yale Law School’s auditorium. A staff writer at The New York Times Magazine, Hannah-Jones challenged the crowd of professors, college students and public-school teachers to consider their own role in maintaining segregation. She invoked the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that struck down the notion of “separate but equal” schools. (New Haven Independent)

Tax credit scholarships for private schools to grow to $100 million
It took them a year, but the two chambers of the Georgia General Assembly finally agreed Thursday to raise the cap on tax credits for private school scholarships. House Bill 217 had passed both chambers of the legislature during last year’s legislative session, but the chambers disagreed over how much to raise the cap from the current $58 million. The House of Representatives wanted $100 million and the Senate wanted $65 million. (The Atlanta-Journal Constitution)

New Jersey
‘It’s enough now’: Mayor Baraka calls for pause on new charter schools in Newark
As charter schools have proliferated in Newark — they now enroll about one in three students— the big, unspoken question has always been: How many charters is enough? On Thursday, Mayor Ras Baraka made his answer crystal clear: “It’s enough now.” The charter sector’s rapid expansion has led to an exodus of students and funding from the district, resulting in school closures and staff reductions. In an interview with Chalkbeat on Thursday, Baraka said that if state funding remains flat and charters continue to grow, “it will suck the life out of traditional schools.” (Chalkbeat)

New York
Suing for the truth about teacher tenure
The city’s teachers union this week failed yet again in its effort to stop a lawsuit that aims to prove that the state’s tenure laws and “last in, first out” job protections hurt kids. Since the suit was filed by the NYC Parents Union and Partnership for Educational Justice in 2014, the United Federation of Teachers has repeatedly tried to get the case dismissed — only to lose in now three separate courts. Of course, the UFT’s main argument is absurd: It keeps claiming that the parents of the students its members teach lack standing to bring the complaint. But it will likely try at least one more appeal. (NY Post)

Two resign from SRC as the shift to a Philly school board begins
Two School Reform Commission members have resigned their seats, officials announced Thursday, a move signaling that the transition to local control of Philadelphia’s school district is well underway. Chair Joyce Wilkerson and Commissioner Christopher McGinley are both on the short list for seats on the new nine-member school board, and apparently will get them. They resigned, presumably to clear the way for board appointment; they could not simultaneously serve on the SRC and seek another office, such as on the new board. (The Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News)

Washington D.C.
The D.C. lottery is intended to give all kids a fair shot at a top school. But does it?
Sabrina Gordon knows that any lottery is a fluky game of odds. But she needs to believe that the school lottery is different. The single mother lives in a poor area of Southeast Washington and refuses to enroll her 10-year-old son, Trevonte, in their neighborhood school, Johnson Middle, where he has a guaranteed slot. So Gordon joins the thousands of families across the city anxiously awaiting results of the city’s competitive school lottery this week — a system that highlights the bleak reality that the demand for high-performing schools in the District far exceeds the supply. (The Washington Post)

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


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