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

First Wave of ESSA Plans Gives Early Look at State Priorities

The Every Student Succeeds Act sought to give states flexibility to put their own stamp on accountability systems, including setting their own goals for student achievement and moving beyond reading and math test scores in rating student and school performance. So how far along are states in taking advantage of all that new running room? The details are just starting to emerge from the handful of plans submitted earlier this month to the U.S. Department of Education, which reveal a varied policy picture across a wide range of accountability categories. (Education Week)

Teachers union to host DeVos on visit to public schools in rural Ohio
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is scheduled to visit an Ohio public school Thursday at the invitation of one of her chief critics, Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers.​ ​The two combatants in the nation’s education battles will meet for several hours, touring classrooms and hearing from teachers and students in Van Wert, a rural community of about 11,000 people in northwestern Ohio.​ (The Washington Post)​

Will teacher tenure die?
Tenure arrived in K–12 education as a trickle-down from higher ed. Will the demise of tenure follow a similar sequence? Let us earnestly pray for it—for tenure’s negatives today outweigh its positives—but let us not count on it. Almost every time I’ve had an off-the-record conversation in recent years with a university provost, they’ve confided that their institutions are phasing tenure out. Sometimes it’s dramatic, especially when prompted by lawmakers, such as the changes underway at the University of Wisconsin in the aftermath of Governor Scott Walker’s 2015 legislative success, and the bills pending in Missouri and Iowa. (Fordham Institute)

Lack of diversity in gifted education: Some readers see segregation
Education Lab’s examination of the diversity, or lack thereof, in classes for students deemed academically gifted provoked strong reaction from readers. While black, Latino, American Indian and Pacific Islanders now comprise a third of all students in Washington public schools, they are represented at minuscule rates in classrooms for the intellectually advanced. Whites and Asians, meanwhile, fill almost all those seats. (The Seattle Times)

The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, a church-state lawsuit with the potential to become a landmark decision for schools across the nation. Involving twists, turns, tires, Neil Gorsuch, school choice and the Missouri governor, the case is nothing but complicated. As you wait for the verdict, here are the basic facts you need to know to sort through it all. (Newsweek)

Florida Senate’s version of ‘schools of hope’ prioritizes help for traditional schools

A top Florida senator on Tuesday rolled out his version of a comprehensive plan to help students who attend perpetually failing public schools in Florida — proposing to offer additional resources to those traditional schools, rather than emphasizing incentives for new charter schools to come in and compete with them as the House wants to do. (Miami Herald)

North Carolina
NC charter schools don’t get money for buses. A bill would change that

Many charter schools that serve low-income students provide bus service, even though it is not required. Charter schools receive transportation funds for every child, as do traditional public schools, but the state does not provide money to charter schools for the vehicles. A House bill proposes to have the state pick up some of those
costs for charters where at least half the students qualify for free and reduced lunch. The financial support would free up money that those schools could then spend on technology, teacher pay, or more and better buses, supporters sai​d. ​(The News & Observer)

​SCS aims to protect Whitehaven schools from the ASD

In an effort to protect schools from takeover by the state-run Achievement School District, Shelby County Schools wants to make the Whitehaven Empowerment Zone official.​ ​The school board will vote next week to seek the Tennessee Department of Education’s endorsement of the Empowerment Zone as a model for turning around poorly performing schools. That would give it the equivalent weight to the Innovation Zone, or iZone schools, which are exempt from takeover by the ASD.​ (The Commercial Appeal)​


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