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

Why More Than A Million Teachers Can’t Use Social Security
Teachers have staged protests in recent weeks in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Kentucky and now Colorado. Some are fighting lawmakers who want to scale back their pensions. It’s no secret that many states have badly underfunded their teacher pension plans for decades and now find themselves drowning in debt. But this pensions fight is also complicated by one, little-known fact: More than a million teachers don’t have Social Security to fall back on. (NPR)

Why American Students Haven’t Gotten Better at Reading in 20 Years
Every two years, education-policy wonks gear up for what has become a time-honored ritual: the release of the Nation’s Report Card. Officially known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, the data reflect the results of reading and math tests administered to a sample of students across the country. Experts generally consider the tests rigorous and highly reliable—and the scores basically stagnant. (The Atlantic)

States & Cities
Delaware’s first elementary school wellness center opens
Eisenberg Elementary School in New Castle officially opened its Wellness Center Thursday. Colonial School District officials say it’s the first of its kind in Delaware. It provides Eisenberg students, most of whom are low-income children of color, with access to healthcare and behavioral and social services, right in their school. Two old classrooms became a reception area, a counseling room, a check-up room, and a lab. The center has been in the works for three years. It’s now fully staffed and equipped for use. (Delaware Public Media)

Letting state approve ‘new kinds’ of public schools would enhance education for the next generation
The Florida Constitution Revision Commission had a profound responsibility: We had to legislate for the next generation. We worked to adapt a document drafted in 1967 for the state that will exist in 2037. That spirit animates Amendment 8, which former Miami-Dade School Board member Janet McAliley singled out for criticism in a recent opinion piece, “Tallahassee pols concoct a sneaky way to take away your power over local schools.” The amendment combines two ideas that I sponsored — creating term limits for school board members and allowing the creation of new kinds of public schools — with another proposal elevating the importance of civic literacy. (Miami Herald)

New Jersey
Camden Superintendent Who Led Turnaround Is Stepping Down
The state takeover of this troubled city’s school district gambled on a big question: After years of experiments with more money and charter schools, could anything improve education in Camden? Five years in, Camden’s answer seems to be yes. With a new model of charter and a new superintendent, student performance and the graduation rate have surged. The dropout rate has been cut in half. When the state arrived in 2013, 23 of the city’s 26 public schools were on the list of New Jersey’s worst performing, eight are now. (The New York Times)

North Carolina
CMS fact check: Superintendent said 50 percent of charter schools fail. Was he right?
At a meeting to discuss whether Matthews town officials should pursue their own charter schools Tuesday, facilitator Cyndee Patterson opened with a startling statistic: 50 percent of charter schools fail. She didn’t cite a source, and no one questioned the number. The uncertainty of investing in an independent start-up school was one of the reasons Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board members urged town leaders to abandon that path and work together to strengthen traditional public schools. But there’s no evidence that failure rate is accurate. (The Charlotte Observer)

Tennessee governor candidates: State must revisit formula for funding education
All four candidates at Tuesday’s gubernatorial forum in Jackson vowed to revisit the state’s Basic Education Program, a key funding formula for K-12 public schools. The two other top-tier candidates who did not attend the event on rural issues at Lane College said later they also support revisiting the issue. Last year, the state comptroller said the funding formula, known as the BEP and created in 1992, represents $4.5 billion. The formula helps factor how much the Tennessee Department of Education should provide districts for each student. Among the factors included in the formula are teacher salaries and health insurances, in addition to the cost of books and technology for students. (Tennessean)

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


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