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

How Have ESSA-Related Bills Fared in State Legislatures So Far This Year?

Early this legislative season, the National Conference of State Legislators predicted that, with accountability plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act due by this fall, there would be an uptick in bills around teacher evaluations, school accountability systems, and assessments. Any changes made under state waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act would have to be written into law, said Michelle Exstrom, NCSL’s education program director. That’s so that education board policy books align with state law books. (Education Week)

Let’s see who’s serious about improving schools
April marked a big milestone for the education community and for parents across the country eager to ensure high-quality education for their children. After months of meetings, more than 10 states have submitted their long-awaited school accountability plans to the U.S. Department of Education required under the Every Student Succeeds Act. The remainder of the states are set to come forward by September with their own accountability plans. (The Hill)

Parents may get new way to challenge school textbooks

Florida residents who view state-approved school textbooks as “too liberal” and some books in school libraries as inappropriate have persuaded state lawmakers to push legislation that would make it easier for them to object to classroom materials they don’t like. (Orlando Sentinel)

Cobb school board votes to close charter school

More than a thousand students in Cobb County will have to find a new school next fall after the school board decided to close their charter school. The International Academy of Smyrna’s academic results fell far below what was promised in its five-year charter that was approved by the school board in 2012. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Dance resignation leaves his school initiatives in question

In his five years as Baltimore County schools superintendent, Dallas Dance has been a forceful, energetic — and sometimes controversial — presence in a diverse suburban district known both for its outstanding and struggling schools.​ ​His abrupt resignation last week leaves open the possibility that many of his initiatives — some of them just recently launched — could be delayed or dropped under an interim superintendent to be hired in the next two months.​ (The Baltimore Sun)​

​New Jersey
N.J.’s median teacher salary is up; see what every district pays

The median salary among New Jersey teachers is $66,117 this school year, about a 2.4 percent increase from last year, according to new state data. ​​The statistic reflects a wide range of teacher salaries that vary from district to district based on regional cost of living, grade levels offered in the district, faculty experience and other factors.​ (NJ.com)​

New York
Chancellor Betty Rosa hits back on criticism that New York is abandoning education reform

New York has moved sharply away from innovative education reforms with “bewildering and humbling speed.” That’s what Robert Pondiscio of the conservative-leaning Fordham Institute wrote in an op-ed posted earlier this month on the organization’s website. Here in New York City, he writes, Mayor Bill de Blasio is ushering in the “bad old days” by pumping money into struggling schools and relaxing school discipline. (Chalkbeat)

Pennsylvania lawmakers take another stab at charter school law reform

Pennsylvania lawmakers introduced legislation this week aimed at reforming the state’s 20-year-old charter school law.​ ​Democrats in the state House, including Lancaster Rep. Mike Sturla, introduced an eight-bill package in an attempt to improve accountability, transparency and funding for charter schools.​ ​Their proposals come a week after Republican state Rep. Mike Reese introduced a charter school reform bill — House Bill 97 — that some say doesn’t do the necessary reforms justice. His bill already has been considered twice by the state House.​ (Lancaster Online)​


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