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

Trump orders study of federal role in education

President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that requires Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to study whether and how the federal government has overstepped its legal authority in K-12 schools, a move he framed as part of a broader effort to shift power from Washington to states and local communities. “Previous administrations have wrongfully forced states and schools to comply with federal whims and dicate what our kids are taught,” Trump said at the White House. “But we know that local communities do it best and know it best.” (The Washington Post)

The Case for Contentious Curricula
On August 9, 2014, the police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. Wilson is white; Brown was black. He was also unarmed. Within a few days, Ferguson was engulfed in riots. In dozens of other American cities, thousands of protesters took to the streets to condemn racism and police brutality.​ (The Atlantic)​

Planning for ESSA Shows State Shortcomings
Turnover at the top levels of state government and a lack of relational infrastructure appear to be hampering some states in their efforts to develop plans to comply with the new federal law governing American education.​ ​Both Indiana and West Virginia recently welcomed new state education superintendents. Officials in both states claim that repairing relationships with educators and other stakeholders is a top priority for the incoming chiefs, and officials from each state have expressed confidence they would meet federal submission rules under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). However, the turnover, along with questions about what previous office-holders had done to advance school accountability and student performance measures, have put the two states into a precarious position regarding the looming federal deadline.​ (Real Clear Education)​

As Trump Readies Sweeping Tax Reform, School Choice Experts Argue Merits of Federal Tax Credit Scholarships
President Trump is set to unveil his far-reaching tax reform proposal Wednesday, and the eyes of the education world will be focused on whether it includes the creation of a federal tax credit scholarship program.​ ​A day earlier, advocates at a Thomas B. Fordham Institute event debated not just the best way to design such a program — should​ ​states be allowed to opt in or out — but whether or not it was wise for the federal government to oversee.​ ​(The 74)

​North Carolina
NC may change what is labeled a low-performing school

Hundreds of schools each year would avoid the stigma of being labeled by the state as low-performing under a bill unanimously approved by the state House on Wednesday.​ ​House Bill 826 changes the definition of low-performing schools to exclude schools with D and F performance grades that met growth targets on state exams. Supporters said the change gives a more realistic and fair view of how North Carolina schools are performing.​ ​(The News & Observer)

Rhode Island
States continue move away from Common Core tests

Rhode Island will become the latest in a growing list of states to drop its national consortium designed assessment in favor of using a college-readiness exam to meet federal accountability requirements, education officials announced last week.​ ​Beginning with the next school year, high school students will use the PSAT and SAT for annual assessments, and students in grades three through eight will use a version of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System administered by Rhode Island. These will take place of the grade-level Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exams.​ (Cabinet Report)​

As lawmakers scrutinize the price tag of school vouchers in Memphis, here’s a cost breakdown

If the legislature votes to pilot school vouchers in Memphis, the state will have to spend about $45,000 on envelopes and stamps to get the word out to eligible families​. ​But the vast majority of the cost for the five-year pilot would fall on districts that operate in Memphis — and that could be more than double the $18 million that’s been cited​. ​The House Finance Committee is scheduled to vote Wednesday on the bill, and the Senate finance panel is to weigh in next week. Their role is to consider the cost of the program to taxpayers.​ (Chalkbeat)​


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