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

Applications open for federal STEM education grant programs
The U.S. Department of Education has opened applications for two science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) grant competitions supported by President Donald Trump’s memorandum on STEM education. The $75 million “Supporting Effective Educator Development,” or SEED, program will provide fiscal 2018 funding to increase “evidence-based preparation, development, or enhancement opportunities for educators,” according to a statement from the Education Department, with the ultimate goal of preparing more effective STEM teachers. In September, Trump directed Secretary Betsy DeVos to prioritize STEM education for students and training for teachers, mandating that at least $200 million per year in existing grant funds be spent on STEM initiatives. (EdScoop)

A Year Ago the Supreme Court Raised the Bar for Special Ed. What’s Happened Since?
A year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that schools must offer students with disabilities an education reasonably calculated to enable them to “make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances,” what has changed? On the one hand, not much, if evaluating the dozens of special education cases that have cited Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, which was decided March 22, 2017. (Education Week)

Do Pre-K Teachers Need a Bachelor’s Degree? National Initiative Seeks Consensus on Decades-Old Debate
Should preschool teachers be required to have a bachelor’s degree? A national collaborative of early childhood educators says no, and is issuing recommendations in an effort to reach consensus in a decades-old debate on qualifications for teachers of America’s youngest students. The current draft of the recommendations, written as part of a two-year initiative called Power to the Profession, supports multiple education levels for preschool teachers, including associate’s and bachelor’s degrees — flexibility that opponents say could hurt a profession fighting to gain recognition and better pay. Fifteen education organizations, among them the National Education Association, the National Head Start Association, and the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators, created the document with input from dozens of stakeholders. (The 74)

What ‘A Nation At Risk’ Got Wrong, And Right, About U.S. Schools
Very few government reports have had the staying power of “A Nation At Risk,” which appeared 35 years ago this month and stoked widespread concerns about the quality of American schools. “The educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a nation and as a people,” the authors thundered in one of its best-known passages. (NPR)

Report shows increase among East Hawaii high school graduates attending college
The college enrollment rate among East Hawaii high school students increased last year, albeit still shy of the statewide average. That’s according to the College and Career Readiness Indicators Report, an annual school-by-school snapshot of how well students are prepared for life after graduating high school. It is compiled each year by Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education, a statewide education consortium. It was released earlier this month. (Hawaii Tribune-Herald)

New Mexico
PED seeking more direct authority
The state Public Education Department is pushing to have more direct authority over teacher development programs, including taking on the oversight duties now provided by national accreditation groups. But some are questioning whether the proposal is within PED’s authority. By this time next month, PED wants a rule in place that allows it to rate educator preparation programs – which ultimately license teachers – through site visits and a scorecard system. (Albuquerque Journal)

North Carolina
Nearly 800 Durham teachers take off May 16, request school be canceled to demand better conditions
The Durham Association of Educators announced Thursday evening that nearly 800 teachers have requested personal leave next month to advocate for Durham Public Schools in Raleigh. During a press conference before the start of the Durham Public Schools board meeting, the educators said they would request the board cancel classes on May 16 so parents, teachers and advocates can travel to the state General Assembly to demand increased school funding, teacher pay raises and class size reduction. (

Washington D.C.
Teachers from only D.C. charter school with a union take to the streets to protest
A rare battle between teachers and administrators at a charter school has broken into public view, with educators taking to the streets of a D.C. neighborhood to press their case that the school is spending millions of dollars on consultants while cutting core classroom positions. The teachers at Chavez Prep Middle — the first D.C. charter school to unionize — say the administration’s spending is hurting students, who predominantly come from low-income, Hispanic families. (The Washington Post)

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


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