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

School Equity Lawsuits Face Setbacks: Have Judges Closed the Courthouse Door to Students?

Using the courts to bring sweeping change to schools — from challenging teacher tenure to arguing over how much money is spent on education and how fairly it is distributed — has proved increasingly difficult in recent years. Some states, including Tennessee and Pennsylvania, have school funding cases pending; earlier this year, Chicago Public Schools filed a suit against the state of Illinois for alleged unfair funding. Kansas plaintiffs just won a judgment that the state’s schools aren’t receiving enough money. (The 74)

A Look at How Some States Want to Handle School Ratings in ESSA Plans
One of the most closely watched issues in states’ Every Students Succeeds Act plans will be how they plan to assign ratings to schools. Thanks to several states that turned in their plans by the April 3 deadline, we have an early idea of where states on headed on this. One important decision is whether to issue schools single, summative ratings (like an A-F school rating), or use a “dashboard” approach that displays how a school is doing on different indicators, but doesn’t give the school an ultimate rating. (Education Week)

Trump Promises to Spend Big on Education Weeks After Proposing Billions in Cuts
Just weeks after President Donald Trump proposed axing $9 billion in federal education programs, he said his administration is planning to “spend a lot of money” on education in order to increase the number of students graduating with the skills needed to fill current employment gaps.​​“We’re going to spend a lot of money … and we’re going to get some great talent having to do with education because there is nothing more important than education,” he said at a town hall for CEOs Tuesday morning.​ (U.S. News & World Report)​

DeVos promotes school vouchers during Fort Bragg visit
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, while visiting a primary school on the Army base, voiced support for allowing some children in military families to use federal vouchers to attend schools they choose.​​During her meeting with parents and teachers at the Kimberly Hampton Primary School, at least one parent told her he would welcome the chance to send his older children to a private high school that matches the quality of the base schools.​ (News & Observer)​

New York
New York state plans to use new federal education law to help integrate schools

New York state education officials said they want to use the new federal accountability law to encourage school integration – but have not yet decided how they might do so. At Tuesday’s Board of Regents meeting, they discussed incorporating integration into the state’s plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act. The law requires all states to determine how they will evaluate schools and support struggling ones. New York is looking to measure integration and possibly use it as an intervention in schools, according to a document released Tuesday. (Chalkbeat)

Hogan signs bill to help close Baltimore schools budget gap

Go​v. Larry Hogan signed a bill Monday to give city schools and other jurisdictions with declining enrollment extra money each of the next three years.​ ​The Annapolis bill signing marked the culmination of a months-long negotiation with Democrats to help stave off future funding cuts to struggling school districts. Fostering the compromise “took a lot of work by a lot of people,” the Republican Hogan said.​ (The Baltimore Sun)​

New Jersey
Here’s how N.J. wants to grade schools for the feds

New Jersey’s new plan for grading its schools for the federal government places less weight on passing state exams and extra importance on other factors, such as the performance of students learning to speak English and academic progress among students who don’t pass standardized tests. The state Monday filed its federal accountability plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the new federal education law that replaced No Child Left Behind. All states are required to file a plan to the federal government.​ ​(NJ.com)


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