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

Despite Higher Academic Standards, Student Performance is Lacking
States are raising the stakes when it comes to what is expected of students, but academic performances aren’t reflecting the increased expectations. According to a report in the journal Education Next, researchers found no correlation between a rise in state standards and a rise in student achievement – despite this being the main objective of raising the bar of test proficiency. (U.S. News & World Report)

An Unusual Idea for Fixing School Segregation
Many proposals for addressing school segregation seem pretty small, especially when compared to the scale and severity of the problem. Without the power of a court-ordered desegregation mandate, progress can feel extremely far off, if not altogether impossible. Some even believe—understandably though mistakenly—that no meaningful steps can be taken to integrate schools unless housing segregation is resolved. (The Atlantic)

Report: A Data-Informed Approach To Social-Emotional Learning: Policy Recommendations For State And Local Leaders
In this policy brief, TransformEd provides policy recommendations for local and state leaders seeking to take a data-informed approach to SEL. We specifically crafted recommendations that incorporate the use of data because gathering data on SEL allows educators to make meaningful connections between student experiences, school culture, and classroom practice. Ultimately, these connections enable us to make smarter investments in practices that work for all students. (Transforming Education)

Amid Explosions and Lava Flow in Hawaii, One Charter Leader Offers Her School a Steady Hand
The headlines have been dramatic, declaring that homes on Hawaii’s Big Island are engulfed by lava and calling the damage heartbreaking and surreal. Hundreds have been displaced by recent explosions from the Kilauea volcano, which have unleashed flowing lava, toxic gas, and ash. But Susie Osborne, head of school at Kua O Ka Lā New Century Public Charter School in Pahoa, Hawaii, is careful not to be alarmist when she talks about what’s happening. Since the lava started flowing on Hawaii’s Big Island — bursting through cracks on the street where she lives — she’s had to evacuate her home in a hurry, relocate her school, and support 10 staff members and more than 60 students who are also displaced. (The 74)

New Jersey
What we’re learning from Amazon’s HQ2 hunt: Cultivating tech talent is crucial
As the 20 finalists wait for Amazon’s next cut of potential HQ2 cities, many are skeptical of Newark’s chances. Of the eliminated cities that have shared pieces of Amazon’s rejection feedback, most have cited a lack of a tech talent pipeline. Without sustainable sources of fresh talent to choose from, Amazon simply can’t fill the 50,000 jobs it’s promised the winning location. New Jersey is no exception. According to JerseyCAN’s recent report, there are 1.4 open jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields for every unemployed person in New Jersey. (

North Carolina
Launch Party Held in Anticipation of Arts Charter School
They want to incorporate art in every school subject. Wednesday the Wilmington School of the Arts hosts a launch party to update on where things stand with the charter school. Board members still have an uphill climb to get there but say they’re getting closer and closer to a first for downtown Wilmington. The bell will not ring until 2019 for the planned school. (WWAY TV)

Committee sends bill to Senate that would help students at failing schools switch to private schools
Families in Pennsylvania whose children attend a struggling public school could soon get a boost from the state in the form of funds to help send those children to a private school. Senate Bill 2, which was advanced by the Senate Education Committee on a close 7-5 vote Tuesday, allows for the creation of education savings accounts by the state Department of the Treasury. If a parent or guardian chooses to make use of such an account, the per-child amount of state funding for the local public school district that the child attends would be redirected into that account. (Pennsylvania Watchdog)

Report: Memphis students from poor families less likely to have access to advanced coursework
While most high school students in Tennessee’s largest district have access to advanced courses to prepare them for college, most of those classes are concentrated in schools with more affluent families. Of the 14 high schools in Shelby County Schools that offer more than 40 advanced classes, all but one have a lower percentage of students from poor families than the district. Those schools educate slightly more than half of high school students in the Memphis district. In contrast, about a quarter of high school students are in schools with 20 or fewer advanced courses, according to a new district report. (Chalkbeat)

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


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