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

Advocate Likens K-12 Education to a Broken Chair
Michael Phillips, board chair of the leading education advocacy group 50CAN, spoke last month at a TEDxWilmingtonED Conference on the topic, “When Kids Learn on Broken Chairs.” He begins by talking about a literal broken chair, but later the image evolves into a metaphor for the broken K-12 public education system in the U.S. Phillips even identifies four “legs” that need to be intact for the “chair” to function optimally: parents, schools, students, and communities. “Only when all four legs work together and are reinforced by a moral frame will we have a sturdy enough chair for our kids to sit on,” Phillips says. “When any one part of the chair is weak, kids will continue to fall.” (Black Enterprise)

Batel: Rethinking the School-to-Work Pipeline With Career and Technical Education That Is Rigorous, Inclusive, and Equitable
Today’s modern economy brings with it modern challenges. Significant job growth in fields like health care and computer science requires a greater share of the workforce to have some type of postsecondary degree or training. To equip students — particularly those from underserved communities — for this reality, states, districts, and schools must rethink the pipeline from school to work. Career and technical education (CTE) is one path forward. Over the past four years, media mentions of CTE have quadrupled. In 2017, 49 states and Washington, D.C., enacted more than 200 new policies related to CTE and career readiness. This year, at least one-third of governors prioritized workforce development and CTE in their State of the State addresses — and for good reason. (The 74)

Group fears low voter turnout in School Board elections
Education non-profit Delaware Campaign for Achievement Now, or DelawareCAN, released research this week showing low school board election turnout in the past few years. According to DelawareCAN founder and director Atnre Alleyne, turnout can be as low as roughly 1% of registered voters in a district. “That number does not speak to the values and the desire that we have to see all of our students succeed and have a high quality of education,” he said. So DelawareCAN launched its “Who Runs Our Schools” campaign. (Delaware Public Schools)

Successful Education Reform Depends on Student Buy-In
It was an idea startling in its simplicity — ask high-school students what they need to be successful in school and provide them what they ask for. After all, who knows better than the students themselves what hardships and challenges they encounter on the way to graduation. Marietta City Schools, a suburban school district of 8,900 students northwest of Atlanta, Ga., did just that and built a portfolio of services to support students and their families. (National Review)

You Can’t Beat Robots So Work With Them
On a cloudy day in Manoa, a pair of high school students at Mid-Pacific Institute attentively type lines of code into a laptop. A few seconds later, they turn their heads to see if the small toylike car advances a few inches. It does. By the end of the semester, they’ll have learned how to code their cars to move autonomously through a miniature city. Across the state, students are being prepared for a future in which artificial intelligence, robots and automation define what jobs and tasks are left for human workers. (Hawaii Business Magazine)

New Jersey
State moves to return local control of Paterson’s schools
The New Jersey Board of Education voted Wednesday to start the process for ending state control of Paterson’s public schools, ushering in a new era for a district that has fought to rebuild trust, improve education and prove strong leadership over nearly three decades under state supervision. When the measure passed unanimously, cheers erupted in a packed meeting room from Paterson school administrators, advocates and current and former local school board members. Eileen Shafer, Paterson’s school’s superintendent, told the state board that it was a “glorious day.” (

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


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