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

National
Michelle Obama Vows To Prioritize Education ‘No Matter What House We Live In’

Michelle Obama is continuing her legacy of inspiring young people to pursue higher education. On Friday, the former first lady held her 2017 College Signing Day, hosted by Nick Cannon, at New York City’s Public Theater. Continuing in the tradition she started in 2014 as a part of her Reach Higher initiative for the first time after leaving the White House, Obama addressed about 300 high school students, mostly first-generation, in the audience. (Huffington Post)

Efficiency Can Cost Education

Don’t pursue efficiency in schools at the expense of other important goals. There are very good reasons to resist (or at least be skeptical of) efforts to drive “efficiency” in public education. One of the biggest reasons is that any attempt to maximize efficiency automatically elevates – some might say inflates – the role of performance metrics. Once we decide which indicators are going to define success and then set people off to find the swiftest and cheapest way to get those outcomes, we can begin to distort complex enterprises. Other outcomes become expendable, even if those outcomes are important. (U.S. News & World Report)

State
Florida
Massive education bill alters testing, recess, teacher evaluations, bonuses, charters

Lawmakers approved a giant, multi-pronged education package Monday that backers cheered as an education game-changer and critics called manipulative and detrimental to public schools. The 278-page bill eliminates a section of Florida’s often-criticized, 2011 teacher merit-pay law, changes standardized testing rules, mandates recess for elementary school children, expands a controversial teacher bonus program and provides new bonuses for most teachers for the next three years. (Sun Sentinel)

New York
New York state says it wants to expand its definition of success — and focus on equity — in judging schools

New York unveiled a blueprint Monday for education policy under a new federal law, which officials said will help launch the state beyond a narrow focus on test scores when it comes to evaluating schools.​ ​The Every Student Succeeds Act is designed to provide more flexibility for states to decide what makes a school successful and to support schools that don’t meet that bar. New York education officials have said they hope to capitalize on the extra wiggle room – and framed that choice as a statement of values. (Chalkbeat)

​Pennsylvania
Gov. Wolf pushes for early childhood education funds

Gov. Tom Wolf called for increased funding for early childhood education during a news conference at the state Capitol on Monday.​ ​Wolf’s 2017-2018 budget includes a $75 million increase for early childhood education. He says the nearly 40 percent increase will allow more than 8,400 additional children to enroll in Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program.​ (ABC27 News)​

Rhode Island
Will Personalized Learning Become the New Normal? Inside Rhode Island’s Statewide Tech Initiative

Over the past few years, Rhode Island has emerged as a national leader in the drive to put personalized-learning programs into actual classroom practice. Now education leaders in Providence, the state’s capital and most populous city, are looking to scale their early efforts statewide, pushing district leaders to think bigger about pilot programs and technological infrastructure, while also commissioning new research on how an understudied learning model could drive student performance.​ (The 74)​

Tennessee
Tennessee initiative wants to spark youth interest in teaching

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education is looking to fill a key hole in teacher recruitment through an initiative hoping to foster Tennessee millennials’ interest in education.​ ​”Teach Today. Change Tomorrow,” launched on Monday, is billed as a way to get high school students interested in teaching, with the eventual goal of building a pipeline of quality educators to place in front of every student statewide — especially in high-need teaching subjects.​ (The Tennessean) ​

Washington D.C.
Digital Pioneers Academy Joins Cohort to Reimagine K-12 Learning

Washington, D.C., May 3, 2017 – Digital Pioneers Academy is proud to announce its selection as a member of the 2017 Invent cohort at NewSchools Venture Fund.​ ​Digital Pioneers Academy is one of 28 organizations in the 2017 investment group. Each cohort member is committed to launch a new, innovative school or instructional model designed to meet all students where they are, help them succeed, and inspire them to create a brighter future for us all. In addition to the funding, NewSchools will provide management assistance and create a community of practice for the cohort members.​ (Education Dive)​

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