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

Let’s Stop Talking About The ’30 Million Word Gap’
Did you know that kids growing up in poverty hear 30 million fewer words by age 3? Chances are, if you’re the type of person who reads a newspaper or listens to NPR, you’ve heard that statistic before. Since 1992 this finding has, with unusual power, shaped the way educators, parents and policymakers think about educating poor children. (NPR)

The Forgotten Girls Who Led the School-Desegregation Movement
There’s an enduring myth that the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was “the first step” in the fight to desegregate schools. Rachel Devlin, an associate professor of history at Rutgers University, is looking to upend that myth. A Girl Stands At The Door, her new account of the black girls and teens who laid the groundwork for the historic ruling, draws from interviews and archival research to show that before Linda Brown, a 9-year-old, became the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, a generation of black girls and young women from the Deep South to the Midwest fueled the grassroots crusade to strike down the “separate but equal” doctrine in America’s public schools and colleges. (The Atlantic)

In Seeking to Decrease ‘Burden’ of Complaints, Education Department is Closing ‘Meritorious’ Civil Rights Cases, Federal Lawsuit Says
The NAACP and other civil rights organizations have filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary Betsy DeVos, seeking to reverse a recent department policy that has effectively dismissed hundreds of complaints it views as an “unreasonable burden.” The lawsuit, filed Thursday, takes aim at a revised “case processing manual” in the department’s Office for Civil Rights. (The 74)

New Haven Board of Education votes on new bylaws
Exasperated members of the public told the Board of Education Tuesday that its members were falling short of stated expectations for transparency. Before the board unanimously voted to approve new bylaws with some amendments — the first time the board’s bylaws had been amended in two decades and a stated objective of board leadership for at least three years — members of the public exuded weariness following an announcement last week that six schools were being considered for closure. President Darnell Goldson later walked back the agenda item as a misstatement that nevertheless reflects the school board’s reality if the Board of Alders does not increase funding to the school budget. (New Haven Register)

DOE holds “white privilege exercises” for staff to promote racial equity
The Delaware Department of Education (DOE) held a two-day workshop for its staff that included “white privilege exercises” to address racial issues and uncover institutional biases in an attempt to promote racial equity. Delaware 105.9 received a copy of the presentation that included “white privilege exercises,” which had participants answer questions on a scale of often true to seldom true. (Delaware 105.9FM)

She leads a charter school deemed to be failing. Is it?
Monica Henson leads Georgia’s first online statewide charter high school, a school that will close its doors next month due to under performance. Graduation Achievement Charter High School attempted to educate a challenging demographic; at least 70 percent of its students came to the school two or more years behind. Did the school fail in its mission, as maintained by the State Charter Schools Commission, which, as the authorizer of the school, had the power to shutter it? (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

North Carolina
Town-run charter schools would add options, backers say. Critics warn of resegregation.
Despite warnings that it could resegregate North Carolina schools, a bill that would allow Mecklenburg County towns to run their own charter schools moved closer to passage Thursday. The N.C. Senate tentatively approved House Bill 514 after a sometimes heated debate over the local and statewide implications of the measure. One supporter called it a warning shot not only to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools but school systems across the state. And one CMS official said the bill, supported by four of Mecklenburg’s six towns, signals a possible break-up. (Myrtle Beach Online)

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


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