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

Virtual schools, open records, and claims about research — highlights from Congress’s look at charter schools
Charter schools got some extra attention in Washington, D.C. today in the form of a U.S. House hearing. The title of the hearing (“The Power of Charter Schools”) and the selection of witnesses (three of the four spoke highly of charters) made clear that the intent was to frame the discussion positively. “For many, charter schools are the best option for their student to hone his or her individual abilities and build a successful life,” chairwoman Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican, said in her opening comments. But lawmakers also raised pointed questions about the schools’ transparency and effectiveness, as well as the role of virtual schools. (Chalkbeat)

Watch: Social-Emotional Learning Strategies, Explained in Three Minutes
Social-emotional learning is appealing to schools, but adopting the strategy can present some challenges. The appeal of SEL: By shaping teaching strategies and policies around children’s social and emotional development, students will be more effective learners who are better prepared for the challenges of a changing work force when they graduate. But the concept can seem kind of murky, teachers don’t always feel prepared to adopt it, and researchers have raised concerns about how schools measure students’ progress in SEL. I explain these concepts quickly here in a video featuring cameo appearances by LeBron James and my Grandma (for real). (Education Week)

The Controversy Over Just How Much History AP World History Should Cover
Like any Advanced Placement course, AP World History is intense, requiring students to absorb lots of sophisticated, detail-laden information in a relatively short amount of time: usually, a single year of high school. Yet AP World, as it is colloquially called, is a special breed of intense. The timespan the course’s curriculum covers is as expansive as its geographic focus: The material includes history starting around 8,000 B.C.E. and ends in the present—more than 10,000 revolutions around the sun later. This content, which the curriculum divides into six periods, is typically covered over the course of two sequential college classes. (The Atlantic)

Report: A National Landscape Scan of Personalized Learning in K-12 Education in the United States
This publication provides findings from a national survey of teachers and students to underscore how, and to what extent, core elements of personalized learning are taking hold in K-12 schools and districts across the United States. iNACOL partnered with the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), NORC at the University of Chicago, and LEAP Innovations to conduct a national survey of teachers and students. This report summarizes what these teacher and student surveys revealed about how personalized learning is taking hold nationwide. The survey results depict the ways in which personalized learning is emerging and developing. (iNACOL)

Gov. Carney visits Sussex Tech
Gov. John Carney visited Sussex Tech teachers and students May 22. Carney visited the HVAC, electrical and green energy technologies, nursing and media classrooms, and spent time with 2018 Delaware Teacher of the Year Virginia Forcucci. “I feel responsible for everyone in the state, so it’s important to me to help teachers and administrators do their jobs better so you can be successful,” Carney told Forcucci’s 10th-grade English class. (Cape Gazette)

Atlanta Public Schools is in the midst of a building surge.
The school board recently approved a bevy of renovation and construction projects to be paid for with money from a one-penny sales tax. The district will spend about $39 million to renovate Beecher Hills Elementary School, Hollis Innovation Academy, Harper-Archer Elementary School and Gideons Elementary School. Work is underway to transform the site of the former Walden Middle School into an athletic complex for use by Grady High School teams. The board on June 4 approved a $27.6 million construction contract to build a new school to be called Tuskegee Airmen Global Academy. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Parents can now use Louisiana’s education savings program to help pay K-12 tuition
Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed legislation into law that takes advantage of a provision in the federal tax cut bill to expand Louisiana’s education savings program. The law aims to give parents of public and private school students an opportunity to save money not just for college, but also for elementary or secondary school tuition. The new law builds upon the existing 529 college savings plan, known in Louisiana as the Student Tuition Assistance and Revenue Trust, or START. Up to now, the plan lets parents open an account to save for a child’s future higher education expenses. (The Times-Picayune)

New Jersey
Exit Interview: Camden’s Paymon Rouhanifard Reflects on 5 Years of Surging Student Achievement, Expanding Parental Choice in One of NJ’s Poorest Districts
When Paymon Rouhanifard took over as superintendent of Camden City School District in 2013, 23 of the city’s 26 traditional public schools were performing among the state’s bottom 5 percent. The number of failing schools has since fallen to eight out of 18, “which speaks to the fact that we’ve gotten smaller but better over time,” Rouhanifard says. Camden, one of New Jersey’s poorest school districts, has been on the rise under Rouhanifard’s leadership. About 95 percent of Camden students qualify for free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch. Some also receive dinner. Through a combination of social-emotional supports and portfolio-driven reforms, student achievement and safety have dramatically improved. (The 74)

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


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