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

‘This Is About Power and Control’: Advocates Push Back on Weingarten for Linking School Choice to Segregation
The ongoing fight over whether school choice fuels segregation is really about power and control, black school choice advocates argued Monday in the latest exchange over the role of vouchers, charters, and other school choice efforts. “This is about power and control. The fact of the matter is [American Federation of Teachers President] Randi [Weingarten] is doing what she can do so that the people she represents can maintain control and power over a system,” Howard Fuller, a professor at Marquette University and founding president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, said on a call with reporters. (The 74)

Critics of vouchers say they’re marred by racism and exacerbate segregation. Are they right?
Debates over “school choice” — or “privatization” to critics — were already heated. Then came a rhetorical hand grenade: a report by the Center For American Progress describing the “racist origins” of school vouchers and presented at the American Federation of Teachers headquarters. AFT president Randi Weingarten doubled down in a recent speech, arguing that voucher programs are the “only slightly more polite cousins of segregation.” (Chalkbeat)

The Complex History of School Choice
Even by the standards of the teachers unions’ “burn the village to save it” approach to maintaining political power, it was a remarkably cynical ploy: In a speech last week, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten called school vouchers the “only slightly more polite cousins of segregation.” It wasn’t an offhand remark, but rather a calculated escalation of the school choice fight and an appeal designed to address politics within her union. (U.S. News & World Report)

Betsy DeVos, Unlikely Champion for Special Education
On July 17, 2017, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos delivered her first speech on special education, six months to the day of her near-disastrous comments on the topic during her confirmation hearing. If DeVos serves in her role for a number of years, special education could be transformed during her tenure, partly the result of her leadership, partly the result of forces already underway. She could become the field’s unlikely champion. In order to help her out, we offer the following suggestions for the secretary’s next three speeches on special education. (RealClear Education)

Will Miami-Dade join lawsuit over education reforms? An answer could come this week.
TALLAHASSEE–Miami-Dade County Public Schools could decide as soon as Wednesday whether to join Broward County and other school districts in challenging the constitutionality of a sweeping K-12 education reform law that took effect this month. Miami-Dade School Board members are holding a workshop to discuss their legal options when it comes to House Bill 7069 — but it’s evident by legal counsel they’ve already received which avenue they’re most likely to pursue: suing the state. (Miami Herald)

More parents enroll children in city schools after door knocking campaign
Several hundred Baltimore parents are enrolling their children in city schools after teachers knocked on 34,000 doors in targeted neighborhoods and urged them to do so, according to new enrollment data. The increased enrollments were part of a five-week outreach campaign to reverse declining enrollment and school funding by convincing parents to give the city public school system a try. (The Baltimore Sun)

New Mexico
Leaders Clash on New Mexico School Spending
As the sixth week of a public education funding lawsuit comes to a close on Friday in Santa Fe, both sides are adamant: New Mexico’s schools say the state needs to spend more on public education. The state says schools just need to spend smarter. New Mexico’s education woes have long been a point of contention between lawmakers and other education leaders, who agree that investing in education should be a priority but differ on how to pay for it. New Mexico’s public colleges narrowly avoided fall closures after Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed the entire higher education budget for 2018, eventually signing legislation in May that uses severance tax bonds to increase the state’s finances without raising taxes. (U.S. News & World Report)

New York
Proposal Would Let Charter Schools Certify Their Own Teachers
It is usually a sleepy civic exercise: A proposed change to a specialized bit of state regulations is published in the State Register, officially marking the beginning of a public comment period. But on Wednesday, rules that would make it easier for some New York charter schools to hire teachers are scheduled for publication, and the debate is expected to be fierce. (The New York Times)

Washington D.C.
D.C. looks to students for ways to address chronic absenteeism
On a warm summer day when they would have been forgiven for wanting to be just about anywhere else, a dozen or so D.C. public high school students gathered at the Anacostia Neighborhood Library to help teach grown-ups a thing or two about why kids skip school and what can be done about it. After all, the thinking went, grown-ups have had lots of ideas, and not many have worked. Let’s hear what the kids suggest. (The Washington Post)

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


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