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

National
Top Democrats to Betsy DeVos: Your New Plan for ESSA Review Violates the Law
The top two Democrats for education in Congress have warned U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos that her department’s new approach to reviewing states’ Every Student Succeeds Act plans is riddled with problems. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the ranking Democrats on the respective Senate and House education committees, wrote in a Friday letter to DeVos that the U.S. Department of Education’s plans to begin conducting two-hour phone calls with states about their ESSA plans before providing states with formal comments will “limit the public’s knowledge” about ESSA-related agreements between states and the department. (Education Week)

Trump Administration Tapping Tech CEOs for STEM Policy Approach
White House officials including Ivanka Trump have begun an outreach campaign to major technology, business and education leaders including Laurene Powell Jobs and Apple’s Tim Cook for advice on shaping funding approaches to science, technology, engineering and math education in U.S. public schools. President Donald Trump’s daughter on Wednesday joined Reed Cordish, the president’s special assistant for technology initiatives, on a conference call with politicians, educators and CEOs to discuss STEM education, according to two people with knowledge of the call. (Bloomberg)

6 problems the NAACP has with charter schools — and 5 of its ideas for how to reshape the sector
After calling for a temporary ban on new charter schools last year, the NAACP has revealed what would it would take to get the civil rights group to support the privately run, publicly funded sector. The lengthy report, released Wednesday, allows for the fact that some charters are doing well, but also relates an exhaustive list of concerns. About 5 percent of the country’s public school students attend charters, with an even larger share of black students, the focus of the NAACP report. (Chalkbeat)

States
Florida
New Florida Law Lets Residents Challenge School Textbooks
Keith Flaugh is a retired IBM executive living in Naples, Fla., and a man with a mission. He describes it as “getting the school boards to recognize … the garbage that’s in our textbooks.” Flaugh helped found Florida Citizens’ Alliance, a conservative group that fought unsuccessfully to stop Florida from signing on to Common Core educational standards. (NPR)

Hawaii
What Does it Take to Get a Charter School Up and Running in Hawaiʻi?
More than 20 years have passed since the first charter school was authorized here in Hawai’i. Since then, public charter schools have fueled educational innovation to offer students and parents school choice. Next month, two more charter schools will open their doors. As HPR’s Ku’uwehi Hiraishi reports, getting these schools up and running is quite a task. (Hawaii Public Radio)

Louisiana
Most Louisiana students do not earn college credit for their Advanced Placement classes
The number of Louisiana public school students taking Advanced Placement tests has nearly tripled in the past five years, though many continue to struggle to master the tests. Only about one-third of Louisiana students tested in 2017 earned a high enough score to get them college credit for their work, according to state data released Thursday (July 27). (The Times-Picayune)

New Jersey
3rd year of PARCC: Are N.J. students making the grade?
In the latest round of testing, New Jersey students posted higher overall scores on math and reading tests, but large numbers of students continued to miss the mark in the third year of the PARCC exams. State officials Wednesday announced the results of the 2017 PARCC exam taken in the spring, noting that in all but two grade levels, more students achieved higher scores on both the English Language Arts and math exams than they did in 2015 and 2016. (NJ Advance Media)

New York
Flashback: Before She Ran NYC’s Schools and Revived Forced Hiring of Teachers, Fariña Was Policy’s Top Critic
New York City’s decision to require schools to fill some vacancies from a pool of teachers who have lost their positions reverses a hiring policy that city education officials, including Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, have stoutly defended for more than a decade despite high costs and continual opposition by the city’s teachers union. (The 74)

Pennsylvania
Senate-passed education bill tries again to eliminate seniority-based teacher layoffs
A renewed effort to have Pennsylvania begin to eliminate seniority-based teacher layoffs won Senate approval on Thursday as part of a multi-faceted education bill. The budget-related legislation, which passed by 34-16 vote, would allow school districts to lay off teachers and administrators for economic reasons. (Penn Live)

Washington D.C.
Look at all the suburban kids paying tuition to attend D.C. public schools
American journalists have a label often applied to the D.C. schools: “one of the nation’s most troubled school districts.” So why are several dozen suburban families paying an average of $11,000 a year in tuition to send their kids there? (The Washington Post)

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

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