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

Federal Judge Finds Racism Behind Arizona Law Banning Ethnic Studies
An Arizona law banning ethnic studies violated students’ constitutional rights, a federal judge said Tuesday. His ruling made clear that the state showed discriminatory intent when it essentially shut down a Mexican-American studies program at Tucson Unified School District. “Both enactment and enforcement were motivated by racial animus,” federal Judge A. Wallace Tashima said in the ruling. (NPR)

NCTQ Questions “National Teacher Shortage” Narrative, Releases Facts to Set the Record Straight
There has been lots of discussion recently about a new national teacher shortage, much of it driven by local media coverage reporting on the challenges faced by some school districts. These local stories not only seem to capture the nation’s imagination but they also play into our worst fears of schools opening everywhere with classrooms unstaffed. Because we lack sufficient national supply and demand data, the whiff of a teacher shortage gains traction too easily and at almost predictabl intervals. Without sound data, whom are we to believe? (NCTQ)

How Schoolchildren Will Cope With Hurricane Harvey
As floodwaters from tropical storm Harvey continue to rise in the nation’s fourth most-populous city, well over 100 districts across southeastern Texas remain shuttered during what for some would have been the opening days of the academic year. The closures affect hundreds of thousands of students. Canceled are the back-to-school barbecues. Postponed are the sounds of clanging lockers and squeaky new sneakers. Elongated are the first-day jitters, as summer vacation extends for an extra, harrowing week across Houston and surrounding areas. (The Atlantic)

Secret Finding from PDK Poll: Support for Vouchers is Rising
The just released PDK survey of U. S. adults reveals an upward shift in public support for vouchers of 10 percentage points over the past four years, with 8 of those percentage points gained since 2015. Meanwhile, voucher opposition fell by 18 percentage points over this same four-year time period. Although this finding is not reported by PDK in this year’s analysis of its findings, it emerges sharp and clear if one takes a close look at earlier PDK poll results. (Education Next)

A fellowship of the few: Black male teachers in America’s classrooms are in short supply
When you’re the black guy in the building, certain tasks fall to you. “They would call me in to have talks with certain young men,” said Robert Parker, a high school history teacher in Philadelphia. “Students who wouldn’t do their work in class.” The same thing happened to Jovan Weaver. (American Public Media)

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos tours ‘examples of what schools should aspire to be’
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos toured a STEM lab, competed with students in a computer-based language exercise and read to kindergartners Tuesday while a dozen protesters lined Fleischmann Road across from the Holy Comforter Episcopal School. An advocate for school vouchers and charter schools, DeVos was on a two-day visit to Tallahassee with stops at Holy Comforter and Florida High, a Florida State University developmental research school. A philanthropist who supported school privatization efforts before joining President Donald J. Trump’s cabinet, DeVos said she wanted to see first-hand how Holy Comforter and Florida High are “uniquely” meeting the “individual needs” of students. (Tallahassee Democrat)

New Jersey
Atlantic City all-boys charter school moves toward approval
ATLANTIC CITY — Inspired by the disparity he saw in the success of female students over male students, and thanks to legislation passed this summer, a local teacher hopes to open the state’s first single-gender charter school next year to help local boys succeed. The Frederick Douglass Charter School for Boys is in the midst of the final phase of its application process this week, founder Ricardo Belgrave said. He said he received notification last Wednesday the school passed stage two of the application process. (Press of Atlantic City)

New Mexico
State auditor flags $20M in charter school funds
The New Mexico Public Education Department can’t explain how nearly $20 million intended for administrative support at charter schools was spent over five years, State Auditor Tim Keller said Tuesday. Keller’s staff said a review of the charter schools revealed a “lack of transparency and accountability.” (Santa Fe New Mexican)

New York
Winning the lottery: Enrolling in Success Academy produces math gains for students, new study shows
Enrolling in Success Academy boosted test scores for some of its earliest students, according to a new study conducted by research firm MDRC. The analysis, funded by Success as part of a federal grant, found that the network’s third- and fourth-graders showed about a year to a year and a half of additional learning in math compared to similar students who also applied to the school, but lost the lottery. In reading, the gains are “positive,” though researchers caution they would need a larger sample to make a more definitive statement. (Chalkbeat)

Allentown teachers union will now pay president’s salary, not district
ALLENTOWN — The Allentown teachers union will start paying the union president’s salary and benefits, a move that comes on the heels of a lawsuit seeking to end the school district’s long-held practice of releasing the union president from teaching while remaining on the payroll. According to a memorandum of understanding that was unanimously passed at Thursday’s school board meeting, the teachers union has agreed to reimburse the district for union President Debbie Tretter’s salary and benefits. For more than 25 years, the union president has been relieved of teaching while receiving salary and benefits through the district. (The Morning Call)

Nashville high schools show progress but remain below state average in TNReady scores
Nashville high school students were able to show slight progress over the previous TNReady year-end tests in three out of four subjects — but not at the same rate as the state. Metro Nashville Public Schools high school students also scored well below the state average in high school year-end assessments for the second time since the change to tougher TNReady state testing. (Tennessean)

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


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