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

What should America do about its worst public schools? States still don’t seem to know.
Two years after Congress scrapped federal formulas for fixing troubled schools, states for the most part are producing only the vaguest of plans to address persistent educational failure. So far, 16 states and the District of Columbia have submitted proposals for holding schools accountable under the 2015 law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act. With few exceptions, the blueprints offer none of the detailed prescriptions for intervention, such as mass teacher firings or charter-school conversions, that were once standard elements of school reform. (The Washington Post)

This School District Asked Real-Estate Agents To Help Rekindle Its Reputation
Brian MacDonald was looking for a new home several years ago in the wealthy city of Pasadena, Calif. He says when he told the real-estate agent that he had five school-aged children, she told him not to enroll in Pasadena’s public schools. That was pretty surprising to MacDonald. He’s the school district’s superintendent. “Her recommendation was Arcadia, or even Glendora,” two nearby cities, he says. “She thought that it was OK to tell me that I should put my kids in another district. I mean, I couldn’t believe it. My jaw dropped.” (NPR)

Overshadowed by the Campus Sexual Assault Debate, 154 Open Title IX Investigations at K-12 Schools
After telling school officials she was raped in the band room, Rachel Bradshaw-Bean was punished. Instead of receiving protection from leaders at her Texas high school, she was kicked out and shipped off to an alternative school — alongside the boy she said attacked her. In California, 13-year-old Seth Walsh killed himself after telling classmates he was gay. Walsh faced two years of relentless and escalating harassment after coming out, investigators said, but school officials failed to address the abuse until it was too late. In 2010, he hanged himself. (The 74)

DeVos approves Delaware’s education plan, first in the country
Delaware’s school evaluation system will not include a Yelp-like, five-star rating system. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos approved Delaware’s consolidated education plan this week, which sets up a system to evaluate schools based on cumulative index scores from numerous educational factors and describes them as “exceeding,” “meeting” or “meeting few” expectations. (Delaware Online)

Want your kids in the best public schools? Wealthy cities look to buy a way in
Henry S. West Laboratory is the kind of school every parent wants their kid to attend. Nestled in a lush green patch in Coral Gables, the public K-8 center better known as West Lab boasts a German language program, a middle school curriculum focused on science and math, and a partnership with the University of Miami’s School of Education. It’s so popular that there are nearly 400 students on the waiting list — more than the school’s entire population. But although West Lab is located in Coral Gables, it’s a magnet school, meaning that anyone in the county can apply. (Miami Herald)

Neal Milner: School Reform Faces Uncertainty — And That’s A Good Thing
With the new school year about to start, now’s a good time to consider two fundamental facts about education reform today: There is less certainty about what school reform entails than there was 10 years ago. That’s a good thing, a very good thing. For now, modesty is the best policy. Hawaii’s recently completed plan implementing the federal Every Student Succeeds Act is good because though it sounds highfalutin’, the plan is in fact modest. It is more aspirational than operational, and it allows for flexibility. Less cockiness and more openness. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

New York
District, union battling over use of extra 25 minutes in school day
Less than a year since the two sides worked out a new contract to end a 12-year impasse, the Buffalo Public Schools and its teachers union are back at it — this time over what time kids have to go to class and what they do when they are there. The district and the Buffalo Teachers Federation, as part of the teachers contract settled last year, agreed to tack on an additional 25 minutes to the school day starting in September. But the two sides haven’t seen eye to eye on how that should happen, with the union unhappy with how teachers are being required to use those additional 25 minutes. (The Buffalo News)

North Carolina
North Carolina is testing out different ways of paying teachers
RALEIGH –North Carolina has long paid its teachers based on their years of experience, but Chapel Hill-Carrboro and five other school systems could point the way to changing that model. The State Board of Education on Thursday approved a plan to provide up to $10.2 million over the next three years to six school systems to test their alternative models for paying teachers. The districts are planning to use different options, such as paying teachers more based on whether they take advanced leadership positions or have good student test results. (The News & Observer)

GOP senator wants to bring next generation of school vouchers to Pa.
Will Pennsylvania become the next state to offer the latest iteration of a school voucher program? Freshman Sen. John DiSanto, a Republican from Dauphin County, on Tuesday intends to do his part to make that happen by unveiling his legislation to establish education savings accounts for those who live in attendance areas served by low-achieving public schools. (Penn Live)

Tennessee’s plan to ensure schools help students of all races raises red flags for advocates and feds alike
An unusual way that Tennessee wants to hold schools accountable for helping all students is drawing the same reaction from groups that ordinarily agree on little: skepticism. Both U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and local advocates for students of color say they have concerns about the state’s proposal for measuring whether schools are helping students of all races. (Chalkbeat)

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


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