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

The high school grads least likely in America to go to college? Rural ones
When Dustin Gordon’s high school invited juniors and seniors to meet with recruiters from colleges and universities, a handful of students showed up. A few were serious about the prospect of continuing their educations, he said. “But I think some of them went just to get out of class.” In his sparsely settled community in the agricultural countryside of southern Iowa, “There’s just no motivation for people to go” to college, Gordon said. (The Hechinger Report)

It Is Time For A New Education Agenda
America’s K-12 students just returned to the classroom to start a new school year, traditionally a time of promise and hopeful expectation. But we cannot let the promise of a new school year hide the real challenges that we face as a nation in education, or mask the profound differences among children, and their opportunities, that also show up on the first day of school. More than a quarter of our students start the school year grade levels behind their peers because of a lack of opportunity in their early years—and the systemic obstacles to equity that perpetuate racial and economic gaps. (Huffington Post)

37 States Are Using Their ESSA Plans to Crack Down on Chronic Student Absences. So How Will They Do It?
Chronic absenteeism in schools is like bacteria in hospitals: an invisible force undoing all the good work done elsewhere, as one researcher posited. It doesn’t matter how strong the teaching or curriculum or anything else in a school is if students aren’t there to learn it, Bob Balfanz, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University and head of the Everyone Graduates initiative, said at a panel Tuesday at Georgetown University. (The 74)

Study: School Choice Program in Florida Boosts College Enrollment
The largest private school choice program in the country, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, significantly improves the likelihood that students enroll in college, according to new research. The findings provide positive news for private school choice proponents who have recently endured an onslaught of research showing negative results for students enrolled in similar programs. The news also comes as the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress are readying a tax-reform attempt viewed as a likely vehicle through which the administration can pursue its private school choice agenda, though broad outlines of goals for that legislation have not mentioned an education component. (U.S. News & World Report)

How Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School is trying to keep its student body diverse
When the Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School opened in Grant Park in 2002, it was everything that parents and neighborhood leaders wanted. For six years they’d fought to establish their own school for the community, which at the time was split among five different zones within the Atlanta Public Schools system. ANCS would be walkable for most students, class size would be limited to 20, and pupils would spend time solving hands-on projects rather than being dismissed every day loaded down with homework. (Atlanta Magazine)

New York
De Blasio Pledged Progress for Schools. For $582 Million, Change Is Slow.
Even as New York City’s schools opened their doors for the new year this month, the clock was ticking on the future of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s boldest education initiative. His Renewal School program, which pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to turn around the city’s most troubled schools, has entered its fourth school year, and Mr. de Blasio has said that decisions will be made in November about shutting down or merging schools that have not sufficiently improved. There are currently 78 schools in the program. (The New York Times)

Test scores inch up in Philly, Pa. schools
Standardized test scores are up — a little — in Pennsylvania and its largest school district, Philadelphia, the state Department of Education said Wednesday.Statewide, 61 percent of students taking the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exams this past spring passed the reading tests, and 43 percent passed the math tests. Students in third through eighth grade take the PSSAs. In Philadelphia, 33 percent passed the test in reading, and 19 percent passed in math. Both scores were up one percentage point from last year’s scores. (The Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News)

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


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