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

Senate Panel Rejects Trump Teacher-Funding Cut, School Choice Proposals
Lawmakers overseeing education spending dealt a big blow to the Trump administration’s K-12 budget asks in a spending bill approved by a bipartisan vote Wednesday. The legislation would leave intact the main federal programs aimed at teacher training and after-school funding. And it would seek to bar the U.S. Department of Education from moving forward with two school choice initiatives it pitched in its request for fiscal year 2018, which begins Oct. 1. (Education Week)

‘We didn’t know it was this bad’: New ACT scores show huge achievement gaps
New results from the nation’s most widely used college admission test highlight in detailed fashion the persistent achievement gaps between students who face disadvantages and those who don’t. Scores from the ACT show that just 9 percent of students in the class of 2017 who came from low-income families, whose parents did not go to college, and who identify as black, Hispanic, American Indian or Pacific Islander are strongly ready for college. (The Washington Post)

A study of 36,000 students just backed Bill Gates’ favorite style of education
Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates has said repeatedly that one of his favorite ways of teaching kids is by letting them guide their own education, typically with laptops or tablets, and moving the teacher more into the role of coach. The style is known as “personalized learning,” and a study involving 36,000 students just upheld it as a major driver of improvement in reading and math skills. (Business Insider)

Some of the nation’s largest school systems shutting down for Hurricane Irma
Three massive school systems in Florida announced Tuesday they plan to close Thursday and Friday to allow people to prepare for Hurricane Irma. School officials in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties said they would cancel classes as the storm barreled towards the United States. The three school districts together educate more than 820,000 students. (The Washington Post)

State Supreme Court Looks at Constitutionality of Charter Funding
The Louisiana Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday on the constitutionality of funding Type-2 charter schools through the MFP. “Those are public schools. The state has an obligation to fund those schools,” Erin Bendily, the state Assistant Superintendent of Education says. The controversy is based on who authorizes these schools, says Debbie Meaux, president of the Louisiana Association of Educators, a teachers’ union that is one of the plaintiffs in the 2014 lawsuit. (WRKF)

The post-Labor Day start debate continues as Maryland schools begin
For the first time in more than two decades, public schools across Maryland open Tuesday under a new state mandate that required them to start after Labor Day. Some teachers and families see the late start date ordered by Gov. Larry Hogan as a gift: more time for vacation, more time to prepare lesson plans, more time to play. Others see it as a liability: less time for spring break, and more costs for child care. (The Baltimore Sun)

New Jersey
Newark Native Tapped To Lead METS Charter School
NEWARK, NJ — A native Newark resident and former salutatorian of Science High School has taken over the reins at METS charter school’s new facility at 909 Broad Street, which will serve an initial student body of 250 in grades 9 to 12. According to the college prep school, which launched its Jersey City campus in 2011 and celebrated a ribbon cutting at its new Newark location last week, here are some of the reasons that administrators chose Diemecha Harris as the school’s inaugural instructional leader. (Newark Patch)

New York
New York City Offers Free Lunch for All Public School Students
Lunch at New York City public schools will be available free of charge to all 1.1 million students beginning this school year, Carmen Fariña, the schools chancellor, said on Wednesday in the basement cafeteria of a Hell’s Kitchen elementary school. The new school year begins on Thursday. “This is about equity,” Ms. Fariña said. “All communities matter.” (The New York Times)

North Carolina
Wake school officials say class size cap could hurt education
CARY, N.C. — A state mandate to lower class sizes in kindergarten through third grade is meant to improve learning, but some schools in Wake County are running out of room to make it work. School board members on Tuesday discussed what it would take to meet the requirements of the new mandate and said 9,500 more seats would be required. Most elementary schools can make it happen, in some cases by holding multiple classes in a classroom, blending grades and increasing class sizes in upper grades. (

Nashville school district sends families opt-out form as student data battle with state rages on
As the battle between the state and two Tennessee school districts over student contact information continues, Metro Nashville Public Schools sent out letters notifying parents they can opt out of allowing the district to share their children’s information with outside groups. The opt-out letters, sent Friday, are targeted at the district’s 8,600 students in Nashville’s priority schools zone, according to a Tuesday email from Jana Carlisle, Metro Schools chief of staff. (Tennessean)

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


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