The 74 and Roland Martin to Host an Education Town Hall on School Choice in Atlanta

The 74 and Roland Martin to Host an Education Town Hall on School Choice in Atlanta

The 74 and award-winning journalist Roland S. Martin will host their second education town hall event in their national tour, “Is School Choice the Black Choice?” on February 22nd, 2019 from 6-8pm at the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center on Morehouse College’s campus.

The event will feature a dynamic panel discussion moderated by Martin and comprised of a variety of educators, advocates and opponents of educational reform who will discuss the controversial issue of the school choice movement within the Black community. Among those on the panel:

  • Aretta Baldon, Parent Organizer, Atlanta Thrive
  • Curtis Valentine, Deputy Director, Progressive Policy Institute’s Reinventing America’s School Project
  • Danielle LeSure, CEO, EdConnect
  • Gavin Samms, Founder, Genesis Innovation Academy
  • Jason Allen, Educator & EdPost/EdLanta Blogger
  • Rep. Valencia Stovall (D-74)

Local Partners include Better Outcomes for Our Kids (BOOK), EdConnect, Genesis Innovation Academy, GeorgiaCAN, Georgia Charter School Association, Ivy Preparatory Academy, State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia, Teach for America- Metro Atlanta, and the Urban League of Greater Atlanta. National partners include: American Federation for Children, EdChoice, ExcelinEd, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, United Negro College Fund, and the Walton Family Foundation

This event series will bring Roland Martin and The 74 to African-American communities in 10 cities across the country over the next two years. In each city, working in close partnership with local education reform, faith and civic groups, Roland Martin and The 74 will host a live event to discuss high-quality school options for black families with an expected ~400 parents and community leaders in attendance.

The goal of each event is to stimulate more genuine, fact-based conversation about the tough education issues impacting communities of color. They will also debunk myths about school choice and empower participants with resources to take the necessary steps to create change within their respective communities. Additionally, each event will be livestreamed to ensure the widest possible reach. Their first joint effort launched in Indianapolis, Indiana in December 2018.

VIDEO: RISE 2018 — Luncheon Conversation: Every Student Succeeds Act

VIDEO: RISE 2018 — Luncheon Conversation: Every Student Succeeds Act

RISE is a day-long, bipartisan conference assessing the American education landscape in commemoration of the 35th anniversary of the seminal report: A Nation at Risk. RISE 2018 took place on April 12, 2018 in Washington, D.C..

This luncheon plenary conversation will explore federal priorities in education, including the ways in which the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was conceptualized, developed, and put into action. The discussion will also delve into the progress and process of reauthorizing the Higher Education Act. Finally, the conversation will illuminate areas where we have made progress in achieving excellence for our students and areas of opportunity for continued collaboration.

Introduction by Mr. John Heubusch, Executive Director, Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute

Moderated by Ms. Judy Woodruff, Anchor and Managing Editor, PBS NewsHour

Panelists include:
– Senator Lamar Alexander, US Senate, Tennessee, 5th US Secretary of Education
– Senator Patty Murray, US Senate, Washington

For more information on the ongoing works of President Reagan’s Foundation, please visit

Democrats grill DeVos on school shooting response, transgender students

Democrats grill DeVos on school shooting response, transgender students

By Juana Summers, CNN

Washington (CNN) Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday addressed the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, telling House lawmakers the shooting “was only the most recent, devastating reminder that our nation must come together to address the underlying issues that create a culture of violence.”

“Our commitment to every student’s success is one we must renew every day, but first we must ensure our children are safe at school,” she said.

DeVos also said the school safety commission she oversees, which was created in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, shooting earlier this year, “looks forward to delivering best practices and findings by year’s end” and gave lawmakers some details of the group’s most recent meeting last week. She described that meeting as “one of the first broader listening sessions” and said members heard from parents of students that had been killed in school shootings.

She stressed that the “primary responsibility for the physical security of schools rests with states and local communities, and made no mention of gun measures or reforms.

Betsy DeVos pushes back against criticism over “60 Minutes” interview, March 12, 2018

DeVos’s Capitol Hill testimony Tuesday marked her fifth time testifying before congressional lawmakers and comes on the heels of a trip to New York in which she was criticized for not visiting any public schools. Instead, DeVos toured two Orthodox Jewish schools and spoke in support of public funding for religious schools.

While DeVos was questioned by several lawmakers about school safety in the wake of another deadly shooting, the issue was not the overwhelming focus of the broad hearing. DeVos took questions on a wide variety of topics including her response to teacher walkouts across the nation, the agency’s Office for Civil Rights and her commitment to the rights of LGBTQ students.

She was pressed by Virginia Rep. Bobby Scott — the committee’s top Democrat — over whether she had approved state education plans that violate the law. Scott repeatedly pressed DeVos on plans where school grades don’t include subgroup performance, suggesting that allowed states to ignore disadvantaged groups.

“All of the plans that I have approved follow what the law requires and it will, we will continue to do so,” DeVos said.

“How do you address an achievement gap if subgroup performance isn’t addressed,” Scott asked DeVos.

At one point during the hearing Florida Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson asked DeVos if she was aware she was “resegregating” the nation’s schools by expanding school choice programs, and in turn, transferring federal funds away from public schools.

Read the full article here.

VIDEO: NM PED Holds Las Cruces Town Hall For Every Student Succeeds Act

VIDEO: NM PED Holds Las Cruces Town Hall For Every Student Succeeds Act

New Mexico’s Public Education Department is working on a plan to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act, and held the last of a series of regional meetings Tuesday in Las Cruces to get input from various stakeholders.

New Mexico First helped facilitate regional meetings for New Mexico’s Public Education Department. Pamela Blackwell, Economic Policy Director for New Mexico First says town halls are important to hear from stakeholders.

“They are meant to solicit input from the public,” Blackwell said. “Teachers, administrators, parents, families, business leaders, on how to best implement the Every Student Succeeds Act, and what we can do to implement that for each community.”

David Morales, a Las Cruces Teacher and New Mexico’s 2016 Teacher of the Year everyone in the community should have a voice.

“I think this is an important first step,” Morales said. “I think if the Public Education Department takes this and back and listens to all the contributors, I think they can see a good swath of who their stakeholders are.”

As a teacher, Morales wants to see more time spent finding innovative ways to educate.

“I’d like to see teachers have a little bit more autonomy,” Morales said. “And also have a little more time to plan and collaborate with their peers, so that we can develop fuller more richer lessons for our kids.”

Teresa Tenorio says she’d like to see better communication with parents, and had trouble finding information for this meeting.

“I feel like the information isn’t mainstreamed,” Tenorio said. “It’s difficult to access, they wanted us to register, and when I did it didn’t show up. I think that’s very intimidating to parents.”

Tenorio says she’s also concerned about the amount of testing her young daughter has to take.

“As the parent of a first grader,” Tenorio said. “They’re already starting testing in grades K-3, and that a lot of parents don’t even know how often that it, and that it’s become a culture that probably turns the kids off to what they’re real interests are.”

Pamela Blackwell with New Mexico First says they’ve heard many similar concerns across the state.

“There are a lot of similar concerns,” Blackwell said. “As far as teacher evaluations, and how those are communicated, and how to best use those to inform instruction. That’s a huge piece. Also, parents and student support, how to help further engage parents in the education process and how to help guide their students. Also coursework, there has been more of an emphasis in these meeting on vocational education, as a key to student success.”

Blackwell says in addition to concerns they also heard innovative solutions.

VIDEO: High School Graduation Rates and Their Effect on the American Economy

VIDEO: High School Graduation Rates and Their Effect on the American Economy

How does an individual’s decision to drop out of high school affect the rest of us? And, conversely, how does a student graduating from high school benefit all of us?

Those were the questions the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) sought to answer when it began working on an economic model that would demonstrate the economic impact of a 90 percent high school graduation rate.

Individuals who drop out of high school are far more likely to spend their lives periodically unemployed, on government assistance, or cycling in and out of the prison system than individuals who earn a high school diploma. But individuals are not the only ones affected when they do not graduate.

To quantify how a student’s decision to drop out affects the rest of us, and, conversely, how a student graduating from high school benefits all of us, the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) released new data demonstrating the economic impact of reaching a 90 percent high school graduation rate. The data is available for the United States as a whole, all fifty states, and roughly 140 metro areas, from Anchorage, Alaska to Winston-Salem, North Carolina and many places in-between.

During a time when future success is so closely linked to educational outcomes, one in six students do not earn their high school diploma. Individuals who drop out of high school are far more likely to spend their lives periodically unemployed, on government assistance, or cycling in and out of the prison system.

But what if the United States were able to achieve a 90 percent high school graduation rate? How would that benefit the nation?

For the Class of 2015, which had a graduation rate of 83.2 percent, a 90 percent graduation rate would have meant an additional 250,000 students would have walked across the Commencement Day stage.

These graduates would collectively have earned $3.1 billion ANNUALLY in additional income.

That additional income isn’t going under the mattress. It’s being spent in local grocery stores, restaurants, and other businesses, powering national, state, and local economies.

And these new graduates are also contributing more in the form of tax dollars—roughly $664 million collectively by the midpoint of their careers. That tax revenue will go toward public schools, roads, and a variety of other public goods.

In total, the collective spending power of these new graduates will lead to greater opportunities for the nation, including $5.7 billion in economic growth and more than 14,000 new jobs created…

Read the full article here.

Federal Flash: Could New Federal Data Prevent DeVos From Rolling Back Obama-Era Rules?

Federal Flash: Could New Federal Data Prevent DeVos From Rolling Back Obama-Era Rules?

New federal data on bullying, discipline, and school safety should prompt tough questions about why certain groups of students are unfairly singled out. Could it also prevent Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from rescinding Obama-era guidance on school discipline?  Today’s Federal Flash addresses that question, highlights new people taking over top positions at the U.S. Department of Education, and covers interesting comments on education coming from top Republicans on Capitol Hill.

On Tuesday the U.S. Department of Education released the 2015-2016 Civil Right Data Collection or CRDC, a biennial snap shot of data on bullying, discipline, and school safety among other items.

The data shows that black students and students with disabilities are suspended and arrested far more often than their peers. Given the information, many are hoping this will prevent the department from rescinding Obama-era guidance on school discipline that was designed to address those problems.

The data also confirms racial disparities across students when it comes to success in science, technology, engineering and math courses.  For example, 85 percent of white eighth graders who were enrolled in Algebra I passed the course, compared to only 72 percent of Latino students and 65 percent of black students. Among Native American students and students of two or more races, fewer than 50 percent passed the course.

The data also show that high schools with high percentages of black and Latino students are less likely to offer advanced math and science courses like calculus, physics, chemistry and advanced math.

In other news from the Education Department, several empty positions have been filled. On April 18, the Senate confirmed Carlos Muñiz to serve as the Education Department’s top lawyer.

In his role as General Counsel, Muñiz will be charged with tackling some of the stickiest legal issues confronting the Department including determining whether states are complying with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), deciding whether to rescind the school discipline guidance mentioned earlier, and laying out new rules for colleges handling allegations of sexual assault on campuses under Title IX.

Read the full article here.

VIDEO: Kentucky Governor Apologizes For Comments On Teachers’ Strike

VIDEO: Kentucky Governor Apologizes For Comments On Teachers’ Strike

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is apologizing for saying a teachers’ strike left hundreds of thousands of children vulnerable to sexual assault and drug use.

On Friday, Bevin told reporters, “I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today, a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them.”

He also claimed to see people “hanging out” and “taking the day off” as teachers rallied at the state Capitol for increased education funding. “I’m offended that people so cavalierly, and so flippantly, disregarded what’s truly best for children,” Bevin said.

Bevin’s comments provoked anger and a rapid backlash from teachers’ groups and state politicians. On Saturday, Kentucky’s Republican-led House of Representatives approved resolutions condemning Bevin’s comments.

Read the full article here.