Weekly NewsBrief 1/27/20-2/1/20

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Walton Family Foundation expected to invest $200M in charters by mid-2020 – By Naaz Moden, Education Dive

According to a recent report by the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of charters has increased from 2% of all public schools in 2000 to 7% in 2016, and the enrollment of public school students in charter schools has increased from 1% to 6% over that same time period.

While some data shows that charter growth is slowing, ready access to facilities has always been a challenge. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, about 40% of charters don't have the facilities needed to fully implement their educational model, and facility access remains "one of the biggest barriers" to charter growth and a primary concern among charter school leaders. Many charter facilities also lack amenities including gyms, libraries and science labs.

Co-location with traditional district schools is a strategy in some cities, such as Los Angeles, but those arrangements can also be particularly challenging in a competitive school choice environment. 


Literacy education, mental health services big requests in 2021 budget – By Caroline Beck, Alabama Daily News

More funding for early literacy efforts and mental health services were among the Alabama State Department of Education’s requests in the state’s 2021 education budget.

The state’s education leaders presented their budget requests to lawmakers on Wednesday in advance of the the legislative session that starts Feb. 4.

One of the major asks from State Education Department Superintendent Eric Mackey was nearly $50 million to implement the Alabama Literacy Act, including $21 million to train every K-3 teacher in the state in the science of reading to help students be reading proficiently by the fourth grade.

It was the largest request from Mackey but he said it would be a one-time cost.

“We’re partnering with our colleges of education and our hope is that we won’t have to train any of the students coming from an Alabama college and only have to train people who are coming to us from out of state,” Mackey said.


Gov. DeSantis announces education changes in Naples – On Fox4Now

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stopped in Naples Friday to make a major announcement regarding the state's education programs.

He said Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran has spent the last year speaking with parents, teachers, and stakeholders about what changes were needed.

He says the new standards will be call the BEST standards for K-12. The name stands for Benchmark for Excellent Student Thinking. "It really goes beyond Common Core to embrace common sense," said Gov. DeSantis.

He also said the state is moving towards streamlining testing, and making sure there is a renewed emphasis on American civics.


Gov. Tate Reeves signs law to cover gap in teacher pay – By the Associated Press, WLBT

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has signed his first bill into law: a measure to ensure that teachers receive the full pay raise they were promised this school year.

The $1,500 raise was approved during the 2019 legislative session, but officials later discovered a bureaucratic error.

Because of the way some school districts keep records about certain categories of teachers, too few teachers were counted in the total cost of the raise. The result was that too little money was included in the original budget for the year that started July 1.

Reeves, a Republican, became governor Jan. 14, and on Thursday signed House Bill 1, which allocates more than $18.4 million. That should be enough to cover the rest of the cost of the raise during the current budget year.

Governor Tate Reeves




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