RealClearEd Today: No Expansion of School Choice in State ESSA Plans – So Far; a New Nonprofit Seeks to Transform Kansas City Education

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Education Today

Good morning, it’s April 14, 2017. This morning at RealClearEducation we have news, commentary, analysis and reports from the top of the education world.

RealClearEducation traveled to Kansas City earlier this week to report on the launch of SchoolSmartKC, a new education nonprofit dedicated to closing the achievement gap in Kansas City public schools. Backed in large part by the Kauffman Foundation, SchoolSmartKC is focused on dramatically improving parental engagement in education and providing resources inside and outside the classroom to help low-income students succeed. We met with Awais Sufi, the President and CEO of SchoolSmartKC, who spent the last 18 months traveling the city meeting with stakeholders and soliciting ideas for reforms. The culmination of his efforts is an impressive grassroots initiative backed by leaders across the community. 

In other state and local education news, nine states and the District of Columbia have submitted ESSA implementation plans so far. Only three of those plans mention school choice and none of those three propose anything new in terms of choice. It’s an interesting find by Lauren Camera who explains that, in spite of Secretary Betsy DeVos’s suggestion that states use their plans to expand school choice, none have done it so far. 

Yesterday, DeVos met with Michigan first lady Sue Snyder to discuss sexual assaults on college campuses. Synder has been out front on the issue recently, holding two summits and backing grants to campuses for projects to combat and prevent sexual assaults. No details from the meeting were released, but DeVos did issue a statement. It read, in part, “Every student deserves to learn in an environment where they are safe, and this Administration is committed to promoting a culture of safety on our nation’s campuses." Colleges and universities are still waiting for the Department of Education to officially weigh in on the issue, especially as it relates to the Obama administration’s “Dear Colleague" letter regarding Title IX enforcement. 

We are featuring some more original commentary of our own this morning. Joel Rose, the co-founder and CEO of New Classrooms, explains how to make personalized learning a success in the classroom. Peter Wood analyzes a new report on how much money Ivy League schools take in from the federal government.

In other higher education commentary, The New York Times Editorial Board goes after DeVos for her recent rollback of Obama-era rules regarding student loan borrowers. And David Brooks takes on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s tuition-free college plan. 

Below are more highlights of the content already on our site this morning. To see everything we have, visit

NEWSMAKERS: Why should college students let their enemies speak? Catherine Rampell weighs in. 
IN THE STATES: Could the emergence of the white underclass improve education for all?
Today on RealClearEducation:

Teacher Pensions
Analysis & Commentary

By: David Brooks, New York Times
share on Twitter   Like   The Cuomo College Fiasco   on Facebook
By: C. Cross, RCEd
share on Twitter   Like   Needed: A Dept. of Lifelong Learning and Career Development   on Facebook
By: E.D. Hirsch Jr., Democracy
share on Twitter   Like   Our Schools Aren't Producing Citizens Anymore   on Facebook

Research & Reports

By: Scott Winship, Archbridge Institute
share on Twitter   Like   Economic Mobility: a State-of-the-Art Primer   on Facebook
By: M. Winters, Manhattan Institute
share on Twitter   Like   NYC Charters Outperform Traditional Public Schools   on Facebook
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