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20 Must-Read Education Stories from This Week

Small Charters Are Big Winners, Democrats Ask for Virtual School Investigation, Teacher Walkout Numbers Are In and More

1. Small Charter Schools Among Big Winners in Nearly $400 Million in New Ed Dept Grants

The Education Department has awarded nearly $400 million in grants to help start, expand and finance new charters, and small charter schools are the big winners.
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2. Anti-School Choice Groups Inundate IRS with Thank You Letters for Proposed Rule Affecting Donations

Anti-school choice groups inundated the IRS with thank yous for a proposed rule seeking to limit the federal deductibility of contributions to charitable organizations.
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3. Democrats in the U.S. Senate Ask GAO to Investigate Virtual Charter Schools

Senators say they have questions about student performance and fiscal transparency in the online school systems.
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4. Amid Criticism of Virtual Schools, K12 Inc Rolls Out New System to Track Student and Teacher Performance

Low graduation and attendance rates have led to widespread scrutiny in recent years of virtual schools.
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5. Betsy DeVos Releases a Parents’ Guide to Every Student Succeeds Act

States and districts have different levels of flexibility in meeting ESSA​’s requirements, and parents should be able to understand and have a role in helping their students succeed, DeVos said in a statement.
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6. AZ Newspaper Discovers Democrats Support ESA School Choice Expansion, Until Reporters Suggest They Shouldn’t

After hearing the ballot measure described by a reporter voters changed their stance.
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7. Report Finds Only 25% of Detroit Students Attend Their Neighborhood School

The rest are traveling to schools outside their neighborhoods, making round-trip journeys averaging 14 minutes for elementary school students and 24 minutes for high school students.
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8. Dallas District Proposes Closing or Consolidating 22 Schools as Families Continue to Leave for Charters

Dallas has seen enrollment dropped over the past few decades from 180,00 students to about 157,000 now. Much of that decline is attributed to families leaving for charter schools.
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9. Milwaukee Newspaper: Families’ ‘Chronic School-Switching’ Undermines Failing Schools’ Turnaround Efforts

Enrollment and test-score data analyzed by the Journal Sentinel revealed the quiet churn of more than 22,000 Milwaukee students across all types of schools last year.
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10. IDEA Charter Network’s Big Picture: Reach 250,000 Students in 10 Years

In 10 years, IDEA wants to reach 250,000 students, putting it on par with some of the country’s largest school districts.
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11. New Orleans KIPP Charter to Offer High School Students an Associate’s Degree through College Partnership

It’s common for high school students to head to college campuses for classes. It’s much rarer for a college to set up shop on a high school campus.
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12. ‘Kids Were Stupified’: Thousands of NYC Students Earn ‘Zeroes’ on Writing Portion of State Tests

A score of zero (out of 2 to 4 possible points per question) means a student wrote something “totally inaccurate,” “unintelligible,” or “indecipherable.”
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13. Hawaii Board of Ed Okays Proposal to Classify Student Bullying as an Offense Equal to Assault, Burglary

Reclassifying bullying as a Class A offense rather than a Class B offense for students in grades 7 to 12 is among the most aggressive of the latest proposals around this issue.
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14. NJ Guidance Says Schools Have No Duty to Notify Parents If Students Say They Are Transgender

Parent and family groups argue schools should never keep such a significant and consequential secret from parents, who should have a right to know if their child says they are transgender.
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15. Facing a Fiscal Crisis, Los Angeles District to Eliminate $43 Million in Administrative Salaries

The job cuts are one half of a two-part strategy to right-size the district’s budget, which is projected to be on the verge of bankruptcy in two and a half years.
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16. Employees of the Arizona Teachers Union Threatening to Strike over Unfair Labor Practices

Arizona, home of the #RedforEd movement, is also home of union staffer unrest.
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17. MN Teachers Union Cites SCOTUS Janus Decision as the Reason It’s Shortening Annual Conference

Union leaders said that the decision and the “national, billionaire-funded, anti-union campaign that followed it” pushed them to make the change.
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18. Bureau of Labor Statistics: 5% of All U.S. Workers in K-12 Public Education Walked Out on Strike This Spring

The data for January to June of this year show that 376,800 K-12 public educators participated in big strikes. It’s by far the biggest spike in teacher strikes in a quarter-century.
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19. Report: Four Districts in Major Cities Using Teacher Evaluations Retain More Highly Effective Teachers

The four districts profiled are seeing improved teacher retention and are retaining more highly effective teachers, while less effective educators are those leaving.
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20. Just 36 Teachers Graduated from College in 2016 Ready to Teach Computer Science, According to Report

In spite of a national emphasis on the importance of computer science, just a third of high schools (35 percent) teach the subject.
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