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20 Must-Read Education Stories from This Week

How Screens Are Impacting Kids’ Brains, A Plan to Roll Back Obama-Era School Discipline Policy, Districts Spending Millions on Failed Programs and More

1. Groundbreaking Study Examines How Screens Are Impacting Kids’ Brain Development

60 Minutes goes inside a landmark government study of young minds to see if phones, tablets and other screens are impacting adolescent brain development.
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2. Data Show 19 Million Public Employees across America Cost Taxpayers Nearly $1 Trillion

For the first time in history, 19 million public employee salaries at every level of government across America have been mapped and posted online.
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3. USDOE to Erase Debts of Teachers If They Participated in Federal Grant Program and Made Filing Errors

For many teachers, the program has turned into a financial disaster because their grants were converted to loans — with interest. All because of paperwork issues.
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4. Federal School Safety Commission to Recommend Revoking Obama-Era School Discipline Policy

The commission will recommend canceling an Obama-era initiative meant to reduce racial disparities in school discipline and will not recommend new gun restrictions.
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5. Trump Administration Relaxes School Lunch Rules, Puts Refined Grains, Low-Fat Chocolate Milk Back on Menu

The U.S. school lunch program is making room on menus again for noodles, biscuits, tortillas and other foods made mostly of refined grains.
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6. Virtual Charter School Operator, K12 Inc, Pivots to Career Training

K12 Inc. has laid the groundwork to offer new programs in 40 states over the next three years.
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7. Tennessee Governor-Elect on School Voucher Legislation: ‘I Will Advocate for Parents to Have Choices’

“The specifics about education proposals, we haven’t gotten there yet, but I am an advocate for choice,” Bill Lee said.
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8. Montana Supreme Court Rules Tax Credit Scholarships Unconstitutional because Religious Schools Benefit

In the opinion, Justice Laurie McKinnon said the program, enacted by the 2015 Legislature, was a violation of the Montana Constitution’s ban on aid to religious schools.
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9. Kentucky Supreme Court Strikes Down Pension Reform Law

The court’s majority said it doesn’t matter that the money benefiting religious schools does not come directly from state coffers.
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10. Chicago Charter Teachers Reach Tentative Deal, Which Promises Higher Pay and Sanctuary Protections for Students

The tentative agreement was reached about 5 a.m. Sunday after nearly a week of staff picketing.
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11. Indiana Teachers Union Threatens Walkouts in 2019 if Legislature Doesn’t Address Teacher Pay

Teacher pay has quickly become one of the hottest topics of the 2019 legislative session – and it hasn’t even started yet.
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12. Los Angeles Teachers Could Strike in a Few Weeks, Talks Said to Be Going Nowhere

Talks between the union and the Los Angeles Unified School District appear to be going nowhere, with each side suggesting terms that the other says it cannot accept.
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13. Buffalo Teachers Union Gaffe? While Dismissing Charter Performance, Leader Calls School Choice ‘A Little Extra Boost’

Test score results show charter schools are doing better than traditional public schools.
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14. Millions Spent on Incentives Failed to Recruit and Retain High-Quality Teachers at Failing Houston Schools

Houston ISD has spent millions of dollars on incentive pay and bonuses during the last two years to recruit and retain more high-quality teachers at it longest-struggling campuses.
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15. ‘It’s Murky and It’s Mixed’: Critics Say NYC School Turnaround Program Fails to Justify Massive Price Tag

Troubled public high schools in Mayor de Blasio’s massive $775 million turnaround program are still struggling to meet the norm for four-year graduation rates.
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16. What It’s Like to Be a High Schooler Reading at a Second-Grade Level

“We’re feeling that’s not so much a reflection of his ability,” said his case manager, Nancy Bobel, “and is more of an issue of things he may have missed early on in his education.”
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17. Teacher Fired for Refusing to Use Student’s Preferred Gender Pronoun, Citing His Own Religious Beliefs

After an incident where the student was wearing virtual reality goggles and almost ran into a wall in the hallway and the teacher shouted “don’t let her run into the wall,” the parents then it was unhealthy for their child to remain in the class.
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18. DC-Area Schools Add ‘X,’ ‘Non-Binary’ as Gender Options on Student Forms

This school year, Arlington Public Schools added a new question on its form for students to indicate a designated gender, including male, female and “X.” Next year, DC Public Schools is adding “non-binary.”
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19. ‘Our Little Secret’: Lawsuit Alleges Denver School Officials Failed to Report Rape, Protected the Accused

The lawsuit alleges the teenager made repeated attempts for almost two academic years to alert school officials about her assault.
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20. Civil Rights Groups Blast NV District’s Plan to Background Check All Parents Visiting Their Kids’ Schools

The new policy, approved by the school board in November, will require all visitors to district properties to have a government-issued photo identification card.
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