Countdown: 20 Must-Read Education Stories from This Week

California Charter Schools Under Attack, Thousands of Mississippi Kids Flunk Reading, Presidential Hopefuls Take Swings at Betsy DeVos and More

20. Districts Use Online Courses to Boost Grad Rates, But New Research Suggests Students May Not Be Learning

New research finds the approach does help students graduate — but raises big questions about whether it actually helps them learn. Read Now

19. In Fast-Growing Fort Worth, District Officials Fight Declining Enrollment as Families Exercise School Choice

Fort Worth is one of the nation’s fastest growing cities, yet enrollment at its largest school district has fallen by more than 3% in the past three years. Read Now

18. NYC Spends Double the National Average on Education, Has Little to Show for It

The city shelled out a whopping $25,199 per pupil during fiscal 2017, compared to just $12,201 nationwide, according to data from the US Census Bureau. Read Now

17. Lawsuit: New Orleans Misused Millions in School Tax Dollars to Fund Pensions

The Orleans Parish School Board has filed a lawsuit against the city of New Orleans, alleging the city has improperly diverted at least $7.6 million from the district to pay the city’s pension fund obligations since 2007. Read Now

16. Bernie Sanders Attacks Charter Schools in Education Overhaul Plan

According to the campaign, the 10-point plan focuses on “reversing racial and economic segregation that is plaguing elementary and secondary schools.” Read Now

15. Report: In Most States, Requirements for High School Diploma Aren’t Preparing Students for College

The paper is another example in which students might be passing and even excelling in their high school classes, but are unaware that those classes aren’t preparing them for freshman-level coursework in college. Read Now

14. After Saying It Will Fight Obama-Era Special Ed Policy, U.S. Department of Ed Tells States to Comply with the Rule

The U.S. Department of Education is telling states to follow a new special education regulation just weeks after saying it will continue fighting the rule in court. Read Now

13. Arizona Lawmakers Consider Emergency Legislation to Preserve School Choice for Navajo Kids

The plight of the seven children rocketed to lawmakers’ attention when the school-choice advocacy group American Federation for Children released a video over the weekend. Read Now

12. Democrats in 2020 Race Take Swings at Betsy DeVos to Gain Favor with Teachers Unions

Over the last two months, candidates have gone after DeVos at campaign rallies, during TV appearances and in policy proposals. Read Now

11. Mississippi Spent $1.5 Million in Education Funds on Weight Watchers for Teachers

Teachers across the state shed pounds thanks to Weight Watchers courses paid mostly with state education money. Read Now

Countdown Halftime — #CommentaryOfTheWeek:

photo: rawpixel

SANZI: California Legislators Will Vote Against Kids For the Right Price

As a vicious anti-charter school legislation package gets the needed yay votes to pass, it is important to understand how and why that could possibly happen. Read Now

10. After a Successful First Year for School for Boys of Color, KY District Wants to Open a Counterpart for Girls

The district will propose opening a girls-of-color academy by the 2020-21 school year, JCPS spokeswoman Renee Murphy said. Read Now

9. Iowa Supreme Court: Law Eliminating Union’s Right to Bargain for Anything Other than Wages Is Constitutional

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the Legislature’s 2017 rewrite of the state’s collective bargaining law — which said government agencies were not required to negotiate with some public employee unions on any topic besides base wages — is constitutional. Read Now

8. CREDO: New Orleans, the Charter School City, Continues to Outpace the State in Student Growth Scores for Both Reading and Math

Nearly 14 years ago, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana’s elected leaders decided to rebuild New Orleans’s failing public education system from the ground up, as a system of public charter schools. Read Now

7. Number of High Schools Offering Students Special Test-Taking Allowances, Such as More Time, Is Surging

Responding to parent pleas, high schools grant special test-taking accommodations to growing numbers, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows. Read Now

6. Philly School Closures Made Neighborhoods Safer, Study Finds

Researchers examined blocks surrounding those closed schools and measured how often people in those areas called police to report a crime. Read Now

5. Census Bureau: U.S. School Spending Per Pupil Increased for Fifth Consecutive Year

The increase in spending in 2017 was due in part to an overall increase in revenue for school systems in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Read Now

4. Politico: New Jersey Teachers Union Contributed $2.5M to ‘Dark Money’ Group with Ties to Governor

The New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest and most powerful teachers union, contributed $2.5 million to a “dark money” organization with close ties to Gov. Phil Murphy, POLITICO has learned. Read Now

3. NYC Ed Department’s Anti-Bias Training: Individualism and Objectivity Are Hallmarks of ‘White Supremacy Culture’

The list — derived from “Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups” by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun — names more than a dozen hallmarks of “white-supremacy culture” that school administrators are expected to steer clear of. Read Now

2. Thousands of Mississippi 3rd Graders Could Be Held Back after 1 in 4 Fail Reading Test

Just shy of 9,000 students flunked the reading exam statewide. Read Now

1. Teachers March through the Capital as CA Lawmakers Advance Union-Backed Legislation to Stunt the Growth of Charters

The bills would give school districts more leverage to deny applications to open new charter schools and cap the number of such schools statewide. Read Now

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