Here are news and opinion stories educators, advocates, policy wonks and makers are talking about today:

News and Analysis
New Census Numbers: Per-Pupil Spending Rose 3.5% in 2015; Same-Year NAEP Scores Dropped
S​chools in the U.S. spent $344.3 billion on classroom instruction in fiscal year 2015, accounting for 60 percent of day-to-day expenditures, a figure that includes spending on salaries for teachers and instructional aides, according to the Census Bureau.​ ​The bureau’s Public Education Finances: 2015 report, released Wednesday, details annual spending at national, state, and district levels. In addition to student spending, it also offers statistics on revenues, expenditures, and debt and assets for K-12 schools.​ (The 74)​

Beyond the test score horse race: 5 big questions researchers are asking about charter schools
The latest big charter school study was sweeping in scope, looking at thousands of students in 26 states across three school years.​ ​But the study (and lots of other research on charter schools) uses that data to answer a relatively narrow question: How do students, usually in grades 4-8, perform on math and reading tests compared to students in traditional public schools?​ (Chalkbeat)​

For Some Students, Getting An Education Means Crossing The Border
The land border crossing between Tijuana, Mexico and San Ysidro, Calif. is one of the busiest in the world. Every day 25,000 people cross the border on foot. Among the crowd are students whose families live in Tijuana. Each morning their families commute many hours to bring the children to school in the U.S.​ ​(NPR)

‘Dreamers’ to Stay in U.S. for Now, but Long-Term Fate Is Unclear
WASHINGTON — President Trump will not immediately eliminate protections for the so-called Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as small children, according to new memorandums issued by the administration on Thursday night.​ ​But White House officials said on Friday morning that Mr. Trump had not made a decision about the long-term fate of the program and might yet follow through on a campaign pledge to take away work permits from the immigrants or deport them.​ (The New York Times)​

Why Grades Are Not Paramount to Achievement
At the beginning of this school year, my colleagues and I decided to avoid giving the sophomores in our English classes any grades for six weeks. Research shows that providing students with a number or letter in addition to quality comments prevents them from authentically reflecting. Quantitative grades also diminish student interest in learning, reduce academic risk taking, and decrease the quality of thinking.​ ​(The Atlantic)

Florida charter schools: Here’s what will change under education overhaul
Charter schools are in for a windfall this year, with more money available to build, maintain and expand their campuses.​ ​Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday signed a massive education bill giving charter schools county tax money for their facilities and a larger share of federal dollars for low-income students.​ (Sun Sentinel)​

State education leaders will take their first step Thursday toward intervening in Georgia’s lowest-performing schools​
​The First Priority Act, signed by Gov. Nathan Deal in April, establishes the office of a Chief Turnaround Officer, who will target schools and determine how to intervene.​ ​That officer has not yet been hired. He or she will report to the Georgia Board of Education, which must conduct a national search in consultation with the elected state superintendent, Richard Woods, and an appointed, 11-member Education Turnaround Advisory Council.​ (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution​)

​New Jersey
NJEA Blasts Prieto-Sweeney Deal on School Funding
Hours after Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Senate President Steve Sweeney announced a deal to revamp New Jersey’s school funding formula, the state’s largest teachers union called it a “senseless and cruel” way to punish some students.​ ​The leaders of the New Jersey Education Association issued statements Wednesday night blasting the deal unveiled by Prieto (D-Hudson) and Sweeney (D-Gloucester), who had sparred for months over their competing school funding proposals.​ ​(Observer)

​New York
‘Compromise can be made’ in NYC schools battle: Cuomo
Gov. Cuomo on Thursday proposed a compromise in the battle over mayoral control of New York City public schools, suggesting a three-year extension that includes an expansion of charter schools.​ ​Mayor de Blasio’s authority over the city school system expires on July 1 without action from Albany.​ ​“There is a compromise to be made. There should be a multiple-year extension of mayoral control. You can’t do this year to year,” Cuomo told NY1.​ (New York Post)​

Under fire, SRC moves to shut 2 Philly charters
The School Reform Commission on Thursday took action against two charter schools at a packed, contentious meeting where dozens called for the body to dissolve itself.​ ​The SRC voted, 5-0, to put Eastern University Academy Charter School on notice that its charter will not be renewed because of academic and operational problems. The East Falls school, which objected bitterly to the move, will remain open as it goes through due process.​ (The Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News)​

Memphis charter school applicants should go back to the drawing board, says staff
All 14 groups seeking to start or expand charter schools in Memphis in 2018 are getting an early icy reception from Shelby County Schools.​ ​District administrators recommended Friday that all their applications be denied, and the school board is expected to agree when it votes on the matter later this month.​ (Chalkbeat)​

Mimi Woldeyohannes is the Executive Assistant to the CEO at 50CAN. She lives in Maryland.


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