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

How much do parents spend on education?
A new HSBC (HSBC) survey conducted in 15 countries and territories found that parents in Hong Kong spend the most on learning. Hong Kong parents shelled out an average of $132,161 per child between grade school until the end of an undergraduate degree. “In nine of the 15 countries surveyed, paying for their child’s education is most likely to be parents’ biggest financial commitment, above others such as mortgage or rent payments and household bills,” said Charlie Nunn, HSBC’s head of wealth management. (CNN)

Democratic Senators Slam Betsy DeVos For Civil Rights Enforcement Cuts
Thirty-four Senate Democrats chastised President Trump’s education secretary in a letter on Tuesday, accusing Betsy DeVos of diminishing enforcement of civil rights laws for students in publicly funded schools — underscoring their long-simmering concerns that DeVos would not protect people of color, LGBT people, and other minority students from unfair treatment. “You claim to support civil rights and oppose discrimination, but your actions belie your assurances,” said the 34 lawmakers, led by Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state. They said recent actions by DeVos had made them “extraordinarily disappointed and alarmed. (BuzzFeed News)

Why do we need state-level education assessments? Here’s why
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) altered American public education by devolving authority from the federal government to the states. That shift created an opportunity — and a need —for an independent method of evaluating state accountability plans above and beyond mere “compliance” and for sharing what works best. (The Hill)

SCOTUS Sends Church-State Cases Back to Colo., New Mexico in Light of Trinity Lutheran Pre-K Ruling
State court decisions banning public funding to religious schools should be reconsidered after a key church-state-separation ruling, the Supreme Court said Tuesday. The court ruled 7–2 Monday that Missouri’s denial of a grant to Trinity Lutheran Church for a playground safety program for its preschool solely because of its religious status violated the First Amendment. Five of those seven justices, though, signed on to a footnote limiting the decision’s applicability to the specifics of the case at hand. (The 74)

New Jersey
The budget committees in both the Assembly and the Senate voted last night to approve a $34.7 billion spending plan that increases aid to local school districts and also funds several other majority-Democrat priorities, including cancer research, tuition-aid grants, and domestic-violence prevention programs. Yesterday’s votes put the new state budget on track to win final passage in both houses of the Legislature on Thursday, a schedule that should give Gov. Chris Christie enough time to take action well before a deadline set in the constitution that requires a balanced spending plan to be in place each year on July 1. (NJ Spotlight)

New York
State reaches deal on mayoral control, giving Mayor Bill de Blasio a two-year extension
Lawmakers in the state Assembly and Senate have finally passed a deal on mayoral control of New York City’s public schools, giving Mayor Bill de Blasio a two-year extension — his first multi-year deal since taking office in 2014. The Senate passed the bill Thursday afternoon, just one day before mayoral control was set to expire on June 30 at midnight. It was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo shortly after 3 p.m. (Chalkbeat)

North Carolina
For-profit charter operator lobbies for workplace schools
RALEIGH – As profit-driven charter school management companies seek growth opportunities, one of the country’s largest for-profit firms is lobbying North Carolina legislators to create a new market for a type of school only rarely attempted. (Citizen-Times)

Overhaul of Pa.’s charter school law on the front burner, again
Charter school reform legislation has become the perennial issue that always gets raised around budget time. This year is no different. A House-passed bill to modernize the 20-year-old law that created these independent public schools was brought up for a vote in the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday at the urging of Senate GOP leaders. The bill seeks to address some of the concerns that school districts as well as the charter school community have raised over the years including ones that center around funding, the charter approval process, ethics, and academic performance measures. (PennLive)

Shelby County Schools attorney: State’s action adding grade levels to ASD schools may be criminal
The actions of the Tennessee Department of Education to allow its state-run schools to expand by adding grade levels could amount to “criminal” activity, the attorney for Shelby County Schools said.”The fundamental problem is, we have the state Department of Education, which is supposed to be more of a regulatory type body of public schools, but now they’re in the playing field, and they’re forced to do things that I just think really walk a fine line between being criminal conduct,” Rodney Moore, the district’s general counsel, said Tuesday night. (The Commercial Appeal)

Washington D.C.
Every Senior At This Struggling High School Was Accepted To College
When Trayvon McKoy moved to Washington, D.C., from Maryland about two years ago, he’d never played drums before in his life. Then, when he enrolled at Ballou High School, he says he didn’t have much choice. “I didn’t even want to be in the band. My parents forced me.” They also played in the band at Ballou when they were students here. “And it’s probably one of the best things that’s probably ever happened to me,” he says. Now music is so much a part of his life that this fall he’s headed to Bethune-Cookman University in Florida to major in music production. (NPR)

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


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