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EduClips: Harvey Waivers Could Stave Off Accountability in Houston, Nevada Reconsiders TFA, ‘Minimum Grading’ in Florida — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

By Steve Snyder | May 11, 2018

EduClips is a roundup of the day’s top education headlines from America’s largest school districts, where more than 4 million students across eight states attend class every day. Read previous EduClips installments here. Get the day’s top school and policy news delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for the TopSheet Education Newsletter.

Top Story

HOUSE TO VOTE ON SCHOOL CHOICE AMENDMENT? — Advocates’ push to expand federally backed school choice under the Trump administration has pretty much fallen flat this Congress — but a House vote later this month might give them some hope. Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., has introduced legislation to create education savings accounts using a relatively “small portion” of federal Impact Aid, which helps districts whose tax base is impacted by government activities — think military bases. (However, the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools, which opposes the bill, says the Banks plan could ultimately divert a relatively large portion of Impact Aid’s Basic Support payments, up to $450 million, into education savings accounts.)

Typically, these accounts can be used for a variety of K-12 expenses, from textbooks to tutoring services. Supporters, including the Heritage Foundation, say the legislation would expand education options to an important population of students and would help military retention rates. They had hoped to attach Banks’s bill to the National Defense Authorization Act as an amendment during a House hearing on the NDAA Wednesday. However, that push failed, so supporters are now aiming to use the House floor debate on the NDAA to pass Banks’s plan through the amendment process — Banks himself said this was his plan earlier this week. (Read at Education Week)

National News

BEST OF THE BEST — America’s best high schools in 2018, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report (Read at USA Today)

GIFTED EDUCATION — Why So Many Gifted Yet Struggling Students Are Hidden in Plain Sight (Read at NPR)

District and State News

TEXAS – TEA commissioner: Harvey waivers could stave off HISD accountability sanctions (Read at the Houston Chronicle)

FLORIDA — Some Lee County teachers using ‘minimum grading’ to boost low grades (Read at Fox 4 Now)

NEVADA — Clark County trustees to reconsider Teach for America contract (Read at the Las Vegas Review-Journal)

CALIFORNIA – On California campaign trail, a push to strip school funding for undocumented students (Read at EdSource)

NEW YORK – Here are the more than 100 New York City schools with pre-K waiting lists this year (Read at Chalkbeat)

ILLINOIS – Illinois bill would add school bus service to high-crime neighborhoods (Read at KSDK)

FLORIDA – Civil rights groups urge U.S. Education Secretary DeVos to reject Florida’s latest accountability plan (Read at the Tampa Bay Times)

CALIFORNIA – State Board of Education President Mike Kirst retires — and reflects on changes he has led (Read at EdSource)

NEW YORK – Program to Help Minority Students Fell Short of Some Goals, Study Finds (Read at The Wall Street Journal)

Think Pieces

SCHOOL DESIGN — Can a school save a neighborhood? (Read at The Hechinger Report)

PERSONAL CHOICE — Cynthia Nixon’s education equality act, denying others choices (Read at the New York Daily News)

 

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