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EduClips: PR Passes Bill Allowing for Charters, Vouchers; Congress Passes Ed Spending Bill — and More Must-Reads From America’s 15 Biggest School Districts

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

EDUCATION SPENDING Congress dealt a blow to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s school choice agenda in a tentative spending bill released late Wednesday, rejecting her attempt to spend more than $1 billion promoting choice-friendly policies and private school vouchers.

DeVos had sought to cut Education Department funding by $3.6 billion — about 5 percent. Among other cuts, she wanted to eliminate funding for after-school programs for needy youth and ax a grant program that helps low-income students go to college, in favor of spending more than $1 billion to promote charter schools, magnet schools, and private school vouchers. Her proposal also outlined cuts to the Office for Civil Rights because the office had grown more efficient, she said, a move that outraged Democrats and civil rights groups. Her budget also eliminated grant programs that supported student mental-health services — a move that received scrutiny in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. DeVos said her budget reflected her policy priorities and her attempts to roll back the role the federal government plays in schools.

Instead, Congress is on track to increase department funding by $3.9 billion, with no funding for the school choice program DeVos envisioned. The spending bill, which must be passed by Friday to avoid another government shutdown, boosts investments in student mental health, including increasing funding by $700 million for a wide-ranging grant program that schools can use for counselors. The bill calls for an additional $22 million for a program to reduce school violence and $25 million for a Department of Health and Human Services program that supports mental-health services in schools. (Read at The Washington Post)

National News

SCHOOL SHOOTINGS ‘You Have to Redefine Normal’: Leading Schools in the Aftermath of a Shooting (Read at Education Week)

NATIONAL MARCH Buoyed by National School Walkout, Organizers Now Expect Student-Led ‘March for Our Lives’ to Bring a Half-Million Protesters to Nation’s Capital (Read at The74Million.org)

DEVOS What Does Trump’s Volatile Relationship With His Cabinet Mean for Betsy DeVos? (Read at Politics K-12)

District and State News

PUERTO RICO Puerto Rico’s Lawmakers Pass Bill to Expand Choice and Revamp Public Schools (Read at Politics K-12)

FLORIDA Proposal to allow a state charter school authorizer advances in Florida Constitution Revision Commission (Read at the Tampa Bay Times)

TEXAS This Texas school began arming teachers with guns in 2007. More than 100 other districts have followed. (Read at The Texas Tribune)

NEW YORK Science teacher behind disastrous experiment that burned students gets job teaching educators with big raise (Read at the New York Daily News)

FLORIDA School Board member term limits moves forward in Florida Constitution Revision Commission (Read at the Tampa Bay Times)

CALIFORNIA Anti-walkout teacher and school officials bring in facilitators to resolve controversy (Read at The Mercury News)

ILLINOIS CPS approves additional borrowing that district says will provide more resources for classrooms (Read at the Chicago Tribune)

NEVADA Superintendent says goodbye in final State of the Schools address (Read at the Las Vegas Sun)

NEW YORK Five graphs that show the challenges facing New York City’s ‘disconnected’ young adults (Read at Chalkbeat)

CALIFORNIA California tops in suspension reform, but still not properly targeting disparities, report says (Read at EdSource)

NEVADA Twist in feud between Nevada teachers union, Clark County local (Read at the Las Vegas Review-Journal)

TEXAS Opinion: Fixing school finance isn’t rocket surgery (Read at the Houston Chronicle)

Think Pieces

YOUTH VOTE After Parkland, Young People Led the Way in Protesting Gun Violence. Now Some Are Saying We Should Let 16-Year-Olds Vote, Too (Read at The74Million.org)

MENTAL ILLNESS Opinion: We must stop the criminalization of mental illness in schools (Read at The Hechinger Report)

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Elementary school teachers sometimes follow a class of students from year to year. New research suggests that’s a good idea (Read at Chalkbeat)

Quote of the Day

“It sharpens and hones the purpose of our mission: serving students by meeting their needs. President Trump is committed to reducing the federal footprint in education, and that is reflected in this budget.” —U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, on the administration’s proposed education budget. (Read at The Washington Post)

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