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Washington Post, 3/16/17

Trump seeks to slash Education Department but make big push for school choice

The Trump administration is seeking to cut $9.2 billion — or 13.5 percent — from the Education Department’s budget, a dramatic downsizing that would reduce or eliminate grants for teacher training, after-school programs and aid to ­low-income and first-generation college students. Along with the cuts, the administration is also proposing to shift $1.4 billion toward one of President Trump’s key priorities: Expanding charter schools, private-school vouchers and other alternatives to traditional public schools.

Brown Center Chalkboard, 3/7/17

Another reason to stop ignoring teacher pensions

In “The Equity Problem in Teacher Pensions,” released in January, Edunomics Lab took a preliminary look at the scope of variation in how pension funds are applied across schools in order to shed light on meaningful patterns that have largely remained in the dark. Our initial analysis of patterns in Delaware and three districts in Wisconsin, California, and Pennsylvania suggests that the current pension wealth accrual structure results in an inequitable deployment of these key education resources.

CT News Junkie , 3/15/17

Op-Ed: Setting the record straight on a special education co-op

The Special Education Predictable Cost Cooperative (the Co-op) is a special education finance system that allows the state and local governments to share in special education costs. Our organization, the Connecticut School Finance Project, in partnership with the University of Connecticut’s Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research and Neag School of Education, developed the model to help increase stability and predictability in special education funding for school districts, while ensuring decisions in service delivery and identification remain local.

News Works, 3/9/17

Students leaving Philly schools for charters less costly than once thought

When charter schools expand, and more kids leave classrooms run by the School District of Philadelphia, it’s not as costly as previously estimated, although the total remains significant. That’s according to a much-anticipated report commissioned by the district in 2015, completed by the consultancy Afton Partners. Uri Monson, Chief Financial Officer for The School District of Philadelphia says in the district’s press release, “Some of the constraints that lead to stranded costs are partially controllable and can be mitigated with action by SDP, albeit via difficult actions such as layoffs and school closures.  Continuing to grow and improve District-managed schools, and attracting students back to great schools near where they live, would also mitigate these fiscal challenges for the District.”

Education Week , 3/13/17

Trump education dept. releases new ESSA guidelines

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Monday released a new application for states to use in developing their accountability plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act. And, as you might expect, it is shorter and includes fewer requirements than an earlier application released by the Obama administration in November. The biggest difference seems to be on the requirements for outreach to various groups of educators and advocates.

U.S. News and World Report, 3/10/17

The great school turnaround: President Barack Obama didn’t fix failing schools even with billions of dollars, can President Donald Trump?

Many remain skeptical of any school choice plan that includes vouchers, a scholarship tax credit or making federal Title I funding portable for poor students and those with disabilities. Indeed, a slate of studies recently published on the effectiveness of voucher programs in Florida, Indiana, Louisiana and Ohio – the largest voucher programs in the country – do much to discredit their effectiveness.

CNBC, 3/9/17

America’s school facilities get a near-failing grade

Spending gaps per student, a key metric tracked in Heming and Filardo’s report, have been increasing in many states over the years. These gaps include costs associated with maintenance and operation, and capital construction, as they would be needed depending on the number of children in a school district.

Education Week , 3/13/17

Trump sharpens budget knife for education department, sources say

The Trump administration is contemplating dramatic cuts to K-12 spending, including a possible $6 billion reduction to existing programs in the U.S. Department of Education, according to multiple education policy sources who have gleaned details about budget documents still being finalized. The department currently has a budget of about $70 billion.