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Texas Tribune, 1/23/17

Texas Senate takes first step toward school finance overhaul

The current system funds Texas public school districts arbitrarily and inequitably across the state and is held together by short-term fixes that have not been revisited in decades. Educators have repeatedly asserted the funding formulas do not provide them with enough money to meet the state’s academic standards. In May, the Texas Supreme Court upheld the state’s existing funding system as constitutional, and at the same time tasked state legislators with reforming it.

Education Week, 1/23/17

6 key federal policy areas to watch under Trump

Conservatives are eager for their best opportunity since the Reagan era to shrink the federal role in education and dramatically expand options for parents, while Trump is sure to face fierce opposition from educators and advocates who fear that his administration will move to privatize a sizable chunk of public education. Against this uncertain backdrop, here are six areas for educators to watch closely this year: ESSA implementation, education department and funding, school choice, civil rights, immigration, health care law and education.

Education Week, 1/10/17

K-12 funding, ESSA hot topics as state legislatures convene

Skyrocketing K-12 education costs continue to dominate states’ budget debates, and conservative lawmakers in many states have long been itching to make dramatic changes to how much money they provide to school districts and how districts spend that money. Adding to the stakes this year are the rollout of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which goes into full effect in the 2017-18 school year, and fierce political tensions in a number of states.

Washington Post, 1/17/17

Betsy DeVos wants ‘school choice.’ Chile tried that already.

Vouchers were introduced in Chile by free-market economists whose vision was similar to that of DeVos. When this vision held sway, from 1980-1990, public spending on education was cut essentially in half — from 5 percent to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product. The state did relatively little to regulate the private schools that took vouchers.

New York Times, 1/17/17

Betsy DeVos calls for end to ‘one size fits all’ education

The hearing quickly became a heated and partisan debate about how best to spend public money in education. Republicans applauded Ms. DeVos’s work to expand charter schools and school vouchers, which give families public funds to help pay tuition at private schools. Democrats criticized her for wanting to “privatize” public education and pushed her, unsuccessfully, to support making public colleges and universities tuition free.

The Economist, 1/14/17

The return of MOOC: Established education providers v new contenders

The sheer numbers of people flocking to some of the initial courses seemed to suggest that an entirely new model of open-access, free university education was within reach…Education, like health care, is a complex and fragmented industry, which makes it hard to gain scale. Despite those drop-out rates, the MOOCs have shown it can be done quickly and comparatively cheaply.

The Washington Times, 1/16/17

Proposal could shift more school funding to local districts

Mississippi: The per-pupil cost would depend on several variables, including how much would be spent on technology, classroom supplies and professional development for teachers. Wealthier school districts could be in line to receive less money from the state. But schools could receive more for educating low-income students and those who don’t speak English as their first language.

U.S. News and World Report, 1/13/17

Obama’s early childhood education legacy

The legacy starts early, with an infusion of funding for early childhood programs in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. When the administration took office in early 2009, the economic crisis had decimated many state budgets, imperiling childcare and preschool funding for hundreds of thousands of children.

Ed Surge, 1/9/17

What could $4 billion do for American education?

By NewSchools Venture Fund – Our proposal is to channel $4B of philanthropy into this type of innovative schools over the next 10 years. That might sound like a pretty large amount of money, and I guess it is. But, it doesn’t seem so big if you think about it like this: it’s only 20 percent of the total philanthropy that will flow to K-12 education in the coming decade, and it’s less than 1 percent of the $600B in public spending on K-12 education every year.