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English class in Common Core era: ‘Tom Sawyer’ and court opinions

The rationale behind calling for more nonfiction reading with the Common Core standards is that most of what students will be expected to read in college and at work will be informational. Although teachers feared that schools would cut the classics, others found the contemporary replacements — such as news articles and documentaries — engaged students more.

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Tough tests for teachers, with question of bias

Concerned that education schools were turning out too many middling graduates, states have been introducing more difficult teacher licensing exams. But minority candidates have been doing especially poorly, jeopardizing a long-held goal of diversifying the teaching force so it more closely resembles the makeup of the country’s student body.

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School reserves law entangled in California politics

A new Assembly bill will not formally repeal the governor's former decree to limit local school districts's proposed state school finance reserves, but would render it functionally moot. By allowing districts to place unlimited amounts of money in a special reserve fund, they would be exempt from the new reserve limit.

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Growing charter schools the right way

Are charter schools at an inflection point? While education advocates fought about Common Core and teacher evaluations, charter schools continued to grow and now serve 6 percent of all public school students. The best path forward lies in education's messy middle – pairing growth with effective public oversight and policies promoting quality and equity.

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Fifth year of high school is a financial problem for Oregon

Only 26 out of nearly 200 Oregon school districts currently offer the free program to send fifth-year students to local community colleges. If all Oregon high school seniors had participated, they’d have cost the state around $1 billion. The program is simply unaffordable.

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Receivership offers hope for New York students in failing schools

Something had to be done to force improvements on the state’s worst-performing schools or students would continue to be penalized by leaders who can’t get the job done. The decision to institute a school receivership program should serve notice to those running failing schools that there is little time left for them to make dramatic changes.

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Keeping better tabs on California's education funding

One of Gov. Jerry Brown's most dramatic accomplishments has been his reform of the way California allocates money to public schools. But the state needs better, independent oversight of how the money is spent. The entire funding system should be assessed in several years to see whether it is bringing about better results.

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Why New Jersey should ditch the superintendent salary cap

Pretending that limiting school leaders' salaries will help fix New Jersey's financial woes is a dangerous game. In the end, it only serves to further harm the state's excellent public schools, which actually attract businesses, jobs and high-income families to the Garden State.

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Ohio Senate must hold the line on charter-school reform

The legislature must enact strong laws that safeguard good governance in the state's largest school-choice program. In addition to greater financial transparency by charter schools, the Senate needs to halt low-performing charters bouncing between sponsors and take away financial incentives by requiring that sponsors spend payments from funding solely on oversight.

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Massachusetts takes on a failing school district

Even though Massachusetts' public schools consistently rank at or near the top in the nation for performance on NAEP math and reading exams, the state has nonetheless struggled with how to improve chronically low-performing districts like the one in the impoverished former mill town of Lawrence.

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