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AM News: Hold Up On Those Maryland NAEP Scores

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Md. test exclusion rate raises questions Washington Post: The state blocked more than half its English language learners and students with learning disabilities from taking the test, students whose scores would have dragged down the results.The state led the nation in excluding students on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, posting rates that were five times the national average and more than double the rate of any other state.

Principals lobby de Blasio to protect networks GothamSchools: A group of 120 school leaders say they’re concerned with Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s campaign pledge to restructure the city’s support networks, which manages school operations around professional development, curriculum and budgeting. De Blasio has said he wants some decision-making authority restored to district superintendents, who oversaw support before Mayor Bloomberg won control of the school system.

Judge Acts on LA Voucher Program in Schools NYT:  A federal judge has given state and federal lawyers 60 days to come up with possible modifications to a court order to make sure that the state’s private school voucher program does not lead to segregation of schools.

Texas Education Board Flags Biology Textbook Over Evolution Concerns NYT: The State Board of Education delayed final approval of a widely used biology textbook because of concerns raised by one reviewer that the book presents evolution as fact rather than mere theory.

Education Board Blocks Charter School Expansion Texas Tribune: The 15-member board voted 9 to 6 to veto Great Hearts Academies' application because of concerns about the school's commitment to serving low-income students and teaching Texas curriculum standards. 

This Is What America's School Lunches Really Look Like NPR: The days of mystery meat are far from over in the nation's school cafeterias. That's judging by an online project assembling thousands of photos of school lunches submitted by students from across the nation. But it's not all bad news: The images also show that in some cafeterias, change has already arrived.

The power of preschool done right Hechinger Report:  A few months later, thanks to a referral from a childbirth support program she’d participated in, Exum landed a coveted spot for her son at Educare, an extended-day, year-round preschool that accepts children as young as six weeks and keeps them until kindergarten.

Chicago students on their 'Soapbox' WBEZ: High School students across Chicago are getting on their soapbox this weekend for an annual speech competition. Nearly 3,000 teens performed speeches over the last few weeks in the classroom as part of the Mikva Challenge 6th annual Project Soapbox competition.

Dallas Dance requests more information on union grievance BaltSun: Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance said Friday that he has asked for more information from the teachers union after reading the grievance it filed earlier this week.

Rivals Help Level Playing Field For Tornado-Shattered Team NPR: Competition and compassion meet on the field in Springfield, Ill., Saturday, when two central Illinois high school football teams face off for a spot in the state championship. One team is a perennial powerhouse, but the other is from a town that was all but destroyed by a tornado one week ago.

Beyond 3-D Printers’ Magic, Possible Legal Wrangling NYT: In a new paper, two law professors warn that the rise of three-dimensional printing could set off lawsuits like those seen over music file-sharing.

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In spite of frequent paeans to freedom in the state of Texas, the two Texan stories above show that if you want to start a science-oriented school there, you will feel the heavy thumb of the state weighing down your efforts. Some Texas leaders appear to feel that guns are less dangerous in schools than are textbooks that teach students about evolution. The consequence might be that Texas parents (like my brother and sister-in-law) who are scientifically literate and who want their children to have science educations that will keep their family at the forefront of scientific learning will have no choice but to opt for private schools for their children all the way through secondary education; and as more families abandon state school systems that are too backward and committed to cultivating an ignorant citizenry, the two-tiered nature of contemporary American society will be reinforced, as we drift further and further apart.

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