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AM News: What You Got To Say About US Grad Rate Reaching 80 Percent?

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Report: 4 in 5 US high school students graduate AP: U.S. public high schools have reached a milestone, an 80 percent graduation rate. Yet that still means 1 of every 5 students walks away without a diploma. Citing the progress, researchers are projecting a 90 percent national graduation rate by 2020.

Graduation rate could hit 90 percent Politico: The high school graduation rate has already topped 80 percent for the first time in U.S. history.

New York Finds Space for 3 Charter Schools NYT: The schools had been at the heart of a battle between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Eva S. Moskowitz, the leader of a high-performing charter network. See also Chalkbeat

A Walmart Fortune, Spreading Charter Schools NYT: In effect, Walton has subsidized an entire charter school system in the nation’s capital, helping to fuel enrollment growth so that close to half of all public school students in the city now attend charters, which receive taxpayer dollars but are privately operated.

What Now For School Districts After Federal Waiver Loss? Seattle Public Radio: School districts across Washington are examining how they’ll be affected by the state’s loss of its No Child Left Behind waiver and resulting loss of flexibility over how they spend $38 million in federal funding. That amount represents 20 percent of the federal Title 1 funding for the state's highest-poverty schools.

Law Limits Standardized Tests, but Not Prep Work Texas Tribune: “The change in law was well intentioned, but there is still constant test prep going on,” said Stacey Amick, a parent of two children in the Lewisville Independent School District near Dallas. “But I can’t fault the teachers or the schools for doing it. I don’t know a way around it for them.”

El Camino Real Charter High wins national 2014 Academic Decathlon LA Times: El Camino Real Charter High School claimed the national 2014 Academic Decathlon title Saturday, marking the seventh time the Woodland Hills school has won the honor. See also LA Daily News.

 More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

Sen. Paul: Give Parents of Title I Students Power to Choose Schools EdWeek: Paul, who is considered a likely candidate for the presidency in 2016, also held another education roundtable in Milwaukee. He said the discussions were part of a process to find solutions to strengthen the American education system.

National Urban League Aims to Boost Parents' Common-Core Knowledge EdWeek:  The National Urban League will help parents in Cleveland, Los Angeles, Nashville and Pittsburgh ensure that that the common core is "equitably resourced and implemented."

Learning With Disabilities: One Effort To Shake Up The Classroom NPR: The traditional special education model keeps kids with disabilities separate from their peers for much of the day. But a few educators and advocates are pushing for something different.

With Philadelphia Shortfall, Schools Face Renewed Cuts NYT: About 2,350 jobs could be eliminated next year unless the district finds funding to bridge its new shortfall, the superintendent said.

Hundreds of students march in Montgomery, calling attention to academic achievement gap WashPost: Hundreds of Montgomery County students marched more than a mile through Rockvilleon Sunday in a call to close the achievement gap that has left black and Hispanic students in the high-performing district trailing their white and Asian peers on measures of academic success.

CPS doesn’t know how much sugar is in kids’ meals WBEZ Chicago: In the most recent revamp of school food rules, sugar was untouched and remains completely unregulated. Sugar (which often arrives in the form of corn syrup)  is such a non-issue to school food authorities that Chicago Public Schools don’t even bother to keep track of how much they put in CPS food--food fed to some of the most obese children in the nation.

Brother of Lost Autistic Boy Heads to Law School after Tragedy WNYC: When a 14-year-old autistic boy named Avonte Oquendo disappeared from his public school in Queens last October, his family organized search parties and maintained a command center outside the school. Along with Avonte's parents, his half-brother Danny Oquendo was critical to keeping the city's attention on the missing boy. 

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The Seattle story on Washington's loss of its NCLB waiver oddly neglects to discuss the (in-)justice of the decision, particularly odd in this instance because Washington's legislature is right and Secretary Duncan's insistence on tying teacher appraisals to pupil test scores is morally and professionally wrong. Congress, and specifically the U.S. Senate, can correct this situation by doing its duty and rewriting the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which is seven years overdue. We know No Child Left Behind didn't work -- millions of American children still are left behind, and compared with the rate of progress among our overseas competitors, the entire body of American students is increasingly being left behind -- and if the go-slow, bickering, partisan Senate leaders think that isn't enough of an issue to make the agenda of the Senate floor, then we need new leaders in Washington D.C., rather than Washington state.

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