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AM News: Obama On Mascots, De Blasio On Real Estate, Zuckerberg On Community Responsiveness

Obama: Schools 'Really Don’t Have An Excuse' To Keep Native American Mascots HuffPost: With Adidas' recent announcement that the company will help schools transition away from Native American mascots, "schools now really don’t have an excuse" for keeping them, President Barack Obama said Thursday at the 2015 White House Tribal Nations Conference.

De Blasio: City must respect families’ investments amid school diversity debates Chalkbeat: “You have to also respect families who have made a decision to live in a certain area oftentimes because of a specific school,” de Blasio said when a reporter asked what is stopping the city from creating new zones to promote school integration. Those families, he said, have “made massive life decisions and investments because of which school their kid would go to.”

Zuckerberg Talks Success, Lessons Learned in Newark Schools AP: "It's very important to understand the desires of a community, to listen and learn from families, teachers, elected officials and other experts," he wrote. "We now better understand why it can take years to build the support to durably cement the changes needed to provide every student with a high quality education."

Chicago lead way on charter school unions Catalyst:  Nationally, the movement to organize charter school teachers is just now gaining momentum. For example, the United Teachers of Los Angeles is working to organize teachers in that city's largest charter network, Alliance College-Ready Public Schools.

How to build a better teacher: Groups push a 9-point plan called TeachStrong Washington Post: A coalition of 40 education groups — including some strange bedfellows — is starting a national campaign aimed at “modernizing and elevating” the teaching profession.

A Hedge Fund Sales Pitch Casts a Spell on Public Pensions New York Times: “The report was really intended to give information to pension trustees so they could ask the tough questions and fulfill their fiduciary duties to the funds and their participants,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the teachers' union.

What kids saw on a Common Core test NPR: Amid all the political controversy over the Common Core and whether students should even take these exams, this gives us a chance to look objectively at the tests themselves. In this post, we picked a handful of those questions that jumped out at us (and likely would have jumped out at you, too). We ran them by a few experts who played no official role in developing them.

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

San Francisco is the latest city to recognize teachers don't earn enough to live there LA Times: The Teachers Next Door program spent a total of $1 million from 2009 until 2014, when the fund ran out of money, Hartley said. As the economy rebounds and people are starting to look at buying houses again, there’s a higher demand for these grants.

This is Not a Test: One State's Assessment Pilot Seeks to Grow Up and Out PK12: The goals here include getting more in-depth and current information on what students know and can do than the schools would with traditional summative exams, and helping students tackle material in more meaningful ways.

A Colorado Town Unfamiliar With Attention Deals With a Flood of It NYT: After a sexting ring was discovered at a high school in Cañon City, Colo., some residents responded by taking the glut of attention in stride as news media coverage continues in the town.

Coalition Renews Argument For Closing Montgomery County Schools On Muslim Holiday WAMU: In 2014, Montgomery County schools removed all religious references to holidays on the official calendar, in response to controversy. Officials hoped the compromise would end the dispute. It didn't.

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