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AM News: Universal Preschool Day At The White House

The White House Wants You To Know That Preschool Is Really Good For The Economy HuffPost: The president is set to announce which states and communities are receiving some $750 million in federal grants for the expansion and improvement of early childhood education programs. He's also expected to say that corporate, philanthropic and nonprofit leaders have committed over $330 million in support of the cause. 

Obama announcing $1B for early childhood education AP: The president will join a daylong summit convening at the White House on Wednesday to announce the investment in early learning programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers — especially those in lower-income communities. Nationwide, 28 percent of America's 4-year-olds were enrolled in a state-funded preschool program last year.

Why math might be the secret to school success NPR: Little children are big news this week, as the White House holds a summit on early childhood education on Wednesday. Since last year, more than 30 states have expanded access to preschool. But there's still a lack of evidence about exactly what kinds of interventions are most effective in those crucial early years. See also ABC News, The Hill

A Battle Expected Over School Spending In Montgomery County WAMU: A budget battle is brewing between the Montgomery County school system and the county council.

On Verge Of Being Closed, D.C. Charter School Fights Back WAMU: A D.C. public charter school on the verge of being closed is asking for more time to prove that it can effectively educate its students — a request that's rarely granted in the fast-churning world of charter schools.

Losing students, neighborhood high schools caught in downward spiral Catalyst:  As schools lose students, they receive less money and must cut back the very features that could help attract and keep students-- counselors, honors classes, elective courses and extracurricular programs--and become shells of what they once were. 

State’s first charter school in disarray Seattle Times: Since it opened in September, the state’s first charter school has lost its special-education coordinator, principal, board president and half the rest of its board. By Wednesday, it must prove to a state board that it can solve problems in four major areas.

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

LAUSD board orders Supt. Cortines to analyze misconduct incidents LA Times: In the wake of the Miramonte Elementary School child abuse scandal, the Los Angeles school district will analyze past incidents of misconduct to determine how to better safeguard students in the future.

Union: Absentee Homeowners Should Help NYC Schools WNYC: The union proposed that absentee owners pay a 1.1 percent tax on the value of their property, if their buildings received special tax abatements. It estimates this would raise $900 million in new revenues, based on roughly 90,000 absentee-owner units with an average market value of $1.5 million each. See also ChalkbeatNY

From Grading Tests To Mixing Beats NPR: Monica Shah's middle school students in the nation's capital don't call her "Ms. Shah," but "DJ Shah."

Defying Ban, Students March to Brooklyn in Protest of Eric Garner Decision NYT: About 70 students from an East Village high school and some parents crossed the Brooklyn Bridge to present a petition to the United States attorney’s office.

CPS students take on 'Hour of Code' WBEZ: “We’re going to get started,” Ciurla says. “Now remember, all over the world, at this very hour, at this very moment, there are other kids doing the same exact thing; they are also learning to code because it’s a pretty important thing, especially nowadays.”

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Re: the White House's desire for more early education spending (in five stories above; this is primarily in response to the Hill story, the last of the five I read): a lot of us believe that early childhood education is a fine investment, and support it for our own kids and our poorer neighbours'; we just don't want to give Secretary Duncan any more power over how money is spent (he has too much now, and has abused it), and so this initiative will go nowhere in the new Congress, just like it went nowhere in the current, outgoing one. The federal government should prove that it can add value to its elementary and secondary education efforts, which have added negative value for over a decade, and that it can keep from screwing up higher education, the one sector in this country that is (very) internationally competitive, before it attempts a foray into early education.

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