Top Stories From Around The Country

Plan to Revamp Newark District Hits a Nerve
Newark, N.J. – Tensions in the Newark, N.J., district over a renewal plan being pushed by the state-appointed superintendent have exploded into an acrimonious debate, pulling state lawmakers, national union leaders, mayoral candidates, and disgruntled parents into its wake. The catalysts in the beleaguered district are numerous. Some are the product of Superintendent Cami Anderson’s controversial One Newark plan, unveiled in December, which seeks to help balance the budget and create “100 excellent schools” for the district’s 38,000 students by reconstituting and merging schools, allowing charters to set up shop in existing buildings, and unloading crumbling school properties.

Tenn. House votes to delay Common Core standards
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal to delay further implementation of the state’s Common Core standards was approved in the House on Thursday, even though Republican Gov. Bill Haslam and other supporters say they are key to Tennessee students’ improvement.

Ill. House passes measure to change GED testing
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A measure allowing high school testing companies other than GED Testing Services to operate in the state is advancing in the Illinois Legislature. Lawmakers say a recent GED price increase from $50 to $120 strains low-income test takers. They say changing the law could drive down costs. The proposal aims to open up competition by substituting “GED” with “high school equivalency tests” in the current law.

Rule targets for-profit colleges over student debt
WASHINGTON (AP) — The for-profit college industry says it will vigorously oppose proposed regulations by the Obama administration designed to protect students at for-profit colleges from amassing huge debt they can’t pay off. The proposed regulations would penalize career oriented programs that produce graduates without the training needed to find a job with a salary that will allow them to pay off their debt. Schools, for-profit or not, that don’t comply would lose access to the federal student aid programs.

Preschool pilot program headed to Pence’s desk
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The General Assembly has approved a pilot program to send low-income children in five counties to preschool.

College offers to pay students to take year off
MEDFORD, Mass. (AP) — A new program at Tufts University hopes to remove the financial barriers keeping cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, offering an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can often add up to $30,000 or more.

Board: All schools will be accredited this year
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — All public schools in Kansas will remain accredited next year, regardless of how they perform on reading and math assessments, after a new online testing system experienced glitches on the first day it was used, the State Board of Education has decided.

U.S. Senate Approves Bipartisan Child-Care Grant Bill
WASHINGTON — States would have to pay closer attention to the quality and safety of federally-financed child-care and after-school programs under a bill to make over the multibillion-dollar Child Care and Development Block Grant program, approved Thursday by the U.S. Senate.

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