The Summer of School Choice?

Hope you had a good Memorial Day Weekend. Welcome back! Here are today’s top education news stories:

Teacher Union Legal Opposition to School Choice Stumbles in Florida, Louisiana EdWeek: On Friday, a Louisiana district judge rejected the state teachers’ union argument that the way Louisiana funded some charter schools was unconstitutional, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile on Monday, a Florida judge dismissed a union-backed lawsuit challenging that state’s tax-credit scholarship program because the plaintiffs couldn’t prove they were harmed by the law and therefore didn’t have grounds to sue.

One Man’s Millions Turn a Community Around in Florida NYT: Two decades ago, Harris Rosen, who grew up poor on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and became wealthy in the Florida hotel business, decided to shepherd part of his fortune into a troubled community with the melodious…

How student debt became a presidential campaign issue Washington Post: The $1.3 trillion burden of student debt is becoming an issue in the 2016 presidential campaign as candidates court the millions of Americans grappling with the high cost of college.

Six of the nation’s largest school districts dump polystyrene trays Washington Post: Six of the largest U.S. school districts have pooled their collective purchasing power to make significant changes to school lunch, and they’re starting by jettisoning the polystyrene tray.The Urban School Food Alliance, a coalition that includes the school systems of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami-Dade, Dallas and Orlando, has commissioned a school lunch dish that is made from recycled newsprint and can be turned into compost after use.

Fairfax approves final $2.6 billion schools budget Washington Post: The Fairfax County School Board passed a final $2.6 billion budget Thursday night that includes pay raises for teachers, funding for full-day Mondays for elementary schools and later high school start times.

Houston Leaders Propose Slashing Bonus-Pay Program for Teachers Teacher Beat: Houston leaders are considering cutting the district’s much-watched performance-pay program for educators and redirecting the funds into regular base-pay raises. The proposal could reduce the $14 million bonus-pay program to just $2 million, a far cry away from the $40 million a year it once gave out.

Regents narrow their choices for New York’s next education chief ChalkbeatNY: In contention are a mix of superintendents from inside and outside New York state, according to multiple sources. Two of the final candidates, though not the only two, are Christopher Koch, Illinois’s longtime superintendent who stepped down in April, and Dan White, a superintendent for a Western New York region that serves suburban districts.

Photos Capture The Joy On Playgrounds Around The World NPR: From the U.K. to Kenya to the West Bank, photographer James Mollison exposes not only inequalities among rich and poor countries, but also the intimate moments that unfold during recess.

How to hook young people on math and science? Robots PBS: We have a smaller percentage of our kids becoming scientists and engineers than many countries in the developing world. And when you look at the data and see that China’s producing five or 600,000 engineers this year and we’ll produce one-tenth of that, it says, “How’re we gonna compete?”

Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at alexanderrusso@gmail.com.