Today’s news includes Republican reactions to the Clinton college costs proposal, education activists in Ferguson, and a nurses’ endorsement for Bernie Sanders:

Getting a break on back-to-school purchases Marketplace: At least 17 states hold sales-tax holidays for back-to-school-related purchases throughout the month of August, including Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. They range from one or two days to more than one week in length and would save the typical family in a state with a tax rate of 7 percent about $44. Some states have tax holidays for other items, such as hurricane and emergency supplies, energy-efficient appliances and firearms.

Anger Outruns the Facts in Ferguson Daily Beast: Hermz didn’t have a direct answer, but prominent activist Deray McKesson did: end mandatory minimum sentences, reform drug laws, put body cameras on all police, task independent bodies with investigating shootings by police.

Not Putting on the Ritz: Indiana Schools Chief Drops Out of Governor’s Race State EdWatch: Ritz announced she was pulling out of the race in order to focus on a bid for a second term as state superintendent. Indiana’s gubernatorial election is next year.

Two teachers explain why they want to take down their union Washington Post: Both of them say that they decided to become plaintiffs because they don’t want to support a politically powerful union with which they frequently disagree. Current law allows them to opt out of paying for the union’s political activities — about 30 percent to 40 percent of annual dues. But they must continue to pay “agency fees,” which support the union’s collective bargaining activities.

Bernie Sanders scores nurses union endorsement CNN:  members of the AFL-CIO have held off endorsing in the Democratic primary. Clinton scored the first major union endorsement in July when the American Federation of Teachers endorsed the Democratic frontrunner.

Democrats Sound Similar Alarm On College Affordability NPR: Hillary Clinton unveiled her plan to make college more affordable on Monday. How does it compare with the proposals of her Democratic opponents? see also Miami Herald.

Jeb Bush 2016: His role in Michael Bloomberg charity gets attention Politico: Bush seemed caught off balance at the Thursday night Republican primary debate when he was asked about the Planned Parenthood connection. He said he was drawn to the Bloomberg foundation because of its role in education, and that board members didn’t see or vote on line items in the budget.

Teacher Shortages Across The U.S. WAMU: Across the country many schools are struggling to find qualified instructors in areas like science and math. California has more than 20,000 slots to fill this academic year. What’s behind a nationwide teacher shortage, and how states are trying to address it.

New York State Test Questions Tricky for 3rd Graders, and Maybe Some Adults NYT: Many questions and answers from this year’s third- through eighth-grade tests were publicly released to show parents the kind of work their children were expected to do.

Public release of CA students’ computerized test scores now expected next month KPCC LA: A spokeswoman for the California Department of Education said Monday that the date for a general release of the scores has been edged back to the first of week September — at the earliest. Department officials had previously said they expected to release results to the public in August.

The school year that never happened: Photos of 2005’s first day These photos look eerie now, with their optimistic, ordinary expectation of a school year that never happened. Interim Superintendent Ora Watson of the Orleans Parish public school system visited Lawless High in the Lower 9th Ward. A teacher prepared to start at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Lakeview. A new school called KIPP opened in Gentilly. Lusher parents voted to charter.

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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