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Post-Memorial Day Reading List: Op-Eds from Washington, Presidential Elections

We hope everyone enjoyed a relaxing Memorial Day weekend. And if you stretched that weekend into Monday to spend with family and friends, you may have missed some interesting edu-politics news. No problem, we've got you covered! Here are some tidbits:

  • Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., wrote an op-ed in The Hill, a Washington-based politics newspaper, attempting to explain how outdated formulas that are currently used to disburse federal dollars for low-income students are cheating some states with the highest concentrations of poverty out of millions of dollars. It's an incredibly wonky topic that we also have recently attempted to explain here. Burr notes that amendments he proposed are included in the proposed bipartisan reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that's moving through the U.S. Senate, which could change at least one of those formulas.
  • Also making op-ed waves is Carmel Martin, the executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress and former¬†assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development at the U.S. Department of Education. She penned for U.S. News & World Report a take-down of the recently-approved Republican budget that appropriators are currently trying to adhere to as they craft next fiscal year's spending plans. "Not surprisingly, these cuts hurt most those who were already behind," she writes.
  • With the 2016 presidential election coming into full swing and the first Republican debate just months away, we can expect—and indeed, have already seen—long, narrative outtakes of White House hopefuls. Politico is out with its latest on former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who hasn't officially announced his candidacy yet. In a 5,500-word magazine piece, Michael Kruse explores how Bush's two-month study-abroad program to the central Mexican state of Guanajuato in the middle of his senior year in high school changed his life forever.
  • The Office of Inspector General released an audit of the U.S. Department of Education and its reporting of improper payments. Under current law, all federal agencies must reduce improper payments and report on them annually. Among the OIG's findings: The department needs to improve the accuracy, completeness, and quality of its improper payment estimates and reporting, specifically when it comes to the Pell Grant Program—tuition assistance for low- and middle-income students. In fiscal 2014, for example, the report found that the Education Department's reported estimated improper payment rate for the Pell program was higher than the reduction target for the program. For all that wonkiness and more, read here.
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