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Friday Reading List: Graduation Rates, Desegregation and Super Lice

Happy Almost Labor Day! Before you head out for one weekend at the beach, check out these good reads:

There's a new head of Democrats for Education Reform, reports Joy Resmovits of the Los Angeles Times. Just in time for election season!

•We know the national graduation rate is up, but how are individual districts faring? The Hechinger Report tells us, in one awesome map that you could really lose yourself in, even if you're not a big data dork. And especially if you are.

•Confused about teacher evaluation? Our own Steve Sawchuk breaks it down in this can't-miss explainer.

•Want to get a sense of how Hurricane Katrina transformed education in New Orleans? Check out the PBS Newshour's coverage. (EdWeek reporters helped!) And don't miss EdWeek's package  on "The Re-Education of New Orleans."

•If you haven't already, you really must listen to This American Life's two part series on school integration. Part two includes an interview with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in which reporters ask him why he didn't include incentives for schools to desegregate in Race to the Top. His answer? Congress wouldn't have passed it. The reporters on the podcast seemed disastified with that answer. And, as I listened, I wondered if the administration would have been able to incorporate some incentives for increasing diversity in the regulations for the program, even without express congressional approval. After all, incentives for adopting the Common Core State Standards weren't explicitly part of the language that created Race to the Top either, but the administration was able to make it part of the program because they could argue adopting uniform expectations generally improved standards and tests. Could they have encouraged states to better intergrate schools under the school turnaround language in the bill? It's a wonky question, but maybe one worth pondering.

•And while you're scratching your head over that, check out my colleague Evie Blad's story about the latest issue plaguing schools: Super lice! 

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