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Changes in Seattle, Dispute Over Charter Expansion Costs in Philly & More

You've no doubt heard that The Broad Foundation, which awards the Urban Education Prize for urban districts that are making strides in closing the achievement gap, is hitting the "pause" button on the $1 million annual award.  

Here is some other district news that you may have missed this week:

How much is charter expansion really going to cost the Philadelphia School District? Depends on whom you ask. The Philadelphia School Partnership is proposing $25 million to help ease the way for 15,000 additional charter seats in the city, plus another $10 million for district transformation. The district says that the $35 million does not even come close to what's needed—try at least "half a billion."

Are major changes on the way for the Seattle School District? The district, which has had five superintendents in the last decade, may be in for a good old-fashioned shakeup after two separate legislators made proposals that could alter the district's governance structure. One proposal seeks to divide the 52,000-student school district into two school systems, The Seattle Times reports. The other will allow the city's mayor, Ed Murray, to appoint two members to the local school board. In January, the school board appointed Richard Nyland, a long-time educator, as its fifth superintendent in a decade.

What's the future of the four-day school week in Minnesota? About half a dozen school districts started using four-day school weeks to save money, but now the state says they have to return to the old five-day system. But some of the districts are pleading with the state to allow them to continue with the truncated school week. They cite the benefits of having longer classes, a day off for students to complete homework, and a day off for teachers to prepare for class. The state says that test scores have fallen in some of those districts.

Are black girls more likely to be suspended than their peers? With a focus on the plight of young minority males, a new study, Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected,  from the African American Policy Forum and Columbia Law School Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies shows that black girls around the country were suspended from school at a rate of six times more than their white peers in the 2011-12 school year.

How do you support high-achieving, low-income students? The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation convened the first-of-its kind two-day summit with education leaders from schools that have had great results in supporting high-achieving, low-income students.  (The foundation will post archived copies of the event on Monday at Jkcf.org. The event was live-streamed on YouTube.

And...

Who inspires you most? In January, a New York City photographer asked a student at the Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownville, N.Y., who inspired him. The boy, Vidal Chastanet, responded: his principal, Ms. Lopez. Since then, Staunton, who runs the popular blog, Humans of New York, launched a campaign to raise funds for the students at Mott Hall Bridges Academy to take a trip to Harvard. The campaign has surpassed the original goal many times over.

This week, Vidal and his principal, Nadia Ms. Lopez, visited President Obama at the White House.

And President Obama got the Humans of New York treatment:

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