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President Trump has indicated several times now that his education agenda may feature a school choice program known as tax credit scholarships.

Bonuses paid to executives and administrators in the University of Missouri System "may violate the Missouri Constitution," the state auditor says in a new report that details hidden bonuses, "excessive" luxury vehicle allowances — and $100,000 in retention payments to a chancellor who resigned amid a furor, only to be rehired in a new post months later.

In a reversal, the Supreme Court will not decide Gavin Grimm's lawsuit over a school policy that requires students to use the bathroom corresponding to their biological sex. The court was scheduled to hear the case this month.

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Trump administration policies toward refugees and immigrants, as well as a recent racially-charged shooting in Kansas, have some international students thinking twice about enrolling in American colleges and universities.

In early December, Joann Lee and her family were crossing the street in front of The Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A white van was stopped at the light. Out of nowhere, Lee says, the driver of the van, a white woman, said to Lee's 7-year-old daughter, "You are the most disgusting girl in the whole world. Your family killed my family so you could enjoy a day at the museum."

It was another big week for national education news. Here's our take on the top stories of the week.

Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump meet with HBCU leaders

The Education Secretary seems to be racking up controversies at the rate of about one per week.

It was in 2012 that Barry Eggers, a venture capitalist, noticed that his two high school-aged children were getting obsessed with a curious new app called Snapchat. After a little investigation, Eggers persuaded his company, Lightspeed Venture Partners, to become one of the first to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in the fledgling app.

Before Thurgood Marshall became the first black justice on the U.S. Supreme Court ...

Before Toni Morrison became a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and Nobel laureate ...

Before Kamala Harris was elected to the United States Senate ...

Let's start with Sunday night, because, how could we not? You already know about the Moonlight cock-up (leave it to the British to give us a perfect word for what that was), but did you know this: although Moonlight's Mahershala Ali was described as the first Muslim to win an Academy Award, Pakistan isn't having it. Apparently, the sect to which Ali belongs is outlawed in Pakistan. The Atlantic broke it down for us.

Eric Greitens had barely been Missouri's governor for a week when he faced a pretty tough decision: cutting the Show Me State's budget.

In Kansas, the state's public school finance system "is not reasonably calculated to have all Kansas public education students meet or exceed the minimum constitutional standards of adequacy," the Kansas Supreme Court says.

The court ruled Thursday in a a much-watched case about state obligations to provide public education that was originally filed by four school districts — including Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools — back in 2010.

With the decision, the court also gave state lawmakers time to devise a new school financing system, setting a deadline of June 30.

My bank sends me a text alert when my account balance is low. My wireless company sends me a text alert when I'm about to use up my monthly data. Somebody — I guess the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration? --sends me a text alert when it's going to rain a whole lot.

A few clever researchers said: "Hey! What if we could send text alerts to parents when students miss class or don't turn in their homework?" And what do you know, it worked.

Does everyone really need a college education?

For more than a century, Wisconsin has held up the basic idea that every student should have the chance to earn a college degree and that a public university system bolsters growth and investment throughout the state.

But now there's a growing debate on whether the cost of a diploma is really worth it.

Students and families are taking on enormous debt with no guarantee of a well-paying job. Some ask whether technical or online learning might be the smarter choice.

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Grant Blankenship

Do you remember the last time you worked really hard on something? If someone was working on the same thing and got ahead before you, you would want to know why that happened, right?

That’s where the leaders of many Georgia schools find themselves. Last year schools on Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s Priority Schools List thought they had dodged a bullet when the Priority School District proposal died at the polls. That would have allowed state takeover of what the state calls failing schools. Now a bill in the Georgia House has raised that idea again.

In his speech last night, President Trump asked Congress to pass a broad school choice initiative.

"I am calling upon members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children. ...

"These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them."

We're all familiar with the term "hidden in plain sight." Well, there may be no better way to describe the nation's 6,900 charter schools.

These publicly-funded, privately-run schools have been around since the first one opened in St. Paul, Minn., in 1992. Today, they enroll about 3.1 million students in 43 states, so you'd think Americans should know quite a bit about them by now. But you'd be wrong.

At a congressional luncheon in their honor Tuesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told leaders from historically black colleges and universities that the Department of Education "will continue working closely with you to help identify evolving needs, increase capacity, and attract research dollars. We will also work closely with you to launch new initiatives that meet the needs of today's students."

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This afternoon, President Trump signed a number of executive orders including one recognizing the importance of historically black colleges and universities. He called those schools a grand and enduring symbol of America at its best.

Tressie McMillan Cottom studies for-profit colleges as a sociologist at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has analyzed large data sets, scrutinized financial filings, interviewed students and staff. But she has also helped enroll students at two different for-profits herself.

They're not named, but known only as "Beauty College" and "Technical College" in her new book, Lower Ed.

NPR Ed has covered both the rise, and some of the travails, of this form of education. We called up Cottom to hear her thoughts. Here's an edited version of our conversation.

Bill McChesny / Flickr/CC

There are just four legislative days left until Crossover Day 2017. Any bill that hasn’t made it through at least one chamber of the Georgia General Assembly by Friday will be dead for the year.

But, with the clock ticking, there are still a number of major education issues that haven’t crossed over.

Sam Whitehead / GPB

This year could be a big one for school choice. State lawmakers are considering expanding a program that gives tax credits to Georgians who help bankroll private school scholarships. 

 

Supporters say the program gives students in public schools better access to other education options. But for many Georgians, especially those living in rural communities, those options are hard to find.

 

We've written a lot about the link between college and the workforce — and the kinds of skills graduates will need in the 21st century to succeed. One of the skills you need is knowing how to present yourself. To put your best foot forward in the workplace, and in life.

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The cost of college is high and rising, while a bachelor's degree is practically required to get ahead.

It's hard enough for a family with means to get a student through school these days, let alone a low-income family.

So, are the immediate costs of college, and the loans that can follow, worth it?

Tales of talented black students on majority-white campuses running through a racial gauntlet that has them questioning their brilliance, abilities and place are familiar to parents like me who have a college-bound child at home.

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Welcome to our second weekly roundup of notable national education news! (Missed us last week? Find it here.)

The biggest ed headline of the week, of course, had to do with:

Transgender students and Title IX

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