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How a soccer club won a $1.2 million grant from DeVos’s Education Department to open a charter school

Here’s a new, rather remarkable story about charter school grants recently awarded by the Education Department — including one for more than $1 million that went to a soccer club in Pennsylvania that had no experience running a school.



Betsy DeVos wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks Thursday at the Phoenix International Academy in Phoenix. (Matt York/AP)


© Matt York/AP
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks Thursday at the Phoenix International Academy in Phoenix. (Matt York/AP)

This is one of a number of pieces I have run in recent years about the Federal Charter School Program, which has invested close to $4 billion in these schools since it began giving grants in 1995.

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Charter schools, a key feature of the “school choice” movement, are financed by the public but privately operated. About 6 percent of U.S. schoolchildren attend charter schools, with California having the most charter schools and the most charter students.

Charters had bipartisan support for years, but a growing number of Democrats have

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Education Department pauses bills for student loan borrowers amid uncertainty over relief

The Education Department has ordered the companies that collect federal student loans to temporarily postpone sending bills to borrowers as the Trump administration figures out how to handle the looming expiration of student loan relief.



a large brick building with grass and trees: Florida State University students leave Landis Hall on the campus of Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla., Friday April 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)


© Mark Wallheiser/AP Photo
Florida State University students leave Landis Hall on the campus of Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla., Friday April 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

Unless Congress or the Trump administration takes action in the coming weeks, the freeze on monthly payments and interest for tens of millions of federal student loan borrowers is set to expire on Dec. 31.

The Education Department, which had been gearing up to collect payments starting in January, now appears to be trying to buy time to figure out how to go about collection. Department officials last week instructed federal student loan servicers to hold off on sending billing statements to borrowers until at least

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Cambridge University names chemistry department after Cipla’s Yusuf Hamied

The department would be known as Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry.

In recognition of his “generous benefaction”, the University of Cambridge announced on Tuesday that its chemistry department will be named after Indian pharmaceutical major Cipla’s non-executive chairman Yusuf Hamied until 2050.

Dr Hamied is a former alumnus of the world-renowned university and made a “transformational gift” to his alma mater to ensure that chemistry at Cambridge University will continue to be “world-leading in both teaching and research”.

His gift endows both a fund to attract and support the world’s brightest academic talent in chemistry, including exceptional early-career researchers in disciplines such as synthetic organic chemistry, and outstanding doctoral students from the UK and around the world through the new Hamied Scholars Programme.

The department would be known as Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry.

“Cambridge gave me the foundation of an education in chemistry, taught me how to live, and

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Duquesne University Department Chair Linkov Named 2020 AAAS Fellow

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Duquesne University Department Chair Dr. Faina Linkov has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for her contributions to biobehavioral cancer research, global health work and improving publishing opportunities for scientists in the developing world.

The AAAS, the world’s largest scientific society, elects fellows each year to recognize their efforts to advance science or its applications. A lifetime honor, fellows are selected by their AAAS peers. Linkov is believed to be the first female faculty member from Duquesne to receive this recognition, furthering the University’s reputation for expanding student horizons by creating opportunities for women in STEM fields. Linkov serves as a volunteer mentor for women in STEM programs.

“I’m honored to be selected as an AAAS Fellow at a time when the world needs science more than ever,” said Linkov, chair for the Department of

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Sinhala Studies Department established at Yunnan University

A Sinhala Language Studies Department has been established at the Faculty of Foreign Languages, Yunnan University, China.

Yunnan University, founded in 1923, is also on China’s list of top national universities.

Its Faculty of Foreign Languages currently teaches a number of European, Asian and African languages, and offers

postgraduate opportunities in a number of languages, including English, French and Japanese.

Around 25 students have been admitted to Yunnan University to learn Sinhala as a major subject in the admission process for the university this year.

Sugath Ratnayake is the first Sri Lankan Lecturer to work at the University. Sugath Ratnayake holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters Degree from the University of Kelaniya and has been working as an Instructor for the Sinhala Service of China International Radio in Beijing for the past four years.

Three Chinese lecturers who have graduated in Sinhala from the Beijing University of Foreign

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Written comments to state education department includes call to exempt school districts from Proposition 2-1/2

The Student Opportunity Act legislation approved nearly a year ago, intended to equitably distribute Chapter 70 state education aid, especially to districts most in need, is a hot issue.

Comments from numerous municipal state, and local school officials, released Wednesday morning by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, show concerns about losing thousands if not millions of dollars in Chapter 70 aid.

The comments also include advocacy for exempting municipalities from Proposition 2-1/2 -– as a means to ensure cities and towns have the money to fund their share of public education costs.

This state law says communities cannot raise taxes more than 2.5% annually unless voters approve the measure in a referendum vote.

One school superintendent says this should be raised to 4%.

Ludlow resident Elizabeth Zielinski is the school superintendent at Ralph C. Mahar Regional and School Union 73 districts. It comprises Orange, Wendell, Petersham and New

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Iowa Department of Education approves waivers for online learning ahead

Since Monday, 11 districts have submitted waivers to move schools online or to extend existing waivers, some of which have already been approved. 

Waiver requests for remote instruction are on the rise in Iowa

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On Tuesday, both Des Moines Public Schools and Johnston Community School District’s waivers to extend online learning were approved by the Iowa Department of Education. Des Moines school board members voted to apply for another waiver to go through Dec. 11 Sunday while Johnston board members unanimously voted Monday evening for a waiver through Dec. 13.



After having some schools in person for a little more than a month, Des Moines Public Schools will move back online temporarily, citing teacher absences and a high rate of COVID-19 in Polk County.


© Des Moines Public Schools
After having some schools in person for a little more than a month, Des Moines Public Schools will move back online temporarily, citing teacher absences and a high rate of COVID-19 in Polk County.

The Johnston School Board will meet Dec. 7 and discuss whether the online learning model will

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Iowa Department of Education grants online waiver for Southeast Polk Schools

The Iowa Department of Education granted a 14-day remote learning waiver to the entire Southeast Polk School District on Tuesday.

What happens if a student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19 at an Iowa school?

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The period approved for full virtual learning is Nov. 30 through Dec. 14.

The Southeast Polk School Board voted Nov. 19 to allow the district to apply for the waiver.

In the lead-up to the 2020 election, all eyes are on Iowa. Get updates of all things Iowa politics delivered to your inbox.

The vote followed the recommendation from the superintendent in response to the most recent spike of COVID-19 cases in Polk County.

“This is an extremely, extremely difficult decision for a recommendation. In fact, I can’t think of something more difficult. I can’t think of anything more difficult in this role that I’ve had to deal with,” said

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Iowa Department of Education grants online waiver for Ankeny schools

The Iowa Department of Education granted a 14-day remote learning waiver for the entire Ankeny School District on Thursday.

What happens if a student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19 at an Iowa school?

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The 14-day period granted by the state starts Nov. 23 and lasts until Dec. 7. During this period of time, the district is also required to cease any in-person extracurricular activities. Extracurricular activities may continue in an online or virtual manner.



a group of people standing in a room: Southview Middle School students get up and move around during a "brain break" in Kim Southard’s Spanish II class in between formative assessments in Ankeny.


© Ankeny Community School District/Special to the Register
Southview Middle School students get up and move around during a “brain break” in Kim Southard’s Spanish II class in between formative assessments in Ankeny.

The Ankeny school board voted Monday night allow the district’s administration to apply for the 14-day waiver following the most recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the state. 

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In the lead-up to the 2020 election,

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U.S. Department Of Education Makes It Easier To Apply For Student Loan Forgiveness

The U.S. Department of Education has made improvements in the application forms for two of the most popular student loan forgiveness programs.

Unfortunately, there haven’t been any significant improvements in the approval rates.

The improvements affect the Borrower Defense to Repayment Application and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Help Tool and application. 

Borrower Defense to Repayment Application

The Borrower Defense to Repayment Application has been integrated into the StudentAid.gov web site as a smart form.

The smart form uses information on the borrower’s college and enrollment dates to help the borrower submit a borrower defense to repayment application.

The new form is a little more user-friendly than the old form.

The status of your borrower defense to repayment application can

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