Tennessee bill to ease reading law’s retention policy for 4th graders clears first hurdle – By Marta W. Aldrich, Chalkbeat

State lawmakers advanced legislation Tuesday that would put fewer fourth graders at risk of being held back this year under Tennessee’s 2021 reading law.

Similar to changes passed last year to address worries about the state’s tough new retention policies for third graders, the proposal seeks to widen criteria for determining which fourth graders could be held back if they aren’t deemed proficient readers, or aren’t showing adequate growth.

The current policy bases those decisions on the results of state tests this spring in English language arts under the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP. Under the proposal that advanced Tuesday, on a unanimous vote by the House K-12 subcommittee, results from a second locally adopted benchmark test could be considered, too.

And if the student doesn’t show enough improvement under either test, the school’s principal and teacher must meet with the parent or guardian to decide whether the child should be promoted or held back. If advancing, the student must receive academic interventions that could include summer learning programs and tutoring during fifth grade.


Child care a theme of North Dakota workforce grants – By Michal Achterling, North Dakota Monitor

Child care and workforce recruitment and retention initiatives highlighted 18 grants awarded to local and regional organizations by the North Dakota Commerce Department.

The $4.1 million in grants announced Tuesday are part of the first round of funding for the agency’s Regional Workforce Impact Program, which breaks the state into eight different regions to address local concerns involving workforce struggles.

Eight of the 18 grant recipients plan to use their funding to renovate, expand or construct new child care facilities to ease the burden placed on workers in finding care during working hours.

The Jamestown School District is using its $500,000 grant to fund a renovated and expanded child care facility at James Valley Career and Technology Center for use by school district staff.


Hawaiʻi House of Representatives passes $11.3B budget – By Ashley Mizou, Hawaii Public Radio

The House of Representatives passed the state’s $11.3 billion budget on Thursday.

Maui fire recovery accounts for a 10th of the state budget — about $1 billion.

Notably, $500 million has been set aside for displaced Maui residents living in hotels.

About $65 million has been set aside for Gov. Josh Green’s One ʻOhana settlement fund for families of those who died in the fire.


Idaho Legislature Approves $2 Billion for Schools to Repair and Replace Aging Buildings – By Becca Savransky, Pro Publica

School districts across Idaho will soon receive hundreds of millions of dollars to help repair and replace their aging buildings, thanks to a bill that cleared its final hurdle in the Idaho Senate on Thursday.

House Bill 521 will invest $1.5 billion in new funding and redirect $500 million over 10 years for school facilities across the state. But critics say it still won’t be enough to address the years of neglect left from the state’s failure to fund school facilities.

Idaho school districts have for decades struggled to fix or replace their aging, deteriorating schools and build new ones to accommodate the state’s rapid growth. Over the past year, the Idaho Statesman and ProPublica have reported on how Idaho’s restrictive policies and the state’s reluctance to make significant investments in school facilities have led to students learning in schools with failing heating systems, leaking roofs, discolored drinking water and overcrowded classrooms.