Education

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Updated at 7 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that taxpayer-funded grants for playgrounds available to nonprofits under a state program could not be denied to a school run by a church.

"The consequence is, in all likelihood, a few extra scraped knees. But the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.

It's summer vacation season and many families will be lucky enough to be heading off for at least a few days. At least half of parents say quality time together is the most important reason to take a family vacation, according to a national survey by the rental car company Alamo.

Updated at 10:04 a.m. ET with Louisiana study

It is the education debate of the Trump era. With the president and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos using policy and the bully pulpit to champion private school vouchers, supporters and critics have tangled over the question:

Do low-income, public school students perform better when they're given a voucher to attend a private school?

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Will arming teachers make schools safer? While that debate continues across the country, this week more than a dozen school employees from around Colorado spent three days learning advanced gun skills at a shooting range outside of Denver.

When principal Kelli Hoffman ran into her students at a McDonald's during summer break, she knew they weren't there for the McNuggets.

The two rising eighth-graders at French Middle School had invested in a Coke to unlock a bigger prize: free Wi-Fi. They sat logged into their school-provided Chromebooks studying exercise ideas from their sports coaches.

Hoffman's district, Topeka Public Schools in Kansas, is one of a rising number of systems that are letting students take their school-issued devices home over the summer months.

Welcome to this week's edition of our national education news roundup.

DeVos appoints current student loan company CEO to head student loan agency

Wayne A. Johnson will be the new head of Office of Federal Student Aid after James Runcie abruptly resigned last month, the U.S. Department of Education announced this week. FSA is the agency responsible for administering $1.4 trillion in outstanding student loans from 42 million borrowers, plus other aid programs for millions of college students.

Today we're going to update a story we first brought you back in 2004. That September, NPR set out to document what may be the most important day in any young child's life — the first day of kindergarten. For parents it's a day filled with hope, anxiety and one big question: Is our child ready?

The answer back then, as far as 5-year-old Sam Marsenison was concerned, was, "No, no, no!"

Seventy-five years ago this month, a 13 year old girl in Amsterdam sat down and wrote the first entry in a red-checkered diary. Over the next two years, hundreds more pages followed as Anne Frank told about life in the "secret annex" where her family was hiding from the Nazis.

Jon Strelecki

How many times have you watched an athlete make an amazing play or turn in an unbelievable performance and ask yourself “How in the world do they do that?”

Is it because the athlete is in superb condition or has practiced the routine over and over again? Or is it because of what’s going on in the mind of that athlete?

Louisiana has become the first state to prohibit all public universities from asking applicants about their criminal history.

By some estimates, as many as 70 to 100 million Americans have some kind of criminal record.

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