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In The News …

Charitable Deduction Not Touched in Debt-Ceiling Deal (The Chronicle of Philanthropy): “The tentative deficit deal between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner does not make any changes in the tax deduction that donors receive for making charitable gifts [...] No matter what happens with the charitable deduction, the spending cuts outlined in the debt accord could be far more significant for groups that rely on federal money the agreement doesn’t spell out exactly what programs would be cut.” In sum, changes in tax deduction are not on the table now, but they certainly could return before 2012. And while the debt-ceiling deal seems all but confirmed at last, the details of the cuts are not.

Local: Scores fall for some DC schools amid test security questions (Washington Post): “Test scores can rise and fall from year to year for various reasons, including teacher and student turnover. What is unclear is whether heightened test security this year played a role in changing results … [Yesterday's] release from the state superintendent’s office provided a detailed look at scores for each school.” According to the press release, 193 schools were assessed by the DC Comprehensive Assessment System (CAS): “24 schools are in good standing (a decrease of 27) 163 are schools in need of improvement.”

Op-Ed: This Is Your Brain on Summer (NY Times): “As a result, no matter how effective other school reforms are, our traditional 180-day school calendar creates an incredibly inefficient system of learning. We cannot afford to spend nearly 10 months of every year devoting enormous amounts of intellect, energy and money to promoting student learning and achievement, and then walk away from that investment every summer.” We linked to a similar article in the Post last week, but the message does bear repeating. For some related questions, are sumer academic required? Or are the structure and engagement of a school-like environment the real key? Learn more about summer learning from the Wallace Foundation.

Give a Gift Card for Mother’s Day

Check out the Catalogue’s Gift Cards and give something special to the Mom Who Has Everything. A gift card lets Mom pick out her own favorite nonprofit, so you don’t have to guess on her behalf. And no worries about outfits that don’t fit or flowers that fade (Mom doesn’t). If you’re in a hurry, let us know and we’ll send Mom a message saying that her gift card from you is on the way.