December 8th, 2011
02:00 PM ET

Today's Reading List

Here's what the editors of Schools of Thought are reading today:

AJC: National charter school enrollment now tops two million students
About two million of the roughly 46 million students in America's public schools currently attend a charter school. More than 500 new public charter schools opened in 2011, while 150 of them shut down.

NPR: Friendly Advice For Teachers: Beware Of Facebook
Some teachers are finding out that what they say on Facebook can put their jobs in jeopardy. The American Civil Liberties Union argues that social networking is protected free speech while some school districts say that restrictions are needed because some postings could have a negative impact the classroom.

stltoday.com: Schools take a new approach to handling suicides
A University of Missouri training program is helping teachers learn how to prevent the third leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 24: suicide.

Digital Trends: Study: Students with smartphones study more often
New research finds that students who use smartphones study on average 40 minutes longer than students who don't have the enhanced gadgets. Much of that time, the phone is used for studying, but during 40% of study sessions, students used the smartphones' enhanced functions for study breaks.

WNCT: Broad Creek Middle School Students Use Sticky Notes To Make Art
Students used sticky notes to create a collage in a classroom window. The students saw a report on CNN Student News about companies in France creating intricate window art and decided to copy the technique.

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December 8th, 2011
07:46 AM ET

My View: Education's Battle at Wounded Knee

by Steve Perry, CNN Contributor CNN

Editor’s note: CNN Education Contributor Steve Perry  is the founder of Capital Preparatory Magnet School and author of  "Push Has Come to Shove" in which he describes what steps need to be taken to ensure that all American schools, whether urban or suburban, deliver a first-rate education to kids.

President Barack Obama has buckled like a bad knee on No Child Left Behind.  When leadership was called for, Obama predictably hid behind the Democratic pillars of organized labor, where he settled for political expedience over education reform.  Providing states with waivers from the accountability that testing brings will not improve teaching and learning in America’s public schools.

No Child Left Behind is the boldest public education policy of our generation.  It’s exactly what I expected to be the hallmark of the presidency of Barack Obama.  Obama ran and was elected on the notion of hope that change would bring.  Implicit in this is that the status quo will not be tolerated. His move to offer waivers to states is a move backward to a time when all a school needed to do to be considered good was to educate the majority of students - a time in which millions of children were left behind.

At its core, NCLB requires schools to prove that all children - regardless of race, economics or perceived limitations - are learning, in order to continue to receive federal money.  The crafters of NCLB believed that these measurements should be standardized and selected by the states themselves.  Where it’s proven that kids aren’t learning, those children must be offered the opportunity to attend schools where children are learning.

The ESEA Flexibility Request Form states schools which have failed to meet goals for adequate yearly progress, or AYP may continue to receive federal Title I funds, whereas George W. Bush’s NCLB would have threatened to take funds away.  Under Bush, NCLB money went to schools with at least 40% of the children living in poverty or schools in need of improvement.  Obama’s flexibility measures will allow states to request these scarce funds for any school they wish.  To continue the bloodletting of NCLB, the president will allow states to take money set aside to “reward Title I schools that significantly closed the achievement gap,” or “exceeded AYP,” and use it to  reward any of the state’s schools.
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