January 11th, 2012
11:36 PM ET

Hip-hop that helps kids stay out of trouble

By Gabe Ramirez, CNN

Los Angeles (CNN) – For a few hours a week in a community center in downtown's Rampart area, high school kids are learning to make music without any of the instruments in the typical school orchestra. Instead, they generate beats on computers and tunes they can use live shows at the center, or maybe on an album.

This is Sessions LA, an after-school activity guided by Patrick Huang, a 30-year-old Chinese-American man also known as DJ Phatrick.

He was raised in an upscale Houston suburb with nurturing parents and access to a great education, but when Huang got to the University of California at Berkeley, a career in business or science didn’t appeal to him. He'd always loved music; the most important things in his bedroom at home were his turntables. At Berkeley, he immersed himself in ethnic studies and applied his DJ skills to campus activism and made music as a tool for justice.

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Filed under: Extracurricular • In America • Music • Practice
January 11th, 2012
01:04 PM ET

Today's Reading List

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

CBSPhilly.com: West Philadelphia Catholic Students Rally: ‘Keep Our School Open’
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia plans to close 44 elementary schools and four high schools. More than 300 students rallied in support of keeping West Philadelphia Catholic High open in what they say is the first of many protests against the proposed closure.

JSOnline: Teacher training could be the key to reading achievement in Wisconsin schools
In 1998, only about 40% of Massachusetts teachers passed the state's licensure exam. Teacher training efforts were credited with raising the pass rate to 90%. A Wisconsin task force proposes that that state's teachers be required to pass the Massachusetts Test for Education Licensure exams as well.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Hockey check hospitalizes another teen
Two Minnesota teens suffer devastating hits from behind during hockey matches several weeks apart. One student may never walk again. These incidents are putting the spotlight on the risks of competing in the state's popular high school hockey leagues, and even coaches are asking for changes to reduce the risks.

Orlando Sentinel:Trained dog helps special ed students adapt to gym class
"Mr. Newton" is Orange County Public Schools' only four-footed gym teacher. Other teachers say the Golden Retriever/Yellow Labrador mix is helping to motivate special needs elementary school students.

South Africa: One dead in stampede for university places
Students queue outside the University of Johannesburg to secure some of the last remaining university places on January 10, 2012.
January 11th, 2012
12:08 PM ET

South Africa: One dead in stampede for university places

From Victoria Eastwood, CNN

Johannesburg (CNN) - A stampede on a university campus in Johannesburg Tuesday left one woman dead and several people injured, according to eyewitness reports.

The victim was the mother of one of many prospective students who had gathered in the early hours to enroll in the University of Johannesburg, according to the African National Congress Youth League, the youth wing of the governing ANC party.

Local media reported that 17 people were also injured.

Thousands of young people and their relatives had gathered outside the campus gates hoping to secure some of the last remaining university places or admission slots for students. Some chose to sleep outside overnight, desperate to sign up.

Opinion:  The lasting impact of good teachers
President Obama honors the 2011 Teacher of the Year, Michelle Shearer, in a Rose Garden ceremony.
January 11th, 2012
09:40 AM ET

Opinion: The lasting impact of good teachers

by William J. Bennett, CNN Contributor

Editor's note: William J. Bennett, a CNN contributor, is the author of the newly published "The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood." Bennett, the Washington fellow of the Claremont Institute, was U.S. secretary of education from 1985 to 1988 and was director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President George H.W. Bush.

(CNN) - A good teacher not only improves a child's test scores in the classroom, but also enhances his or her chances to attend college, earn more money and avoid teen pregnancy, according to a new seminal study.

The study, conducted by economists Raj Chetty and John N. Friedman of Harvard and Jonah E. Rockoff of Columbia, tracked 2.5 million students over 20 years from a large urban school district from fouth grade to adulthood, making it one of the largest and most consequential educational studies in recent years.

Their findings focus on the long-term impact of teachers based on their "value-added" ratings. This refers to the average test-score improvement for a teacher's students, adjusted for differences across schools and classrooms such as prior test scores. Evaluating teachers based on student performance has been the subject of much debate among teachers, unions and policymakers.


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Filed under: Policy • Practice • Teachers • Voices
Diabetes affects drop out rate, lifetime earnings
January 11th, 2012
09:03 AM ET

Diabetes affects drop out rate, lifetime earnings

(CNN) – Diabetes is contributing to high school dropout rates and reducing lifetime earnings for young people, according to a new study published Monday in the journal Health Affairs.

Researchers found the high school dropout rate among diabetics was 6% higher than the dropout rate among their peers. They also found the likelihood that a diabetic student will attend college is 8 to 13% lower and that over the course of a lifetime, a diabetic could lose more than $160,000 in wages.

About 15,000 people were followed during the 14-year study. Seven to 12-year old students were first surveyed in the mid-1990s. They were then surveyed three more times: 1 year later, 7 years later and the last time in 2008, when they were approaching age 30. The study did not distinguish between type 1, commonly referred to as juvenile diabetes, and the preventable type 2 diabetes, which is usually linked to obesity and sedentary lifestyles.

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Filed under: After High School • At Home • Kids' health