April 30th, 2012
03:14 PM ET

Life as a military child: An interview with Erika Booth, Marine Corps Child of the Year

By Tomeka Jones, CNN

(CNN) April is the Month of the Military Child, which recognizes and salutes an estimated 1.9 million American children of military families.  Meet Erika Booth, the 2012 Marine Corps Child of the Year.  For the second year, Operation Homefront has awarded Military Child of the Year to young leaders, like Booth, from each branch of the military. The winners receive the honor for their resilience and community impact.

CNN Student News recently talked to Erika about her life as a military child.

CNN: What has life been life for you as a military child?

Erika Booth:  I've moved 5 times, been in 6 schools, lived in 8 houses.  I've actually really enjoyed being a military child just because I can say my dad fights for our country every day and that's his job and not everyone can say that.

CNN:  What would you say is the hardest part about being a military child?

Booth:  The hardest thing is the deployments, definitely; I've gone through 10 of them so I definitely know that is the hardest thing.   My dad has missed my first day of school since 8th grade and I'm a junior in high school now.  You just really have to know in your heart that they're going to come back and having family and friends really helps with that.  Military children are always more resilient to things.

CNN: Erika, would you be willing to discuss with us how health issues have affected your life personally?

Booth:  Having lupus has made me more responsible.  When I was diagnosed and I was in the hospital I hit a brick wall and I was like I can either choose to do something or I can sit at home and stop my life.  And I decided I need to keep going with my life it's not going to stop me.
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April 30th, 2012
01:11 PM ET

Boyz II Men singer Shawn Stockman on the impact of autism

Shawn Stockman of the group Boyz II Men opens up about one of his twin sons who has autism, and autism's impact on his family.

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You paid how much for prom?
April 30th, 2012
10:51 AM ET

You paid how much for prom?

By Carl Azuz, CNN

(CNN) - Take a moment to think back on your high school days – if you dare – and imagine it’s prom season. What would your parents have said if you asked for $1,000 for the dance and all the expenses associated with it?

Today’s parents are saying yes, according to a survey recently released by Visa Inc. In fact, the average amount of money that American families are spending is $1,078, which is over $200 more than they spent last year.

Why and how are two good questions you may have. And part of the first answer could lie in “Super Sweet 16”-style spending. Jason Alderman, senior director of Global Financial Education at Visa, says prom spending “is spiraling out of control as teens continuously try to one-up each other.”

The actual ticket is often the cheapest part. By the time a student buys a dress or rents a tuxedo, a couple hundred bucks is already out the window. And when you throw in accessories, flowers, dinner, professional pictures and (take a deep breath) a limo, you may need to plan on working overtime.

The survey shows that money spent varies by region. People in the Northeast are spending the most on average – about $2,000 per family – while those in the Midwest are spending the least at $700.
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Who's teaching your kids about money?
April 30th, 2012
06:25 AM ET

Who's teaching your kids about money?

by Donna Krache, CNN

(CNN) Debit cards, credit cards, saving and borrowing money – you probably learned a lot of what you know about personal finance from your own life experiences.  But in a world of economic uncertainty, rising college costs and social media that can target some of the youngest consumers, financial literacy may be more important than ever for your kids.

So who’s teaching your kids about money?

It’s not likely that they are learning it in school; personal finance is probably not a requirement for a high school diploma in your state.   According to the Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy, only four states – Utah, Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia – require at least a one-semester course in personal finance for high school graduation.

Several other states require that personal finance be woven into other subjects, like economics.  But less than half of all states require that students take economics.

In fact, most states offer economics and personal finance only as electives.

The 2011 Survey of the States, a biennial report by the Council for Economic Education that focuses on the importance of teaching economics and personal finance, shows that while there has been progress toward more course offerings and requirements in these subject areas since 1998, “the trend is now slowing, and in some cases, it’s moving backward.”

Virginia is one of the latest states to mandate that its high school students take personal finance.  Beginning with this year’s freshman class, students must take at least one credit in personal finance at some point in their four years of high school as a requirement for graduation.
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April 30th, 2012
06:13 AM ET

Should you pay for your neighbor's education?

As President Obama urges lawmakers to keep student loan rates low, Will Cain and Andrew Ross offer solutions with Christine Romans.

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Filed under: College • Economy • On air • video • Your Bottom Line
April 30th, 2012
06:08 AM ET

Presidential battle for youth vote heats up

Christine Romans speaks with University of Iowa upperclassmen about President Obama's recent speech about student debt.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • College • Economy • On air • Policy • Politics • video • Your Bottom Line
April 27th, 2012
04:34 PM ET

NJ teacher calls bullying claims 'disingenuous'

by Leigh Remizowski, CNN

(CNN) - The former teacher of a schoolboy diagnosed with autism, who is accused by the child's father of mistreating the student, has called the allegations "disingenuous," saying she wasn't there when the alleged classroom incident took place.

The father, Stuart Chaifetz, said he put a recording device on his 10-year-old son, Akian, and recorded school staff in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, making what he described as inappropriate comments during class.

Teacher Kelly Altenburg said through her attorney Friday that she "does not condone any such remarks."

"This language was not used at her direction, in her presence or with her knowledge," according to the statement.

Chaifetz launched a website and a YouTube video on Monday to publicize portions of more than six hours of recordings of what he says are teachers and aides talking about alcohol and sex in front of the class, punctuated by yelling at his son to "shut your mouth."

School authorities said in a statement Friday that they are "continuing to investigate what occurred in the classroom in question."

"Since the evidence presented is audio only, it is imperative that the improper conduct identified on the recording is correctly identified to the person(s) who committed the conduct," the statement said.

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April 27th, 2012
02:36 PM ET

Teen sues bullies for fake Facebook page

Alex Boston and her parents explain why they took legal action against two bullies who created a fake Facebook page.

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April 27th, 2012
12:05 PM ET

Today's Reading List

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

In the Washington Post's annual Spring Cleaning article, two of the top ten things that they think should be done away with are related to education:

Orszag: Get rid of the 3 p.m. school day
Former director of the Office of Management and Budget Peter Orszag says ending the school day at 3 p.m. should be a thing of the past. He argues that longer school days would cost more, but the benefits outweigh the increase in school budgets.
Harris-Perry: Let’s get rid of grades
Tulane University professor Melissa Harris-Perry says that giving grades to students is outdated, too. Students are more likely to pursue their interests – and take more challenging courses – if the fear of a bad grade is taken out of the equation.

U.S. News: College Students Split on Political Graduation Speakers
As the graduation season nears, some college seniors are reacting to their school's chosen commencement speakers. The article also links to an interactive map of this year's graduation speakers.

Education Week: Survey: Many Coaches Misinformed About Youth Sports Safety Risks
A recent survey of coaches of youth sports finds that many of them believe there is an acceptable level of physical contact in their sport. Almost half of the coaches surveyed said they were not well-trained in recognizing sports injuries, and almost four in ten had no training in sports safety.

NewYorkDailyNews.com: After controversy over pineapple question on city schools test, a question about a yam stirs new troubles
After a series of confusing questions about a talking pineapple was removed from New York's fourth grade reading test, a passage about a talking yam is being called unfair because the story appeared in test prep materials. Since schools had to buy the test prep materials, some students – but not all – were already familiar with the African folk tale.

Opinion: Obama should push bankruptcy relief for student loans
President Obama discusses student loan debt this week at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
April 27th, 2012
06:50 AM ET

Opinion: Obama should push bankruptcy relief for student loans

By Anya Kamenetz, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Anya Kamenetz is a senior writer at Fast Company magazine and the author of Generation Debt, DIY U, and the free book The Edupunks' Guide.

(CNN) - This week President Obama did a swing through some college campuses talking about student loan debt. The immediate issue is the 3.4% interest rate on federal student loans. It's set to double July 1 unless Congress acts. Keeping the rate low in this still weak economy is, as the president said, a no-brainer. Even his opponent Mitt Romney has endorsed it. But the larger problem - mounting college costs and a cumulative $1 trillion in student loan debt — remains untouched.

Some recent polls have shown that support for Obama among young voters, once Obama's enthusiastic fans, may be waning in this election compared with four years ago. Student loans are seen by some as the president's chosen key to regaining their hearts. But really, the issue has been raised for him by the Occupy movement, gearing up this May 1 with a new set of actions focusing on the cost of college and the depredations of the student loan industry.

Additionally, almost 700,000 people have signed a petition sponsored by MoveOn.org for student loan forgiveness, started by lawyer and student-loan debtor Robert Applebaum. And the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012, introduced by U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke, D-Michigan, last month, is aimed at offering relief.
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