Leadership Unplugged
July 31st, 2012
01:45 PM ET

CNN hosts Georgia high school leadership conference

by CNN Student News and CNN Schools of Thought staff

(CNN) – In June 2012, CNN and 21st Century Leaders partnered for the 7th annual Leadership Unplugged: A CNN Experience program. The week-long event brings 75 Georgia high school students together to learn about the journalism industry and experience life on a college campus.

During the week, students participate in workshops and panel discussions with CNN executives and personnel, examining how news stories are selected and produced, various news platforms, issues of ethics and diversity in the news, and the role that social media and audience interaction play in modern-day journalism.

Throughout the week, student groups develop story ideas into five-minute pitch presentations, which are made to a panel of CNN executives. The presentations are scored on creativity and relevancy to a 16-21 year old audience.

Overheard on CNN.com: "Wish my job was limited to 296 minutes per day!"
July 31st, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: "Wish my job was limited to 296 minutes per day!"

by John Martin, CNN

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

(CNN) - Chicago's mayor and the city's teachers union have come up with a plan for a longer school day for students: hire additional teachers, but don't extend the school day for most teachers. We asked our readers how this might impact students. The forum shifted from the impact on students to a lively debate over how hard teachers work compared to other professions.

Some readers questioned whether longer school days would benefit students, with some offering opinions on how a longer day could be structured:

Felix: This is only the 1st step....IMO the trend should be towards what the countries that have surpassed the US have done – longer Days...less Summer vacation if any at all (Some school systems don't have a summer break anymore...just weeks of hiatus during the summer), Less television, more after school sports/activities and more teachers.

Cindy: As a teacher, the days are long enough, what we need is a longer school year. More contact days. Students lose ground over the summer breaks (which 200 yrs ago were so they could work on farms...I don't think we need that farm help now.) Longer school years will allow more remediation time that is needed with some students or more time for deeper teaching of intense subjects.
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Filed under: Economy • Issues • Policy • Politics • Practice • Your comments
July 30th, 2012
06:10 PM ET

5th grader's speech topic goes viral

by James Dinan, CNN

(CNN) – Ten-year-old Kameron Slade has become an online sensation, and it’s all due to one speech.

Slade wanted to deliver a speech supporting same-sex marriage for a contest at his Queens, New York, elementary school, but the principal deemed it inappropriate and barred him from making it.

After word of his plight went viral, including YouTube videos of him reading the speech, Slade was eventually allowed to deliver his remarks at a different school assembly. Last week, he appeared before the New York City Council, again delivering his call to accept same-sex marriage.

Kameron Slade spoke to CNN’s Carol Costello about his whirlwind experience. Click on the above video to hear why he wanted to talk about same-sex marriage and more.

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July 30th, 2012
11:30 AM ET

Should we be teaching algebra?

by Donna Krache, CNN

(CNN) In an op-ed in Sunday’s New York Times, Professor Andrew Hacker asks “Is Algebra necessary?”

He answers that question “no.”  Hacker says that algebra “is a stumbling block for all kinds of students” and that it takes a toll on both high school and college graduation rates.

He says that while the study of math is important, “…in the decade ahead a mere 5 percent of entry-level workers will need to be proficient in algebra or above.”

The question of whether or not to teach algebra sparked a lively discussion on Monday’s Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien.

CNN education contributor Steve Perry says for students of historically disadvantaged populations, algebra “does present a real barrier” to graduating college because “too few take requisite number of math courses.”

Perry acknowledges that “Algebra is a gatekeeper,” but adds “I don’t know that it’s necessary for every child."  He says that we need to get away from “one-size-fits-all academic experiences.”

“We need to create more compelling academic experiences that children are more connected to,” says Perry.

He says that colleges and the SAT measure algebra.  “But is what we’re teaching the best way to ensure we’re getting the best from every child?”

What do you think?  Should schools be teaching algebra?  Post your thoughts in the Comments section below.

 

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Filed under: Issues • Math • Perry's Principles • Starting Point • video • Voices
Space school, Day 5: How to launch a ship to low-Earth orbit
Montse Cordero, left, with her housemate Alex Carney, right, in front of the vacuum chamber at Johnson Space Center.
July 29th, 2012
10:43 AM ET

Space school, Day 5: How to launch a ship to low-Earth orbit

Editor's note: Montse Cordero is a 17-year-old student from Costa Rica participating in the Foundation for International Space Education's United Space School, a two-week summer program in Houston. She'll be blogging about her experiences in the program here. Need to catch up? Check out all her previous posts here.

Day 5

I'm starting to get the feeling that all of these posts start the same way, but it's for a good reason: Every day is absolutely amazing in its own way!

Today started early again. Before school, our host took us to see some big vacuum chambers used for testing at Johnson Space Center. There are two chambers in the building: one, that is pretty gigantic, where they will test the James Webb Space Telescope, and another one that’s smaller.

The smaller one is actually human rated, so they’ll test space suits there (with people inside!). The big one takes over 12 hours to reach testing level of vacuum, and the smaller one will take more than eight. They are both quite impressive, we really enjoyed seeing them and learning about them.

FULL STORY
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Space school, days 3 & 4: team assignments, astronauts, flying
Montse Cordero and fellow USS student and housemate Alex stand in front of NASA's Space Exploration Vehicle.
July 28th, 2012
10:37 AM ET

Space school, days 3 & 4: team assignments, astronauts, flying

Editor's note: Montse Cordero is a 17-year-old student from Costa Rica participating in the Foundation for International Space Education's United Space School, a two-week summer program in Houston. She'll be blogging about her experiences in the program here. Need to catch up? Check out her first post: Getting ready to explore space school, and her log of the first two days.

Day 3

I’ve been a space geek for a pretty long time, so being at space school is like a dream come true. I’ve wanted to learn everything related to space since I was a little girl. Influence from my parents and going to Space Camp, along with a few other factors, got me to where I am now, but I never imagined I’d get to do things like the ones I’ve been doing these days. The most amazing part is that it’s only day two!

Today started early at Johnson Space Center, where we visited their acoustics laboratory. The laboratory is where they test spaceships and their components before they fly to make sure the vibrations from the launch won't damage them. From there we went to the University of Houston, Clear Lake where our classes take place. It was pretty exciting; we knew we were getting our team assignments.

FULL STORY
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Has America really underinvested in science education?
July 27th, 2012
05:20 PM ET

Has America really underinvested in science education?

By Alex Berezow and Hank Campbell, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Alex Berezow is the editor of RealClearScience. Hank Campbell is founder of Science 2.0. They are authors of the forthcoming book Science Left Behind. The views expressed are their own.

On Global Public Square last month, Fareed Zakaria made the case that the U.S. economy is struggling in part due to poor investment in science. He based this conclusion on two claims: First, that federal research and development (R&D) investment has declined over the past several years and, second, that American students have fallen behind in science education.

The first claim, while true, only tells part of the story. As we discuss in the upcoming Science Left Behind, American R&D investment has been relatively consistent for the past 30 years, never dropping below 2.3 percent of GDP. Though the federal portion of U.S. R&D investment has fallen during this period, the private sector has actually picked up the slack. Indeed, the most recent estimate for 2012 shows that the U.S. will spend approximately 2.85 percent of its GDP on R&D.

FULL STORY
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Embed America: East St. Louis schools more like ‘daycare centers’
Financial problems, teacher turnover and urban blight have left many East St. Louis schools, like Miles D. Davis Elementary School, in a state of disrepair.
July 27th, 2012
02:14 PM ET

Embed America: East St. Louis schools more like ‘daycare centers’

By John Sepulvado, CNN

Editor's note: Embed America is a partnership between CNN Radio and CNN iReport. This series tells the story of the 2012 U.S. presidential election through the people most critical to the campaigns: the voters. CNN Radio is traveling across the country to interview iReporters on election issues close to their hearts. These issues were named important by iReporters during phase 1 of the iReport Debate.

East St. Louis, Illinois (CNN) – The East St. Louis School District has some of the worst reading and math test scores in the state. That’s according to state and district statistics. Only ten percent of students are proficient in reading at their grade level. And for at least one resident, 17-year-old Louis Jones, it's a problem the presidential candidates need to address.

Meanwhile, education officials in Illinois are trying to take over the school district. The state cites systemic problems with corruption. Local board members disagree, and as is often the case with fights over power and money, both parties are now in court.

FULL STORY
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July 27th, 2012
02:12 PM ET

Louis Jones – iReport Debate: Education

(CNN) – "As a 17 year-old in the St. Louis metro-east area, I would really like to know who the candidates are going to respond to questions on how to improve the public education deficit we have in america."
- Louis Jones, iReporter

CNN PRODUCER NOTE 17-year-old student separatefrom says, 'The reason why I rank education above all other current issues is because I feel as if there is a deficit in valuable knowledge that can be applied to a setting outside of a school setting.' He cites a general lack of funding for education, elementary school not inspiring students enough and the need for a 'nationally implemented plan' to improve teaching methods.
- zdan, CNN iReport producer

Hear what others are saying about education, and contribute your own iReport.

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In Chicago, longer school day for students, but not for teachers
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (L) listens to Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard while participating in a forum about education in big cities
July 27th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

In Chicago, longer school day for students, but not for teachers

By John Martin, CNN

(CNN) – Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing for a longer school day. The city’s teachers are insisting that their work days not be extended.

The agreement reached this week is something you might not see every day: both sides in the dispute are getting what they want.

Under the new proposal, elementary school children will have a 7-hour day this upcoming school year, while high school students will see their day increase to 7 ½ hours. Those figures represent a 20% increase in the school day for students.

But there will be little to no impact on the amount of time teachers spend in the classroom each school day. Instead, Chicago Public Schools will hire additional teachers to fill in the gaps.

With those hires, elementary school teachers will maintain a maximum of 296 minutes of instructional time per day. High school teachers will work about 15 minutes longer per school day than they did last year.

The school board president says the increased hiring could cost the district between $40 and $50 million per year, but neither the board nor the mayor’s office has yet to determine where the additional funds will come from. All of this is part of ongoing negotiations between city leaders and teachers unions to avoid a teachers strike.


Do you think a longer school day would benefit students? Tell us in the comments below.

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