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.

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Filed under: Science • Voices
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.

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Filed under: CNN Radio • Economy • Policy • Practice
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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Filed under: 2012 Election • iReport • Issues • Voices
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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Filed under: Policy • Practice • teacher unions