Education Secretary Duncan takes on bullying
Education Secretary Arne Duncan led the third annual Bullying Prevention Summit in Washington, D.C. this week.
August 8th, 2012
04:02 PM ET

Education Secretary Duncan takes on bullying

by DaShawn Fleming, CNN

(CNN) The Department of Education held its third annual federal Bullying Prevention Summit in Washington, D.C. Monday and Tuesday. The goal of the event was to spread awareness ofand brainstorm initiatives to combat bullying, an ongoing issue facing many students. Bullying can result in tragic consequences including violent attacks, depression, and even suicide. Several notables attended the summit including Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Senior Adviser to President Obama Valerie Jarrett, actress Marlo Thomas and Lady Gaga’s mom, Cynthia Germanotta.

Secretary Duncan made the keynote closing remarks on Tuesday. He urged the importance of adult involvement in students’ lives, saying “I think that our kids need a lot more time with adults”, and insisting that adults work together to “support individuality and empowerment.”

In recent months, President Obama has endorsed two anti-bullying bills in Congress, the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act—both efforts to protect students and end bullying in schools. Duncansays that the president has often stated that “bullying is not a harmless right of passage or an inevitable part of growing up.”

Although children are the ones who normally face these issues, Duncan has high hopes that a partnership with the Ad Council, a non-profit that distributes public service announcements, will help teach kids to be more than just bystanders. With only one-third of all incidents being reported to adults, the partnership hopes to stress that people of all ages can be part of the solution by speaking up against bullying.

According to stopbullying.gov, bullying can occur both on and off school grounds. A member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America asked how out-of-school service providers can cooperate with schools to prevent bullying and harassment.
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Filed under: Arne Duncan • Behavior • Bullying
Opinion: Why do school sports start before classes do?
August 8th, 2012
03:21 PM ET

Opinion: Why do school sports start before classes do?

by LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor

Editor's note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter: @locs_n_laughs

(CNN) - The first "cup" was used in hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

That joke's been circulating on the Internet for years. And while it is funny, it's also an embarrassing observation about our past carelessness. But before we start congratulating ourselves about how "advanced" we are now, we should make note of this one little factoid: For much of the country, high school football practice started last month, and for much of the country, high school classes start next month.

Given where our high schoolers rank globally in reading, math and science, that is essentially putting the cup before the helmet in the 21st century.

Here again are the numbers: 14th out of 34 nations in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Again - 25th in math. No wonder we keep saying we're No. 1; there's a chance many of us can't count much higher than that.

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Filed under: Policy • Practice • Sports • Voices
August 8th, 2012
10:40 AM ET

Louisiana school reconsiders policy that can force students to take pregnancy test

by Tom Watkins, CNN

(CNN) - A publicly funded school in Louisiana said Tuesday that it may rethink requiring students suspected of being pregnant to be tested medically and, if pregnant, to be home schooled.

"There have never been any complaints from students or parents about the school's policy," Delhi Charter School principal Chris Broussard said in a statement issued a day after the American Civil Liberties Union sent him a letter criticizing the policy.

"However, in light of the recent inquiry, the current policy has been forwarded to the law firm of Davenport, Files & Kelly in Monroe, Louisiana, to ensure that necessary revisions are made so that our school is in full compliance with the constitutional law."

Under the school's policy, which is posted on its website, "The school reserves the right to require any female student to take a pregnancy test to confirm whether or not the suspected student is in fact pregnant."

In cases where a test determines that one of the school's approximately 700 students is pregnant, "the student will not be permitted to attend classes on the campus of Delhi Charter School," it says.

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My View: The looming ‘classroom cliff’
August 8th, 2012
06:04 AM ET

My View: The looming ‘classroom cliff’

Courtesy Reginald GallowayBy Adam Frankel, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Adam Frankel, a former speechwriter for President Barack Obama, is executive director of Digital Promise, a national initiative chartered by Congress to advance innovation in education.

At a time when the country is focused on the “fiscal cliff” that will come when huge tax increases and spending cuts kick in at the end of the year, America is also heading toward a “classroom cliff” in our nation’s schools.

In 2014 and 2015, the first tests will be administered to assess how students are measuring up to the Common Core State Standards – new college and career-ready standards that have been adopted by 45 states and three territories. The result of those tests, many educators believe, will be a disaster.

First, a little background: Historically, one of the biggest barriers to achievement in our schools has been a patchwork of state standards, some much higher than others. For example, states have had different standards for algebra, even though algebra is the same everywhere. That makes it difficult to get an accurate picture of where our students stand or make sure they are getting the best possible education.

The Common Core State Standards, known as “the Common Core,” were developed to change that status quo. The Common Core – a bottom-up, states-driven approach to establishing better, clearer standards – is one of the most significant steps we’ve taken to regain the global lead in education. For the first time, a majority of states have come together to develop and adopt common standards for math and English language arts, putting America on the path to greater educational achievement.
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