August 27th, 2012
04:52 PM ET

Students' Obama cartoons spark uproar

A teacher was fired after hanging what some are calling offensive political cartoons in the school hallway. WDSU video

What do you think?  Do you agree or disagree with the decision to fire the teacher over this assignment? Watch the video and post your comment below.

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Filed under: Issues • Policy • Practice • video
August 27th, 2012
04:09 PM ET

September's legacy: Taking on Harvard in a wheelchair

by Ben Mattlin, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Ben Mattlin is the author of "Miracle Boy Grows Up: How the Disability Rights Revolution Saved My Sanity," a memoir about his life with spinal muscular atrophy.

(CNN) - For many, back-to-school is a season of anticipation, nostalgia, and shopping. For me, it evokes memories of an unsung historical event: the integration of Harvard.

No, I'm not talking about racial integration; I'm talking about the full inclusion of students with disabilities.

When I entered Harvard College as a freshman in 1980, it happened to coincide with a new requirement - all institutions receiving federal funds had to become fully accessible under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

I was a 17-year-old lifelong wheelchair-user, born with a neurological condition called spinal muscular atrophy. I'd never walked or stood and my arms were weak as a baby's. But, as my parents often said, there was nothing wrong with my head.

I had little awareness of the precedent I was setting.

At 17, I was too self-centered for that. I was preoccupied with how I'd cope my first time living away from my parents, depending on full-time, live-in personal-care attendants. Yet I had an Ivy League freshman's cockiness, too. Somehow I'd manage. I'd always managed before, hadn't I?

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Filed under: At Home • Policy • Practice • Voices
Study: School vouchers have positive effect on college enrollment for African-Americans
August 27th, 2012
04:00 AM ET

Study: School vouchers have positive effect on college enrollment for African-Americans

By Donna Krache, CNN

(CNN) – A recently released study by the Brookings Institution at Harvard has stirred up the debate over school choice and vouchers.

In some districts and states, parents can get vouchers to pay for their children’s education.  Parents may choose to send their children to religious or private schools using the vouchers as payment for tuition.  Much of the research surrounding the effectiveness of vouchers centers on more immediate outcomes, such as test scores.

The Brookings study was based on data collected on students who were recipients of vouchers from the privately funded New York School Choice Scholarships Foundation program.  In 1997, the foundation offered three-year scholarships of up to $1,400 per year to 1,000 low-income families whose children were either entering first grade or were already in public schools in second through fifth grades.  The Brookings study claims to be the first that used “a randomized experiment to measure the impact of school vouchers on college enrollment.”  It also claims to be one of only a few studies to track longer-term outcomes, years after students received their first vouchers.

Overall, the study found no effect on college enrollment, except among African-Americans, where there was significant impact.

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Filed under: After High School • College • School choice