My View: An easy out for athletes in Harvard scandal?
A referee waits during a game between Harvard and Vanderbilt during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
September 25th, 2012
06:00 PM ET

My View: An easy out for athletes in Harvard scandal?

Nicolaus MillsBy Nicolaus Mills, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Nicolaus Mills is professor of American studies at Sarah Lawrence College and is working on a book about the West Point football team of 1964 and its service in Vietnam.

(CNN) - Harvard is caught up in a student cheating scandal that its dean of undergraduate education calls "unprecedented in its scope and magnitude." As a Harvard grad, I am embarrassed, but what has me really worried is that Harvard, despite officials acknowledging the seriousness of what has happened, gives signs of trying to finesse the consequences of the scandal where key athletes are concerned.

The scandal centers on 125 students, as many as half of them varsity athletes from the men's basketball, baseball and football teams, according to The Boston Globe. They stand accused of copying from one another or plagiarizing on a take-home exam in a spring 2012 government course, "Introduction to Congress," with an enrollment of 279.

At Harvard the standard penalty for cheating is that a student can be asked to withdraw from the university for a year. In the case of athletes, withdrawal means the loss of a year of athletic eligibility, according to the NCAA, if they are forced to leave after they have registered for classes.

Harvard is seeking to avoid that problem. The secretary of Harvard's Administrative Board, the body that rules on individual cheating cases, sent around an internal e-mail to resident deans saying that fall athletes might "consider taking [a leave of absence] before their first game."

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Filed under: Cheating • Sports • Voices
September 25th, 2012
11:30 AM ET

School under fire after male employee paddles teen girl

(CNN) - A school near Fort Worth, Texas, is facing questions about its corporal punishment procedures after a student came home with a bottom that "looked almost as if it had been burned and blistered."

Springtown High School sophomore Taylor Santos requested corporal punishment because she didn't want to return to in-school suspension, a punishment she said she received when a classmate cheated off her, CNN affiliate WFAA reported. Her mother agreed because it was Taylor's preference, but expected her daughter to be hit by a woman: A district policy says corporal punishment should only be administered by people the same sex as the student. Although a woman was in the room, a man hit her, leaving red marks and welts that lasted for days, Taylor and her mother said.

Texas is one of 19 states where it's legal for school employees to hit students. During the 2005-06 school year, 223,190 students around the United States were punished physically, according to The Center for Effective Discipline.

The superintendent suggested they change the policy to remove the sex requirement, but Taylor's family says she's proof it's needed. Now, the school district has changed the policy to require parents to request in writing corporal punishment and the sex of the person administering it.

What do you think? Should schools be able to administer corporal punishment? What requirements should be in place for it to occur?

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Filed under: Behavior • Issues • video
My View: Myths on American schooling
September 25th, 2012
04:30 AM ET

My View: Myths on American schooling

Courtesy Michigan State UniversityBy William H. Schmidt, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: William H. Schmidt is a university distinguished professor at Michigan State University. He serves as co director of the Education Policy Center, co-director of the U.S. China Center for Research and holds faculty appointments in statistics and education. He has co-written eight books, including “Why Schools Matter,” “Teacher Education Matters” and his latest book, “Inequality for All.” 

Myths have a powerful ability to shape our understanding of the world, sometimes for the worse. There are three myths about schooling in America that have distorted how we view education and compromised our efforts to improve it. Dispelling these myths is the critical first step to ensuring that children learn the content, skills, problem-solving and reasoning abilities essential for today’s world.

Myth No. 1: Everyone has an equal chance to succeed in school.

Americans see our country as the land of opportunity, where with hard work anyone can succeed in life. Education has always been one of the key parts of this idea, providing a “level playing field” so students from every walk of life can go to school, work hard and make something of themselves.

I absolutely agree that education should serve this role, and I wish that today’s system managed to live up to this fundamental responsibility. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. The sad truth is that schooling in America is like a game of chance where the opportunities are arbitrarily determined by where a student lives, the school they are assigned to, the teacher they have or the textbook they’re given.

If you’ve been following debates about education, you’re probably aware that there are big inequities in how much money schools get, how good the teachers are and the kinds of skills children have when they first arrive at school. What doesn’t get very much attention is what I call equality of opportunity to learn, which is just another way of saying that every student should have the chance to learn challenging content.

It’s a simple idea with profound consequences. Whatever the resources, the quality of teachers, or the talent of students, if children are never exposed to strong mathematics (for example), how can they be expected to learn it? If they learn about a topic years after their peers, how are they ever supposed to catch up? Well, the fact is they don’t. Two children could go to the same school and are in the same grade, are both enrolled in a class called “Algebra I” and even have the same textbook, but one could be learning algebra and the other could be learning basic arithmetic.


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Filed under: education • Issues • Policy • Practice • Voices
September 25th, 2012
03:37 AM ET

Unlikely teachers find purpose in the classroom

By Julie Hays, CNN

(CNN) - After playing college football, working as a financial aid adviser and earning a master's degree, 25-year-old Andrew Fuller is back in high school.

Fuller is a new teacher at Tri-Cities High School in East Point, Georgia. He made the move from Oregon to Georgia to join Teach for America, a non-profit organization that recruits non-traditional teachers to improve education for children in low-income communities.

Fuller's passion for education stems from his own experience growing up. He was in a special education program from kindergarten to his senior year, and he felt stigmatized and overlooked.

"I never knew why. I never knew my disability," Fuller says. "I never had an IEP, which is an individualized education program. I never had any of those things."

"Just being in the classroom and just knowing that I'd been given up on sometimes, that I'm not receiving the work, it was heartbreaking," he says.

A gifted athlete, Fuller was accepted to the University of Oregon on a football scholarship. He later transferred and finished his college career playing for the Portland State Vikings.

Read the full story from Impact Your World
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