A school superintendent in New Britain, Connecticut, is tackling truancy with a new policy: A $75 fine every time a student skips class. Some say it's not fair - some parents can barely afford a car to get their kids to school, one told CNN affiliate WTNH. School leaders haven't approved the policy yet. An administrator said they might have a community service option for those who can't afford to pay.
What do you think? Is a truancy fine fair? Do you think it will keep kids from skipping school? Tell us in the comments!
By Carl Azuz, CNN
(CNN) - About 17% of American high school students drink, smoke or use drugs during the school day, a new survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University says.
It's no surprise to their classmates, either: 86% say they know the 2.8 million who are abusing substances during the day, according to the latest version of the center's annual back-to-school survey. The estimate is based on information gleaned from telephone interviews with about 1,000 kids ages 12 to 17.
The survey found that 44% of high school students know a classmate who sells drugs at school, and 60% say that drugs are available on campus. Marijuana was the most-sold on school grounds, students said, as well as prescription drugs, cocaine and ecstasy.
Here are some factors that can increase substance abuse, according to the survey.
By Harry and Rosemary Wong, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Harry and Rosemary Wong are authors of “The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher.” Harry is the recipient of the National Teachers Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award, and Rosemary is the recipient of the Louisiana State University College of Education’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.
(CNN) - One of the most misunderstood terms in education is “classroom management,” which is often seen as a synonym for discipline. Imagine asking the manager of a store to explain his job and he says, “My job is to discipline the customers.” And when the same question is posed to the manager of a team, she says, “I discipline the players.” Yet, discipline is the prevailing response of most educators when asked about classroom management.
Discipline is a reactive action used to stop deviant behavior and has nothing to do with student learning. Classroom management is a means of organizing, structuring and planning events to get things DONE in the classroom that will lead to student learning. Creating a well-managed classroom is the priority of a teacher the first two weeks of school.
by John Martin, CNN
(CNN) - Brooklyn teacher and security dean Stephan Hudson faces possible dismissal after a security tape shows Hudson grabbing and punching a 15-year-old student repeatedly. According to the New York Daily News, the incident occurred on March 6 at Brooklyn's George Westinghouse Technical Education High School.
Principal Janine Kieran issued Hudson a disciplinary letter for his permanent file.
After watching the footage recently, New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said he was "disturbed" by what he saw. In a statement given to CNN, Walcott says that the New York City Department of Education will begin the process of terminating the accused teacher, Hudson. Principal Kieran's role in the matter will also be investigated, according to the schools spokeswoman.
The boy's mother says that Hudson told her that her son started the scuffle. Three months later, she saw the incident on a tape supplied by the Daily News and is now considering a lawsuit against the school system. The boy's mother told the Daily News, "I’d love to hear [Hudson’s] side of the story for real, and not some bogus lies."
CNN left messages for Hudson, but he has not responded yet. The Daily News says that the principal, Kieran, refused requests for an interview.
Here's what the editors of Schools of Thought are reading today:
Chicago Tribune: 9 out of 10 CPS teachers authorize strike
As negotiations between union members and Chicago's school district continue, 90% of the city's unionized teachers have authorized a strike. The union and district have reached agreement on several items, but remain split on teacher pay and linking teacher salaries to student performance.
Education Week: Telling Is Not Teaching
Walter Gardner scoffs at the advice that some college professors give to public school teachers. Most college professors lecture, Gardner says, and wouldn't survive long in a modern K-12 classroom.
PsychCentral.com: Teachers Need More Training to Handle Children’s Emotions
A new study suggests that when dealing with children's emotions, teachers tend to rely on how they respond to their own emotions. The study's author suggests that learning how to deal with children's feelings should be incorporated into teacher training.
By Jim Roope, CNN
(CNN) - Some call it ‘the summer slide.’ Some call it ‘the summer brain drain.’ But whatever you call it, summer learning loss is a real phenomenon that has plagued students since summer vacations began.
Fourth-grade teacher Marian Valdez says that much of what kids learned in the 3rd grade they seem to forget over the summer.
Listen in as Jim Roope talks to teachers and students about summer:
“We spend the first couple of months, especially in math, reviewing, going back over the facts, time tests, those kinds of things,” said Valdez, who teaches at Washington Elementary in Los Angeles.
The first known report about summer learning loss came in a 1906 New York Times article by William White. He tested students in math before and after the summer and a found loss of skills. So for more than a hundred years, we’ve been trying to stop the summer knowledge leak.
By John S. Wilson, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: John S. Wilson is a contributing writer for The Loop 21, Mediaite and Black Enterprise. He frequently writes about health and education policies and politics. You may reach him on Twitter: @johnwilson.
(CNN) - Last month, a few high school students sent out racist tweets about Washington Capitals player Joel Ward after he scored a winning goal against the Boston Bruins in overtime. Responding later in an interview, Ward, who is black, said, “People are going to say what they want to say," and he shrugged off those comments. But the students' high schools sure didn't.
Almost immediately after reports of the tweets, the schools began looking into ways of punishing the students for their actions outside the classroom. The schools absolutely should express their discontent with the offensive tweets. But should they punish the students? Do they even have the ability to do so? Not likely.
One official, Jonathan Pope of the Gloucester School Committee in Massachusetts, admitted as much in an interview with MSBNC.com: "We don't know whether we actually have any legal standing to implement any kinds of penalties for that kind of behavior done outside school on a private communication system."
Pope and other school officials may want to look toward the Supreme Court on this point. The 1969 Tinker v. Des Moines ruling held that students' speech was subject to punishment if it "materially and substantially" affected an institution's educational mission. These few tweets couldn't possibly pass that bar and thus qualify for the schools' disciplinary action.