August 22nd, 2012
03:00 PM ET

Your kid skipped school? You owe $75

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!

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Filed under: Behavior • Practice
August 22nd, 2012
12:02 AM ET

Survey: 17% of high schoolers drink, smoke, use drugs during school day

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.

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Filed under: Behavior • Carl Azuz • High school • Issues
My view: Starting the school year on the right foot
August 15th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

My view: Starting the school year on the right foot

Courtesy Harry and Rosemary WongBy 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.
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Filed under: Behavior • First day • Practice • Voices
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
July 3rd, 2012
02:28 PM ET

Video captures teacher pummeling student

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.

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Filed under: Behavior • High school • Legal issues • On air • Policy • video
June 28th, 2012
06:02 PM ET

Opinion: 'Stopping bullying means liberation'

By Mike Honda, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Congressman Mike Honda represents Silicon Valley, California, in Congress. He is an educator of more than 30 years, the author of the landmark Commission on Equity and Excellence in Education now housed in the Department of Education and the Chair of the Congressional Anti-Bully Caucus.

(CNN) - My experience with bullying began with a presidential order.

At the height of World War II, on February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, incarcerating more than 120,000 Japanese Americans. My family and I were imprisoned behind barbed wire at the Amache internment camp in southeast Colorado. I was less than a year old.

Sadly, the internment of Japanese Americans spread fear and intolerance far beyond the wire and towers of the camps. After the war, during my early years of public school, I was often confronted and insulted because of my appearance and ethnic origin. As a result, I struggled as a student. I was shy to speak up. I lacked self-esteem.

In the 70 years since internment, our nation has made great leaps in providing reparations for the internment and ostracizing of Japanese Americans. But the mistreatment of people thought of as "outsiders" or "different" is a problem that has not gone away.

Today the health, safety, competitiveness and moral fiber of America is threatened by an epidemic that affects more than 13 million children each year.

These kids are teased, taunted and physically assaulted by their peers — reflecting racism, xenophobia, homophobia and sexism. This bullying epidemic also spreads far beyond classroom walls to strike countless communities from coast to coast in different social environments. Bullying is particularly acute in the elderly community. It is reported that one in 10 elders in America has experienced mistreatment in the past year. It has also been reported that for every case of elder abuse, neglect, exploitation or self-neglect reported to authorities, five more go unreported.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Behavior • Bullying • Character education • Policy • Politics • Voices
June 18th, 2012
10:42 AM ET

Get real! Teacher turns table on bully

A teacher in a San Antonio suburb allegedly tells students to hit a 6-yr-old "bully" to show why bullying is bad.  From Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien.

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Filed under: Behavior • Bullying • Policy • video
June 12th, 2012
02:34 PM ET

Possible Chicago teachers' strike, lecturers vs. teachers, and children's emotions

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.

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Filed under: Behavior • College • Curriculum • Issues • Policy • Practice • teacher unions • Teachers • Today's Reading List
Summer 'brain drain' worse for poor kids
Studies show that children lose some of their skills over the summer if their brains are not stimulated.
May 31st, 2012
06:07 AM ET

Summer 'brain drain' worse for poor kids

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.
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Filed under: At Home • Behavior • Curriculum • Podcast
My View: Kids have free speech right to be racists outside school
Some students sent out racist tweets about Washington Capitals player Joel Ward after he scored a winning goal against the Boston Bruins.
May 25th, 2012
06:15 AM ET

My View: Kids have free speech right to be racists outside school

Courtesy Michelle ReidBy 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.
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