June 14th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

District's 'Teacher of the Year' laid off

by John Martin, CNN

(CNN) - As many as 33,500 teaching jobs nationwide have been lost since September, according to a recent analysis by the Washington Post. Sutterville Elementary School 6th grade teacher Michelle Apperson joined the ranks of those unemployed educators when she was laid off by the Sacramento City Unified School District.

Apperson isn't a new teacher, and she's not considered the bottom of the barrel. She taught at Sutterville for nine years, and was selected as this year's Teacher of the Year for the entire district. That distinction did not prevent Apperson's pink slip.

The district was facing a $43 million budget shortfall, which it addressed in part through cuts in its workforce – including teachers. A district spokesperson said the way teacher layoffs are handled is mandated by state law, and that the layoffs were based on seniority. Gabe Ross, the district's spokesman, called the situation "awful" and said, "It's another sign of how education's funding really needs an overhaul."

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Filed under: Economy • Elementary school • Policy • Teachers • video
June 11th, 2012
03:14 PM ET

ACHIEVEability: Breaking the cycle of poverty

One program attempts to break the cycle of poverty for poor and homeless Philadelphians by offering them housing and a path to education.

From Your Bottom Line with Christine Romans. Join us every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. ET on CNN.

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Filed under: College • Economy • On air • Practice • video • Your Bottom Line
June 7th, 2012
01:05 PM ET

Million dollar PTAs, clearer financial aid packages and 'pink slime'

Here's what the editors of Schools of Thought are reading today:

New York Times: Amid Million Dollar PTAs, a School Fights to Keep Its Library
In response to an article on New York City PTAs that raise a million dollars, KJ Dell'Antonia says that one city school had trouble raising $40,000 to save its library. The school doesn't quite make the cut for Title I funds which would have saved the library outright, and Dell'Antonia wonders why parents should have to shoulder that financial burden.

U.S. News: College Financial Aid Packages May Become Clearer in 2013
Ten colleges and universities have pledged to release more detailed information about financial aid offers to prospective students. Students will be given financial information that includes how much the school will cost per year, the differences in the type of aid offered, and how much a monthly loan payment could be.

Food Safety News: Nearly Every State Opts Out of 'Pink Slime' for School Lunch
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that only three states have ordered Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB), which critics call "pink slime," for their school lunch programs. Ground beef without LFTB costs about 3% more. The USDA and the beef industry say that LFTB is safe, but one beef producer isn't surprised that states have cut their orders for the product.

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Filed under: College • Economy • Financial aid • Issues • Lunch • Policy • Practice • School lunch • Today's Reading List
May 31st, 2012
12:10 PM ET

Today's Reading List

Here's what the editors of Schools of Thought are reading today:

Salon.com: Cheating runs rampant
Daniel Denvir says than emphasis on high stakes testing at the federal and state levels has led to rampant cheating among U.S. school districts. His article also says that subjects outside of reading and math have been hurt as well, including science, physical education and the arts.

Education Week: NCATE Accredits First 'Nontraditional' Program
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education has accredited iTeachU.S., which can now recommend teachers for licensure in the states of Texas, Louisiana, and Tennessee. The online provider is the first non-higher-education-based teacher preparation program accredited by NCATE.

Washington Post:College dropouts have debt but no degree
The percentage of college dropouts who have students loans has risen over the past decade. Public policy has pushed more students towards college, and some education experts say that more needs to be done to help students reach graduation.

ED.gov: Student Voices of Military-Connected Children Inspire Guidance from Secretary Duncan
After meeting with children of members of the U.S. military, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan wrote a letter asking school districts to consider the needs of military children. The students told Secretary Duncan of the hardships they face when transitioning to new schools and difficulties in connecting deployed family members with school activities.

MySanAntonio.com: Vaccine adds to cost of college
Vaccination against meningitis is now mandatory for most students at Texas colleges. At around $140 per shot, the vaccine against the rare but potentially fatal infection could cost as much as one or two textbooks.

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Filed under: Curriculum • Economy • Policy • Practice • Technology • Testing • Today's Reading List
May 28th, 2012
12:35 PM ET

Should P. Diddy's son return $54,000 college scholarship?

Justin Combs worked hard in high school to improve his football game and earn a 3.75 GPA . He recently received a $54,000 merit-based scholarship to UCLA, where he'll play football.

In April, Forbes named Justin Combs' dad,  Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, the wealthiest artist in hip-hop. Some say the family should return Justin's scholarship, arguing that Combs should pay for his son's education and taxpayer money should go to students with greater financial need. Other say Justin Combs earned the scholarship through his grades and athletic ability, and deserves to keep it.

What do you think? Should the Combs family keep, return or donate the money? Should students with wealthy parents have access to merit-based scholarships and financial aid?

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Filed under: College • Economy • Financial aid • Issues • Perry's Principles • Sports
Furloughed Texas college staffers worked months without pay
Lon Morris College employees hadn't been paid in three months, staff members told CNN.
May 24th, 2012
03:15 PM ET

Furloughed Texas college staffers worked months without pay

By Nick Valencia, CNN

(CNN) - Nearly all of the staff at the oldest two-year college in Texas was furloughed Wednesday morning because of "financial and liquidity difficulties," according to a letter sent by the college to its staff and obtained by CNN.

Lon Morris College, a faith-based private school in Jacksonville, Texas, with an enrollment of slightly more than 1,000 students, notified its employees that - with the exception of a core group of 11 - all staff would be furloughed indefinitely. About 100 employees are on the school's payroll, according to local news affiliates.

"Given insufficient cash flow, the college cannot continue to employ personnel and further cannot allow employees to continue to work even on a 'volunteer' or unpaid basis," a letter sent to the Lon Morris staff by Director of Human Resources Carolyn Nanni said.

Before the announcement Wednesday, the staff had not been paid for three payroll periods, according to staff members

"For this to happen...it's really hurtful. About three months we haven't gotten paid," Lon Morris defensive line football coach Eric Morris told CNN in a phone interview.

Read the full story

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Filed under: After High School • College • Economy • Teachers
My View: When it comes to school districts, bigger leads to bigger problems
May 22nd, 2012
06:15 AM ET

My View: When it comes to school districts, bigger leads to bigger problems

Courtesy Trish HowardBy Jim Redovian, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Jim Redovian is a father of six children, all educated in the public school system; he has two grandchildren attending public schools. He is a former board member for the DeKalb County School District, which covers much of the eastern half of the Atlanta metro area. It is the third-largest district in Georgia and one of the nation’s 30 largest.

Being a product of the public school system in Northern Ohio, my education came from a system that had less than 30,000 students and only one high school. It was governed by a Board of Education elected by the residents of our city and administrated by a superintendent hired by the board, all of whom were important parts of the community in which the students lived.

Fast forward twenty years and I am an adult with children of my own who are attending a system very similar to the one I was brought up in. As a young businessman, I couldn’t help but think that the duplication of services among the small cities would be more economical if systems were combined into larger entities to share such services as superintendent, management, bus service, food service, board of education and human resources. It just made sense to my business instincts.

I moved to Atlanta in late 1977 and was introduced to just that type of school system. I have learned a lot in the 35 years I have been involved as a parent, volunteer and ultimately a member of the elected nine-member Board of Education. Bigger is not always better.
FULL POST

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Filed under: Economy • Policy • Voices
May 15th, 2012
11:40 AM ET

Today's Reading List

Here's what the editors of Schools of Thought are reading today:

Los Angeles Japanese Daily News: USC Honors Nisei at Graduation
Nine Japanese-American students who were forced into internment camps while they were students at University of Southern California during World War II graduated from USC on Friday. A small group protested the graduation because the honorary degrees are only being conferred upon the living, and because some were denied their transcripts if they continuted their education elsewhere.

AZCentral.com: Some schools removing valedictorian title
Some Arizona high schools are honoring more of their best students, not just the top two who used to earn the titles valedictorian or salutatorian. Some top students prefer the competition for the title and are afraid the lack of one hurts them in the hunt for college scholarships.

Education Week: Charters Bills Go Down in Alabama, Mississippi
Recently, charter school bills have been popular in the Deep South. However, in Alabama and Mississippi this legislative session, charter school measures died before they could hit pro-charter school governors' desks.

U.S. News: 3 Etiquette Tips for New PTA Members
Parent-Teacher Associations can have an impact on school budgets, curriculum, and other activities. The article offers advice on how parents who are new to a school can introduce themselves to the PTA.

Wired.com: Girls Impress FIRST Championship With Project That Could Save Lives
Thousands of students gathered in St. Louis recently to compete in a national robotics competition, which includes the Junior FIRST Lego League. The Hippie Pandas, an all-girl team from New York, invented a way for people to pasteurize milk safely, and their invention is already in use in Nicaragua.

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Filed under: Curriculum • Economy • Policy • Practice • Technology • Testing • Today's Reading List
May 10th, 2012
02:30 PM ET

Voters in America: Vets Wanted? Educator and Parent Guide

(CNN Student News) - Teachers and Parents: Watch with your students or record "Voters in America: Vets Wanted?" when it airs on CNN on Sunday, May 13 at 8 p.m. ET and PT, or Saturday, May 19 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and PT. By recording the documentaries, you agree that you will use the documentaries for educational viewing purposes for a one-year period only. No other rights of any kind or nature whatsoever are granted, including, without limitation, any rights to sell, publish, distribute, post online or distribute in any other medium or forum, or use for any commercial or promotional purpose.

The Educator and Parent Guide is provided for teachers and parents to use as a catalyst for discussion and learning if they choose to watch "Voters in America: Vets Wanted?" with their students.

Documentary Description: Multiple deployments interrupt lives and careers and can lead to health and financial challenges. Narrated by former U.S. Army infantryman and motivational speaker J.R. Martinez, "Voters in America: Vets Wanted?" looks at the unique burdens for families of men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it follows the reintegration of members of the Georgia National Guard's 877th Engineer Company into civilian life. Deployed to Afghanistan in December 2010, half of these veterans faced unemployment when they returned to the U.S. The documentary also examines whether the bipartisan Veterans Jobs Bill passed in November 2011 is of any help as our nation's heroes make full transitions back to the lives they left to defend America, and it offers insights into how veterans' unemployment may impact their decisions as they head to the polls this November.

All of the In America parent and teacher educator guides are developed by CNN Student News. CNN Student News is a ten-minute, commercial-free, daily news program for middle and high school students produced by the journalists and educators at CNN. This award-winning show and its companion website are available free of charge throughout the school year.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: After High School • CNN Student News • Curriculum • Economy • In America • Military • veterans • video
May 8th, 2012
11:27 AM ET

Today's Reading List goes to the prom

Here's what the editors of Schools of Thought are reading today about proms:

MetroWest Daily News: Are these prom dresses too hot to trot?
According to a Harvard sociologist, teen fashion may becoming more provocative due to influences like "The Jersey Shore" and Angelina Jolie. However, prom styles may have more to do with school dress codes than social norms.

AZdailysun.com: Home-schoolers don't miss out on prom
The roughly 300,000 home schooled students in Texas miss out on many of America's traditions. Home schooling groups around the state are trying to make sure prom isn't one of them.

Detroit Free Press: Project prom dress: Teen designers get creative with prom dresses made from newspapers
The Detroit Free Press issued a challenge to area high school students – make a prom dress out of the newspaper. Readers can select from eight finalists, and the winner will be awarded $500.

YNN: Johnstown prom tradition a tradition no more
In years past, Johnstown, New York seniors would arrive at prom in front-end loaders, ATV's and even boats. Officials killed the tradition this year out of concern for the students' safety.

Wave3.com: Tim Tebow goes to prom – sort of
On a bet, an Iowa teen asked New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow to her prom through Twitter. When he didn't reply, she brought Tebow anyway – but not in the flesh, a cardboard cutout.

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