(CNN) - Thirty-five educators were indicted this year in a cheating scandal that rocked the Atlanta Public Schools and drew national attention. A judge recently lifted a gag order in the case, and two Atlanta teachers accused of cheating on standardized tests shared their perspectives on the charges.
"I'm struggling. I'm still struggling," elementary school teacher Angela Williamson told CNN. "To have to continue to fight to defend my name, my character, my good teaching reputation that I once had, it seems like all that has been stolen from me."
(CNN) - Pam Mathers was a half-mile away from the Boston Marathon finish line when bombs exploded Monday. The Michigan resident wasn't injured, but she didn't finish the race. Students back at Hamilton Elementary School in Troy, Michigan, where Mathers is principal, didn't want her months of training to end without celebration. They created a symbolic finish line so they could cheer her on, CNN affiliate WDIV reported.
(CNN) - Cherie Blair, a lawyer and wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, said her mother and grandmother left school at age 14, and never completed their educations. It was different for Blair and her sister, and the opportunities need to continue to spread, she said.
She's now chancellor of the Asian University For Women in Bangladesh, which has 3,000 students from several countries.
"When you hear the stories of the individual girls, the sacrifices they have to make..." she said. "So may of the girls say to me, 'I realize that by coming here and studying, you know, I'll never get married. Because, you know, I've given up that choice.'"
(CNN) - By now, most college applicants are another step closer to making their decision: They've gotten admission or rejection letters, and financial aid offers. But they shouldn't make any decisions on that initial aid offer, said Jordan Goldman, CEO of the college resource site Unigo.com. Now's the time to do another sweep for scholarships and grant, to ask about additional aid and negotiate, negotiate, negotiate, he said.
"More and more, people need to be really scrappy about paying for college," Goldman said. "They can't look at the financial aid offer they get as the be all and end all. They need to look at that as a starting place."
Did you negotiate on college financial aid? Share your story in the comments or tweet us @CNNSchools.
In Los Angeles, a program is trying to stop school violence by addressing teens' mental health. There's no predicting violent outbursts, the team says, and it's tough to watch out for L.A.'s nearly 700,000 students - but they feel like they've reached kids who probably wouldn't have gotten help, otherwise.
As college applicants are receiving their admission and rejection letters, Fareed Zakaria says it's time for colleges and universities to rethink their missions - and admissions. The higher education system is the "envy of the world," he writes in Time. "But there are broad changes taking place at American universities that are moving them away from an emphasis on merit and achievement and toward offering a privileged experience for an already privileged group." The problem is detailed in the new book "Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality," and in conversations with higher education officials, Zakaria says, and it's hurting state universities around the country.
(CNN) - It's not enough to be a fantastic speller anymore. A student who wants to win the National Spelling Bee must now be a whiz at vocabulary. The Scripps National Spelling Bee will add the evaluation of vocabulary to the competition's early rounds, according to a release from the bee.
"It represents a deepening of the bee's commitment to its purpose: to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives," said Paige Kimble, the director of the bee.
"Spelling and vocabulary are, in essence, two sides of the same coin," she said. "As a child studies the spelling of a word and its etymology, he will discover its meaning. As a child learns the meaning of a word, it becomes easier to spell. And all of this enhances the child's knowledge of the English language."
(CNN) - Three struggling elementary schools in Yonkers, New York, are dramatically reducing the length of summer vacation in an attempt to turn the institutions around.
The schools days will be longer, and summer vacation will last only one month, starting August 1.
Some parents are upset, saying it cuts down on valuable family time, and kids' opportunities to participate in summer sports and activities. A researcher argues that kids aren't robots, and can benefit from a break.
But Bernard Pierorazio, superintendent of Yonkers Public Schools, say the decision is made.
"We have to do something different," he said.
What do you think? Would shorter summers would help your children learn, or improve their schools? Share your thoughts in the comments, or on Twitter @CNNschools.
(CNN) - There's something a bit different about Dan Johnson's classroom at Cambridge-Isanti High School in Cambridge, Minnesota. Johnson remakes the room and his wardrobe to help students understand history. Recently, he replaced the fluorescent lights in his room with bare bulbs and lamps, posted Depression-era grocery ads on the wall and played music of the era for his students. Johnson will retire this year after 32 years of teaching history, according to CNN affiliate KARE, but watch the video to get a sense of how his students have learned about history over the years.
(CNN) - One of Wendy Killian's young students was ill. Eight-year-old Nicole Miller was born with a genetic disorder and in need of a kidney transplant. The girl was exhausted and often missed class, although her parents did their best to keep her up to speed.
During a parent-teacher conference, Killian asked Nicole's mom, what does your daughter need in a donor?
As she listed off the requirements for a match, "I just kept thinking, 'Huh. That's me,'" said Killian, a teacher at Mansfield Christian School in Ohio.
Now, she's preparing her students to work with a substitute teacher, and preparing her own sons to face her recuperation.
When the hospital calls, Killian will be giving Nicole a kidney.