December 12th, 2011
01:00 PM ET

Today's Reading List

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

Denver Post: Denver judge's ruling on school funding levels blisters state's witnesses
Colorado argued in district court that student performance isn't linked to education spending. A Denver judge wasn't convinced and says the state legislature must increase funding for public schools.

U.S.News & World Report: Florida Students Earn More Than High School Diplomas
A high school once devoted to drop-out prevention was redesigned as a technology magnet school. Now U.S. News says the school tops its ranking of “Most Connected Classrooms.”

American Public Media: Marketplace: Running education more like a business
Philanthropist and businessman Eli Broad's foundation has donated almost half a billion dollars to education. In this interview, Broad explains what he thinks needs to change in public education.

Education Week: H.S. Football Team Loses State Title Due to Touchdown Celebration
A brief moment of celebration from a high school quarterback costs his team a state championship. Massachusetts is the first state to implement an NCAA rule on unsportsmanlike conduct. Monta Vista student, 17, takes home $100,000 scholarship
A high school student develops a cancer drug and is awarded $100,000 for her work.

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December 12th, 2011
08:35 AM ET

What babies learn before they're born

Editor's note: Annie Murphy Paul is the author of "Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives." She's now working on a book about learning, and writes a weekly column at called "Brilliant: The Science of Smart." TED is a nonprofit organization dedicated to "Ideas worth spreading," which it distributes through talks posted on its website.

(CNN) - When does learning begin? As I explain in the talk I gave at TED, learning starts much earlier than many of us would have imagined: in the womb.

I was surprised as anyone when I first encountered this notion. I'm a science writer, and my job is to trawl the murky depths of the academic journals, looking for something shiny and new - a sparkling idea that catches my eye in the gloom.

Starting a few years ago, I began noticing a dazzling array of findings clustered around the prenatal period. These discoveries were generating considerable excitement among scientists, even as they overturned settled beliefs about when we start absorbing and responding to information from our environment. As a science reporter - and as a mother - I had to find out more.

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When classmates let the secret out of the sleigh bag
Other kids can spoil the whimsy of Santa Claus for your child.
December 12th, 2011
07:02 AM ET

When classmates let the secret out of the sleigh bag

By Sarah LeTrent, CNN
(CNN) - When out on the playground, there arose such a clatter - because little Tommy told all his classmates there was no such thing as Santa Claus.

It's an uncomfortable scenario both the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny know all too well, and has the potential to leave parents caught like reindeer in headlights.

It typically involves distraught kids cornering their parents after school with widened eyes, blurting out: "Tommy told me there isn't a Santa Claus!" (or Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle or Babbo Natale, respectively).

Heather Barranco knows the awkward affair all too well; her own child recently told a number of the kids in kindergarten that Santa didn't exist. For spiritual reasons, Barranco's family forgoes the Santa tradition.