Obama unveils plan to control college costs
President Obama spoke at a UPS freight facility in Las Vegas, Nevada Thursday.
January 27th, 2012
11:54 AM ET

Obama unveils plan to control college costs

From Alan Silverleib and Tom Cohen, CNN

(CNN) - College affordability took center stage Friday for President Barack Obama as he made the final stop on a three-day road trip highlighting themes from the State of the Union address this week.

In an appearance at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, the president outlined a series of new initiatives designed to control spiraling college costs and reform financial aid programs.

"We want a country where everybody has a chance," Obama said. America should be a "big, bold, generous country where everybody gets a fair shot."

Noting that student loan debt now exceeds credit card debt, the president declared Washington is "putting colleges on notice. You can't assume you'll just jack up tuition every year."

"We should push colleges to do better," he said. "We should hold them accountable if they don't."

Specifically, the administration wants to leverage $10 billion a year in federal aid, restraining costs by providing more assistance to schools that hold tuition down while cutting aid to those that do not. Obama is also pushing for the creation of a $1 billion competition encouraging states to contain public tuition rates.


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Filed under: After High School • College • Issues • Policy
January 27th, 2012
10:54 AM ET

CNN Student News anchor Carl Azuz talks with Dr. Sanjay Gupta about concussions

Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks about the medical science behind concussions and how young athletes and coaches can handle and prevent them.

Programming note:  Watch "Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports: Big Hits, Broken Dreams" Sunday, January 29 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET.

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Filed under: Carl Azuz • Policy • video
January 27th, 2012
07:35 AM ET

My View: An education crisis that never should have happened

Courtesy National Education Association by Sara Ferguson, Special to CNN

Editor’s Note: Sara Ferguson is a 20 year employee of the Chester Upland School District where she currently teaches Literacy and Math. She is a third generation educator in Chester Upland. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Widener University, a Masters of Education in Elementary Education from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania and a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from Cabrini College.

When I visited the White House for the first time, as a child, it was my teacher who brought me there. This week I returned, as a teacher and as a special guest of President Obama during his State of the Union Address. It was an honor to be in attendance, and I am grateful for the attention my struggling school district has received. However, if there’s one message I hope is heard across the country about the financial crisis in my school district, it is this: It’s a crisis that never should have happened.

Let’s back up for a moment. We have long had financial troubles in Chester Upland School District in Pennsylvania. The majority of students here come from families living at or below the poverty level. More than 70 percent of our students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, which is more than double the state average.

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Filed under: Policy • teacher unions • Teachers • Voices
January 26th, 2012
02:02 PM ET

The growing alternative to English-only education

By Alyse Shorland, CNN

(CNN) – Republicans vying for the GOP presidential nomination are debating and disagreeing about the economy and foreign policy, but they backed each other on one issue this week: the English language.

At Monday's debate in Florida, Newt Gingrich said this week he supports English as an official language of the United States: “I think it is essential to have a central language that we expect people to learn and to be able to communicate with each other in,” he said.

Mitt Romney said everyone in school should be learning in English: “English is the language of this nation,” he said. “People need to learn English to be able to be successful, to get great jobs.”

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Filed under: Curriculum • In America • Policy • Resources • video
January 26th, 2012
12:09 PM ET

STEM stories on CNN Student News

(CNN) – Here are some recent Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math stories covered on CNN Student News.




CNN Student News is a commercial-free, ten-minute news program for middle and high school students. In addition, we offer Daily Discussion questions and a weekly Newsquiz aligned with several of our news stories.

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Filed under: CNN Student News • Practice • Science • STEM • Technology • video
January 26th, 2012
07:28 AM ET

My View: No surprises with digital devices at school

Courtesy Marsali Hancock by Marsali Hancock, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Marsali Hancock is president of the Internet Keep Safe Coalition . She speaks nationally and internationally on digital citizenship issues, including safety, security and ethics.  She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Brigham Young University.

With students back from the holidays, many new digital devices are in the halls at school. Research from Flurry shows that 6.8 million Android and iOS devices were activated on Christmas Day alone, along with 242 million apps downloaded. Teens wielding new iPads, smartphones and e-readers are discovering the ins and outs of being connected full-time.

With all that holiday surprise in the digital world, schools will need a “no surprises” approach to managing connected devices on and off campus. Educating healthy, resilient digital citizens won’t happen by accident. As educators, we have to be proactive and work with parents to create a culture where good online behavior is the norm.

Here are four surprises you’ll want to avoid:

Surprise 1: Why is the network slow?

Check the security of your wireless network. You don’t want a kid with a new iPad to suck up your bandwidth by streaming movies (or worse) on your wireless network. Check with your network administrator to verify that the network is secure. Ask for a log that shows usage. Most importantly, use a network key or passcode that will be difficult to hack.

Surprise 2: Why is Facebook upsetting my classroom? What do you mean, new laws?

More devices mean more opportunity for digital drama. Harassment or abuse through digital communications, even when it’s off campus, can materially affect your school climate and interfere with students’ ability to learn.

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Filed under: Policy • Practice • Testing • Voices
January 25th, 2012
05:56 PM ET

USDA issues new rules for school meals

By Madison Park, CNN
(CNN) - School meals will have to offer fruits and vegetables to students every day under standards issued by the United States Department of Agriculture on Wednesday.

The meal programs, which feed about 32 million students in public and private schools, will have to reduce sodium, saturated fat and trans fats. Schools must also offer more whole grains as well as fat-free or low-fat milk varieties.

These standards go into effect July 1 and will be phased in over a three-year period, according to the USDA.

The new nutrition standards are largely based on recommendations by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, as part of efforts to curb childhood obesity. Recent numbers show that about 17% of children in the United States are obese.

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Filed under: On air • Policy • School lunch • video
Your thoughts on President Obama's education agenda
U.S. President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) delivers his State of the Union speech on January 24, 2012.
January 25th, 2012
11:02 AM ET

Your thoughts on President Obama's education agenda

By the Schools of Thought Editors

(CNN) Education was one major focus of last night’s State of the Union address.

President Obama talked about the value of good teachers, stemming the tide of high school dropouts, the cost of college and a path to citizenship for some students.

You can read the transcript of the entire speech here.

Here are some excerpts from the speech that focus on education:

On Teachers:

Teachers matter. So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer schools a deal. Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. In return, grant schools flexibility: To teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn.

On the Dropout Crisis:

We also know that when students aren’t allowed to walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma. So tonight, I call on every State to require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn eighteen.

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Filed under: Policy • Practice
January 25th, 2012
07:45 AM ET

My View: Education reform based on school choice

Andrew Campanella By Andrew Campanella, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Andrew Campanella is the vice president of public affairs for National School Choice Week. He is the former national director of communications at the American Federation for Children, the school choice movement’s largest lobbying and political organization, and was also a senior adviser for the federation’s nonprofit affiliate, the Alliance for School Choice.

For a moment, try to envision an America where, regardless of how much money you make or where you live, the government empowered you - even encouraged you - to send your children to better schools.

I’m talking about schools that inspire your children, challenge them to excel, and encourage them to dream big and plan for their futures, all while teaching them to love learning.

Sounds impossible. Sounds impractical. Sounds expensive.

But it isn’t.

It’s called school choice, and it’s the notion that across the country, families should be empowered to choose the best educational environments for their children - public schools, public charter schools, private schools, virtual schools and even home schooling.

Millions of Americans now agree that we must abandon archaic central planning that told us that if you live in one ZIP code, you can choose only one public school. Choice has become a centerpiece of American life, so why shouldn’t it extend to education?

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Filed under: At Home • Charter schools • Issues • Policy • School choice • Voices
January 24th, 2012
12:04 PM ET

Today's Reading List

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

Detroit Free Press: At-risk youths who make it to college face obstacles
There are big challenges in front of high-risk students who get to colleges. Research shows that only 16% of students whose family incomes are under $30,000 graduate in six years.

The Baltimore Sun: State’s student homeless population doubles
The number of homeless students in Maryland has more than doubled over the past five years.  One homeless advocate says that school is the most stable environment for these kids.

ASCD: Educational Leadership: The Resourceful School: How you’re doing more with less
Teachers and administrators share ideas for making the most of resources during tough times.

Chicago Tribune: CPS to enact new policies on allergies, diabetes, asthma management
Chicago Public Schools plans to stock EpiPens and authorize school officials to give a shot to any student suffering a severe allergic reaction.

AZCentral.com: Arizona high schools may soon offer Bible classes
Legislation proposed by one state lawmaker would make Arizona the 6th state to offer high school elective classes on the Bible.

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