February 10th, 2012
02:30 PM ET

Today's Reading List

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

StLToday.com: Missouri schools test four-day week
Some rural Missouri schools are taking Mondays off as part of a cost-cutting measure. The concept is a tough sell on parents trying to find child care, but school officials say the shorter week has saved jobs and saved money on school lunches and fuel for buses.

MySA.com: Schools going to war — of sorts
A Texas school district has set up "war rooms" in each of its schools. Instead of battlefield maps, the rooms contain student performance data that are used as a tool to improve performance.

Sun Sentinel: To keep class sizes low, Broward schools will cap classes, put some students in offices
Some overcrowded Broward County, Florida schools are shuffling students around to avoid state fines. Some students are taking classes in administrative offices; some schools are encouraging students to attend school virtually.

WLFI: Controversy over breast cancer bracelet
An eighth grader says that he wears a bracelet with a slang term in order to show his support for breast cancer. He refused to turn the bracelet inside out when asked by school officials, and his father filed suit on First Amendment grounds.

NPR: Milestone At University Of Michigan : Muslim Chaplain
Mohammed Tayssir Safi is the first endowed Muslim chaplain at a public American university. Safi hopes to help Muslim students transition as they try to keep their faith while being introduced to university life.

Opinion: U.S lag in science, math a disaster in the making
President Barack Obama meeting with a participant from the second annual White House Science Fair on February 7.
February 10th, 2012
11:00 AM ET

Opinion: U.S lag in science, math a disaster in the making

Editor's note: William J. Bennett, a CNN contributor, is the author of "The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood." He is a former secretary of Education and a senior adviser to Project Lead the Way, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing STEM education curricular programs.

(CNN) - Almost everyone, from educators to government officials to industry experts, laments the lackluster abilities and performance of our nations' students in science, technology, engineering and math (know as STEM education).

Two indicators are particularly worrisome, especially as this country experiences greater global competition and high unemployment. American students score 23rd in math and 31st in science when compared with 65 other top industrial countries. In math, we are beaten by countries from Lichtenstein and Slovakia to the Netherlands and Singapore. In science, we are beaten by countries from New Zealand and Estonia to Finland and Hungary.

For the United States, which led the way in space after Sputnik and showed the way in technological development and economic growth for the last 40 years, this is more than an embarrassment. And, for the future of our own GDP, economic well-being, and employer and employment needs, this is a disaster in the making. If the United States wishes to remain the most competitive and innovative country in the world - never mind just another competitive and innovative country in the constellation of industrial nations - this cannot stand.

Read William J. Bennett's full commentary

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Filed under: STEM • Voices
Open enrollment and real estate
February 10th, 2012
07:25 AM ET

Open enrollment and real estate

By Jim Roope, CNN Radio

Listen to CNN Radio's podcast on open enrollment from Jim Roope.

(CNN) Parents in Los Angeles may soon have the opportunity to apply to send their children to whatever school they choose. Open enrollment, the policy of eliminating school district boundaries, could, however, harm certain segments of the economy. One segment that could be adversely affected is real estate.

“Open enrollment is kind of a mirror to me of busing without the bus ride,” said Stuart Venner, a national real estate adviser and consultant. “People want pride in their neighborhood, pride in their area. When you have people coming in that may disrupt their way of life really, I think it’s going to lower and hurt the housing market in an area that doesn’t need to be hurt any worse right now.”

The Los Angeles Unified School District is considering open enrollment to stem the tide of kids leaving district schools for charter schools. But L.A. real estate agent Leti Venderstein doesn’t like the idea.

“I think it’s going to impact [real estate],” she said. “Values probably will come down in certain areas, what you would call good school districts.”

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Filed under: Podcast • Policy • School choice
February 10th, 2012
07:02 AM ET

Test your knowledge: Black History Month Quiz

(CNN Student News) - Test your knowledge – February is Black History Month. What do you know about the significant people, places and events that helped shape America? Answer these questions and find out.

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Filed under: CNN Student News • Interactive • Practice • Quiz