February 21st, 2012
03:07 PM ET

High court accepts case over use of race in college admissions

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case on the University of Texas' race-conscious admission policies.

The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case on the University of Texas' race-conscious admission policies.

Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to tackle another election-year blockbuster and will decide whether the University of Texas' race-conscious admission policies violate the rights of white applicants.

If health care reform, illegal immigration crackdowns, voting rights and TV indecency were not enough, now the nine-member bench is poised to add to its high-profile docket, wading into the divisive, sea-change issue of state-mandated racial diversity and affirmative action. Oral arguments would be held this fall, ensuring the court - however it decides the appeal - will be a major campaign issue. A ruling however will not likely be issued until early 2013.

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Filed under: College • Legal issues • Policy • Supreme Court
February 21st, 2012
01:02 PM ET

Ask Dr. Perry

A CNN viewer asks Education Contributor Steve Perry what schools can do to help students understand financial markets.

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Filed under: Perry's Principles • video
February 21st, 2012
12:03 PM ET

Free plastic surgery for teachers

CNN's Gary Tuchman reports on a financially troubled school district where teachers get free plastic surgery.

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Filed under: Policy • teacher unions • video
February 21st, 2012
11:38 AM ET

Black male teachers a rare breed

Kindergarten teacher Terris King says more black men need to step up and teach. CNN's George Howell has his story.

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Filed under: After High School • On air • Policy • Practice • Teachers • video
February 21st, 2012
06:02 AM ET

My View: Encourage your kids to write

Courtesy Don Dinehart By Laura Dinehart, Special to CNN

Editor’s Note:  Laura Dinehart is an assistant professor of early childhood education at Florida International University. Her research focuses on the development and early academic outcomes of children from birth to 5 years of age.

As a researcher in the field of early childhood education, I relish the idea of uncovering how factors in early childhood related to children, families, and schools, connect to children’s academic achievement once they enter school. As a parent, I often find it exasperating.

Take for example our recent findings of a study that looked at over 3,000 preschoolers in the state ofFlorida. We found that preschoolers’ early writing skills – their ability to copy letters, shapes, and numbers – significantly predicted both their grades and standardized test scores in second grade reading and math. As a researcher, this finding was important! Public schools all over the country are dropping handwriting from their curriculum and technology has taken over the need to write anything with pencil and paper. And while newspapers and media outlets highlight this work, parents all over the country are wondering, “Is this one more thing I have to work on with my child?”

As a parent of three young children, I get it. Parents spend time reading, counting, playing outside, doing puzzles, doing extracurricular activities, and finishing homework – now the handwriting too? Do our findings mean that kids with poor writing skills in preschool are doomed to fail? Of course not! In fact, every time I talk about these results, someone inevitably says, “I had horrible handwriting when I was a kid and I did really well in school.” At this point, our study has prompted fewer answers and more questions. Do the findings overwhelmingly demonstrate that teaching handwriting in preschool will result in an improvement in academic skills in the later years? I'm not so sure, just yet. I am comfortable with the notion that early writing skills can serve at least as an indicator of later achievement.