March 23rd, 2012
03:09 PM ET

Rhee: Everyone has a stake in education

StudentsFirst CEO Michelle Rhee on the economic and security risk the U.S. faces as a result of failing schools.

Read: Report calls education a national security issue

Posted by
Filed under: Issues • Michelle Rhee • Policy • Practice • video
March 23rd, 2012
01:32 PM ET

Today's Reading List

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

Inside Higher Ed: Big tuition hikes at private colleges complicate affordability picture
When the recession hit, American families actually paid less for their children's college expenses as they looked around for more affordable options. As a result, some private schools have issued tuition freezes for 2012; but a few elite private universities, Dartmouth and Princeton among them, are bucking the trend and raising tuition at percentages greater than the inflation rate.

U.S. Department of Education: FAFSA Completion Project Expands: Targets Single High School LEAs and Rural Districts
The U.S. Department of Education is helping some districts increase the percentage of students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Studies show that completing the form increases college enrollment, especially among low-income students.

Mind/Shift: Building Good Search Skills: What Students Need to Know
Most students have limited search skills, honed by their use of free search engines to scour the Internet. Some people say that other types of search tools – scholarly databases, for example – have to become easier to use, and that students need to be taught effective search techniques.

New York Times: Ban Lifted, R.O.T.C. to Return to Harvard’s Campus
Now that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has been lifted, Harvard University will soon open an Army Reserve Officers Training Corps office on campus, provide space for classrooms and training, and cover the program's administrative costs. The prestigious university first banned R.O.T.C. programs during the Vietnam War. That ban remained in effect until recently as a protest against military policy that prohibited gays and lesbians from serving. Fences, guns and guards: Mobile County school board considers ways to stop guns at school
In the wake of a recent high school shooting, Mobile County's superintendent is looking into building fences and installing metal detectors on campuses. Some lawmakers are pushing to change an Alabama law that bars resource officers from carrying guns.

March 23rd, 2012
06:12 AM ET

My View: Another suicide could have been prevented

Courtesy NEABy Jessie Klein, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Jessie Klein is a sociology and criminal justice professor at Adelphi University. She is the author of “The Bully Society: School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America’s Schools.” During the last two decades, she led and administered high school guidance programs. She served as a supervisor, school social worker, college adviser, social studies teacher, substance abuse prevention counselor and conflict resolution coordinator and worked as a social work professor. You can see more of Klein’s work at

Eden Wormer, 14, hanged herself earlier this month. She was bullied for two years at Cascade Middle School in Vancouver, Washington. It could have been prevented. Her suicide and the school shooting at Chardon High School in Ohio a few weeks ago - and the hundreds of other suicides, shootings and other acts of despair - happen in a culture of misery our children endure every day.

Students tell us over and over that they are hated, ostracized and/or harassed at school and no one helped them. They are right. The national efforts to pass anti-bullying legislation are doing little if anything to solve the problem. In many cases, they are making it worse. These kids need a school community that cares about them. They need teachers and students who are there for them, who stand up for them and who reiterate the importance of compassion and kindness in their school every day.

Kids don't commit desperate acts such as these when they feel loved and love others. But that's not so easy to do today. These atrocities occur at a time when - since the 1980s - social isolation in the United States has tripled, according to the 2004 General Social Survey. Depression and anxiety and related disorders are at extreme heights among adults and youth. In “Comfortably Numb,” Charles Barber tells us that we make up two-thirds of the global anti-depressant market. Jacqueline Olds and Barry Schwartz sum it up in the title of their book, “The Lonely American.”

Most schools are microcosms of our larger unhealthy society, pushing kids too hard, recommending success at any cost regardless of others’ feelings or needs and prepping them for more assessment exams in lieu of exciting and meaningful learning.

But schools don't have to be part of the problem. They could be the solution.

Posted by
Filed under: Behavior • Issues • Voices