Student loan rate hike: What you need to know
Congress has until July 1 to extend current low rates on subsidized student loans for more than 7 million undergraduates.
April 24th, 2012
04:39 PM ET

Student loan rate hike: What you need to know

By Jennifer Liberto @CNNMoney

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) - On July 1, the interest rates on student loans subsidized by Uncle Sam will double to 6.8%.

The upshot? Students taking out loans for the next school year will have to dig deeper in their pockets to pay them off. Unless Congress steps in to stop the increase from going forward.

The issue has become a political talking point. President Obama, who called for congressional action in his State of the Union speech in January, is using the issue to stump for votes.

His Republican rival Mitt Romney says he, too, believes Congress should step in.

What's at stake: More than 7 million undergraduates have subsidized student loans, which means the federal government absorbs some of the interest rate for lower- and middle-income families based on financial need.

If Congress does nothing, the cost to students borrowing the maximum $23,000 in subsidized loans is an extra $5,000 over a 10-year repayment period. The cost to the federal government to extend the lower interest rate is $5.8 billion, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Read the full story from CNNMoney
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Filed under: CNNMoney • College • Policy
April 24th, 2012
12:35 PM ET

California middle school educator is Teacher of the Year

By John Martin, CNN

(CNN) – President Obama praised more than 50 teachers at a ceremony at the White House on Tuesday. The educators were previously honored by their states and territories as Teachers of the Year. President Obama told the group “I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for teachers like these.”

On Monday, The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) announced that Rebecca Mieliwocki, a 7th grade English teacher from California, is the 2012 National Teacher of the Year. The 14-year veteran educator said, ““I have an unshakeable understanding that when children have a strong education, they can do anything.”

Earlier in an interview, Mieliwocki said, “I'm not the best teacher in America; I'm one of so many.”

California chose Mieliwocki as the state’s Teacher of the Year from among its roughly 287,000 teachers. The state’s selection process included a written application, visits by officials to her classroom and an interview. Mieliwocki is known for her teaching techniques at Luther Burbank Middle School. She would play music on her iPad while students work, or use playing cards to select students randomly to read in class.

Learn more about 2012 National Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki from CNN affiliate KTLA.

One of Mieliwocki’s colleagues, Sue Lipschultz, told the Los Angeles Daily News, “My feeling is that [Mieliwocki] should be training teachers – she's that good – but she loves those kids and loves being in the classroom."

A panel of educators from 15 national organizations chose Mieliwocki from the Teachers of the Year of all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., four U.S. territories and the Department of Defense Education Activity. State teachers of the year are nominated by students, teachers, principals and district administrators.

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Filed under: Practice • Teachers
April 24th, 2012
11:55 AM ET

Today's Reading List

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

U.S. News: Report: Community College Attendance Up, But Graduation Rates Remain Low
According to the article, community colleges are supposed to be a stepping stone to either four-year schools or high-tech careers. A new report shows that while enrollment at community colleges is up, less than half of their students graduate or transfer to a four-year college within six years. Students pay price for underage drinking
This past weekend was the biggest annual party weekend of the year at Indiana University. More students than ever were issued citations related to underage drinking, but will it change student attitudes towards alcohol?

ABC13: Boy, 16, takes special needs friend to prom
Amber House's parents know she is a social butterfly, but they thought House wouldn't get a date for the prom because she has Down syndrome. It turns out Matt Gill already asked her, and Gill says House always was his first choice for the big day. Berkeley High School Students Pull Off Ferris Bueller-esque Attendance Hack
Some Berkeley High School students hacked into the school's attendance system. Dozens of students who allegedly bought or sold login information or changed school records have been suspended and the school may expel the ringleaders.

Mail Online: When playtime wasn't ruled by 'elf and safety: Photographs show how children had fun before the inspectors took over
Most of the images in this photo essay were taken on British playgrounds in the pre-World War II era. The clothes, the asphalt surfaces, and the equipment have changed, but recess was then, as now, a time for fun outside.

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Filed under: Cheating • College • Issues • Policy • Practice • Today's Reading List
Texting teens learn to talk face to face
Lori Kelman (right) helps student Rebecca Smith and other teens improve fundamental communications skills lost to texting technology with her program, Enhancing Teen Communication.
April 24th, 2012
06:34 AM ET

Texting teens learn to talk face to face

by Jim Roope, CNN

Listen to CNN Radio's podcast from Jim Roope about a class that teaches teens to communicate face to face.

Los Angeles (CNN) It's an often-observed teenage obsession: texting. Kids today spend an awful lot of time bent over cell phones sending text messages to each other. In fact, you can observe them sitting within normal talking distance from each other yet instead of talking, they'll be texting a conversation.

"I see that the kids are so involved in texting that they shy away from communicating face-to-face," said Lori Kelman, founder of the program 'Enhancing Teen Communication.'

"They bury themselves in text, hide behind texting, will say things through text that they wouldn't in a million years say to somebody face-to-face. That's not a good thing," Kelman said.

Kelman, who spent most of her professional life as a broadcaster for Los Angeles radio station KFWB and in corporate marketing and public relations, said she got the idea for the program when attending her daughter's class one day and as the kids would stand to introduce themselves and talk a little about themselves, many could barely string two words together. On child she said, stood there, hands folded, staring up for five minutes, not able to utter a word. "My heart broke for her," Kelman said.

This lack of fundamental communications skills, she believes, is a result of texting technology. It can hurt teens, she says, as they interview for jobs or college.

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Filed under: Podcast • Practice • Technology