September 24th, 2012
03:00 PM ET

New York schools offer 'morning after' pill to students

(CNN) - Since January 2011, more than 1,100 New York City students from 14 schools have gotten "morning after" and other birth control pills - from school.

The pilot program, called Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Health, provides the birth control measures at schools where students are known to have a higher rate of pregnancy and less access to healthcare. In New York City, nearly half of teens have had sexual intercourse, CNN's Alina Cho reports, and seven out of 10 pregnant girls drop out.

"We are committed to trying new approaches ... to improve a situation that can have negative consequences that last a lifetime," New York's health department said in a statement.

The program, which now operates in 13 schools, is facing some criticism.

Students don't need permission from parents to get the pills, unless parents opt-out of the program through letters mailed and sent home with students. Some question whether parents have seen the letters and are aware of the program. All New York City schools already distribute free condoms.

What do you think? Should schools make the "morning after" pill and other birth control measures available to students?

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Filed under: High school • Issues • video
September 24th, 2012
01:00 PM ET

Dads ‘march’ to schools

by Josh Levs, CNN

(CNN) - Across the country, fathers are taking part in public events aimed at sending a critical message: Dads’ involvement in education is crucial for school children.

In New York, it’s become a state-wide celebration, appropriately entitled “Dads take your child to school.”

In parts of the country, the events are inspired by the “Million Father March.”

Numerous studies show that kids with involved fathers have all sorts of academic advantages, including better linguistics skills, an improved ability to handle stress, and some other “hidden benefits.”

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Filed under: At Home • Character education • Practice • video
My View: Longer school days can work
September 24th, 2012
04:07 AM ET

My View: Longer school days can work

Courtesy Colin Stokes/Citizen SchoolsBy Eric Schwarz, Special to CNN.

Editor’s Note: Eric Schwarz is the co-founder and CEO of Citizen Schools, a nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities across the country. The organization has been recognized as a national example by the White House and the U.S. Department of Education. Schwarz is the author of “Realizing the American Dream: Historical Scorecard, Current Challenges, Future Opportunities,” a widely cited essay examining social change efforts, and co-editor of The Case for Twenty-First Century Learning.

In 1995, in a concept paper for a new nonprofit organization, I wrote that, “…we need to stop bashing schools and stop expecting school teachers to perform miracles.” We know that most teachers across the country are putting in long hours, many of which are off-the-clock, working hard to provide students with a great education.

Sadly, for too many of their students, it’s not enough.

The achievement gap between low-income students and their higher-income peers is almost twice what it was when I grew up in the 1960s and ‘70s. About one in four American students, with much higher rates among minority and low-income youth, do not graduate from high school. In the face of persistent achievement and opportunity gaps, the traditional school day is failing our most vulnerable children.

As a result, schools and school districts across the country are looking to add more quality learning time to the school day in an effort to help those students who are falling behind. According to Mike Sabin, former principal of the EdwardsMiddle School in Boston where more learning time helped the school close the achievement gap, “When you’re letting your kids go at 1:30 in the afternoon and they’re not achieving yet, it’s fairly obvious that using the afternoon is something you have to do.”

Too often, however, in the debate over longer school days, the conversation turns to the logistics of how teachers will staff the extra hours. School districts and teachers unions have gone to battle over the details of how many hours teachers will be required to work and how they will be compensated. The good news is that the burden of a longer school day does not have to fall solely on the backs of traditional teachers.


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Filed under: Issues • Policy • Voices