September 25th, 2012
11:30 AM ET

School under fire after male employee paddles teen girl

(CNN) - A school near Fort Worth, Texas, is facing questions about its corporal punishment procedures after a student came home with a bottom that "looked almost as if it had been burned and blistered."

Springtown High School sophomore Taylor Santos requested corporal punishment because she didn't want to return to in-school suspension, a punishment she said she received when a classmate cheated off her, CNN affiliate WFAA reported. Her mother agreed because it was Taylor's preference, but expected her daughter to be hit by a woman: A district policy says corporal punishment should only be administered by people the same sex as the student. Although a woman was in the room, a man hit her, leaving red marks and welts that lasted for days, Taylor and her mother said.

Texas is one of 19 states where it's legal for school employees to hit students. During the 2005-06 school year, 223,190 students around the United States were punished physically, according to The Center for Effective Discipline.

The superintendent suggested they change the policy to remove the sex requirement, but Taylor's family says she's proof it's needed. Now, the school district has changed the policy to require parents to request in writing corporal punishment and the sex of the person administering it.

What do you think? Should schools be able to administer corporal punishment? What requirements should be in place for it to occur?

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Filed under: Behavior • Issues • video
September 25th, 2012
03:37 AM ET

Unlikely teachers find purpose in the classroom

By Julie Hays, CNN

(CNN) - After playing college football, working as a financial aid adviser and earning a master's degree, 25-year-old Andrew Fuller is back in high school.

Fuller is a new teacher at Tri-Cities High School in East Point, Georgia. He made the move from Oregon to Georgia to join Teach for America, a non-profit organization that recruits non-traditional teachers to improve education for children in low-income communities.

Fuller's passion for education stems from his own experience growing up. He was in a special education program from kindergarten to his senior year, and he felt stigmatized and overlooked.

"I never knew why. I never knew my disability," Fuller says. "I never had an IEP, which is an individualized education program. I never had any of those things."

"Just being in the classroom and just knowing that I'd been given up on sometimes, that I'm not receiving the work, it was heartbreaking," he says.

A gifted athlete, Fuller was accepted to the University of Oregon on a football scholarship. He later transferred and finished his college career playing for the Portland State Vikings.

Read the full story from Impact Your World
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Filed under: video • Voices
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
September 23rd, 2012
12:32 PM ET

Top college courses, for free?

By Daphne Koller, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Daphne Koller is Rajeev Motwani Professor in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University and co-founder and co-CEO of Coursera. She is the recipient of awards including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Koller spoke at the TED Global conference in June in Edinburgh. TED is a nonprofit dedicated to "Ideas worth spreading" which it makes available through talks posted on its website.

(CNN) - Almost exactly a year ago, Stanford University took a bold step. It opened up an online version of three of its most popular Computer Science classes to everyone around the world, for free.

Within weeks, close to 100,000 students or more were enrolled in each of these courses. Cumulatively, tens of thousands of students completed these courses and received a statement of accomplishment from the instructor. This was a real course experience. It started on a given day, and the students would watch videos weekly and do homework assignments. These were real homework assignments for a real grade, with a real deadline.

One of those classes was taught by my co-founder, Andrew Ng. In his on-campus Stanford class, he reaches 400 students a year. It would have taken him 250 years to reach the number of students he reached through that one online course.

The Stanford endeavor showed what is possible. It showed that it is possible to produce a high quality learning experience from some of the top instructors in the world at a very low cost.

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Filed under: College • Practice • TEDTalk • video • Voices
September 22nd, 2012
08:35 AM ET

Six steps to school bus safety

Nearly 45 million kids ride the bus daily during the school year. Annually, dozens of bus accidents put kids in danger. A group of elementary school students learns important steps to school bus safety that can save lives. (From HLN Weekend Express)

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Filed under: Practice • School bus safety • video
September 20th, 2012
01:12 PM ET

ROTC programs return to Harvard

by Sonia Kennebeck and Bob Crowley, CNN

(CNN) It is a scene that has not been witnessed at Harvard in the past 41 years: This week, U.S. Army cadets in uniform performed their 6:30 a.m. exercise routine on campus, the sun rising behind Harvard Stadium and reflecting on the faces of the students.

The Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, better known as ROTC, has returned to the Ivy League school after being dropped from campus in 1971 as a result of student protests against the Vietnam War. Later, the justification for the continued ban of ROTC programs at Harvard changed: The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which prevented gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military, was cited as the reason ROTC students, who could still study at Harvard, had to travel to MIT for their required Army courses. Now this policy has been abolished. (Harvard opened an office for the Navy ROTC  in September 2011.)

The Reserve Officers' Training Corps at Harvard was one of the first in the nation. Here they are being photographed on Memorial Day, May 30, 1917.

The Reserve Officers' Training Corps at Harvard was one of the first in the nation. Here they are being photographed on Memorial Day, May 30, 1917.

At the 2012 ROTC commissioning ceremony at Harvard, school President Drew Gilpin Faust congratulated the new ROTC graduates and emphasized the importance of this new military-civilian partnership to U.S. society.

“As Harvard seeks to shape that society and educate its citizens, it must necessarily be connected to its military. We must ensure that Harvard students understand military service as a choice to consider and honor, even if – and perhaps especially if – they pursue other paths,” said Faust.

Kathryn Roth-Douquet, former Clinton administration Defense Department official and author of AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from the Military and How it Hurts Our Country,” has long criticized the ban of ROTC programs from Harvard and other Ivy League schools, including Yale, Columbia and Brown.

Harvard ROTC cadets are doing a bayonet drill in the school's stadium in 1917-1918.

Harvard ROTC cadets are doing a bayonet drill in the school's stadium in 1917-1918.

Roth-Douquet said, “Ivy League schools pride themselves to recruit and train the opinion-shapers and decision-makers in our society and these people need to understand the military. Everything else is dangerous for our democracy in which civilians control the military and need to do that intelligently.”

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Filed under: History • Issues • Policy • Practice • video
September 20th, 2012
10:19 AM ET

Wins, losses and draws in Chicago school strike

by Michael Pearson, CNN

(CNN) As schools reopened Wednesday - the day after teachers union representatives voted to suspend their eight-day strike - union leaders, city officials and even students could all claim a few wins and admit a few losses after a bruising battle that had both sides hurling insults like pro wrestlers.

Teachers were happy to secure concessions limiting a school reform program that they said would harm students and cost teachers jobs.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel walked away with a teacher evaluation system and other changes that he says will make educators more accountable.

And there was even an upside for the 350,000 Chicago kids who had to go back to school after an unexpected eight-day holiday.

My View: The Chicago teachers' strike from an ambivalent union member's perspective

"It was kind of boring being at home, so I'm kind of glad I'm going back to school so I don't have to have any more baby sitters," South Loop Elementary School student Grace Bauer said.

In all, teachers appear to have come out ahead in a strike that gained nationwide attention, said Robert Bruno, a professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and director of its Labor Education Program in Chicago.

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Filed under: Policy • Politics • teacher unions • Teachers • video
September 19th, 2012
04:17 PM ET

School district bans father-daughter, mother-son events

By Donna Krache, CNN

(CNN) - The Cranston, Rhode Island, school district banned father-daughter dances and other similar parent-child events after a parent complained to the American Civil Liberties Union.

The parent said her daughter felt left out of a father-daughter dance because she does not have a father or a father figure in her life.

Cranston's superintendent responded by banning parent-child activities, including father-daughter and mother-son events.

Superintendent Judith Lundsten said, “I truly believe that no one intended to hurt anyone’s feelings with this, that they wanted to be inclusive, but they also liked these traditional-type activities.”

In an interview with CNN affiliate WPRI , Lundsten acknowledged that finding that balance might be “tricky.”


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Filed under: Extracurricular • Policy • Politics • video
September 18th, 2012
06:49 PM ET

Chicago teachers vote to end strike, classes resume Wednesday

From the CNN Wire Staff
Chicago (CNN) - Hundreds of thousands of Chicago schoolchildren will return to class Wednesday after the teachers union voted to suspend its strike.

About 800 union officers and delegates met for just over two hours before there was an overwhelming voice vote to suspend the walkout, according to delegates who attended the meeting.

The contract agreement with the school system still needs to be ratified by the more than 29,000 teachers and support staff who are members of the union.

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Filed under: Policy • Practice • teacher unions • Teachers • video
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