February 13th, 2012
11:35 AM ET

Today's Reading List

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

KFYR-TV: Audit Reveals Trouble at DSU
An internal audit of Dickinson State University's special international program revealed problems involving more than 90% of its foreign students. More than 500 international students received diplomas or certificates that are now considered invalid.

NY Times: Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say
A Stanford sociologist's study suggests that while the achievement gap between black and white students is narrowing, the gap between poor and rich students is widening. One possible reason: in the last several decades, the gap between what poor families spend on their children and what rich families spend has almost doubled.

AL.COM: Alabama immigration law has hurt children and teaching, educators tell conference
At a forum on Alabama's new immigration law, principals express fears that many students have fled the state, while those who remain may experience harassment.

WSBTV: Cobb Co. student suspended after being attacked at school
A Georgia teen's mother says she notified school officials when her daughter was threatened online. When the girl was attacked, she defended herself, and both students were suspended for ten days under the district's "zero tolerance" policy.

February 10th, 2012
02:30 PM ET

Today's Reading List

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

StLToday.com: Missouri schools test four-day week
Some rural Missouri schools are taking Mondays off as part of a cost-cutting measure. The concept is a tough sell on parents trying to find child care, but school officials say the shorter week has saved jobs and saved money on school lunches and fuel for buses.

MySA.com: Schools going to war — of sorts
A Texas school district has set up "war rooms" in each of its schools. Instead of battlefield maps, the rooms contain student performance data that are used as a tool to improve performance.

Sun Sentinel: To keep class sizes low, Broward schools will cap classes, put some students in offices
Some overcrowded Broward County, Florida schools are shuffling students around to avoid state fines. Some students are taking classes in administrative offices; some schools are encouraging students to attend school virtually.

WLFI: Controversy over breast cancer bracelet
An eighth grader says that he wears a bracelet with a slang term in order to show his support for breast cancer. He refused to turn the bracelet inside out when asked by school officials, and his father filed suit on First Amendment grounds.

NPR: Milestone At University Of Michigan : Muslim Chaplain
Mohammed Tayssir Safi is the first endowed Muslim chaplain at a public American university. Safi hopes to help Muslim students transition as they try to keep their faith while being introduced to university life.

February 6th, 2012
01:37 PM ET

Today's Reading List

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

The Gazette: Public schools turning to private financial sources
When Iowa's budget gap left schools scrambling to offer art, music and gym classes, school officials sought private donations to fill the gaps. Nationwide, some fear that private donations may blur the definition of public and private schools when funding comes with mandates to change education policies .

National Council on Teacher Quality: Helicopter parenting gets new meaning in New Hampshire
A new New Hampshire law will allow parents to object to almost anything their children are taught, and request alternatives. Tom Byrne argues that teachers' political views shouldn't be expressed in the classroom, and neither should parents'.

FOX16.com: Bill Clinton pushes A+ programs
Former President Bill Clinton is pushing the A+ program for Little Rock's students. The program uses hands-on projects to meld art with science.

WSBTV: Community to rally over Gainesville valedictorian battle
Cody Stephens could be Gainesville High School's first black valedictorian. His community plans to rally because school officials announced that Stephens and another student would share the honor.

University of Kentucky.com: Kentucky's plan to privatize housing raises some questions
The University of Kentucky says that getting out of the business of housing its students will allow it to focus on instruction. Critics raise the question that if UK wasn't making money collecting room and board, how will a private enterprise be able to do it?

Black History Month – Background and Resources
February 1st, 2012
07:15 AM ET

Black History Month – Background and Resources

By Schools of Thought Editors, CNN

(CNN) In the early 20th century, there were almost no mentions of the contributions of African-Americans in U.S. history textbooks. That is what inspired historian and educator Dr. Carter G. Woodson to start “Negro History Week” in 1926. Woodson choose the month of February for this focus because it was the birth month of two leaders who fought to end slavery: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized the expanded observance as “Black History Month”, calling upon Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Each year, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the organization started by Woodson in 1915, designates the theme for Black History Month. This year’s theme is “Black Women in American Culture and History”. The theme was chosen, because, as it states on the ASALH website, “To gain an understanding of the history of African American women is to broaden our understanding of a people and the American nation.”

CNN Student News will feature special show segments focusing on Black History throughout the month. The following is a partial list of Black History Web resources for teachers and parents. Click on the title to go to that site.

CNN Student News Black History Month: Learning Activities

Library of Congress: African American History Month

Smithsonian Education: Black History Month

National Park Service: African American History

National Endowment for the Humanities: Black History Month

National Archives: Black History resources

U.S. Census Bureau: Black History Month 2012

Association for the Study of African American Life and History

Morehouse College: Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection

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Filed under: History • Practice • Resources
January 31st, 2012
12:30 PM ET

Today's Reading List

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

Los Angeles Times: Op-Ed – An L.A. teacher reviews her review
When Los Angeles teacher Coleen Bondy opened her evaluation, she found that the district considers her a below average teacher. Bondy argues that her evaluation was unfair because it only measured the outcomes from her least motivated students. She also believes that test scores by themselves are a poor method of evaluating teachers.

MySA.com: Textbooks tied to tests
The Texas State Board of Education ruled that annual standardized tests won't be rewritten until state lawmakers provide funding for districts to buy new textbooks. The board said a disconnect between information found in textbooks and testing materials based on the new curriculum wouldn't be fair to students.

KCTV 5 News: Student develops free tutoring program to those in need
A Kansas City college student quit his job as a tutor to start a non-profit that offers free tutoring to high school students.

CBS Baltimore.com: Baltimore Co. Parents Offer To Pay For School’s Air Conditioning; Officials Say No
Some Baltimore County parents are concerned that their children will suffer when hot weather comes back this spring, so they offered to pay for air conditioning window units. The school district turned down the offer, and requested $70 million from Maryland instead.

Click on Detroit: West Bloomfield Schools closed due to vandalism
A Michigan school district canceled the first day of the second semester after vandals put 15 buses out of commission.

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Filed under: After High School • Curriculum • Policy • Practice • Resources • Teachers • Testing • Today's Reading List
The Great Moonbuggy Race
Racers from the Huntsville Center for Technology geared up for the Great Moonbuggy Race
January 31st, 2012
07:45 AM ET

The Great Moonbuggy Race

By Pamela Greyer, Special to CNN

Editor’s Note: Pamela Greyer is a K-12 science educator, STEM education consultant and NASA solar system ambassador. She is the former site director of NASA’s Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy Chicago Program and continues to mentor and engage youths in NASA engineering competitions and contests.

In 2004, I became a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) educator. At the time, STEM was an emerging concept in the education landscape and just another acronym used by NASA condensed from a series of words.

I had no idea the influence that teaching in the STEM fields would have on my life - as an educator, on my ability to inspire my students to develop a love of science and most importantly, to introduce my students to and engage them in engineering.

As an inner-city high school science teacher from Chicago, I am always looking for new opportunities to involve my students in STEM learning. I am ecstatic this year because I have a team of high school students entered in NASA’s 19th Annual Great Moonbuggy Race. FULL POST

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Filed under: High school • Practice • Resources • STEM • Voices
January 27th, 2012
12:46 PM ET

Today's Reading List

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

WAVY: Hundreds of VB teachers face layoffs
In order to cover Virginia Beach school district's $40 million deficit, 640 teachers received notices that they might not have a job next year. Most of the cuts will come from teachers who are in their first through third year of teaching.

NPR: Kids Have A Say In Louisville's School Lunch Menu
New federal school lunch guidelines are aimed at reducing fats and increasing fruits. The district worried that students wouldn't like the new foods, so they formed a student committee that performs taste tests.

U.S. News: What Does a College Budget Look Like?
A mother and daughter examine the daughter's college budget from two different perspectives. in her case, less than half of the money went towards tuition.

SacBee.com: Loomis kids give ailing principal a literacy lift
Principal Rick Judd hopes to return to his school soon after his cancer treatment is complete. Judd had implemented an independent reading program where students pick their own books. Now, the kids are reading to keep him going.

January 26th, 2012
02:02 PM ET

The growing alternative to English-only education

By Alyse Shorland, CNN

(CNN) – Republicans vying for the GOP presidential nomination are debating and disagreeing about the economy and foreign policy, but they backed each other on one issue this week: the English language.

At Monday's debate in Florida, Newt Gingrich said this week he supports English as an official language of the United States: “I think it is essential to have a central language that we expect people to learn and to be able to communicate with each other in,” he said.

Mitt Romney said everyone in school should be learning in English: “English is the language of this nation,” he said. “People need to learn English to be able to be successful, to get great jobs.”

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Filed under: Curriculum • In America • Policy • Resources • video
January 24th, 2012
12:04 PM ET

Today's Reading List

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

Detroit Free Press: At-risk youths who make it to college face obstacles
There are big challenges in front of high-risk students who get to colleges. Research shows that only 16% of students whose family incomes are under $30,000 graduate in six years.

The Baltimore Sun: State’s student homeless population doubles
The number of homeless students in Maryland has more than doubled over the past five years.  One homeless advocate says that school is the most stable environment for these kids.

ASCD: Educational Leadership: The Resourceful School: How you’re doing more with less
Teachers and administrators share ideas for making the most of resources during tough times.

Chicago Tribune: CPS to enact new policies on allergies, diabetes, asthma management
Chicago Public Schools plans to stock EpiPens and authorize school officials to give a shot to any student suffering a severe allergic reaction.

AZCentral.com: Arizona high schools may soon offer Bible classes
Legislation proposed by one state lawmaker would make Arizona the 6th state to offer high school elective classes on the Bible.

Website aims to describe every living creature
The eye of a European Green Toad, Bufo viridis
January 10th, 2012
03:56 PM ET

Website aims to describe every living creature

By Sally Holland, CNN

Washington (CNN) - Thirty years ago, many students began their school science projects with a visit to the World Book Encyclopedia, the 22-volume set found in many homes and most school libraries covering topics from A to Z.

Now, the Encyclopedia of Life website provides students with much more information on living beings than those 22 volumes could ever hold.

"Knowledge of all biodiversity is scattered all around the world in databases and drawers and people's heads," Encyclopedia of Life director Bob Corrigan said. "If it flies, crawls, grows, spores, if it is life, we want to have one place to bring it all together."

The Encyclopedia of Life, found at www.eol.org, is less than 5 years old but is approaching 1 million species pages that include everything from the names of animals (the Atlantic cod has more than 100 of them in the English language) to information about their habitats (the common wasp's natural habitat is grasslands and woodlands, but it easily adapts to urban habitats) to reproduction habits (the eggs of the longnose sawshark hatch before the young are released from the mother's body). FULL POST

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Filed under: Practice • Resources • Science • Technology
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