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Atlanta Schools Cheat to Improve Public Image

What would you do if your teacher offered you assistance on a standardized test? I have never been in this situation, and I am very thankful for that, but many students in Atlanta’s public school system have been and the whistle was blown on this systematic cheating scandal in early July, 2011.

On July 5, 2011, a state investigation was released. This investigation showed that there had been rampant, systematic cheating on test scores in Atlanta’s public schools for the past several years. The cheating was wide-spread throughout the district and involved 44 schools and at least 178 teachers and principals. This cheating possibly occurred due to pressures to raise the schools’ public images as a long-trouble district or in order to meet standards set forth by the No Child Left Behind Act.

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School Nurses Disappearing Due to Budget Cuts

School nurses do more than try to figure out if a student is faking the flu. From scraped elbows and knees to eye and ear exams, they are there to aid in all sorts of health issues.

With all that they do, it comes with much surprise that they are disappearing from our public school system.

“Only 45 percent of the nation’s public schools have a full-time on-site nurse,” said Carol Mithers, an author at parenting.com. “Thirty percent have one who works part-time — often dividing her hours between multiple school buildings — and a full 25 percent have no nurse at all.”

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New Haven Schools Offer to Pay College Tuition for Students

Many students who want to to pursue a higher education face a serious problem: paying for this education. The cost of attending college has been steadily increasing for years, and the new high costs make it impossible for some students to continue their education.

While some students need to take out student loans and work full-time jobs to scrape by, all students who attend school in New Haven, CT need to do is two things: maintain a 3.0 GPA and attend 90 percent of their classes.

New Haven school officials recently unveiled the New Haven Promise. The New Haven Promise is a program that pays a student’s college tuition if he/she meets the requirements listed above. Students in qualifying public and charter high schools can apply for this scholarship. Read the rest of this entry »



California Teachers’ Candidate Wins Superintendent Position

With elections still fresh in the minds of voters, there are some noteworthy wins that took place in our country. One such win occurred in California for the Superintendent of Public Instruction position. This office is the highest level educator in the state and provides direction to the school districts of California and serves on state governing boards. One of the candidates vying for this position in the election was Larry Aceves who is a former teacher, county superintendent and principal.

The other candidate was veteran state assemblyman and former teacher Tom Torlakson who was supported by the California Federation of Teachers. Torlakson was the victor in Tuesday’s election gaining almost 55 percent of the votes, which is great news for California public school teachers. Torlakson is known widely for being a fan of the book The Death and Life of the Great American School System which criticizes charter schools and business-driven school reforms, as well as the No Child Left Behind program. Read the rest of this entry »



Proposed School Closings Incite Protest in Charlotte

CMSchoolPolice officers were needed to clear angry protesters out of a Charlotte Mecklenburg School Board meeting on Tuesday night. The protesters were upset by the recommendation that several local schools in low-income neighborhoods be shut down. The list of Charlotte, N.C., school closings includes Amay James Elementary, Irwin Ave Elementary, Lincoln Heights Elementary, Oakhurst Elementary, John Taylor Williams Middle School, Spaugh Middle School and Wilson Middle School.

The crowd chanted, “no justice, no peace” until members of the school board were forced to leave the meeting, reports WBTV. Outside, Rev. Kojo Nantambu, president of the Charlotte chapter of the NAACP, voiced a scathing criticism of the board’s proposal. “All they care about is the upper middle class and wealthy white folk,” he said. “They’re not interested in trying to satisfy poor parents, black parents and minority parents. They don’t do that kind of crap out in the suburbs. Those people can call and say what they want and they’ll get it. These people in the inner city, we have to raise holy hell and fight and we still don’t get it.”

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President Obama Invites Waiting For Superman Students to White House

president obamaThere has been a lot of buzz lately about the public school system in America. A recent documentary called Waiting for Superman highlights the story of five students who attend public schools, yet are trying to attend a special charter school.

After watching Waiting for Superman, President Obama decided to meet with the students featured in the film he called “powerful and heartbreaking” in an interview with the Today Show.

President Obama talked about his daughters’ private school education during that same interview, and he has drawn some criticism for stating that they would not get as good an education if they were attending public school.

The meeting with the students was done out of the spotlight and without a lot of press. The students, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy, Emily and Anthony, were welcomed to the White House on October 11, 2010 to meet with the President. Read the rest of this entry »



Indianapolis Public Schools Halve Summer Vacation

Indianapolis-Public-SchoolsIndianapolis Public Schools are falling in line with President Obama’s wish for students to attend school year-round. The largest school district in Indiana is proposing a massive change to their academic calendar.

The new schedule will combine some of the aspects of a year-round plan with the traditional school calendar, a system they’re calling the “balance calendar.” The start of the school year would be the same, but summer vacation would be cut down to five weeks. Students would then attend classes for about nine weeks, and have a three week break in the fall.

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Oprah Winfrey Donates $6 Million to Schools

oprahAnyone that has ever heard of Oprah Winfrey typically knows two things about her: she’s insanely rich and she gives stuff away.

She’s been coined by some as the queen of daytime television. People have gone to great measures to get tickets to her daytime talk show in Chicago. Once per year she has a show where she lists her favorite things and everyone in the audience gets one of everything on that list, and of course, tickets to that particular show are the most coveted of all.

Winfrey’s generosity has once again kicked in and she has donated $6 million dollars to six schools. The money was donated to organizations that are focused on helping troubled schools throughout the country. The funds will be distributed to six different charter schools in Philadelphia, California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana and Texas. These monies were donated through Winfrey’s charitable organization Angel Network. The organization stated that the schools receiving the donation are groundbreaking leaders in the provision of quality public education. Read the rest of this entry »



Bill Needed to Put Free Water on the California Lunch Menu

school-lunch-trayAt many public schools in California, free water isn’t on the school lunch menu. According to California Food Policy Advocates, 40 percent of the schools that responded to their online survey said that students didn’t have access to free potable water in areas where meals are served. For students at schools where lunches are not provided for free, that means they must purchase bottled water.

California state Senator Mark Leno introduced a bill to change that statistic. The bill will require schools to provide students with drinking water free of charge. The bill passed the Assembly and Senate, and only awaits Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature to be passed into law.

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Chicago Finds its Schools Are Failing

chicago-city-scapeEach year, Chicago public school officials assign every school in their jurisdiction with a grade, from A to F. According to the system’s report, more than 40 percent of public schools are failing, reported The Chicago Tribune. Many of the schools have failed to meet the Federal standards set by No Child Left Behind.

The grades of individual schools have not been released by the district. School Chef Ron Huberman said that he doesn’t feel the grades are wrong, just that they don’t show the whole picture. “It’s not that I think it’s flawed, but I think it can be better and more nuanced,” he said. Others agree that a single letter grade cannot account for the intricacy of problems faced by the Chicago schools. Huberman further said that he wants to wait to release the full report, so that it can be accompanied by a plan to make improvements.

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