March 2007 Archives

For any parent or teacher, this story about a teenager who survived “the choking game” will be a wake-up call to a practice that is gaining popularity among the high school set. Students cut off their air supply in order to get a rush when they bring it back. But some students take it too far and have died from the practice. The New York Times chronicles 16-year-old Levi Draher’s transformation from a choking game victim who was found clinically dead, to a spokesman against the practice. For more information on the choking game and its consequences, check out ...


These days there are some students whose class schedules read like this: math, science, English, Bible studies. Time Magazine takes a close look at the number of public schools offering a study of the Bible as an elective. The classes are gaining popularity with students who are religious, but also those who are not but want to be informed about Christianity. The article also tackles the issue of whether religious study in public schools is constitutional....


The American Civil Liberties Union says some New York City schools are closer to jails than they are to nurturing learning environments. A new report by the New York branch of the ACLU found that at the end of the 2005-2006 school year, the police department had 4,625 school safety agents in the hallways in addition to more than 200 armed police officers assigned to schools. Students have to go through metal detectors, searches, and the confiscation of school supplies and lunches according to the report. Most of the students who deal with such conditions are poor, black and ...


For an irreverent take on the U.S. Supreme Court argument on a case involving student freedom of speech, read Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank’s take on the proceedings. The case centers around a student’s banner which read “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” and from Mr. Milbank’s perspective the justices seemed to be having too good of a time. Read Education Week here for an overview of the case....


This report from John Merrow shows just how dire the education situation is in New Orleans today, 18 months after Hurricane Katrina hit. Educators are struggling to revive and turn around a school system that some called a failure before the hurricane even hit. Not only are schools having to rebuild from pencils on up, but many children are living in the city without their parents. Schools are rife with violence and rats, but lacking in books and teachers. Education Week tackled this subject recently too....


Several recent stories point to the flaws in the federal No Child Left Behind Act which is being reauthorized this year. The law, which holds schools and districts to annual education goals and seeks to improve the achievement gap between white and minority students and higher-income and disadvantaged students, has been controversial for years, but it seems that a new backlash is gaining steam. Time Magazine reports on what happened to one underperforming student at a prestigious public high school when she wasn’t meeting expectations. The Washington Post recently reported that many lawmakers and education experts think the law’s...


Field trips can be a great way for students to apply what they're learning in the real world, whether it's a trip to the state legislature to supplement studies of government or splashing in a stream to enhance lessons about science and the environment. But many schools are cutting back on field trips due to financial restrictions as well as a reluctance to lose classroom time in preparation for testing. NEA Today has a story this month about the positives of field trips and why schools should save them from the endangered species list. Some schools struggling with this issue ...


Students know how to make electronic connections through MySpace and other social networking sites, but now parents are finally getting up to speed with how the Internet can help them with school networking. New companies are emerging that will manage your parent-teacher association Web site. These sites can be used for everything from getting the word out about a bake sale to lobbying the local school board....


Retired teacher Walt Gardner has found a new career and this time instead of reaching out to students, he’s trying to reach out to readers and school them on education. The former English teacher who taught for 28 at years at University High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District is a prolific writer of letters to the editor on education subjects. He’s begun to receive significant attention for his punchy prose and insightful thoughts on everything from the achievement gap to school choice. Over the years, he’s had 45 letters to the editor published in ...


A while back, the National Spelling Bee became all the rage, with books like "Bee Season" (also made into a movie), the documentary "Spellbound", and fictional accounts like the movie "Akeelah and the Bee" making the contest a part of popular culture. The New York Times reports on what could be the next educational contest to seep into the mainstream, the National Vocabulary Championship. This story about the student contest describes how entrants are rewarded for showing off their varied vocabularies, but they don’t have to spell the words. For example, they’ll be given a definition and have ...


We’ve all heard the complaints about what the federal No Child Left Behind Act forces schools to do: cut out music, art, and even social studies, teach to the test, scrap recess. This study from last year out of the Center on Education Policy raised the issue from a national perspective, finding that a significant number of schools were indeed paring back on some subjects to focus on the reading and math tested by the federal law. But it’s rare that information leaks out from individual schools detailing their less politically correct strategies when it comes to annual ...


Who doesn’t enjoy watching movies? Some schools are banking on the fact that more riveting school movies can get through to students on a new level. And they’re taking it one step farther by having students themselves create the films. Edutopia takes a look at an Illinois Department of Transportation film used to warn new drivers about potential dangers on the road. The edgy, seven-minute film was created by local high school students. But the pairing of cinema and education doesn’t have to remain in the K-12 realm. Hollywood movie big-wigs can play a role in education. ...


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