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Districts must do more to ensure low-income and minority students have access to top-notch teachers, says a new report. Poor students and students of color are less likely to be taught by a highly effective teacher than are other students, but there are some pockets where change is occurring.

North East ISD in San Antonio banned all but clear or mesh backpacks after a  student allegedly brought three loaded guns and a knife to a high school in April.

Recent school stabbings and cases of students caught with weapons have driven some districts to ban traditional cloth backpacks in favor of easily searchable clear or mesh bags.

Preschool students in the Granite School District receive Common Core-aligned instruction to prepare for kindergarten.

High-quality preschools in a Utah district began receiving funds from a first-of-its-kind, $4.6 million social impact bond from investment banking firm Goldman Sachs last fall. The goal is to improve instruction in order to prevent students from needing special education or remedial services.

Philadelphia students with autism will no longer be transferred from one school to another without parental input, a June settlement states.

Because not all of the School District of Philadelphia’s 214 schools have autism services for all grades, students were sometimes transferred to different buildings depending on the services needed, says Sonja Kerr, director of disability rights for the Public Interest Law Center.

The ACLU says more than 130 New Jersey school districts may be violating federal law.

Some 136 of 590 New Jersey districts require parents to provide government-issued identification or a social security number before enrolling a child in school—a barrier for illegal immigrant families and a violation of federal law, according to an April survey from the state’s American Civil Liberties Union chapter.

Nationally, there are very few hands-on cadaver labs at the high school level.

An austere doctor’s office with three cadavers laid out on stainless-steel examination tables awaited students from seven Illinois high schools. Reminiscent of a scene from CSI, it was a lab where advanced biology students got a hands-on experience of medical science by dissecting human bodies.

Schools that don’t follow prayer guidelines included in No Child Left Behind risk losing federal funds.

New and pending laws in several Southern states are reaffirming students’ rights to pray during the school day and at school-sponsored events such as graduations and football games.

Laws passed in South Carolina in 2012 and Mississippi in 2013 allow students to pray at assemblies, athletic events and other school functions. A 2007 Texas law lets student express religious viewpoints when they speak at school events.

The documentary Go Public: A Day in the Life of an American School District moves between schools in Pasadena USD in California to give the public a glimpse of an average day for students and teachers.
The film is meant to give the public a glimpse of an average day for students and teachers.
"Go Public" is drawing national attention from communities that want to screen the film.

Go Public: A Day in the Life of an American School District is a recently-released documentary film about Pasadena USD that shows the challenges, triumphs and personalities of a moderate-sized public school system.

New federal rules  cap the amount of fat, sodium, sugar and calories in food available in schools.

As of July 1, students will have a harder time getting their hands on junk food in public schools, as stricter standards raise the nutritional value of what’s available in cafeterias, campus stores, snack bars and vending machines.

At the May Center School for Autism and Developmental Disabilities in Randolph, Mass., individualized classroom activities emphasize all areas of a student’s development, including communication and social skills.

Autism rates soared by nearly 30 percent between 2008 and 2010, according to an April study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About one in 68 eight-year-olds was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in 2010—a rate that has more than doubled since the year 2000, when 1 in 150 children were identified.