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First major sign that Teach for America is faltering

As Teach for America’s applicant pool shrinks and recruitment dips, its critics are claiming that alumni horror stories and ideological critiques are starting to take their toll. The organization maintains that ongoing economic recovery is impacting recruitment by driving top-tier applicants away from teaching. This is the first major sign of faltering it has shown in over a decade.

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California lawmakers should lift cap on school district reserves

State legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown are playing an irresponsible game of financial chicken with local school districts. Under a union-backed requirement enacted last year, if the economy continues to improve state finances, local school districts will be required to cut their budget reserves to dangerously low levels.

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Controversial Houston Arabic school shows why school choice matters

One of the first Arabic immersion schools in the nation opened in Houston. Immediately, the school was subject to controversy. In a country as diverse as the United States, schools with different specialties are needed to give students an effective education.

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Schools cannot be open carry zones

Allowing guns to be openly carried in public schools only exacerbates the fear and uncertainty of both staff and students. Enacting legislation banning guns in public schools would help provide students with the safe learning environment they need to focus on learning and exploring.

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Starting school after Labor Day has many benefits

It would give teachers — who have to return to classrooms in the heat of mid-August — the break they need to recharge their batteries and to spend more quality time with their own families. Students would have greater opportunity to learn life lessons outside the classroom and small businesses that lose seasonal workers would get a much-needed boost.

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Bureaucracy, politics caused teacher shortage in Nevada district

The Clark County School District's almost 800 vacant teaching positions is a massive policy failure compounded by protectionism. By retaining bureaucratic barriers to the licensing of educators, the system is forced to fill hundreds of classrooms with substitute teachers, the very people those barriers are designed to keep out of schools.

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Despite settled law, schools still struggle to get religion right

We need to provide more teachers and administrators with in-service training by non-partisan, qualified experts on how to apply the religious-liberty principles of the First Amendment. After all, why waste money on lawyers and religious freedom or infringement lawsuits in schools that can be much better spent on innovative classroom resources, higher teachers’ salaries or new technology?

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School supply ‘lists’ go against guarantee of free education

The Idaho Constitution requires that public schools be free. But what does the word “free” mean? When a school presents a long list, including brand names, it becomes a requirement to conform, especially when the lists include materials that clearly stock school inventory for general classroom, not individual, use.

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10 big hurdles to identifying and educating the nation’s smartest kids

There are problems in how high-ability students are taught in the U.S., Europe and Asia. For example, U.S. federal and philanthropic efforts to improve schools have concentrated almost exclusively on low achievers and bringing them up. Our nation is also exceptionally bad at producing low-income high achievers.

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Grading teachers is an inexact science

The responsibility for developing a fair system to judge this very complicated profession falls on state and local school administrators. And whether they like being judged or not, it falls on objective input from teachers as well.

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