Opinion & Analysis

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Time to get control of Indiana's school vouchers

It’s time Indiana legislators strengthened control over the state’s school voucher program. In the three years since its creation, the program has grown into one of the broadest programs in the country. The problem is that, even as the state moved quickly to expand the program, it failed to properly keep track of the funding.

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Let Texas districts choose school start dates

School districts have rightly argued for more flexibility with fall semester start dates. The real benefit of two bills to be introduced in the new legislative session is that Texas' public school districts would have more control over their academic calendars. And that’s where control belongs — with the schools, not the Texas Legislature.

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Ohio bill banning sexual contact between school employees, students stalls

Ohio House Bill 241 would have banned all school employees — not just teachers, administrators and coaches — from having sex with students who are 16 or older, but it failed to get even a single hearing in the Ohio Senate last session. At the very least, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee owes an explanation.

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Why teachers need to talk about their own racial bias

As recent protests spur tough conversations about the racial bias of police officers, a national group of educators and policy analysts is urging teachers, too, to examine their prejudices -- especially in relation to school discipline.

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Schools should pay more attention to students' grit and self-control

It may be just as important to evaluate schools based on students’ levels of motivation and perseverance as it is to judge them based on students' standardized test scores. Scores on the kinds of achievement tests given at U.S. schools, which measure knowledge, tend to be highly correlated with scores on IQ tests.

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What schools could use instead of standardized tests

Missing from the standardized test debate is a sense of what could replace annual tests. What would the nation do to monitor learning and ensure equity and accountability if states didn't have to test every child every year?

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The basics of school funding in Indiana: difficulty defining fairness

Indiana in 2015 is heading into a renewed debate about how its school funding system should work. But even defining “fairness” gets tricky, as school leaders with different challenges in urban, suburban and rural communities worry that somebody else’s gain from any change to the state’s calculation method could mean less money to educate their students.

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Why librarians remain essential to our schools

Unless lawmakers can be made to understand the critical role that librarians, nurses, social workers, learning specialists and guidance counselors play in contributing to schools in which we can all be confident and proud, then many of these positions will remain in jeopardy to the detriment of the students and communities they serve.

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Better learning through expensive software

The goal of school is to create moral citizens that will fall in love with learning. We can reform schools but it will never happen because of expensive, invasive software that replace text and teachers. We can reform schools by adopting proven practices.

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Change New York's teacher evaluation system

The current system that rates only 1 percent of New York's teachers as ineffective is too lenient. The Regents, districts and state legislators need to strengthen the system. Not every student gets A grades and not every teacher should either.

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