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Students win, tenure loses

A judge in California just sent shock waves across America's public education system, declaring tenure laws unconstitutional. The message is loud and clear: Students, we've got your back. This judge acknowledges how powerful teachers are and describes the power they truly have to make a difference.

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States that already spent less on education have made bigger school cuts

Public schools have struggled during the long, slow economic recovery. Although urban districts have been hit particularly hard, there is a tremendous variation by state. What turns out to make a difference is actual spending levels. States that spend less per-student have made significantly bigger cuts (on a percentage basis) than states that spend more.

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Giving school nurses access to medical records improves care

School nurses administer vaccines and medications and help diabetic students monitor their blood sugar, among many other things. The nurses don't always have the most up-to-date information about the students' health. Schools and health care systems are trying to bridge that gap to give school health professionals access to students' electronic health records.

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Do parents let school districts off the hook by paying for basics?

Many parents decided long ago that they can't afford to wait for the improvements they want in their schools. Are parents letting school districts off the hook by covering the cost of basic maintenance? Would parents' time be better spent lobbying for systemic changes in the way all schools are operated and funded?

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A school reform landmark in California

In a groundbreaking ruling, a California court struck down the state's teacher tenure, dismissal and seniority laws on grounds that they violate the equal protection clause of the state Constitution. If other state governments don't act, disadvantaged students now have a claim to petition the judiciary to protect their rights as much as in the days of Jim Crow.

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Public schools are hurting more in the recovery than in the recession

The slow economic recovery is taking a toll on the nation’s public schools, reversing a multi-decade trend of increased funding and pushing student-teacher ratios to their highest levels since 2000. U.S. schools actually weathered the recession itself relatively well. Once the recession ended, however, so did the stimulus — long before state and local governments were ready to pick up the slack.

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Oregon legislature must maintain education funding

By 2025, the Oregon Education Investment Board's goal is for every student to graduate from high school, 40 percent to earn a post-secondary credential, and 40 percent to graduate from college. These goals are laudable, but meaningless unless we continue to invest funding in what works for Oregon students.

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Flexibility will make school lunch rules easier to swallow

Schools across the country and here in Maine are finding that students will come around to the new healthier lunch menus, given time, creativity and persistence. They also are finding that the menus can be costly, at a time when the budgetary cupboard is bare. Though several Maine districts have had notable success with healthier meals, struggling systems should get some leeway so their efforts don’t fail.

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State takeovers of districts shake up professional development

Over the past few decades, many state departments of education have taken over low-performing schools or districts as a school turnaround strategy. Although the strategy varies in terms of the level of state control and local influence, its success has been mixed or cannot yet be fully measured. Nonetheless, it has sparked new thinking and innovation in states and districts.

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Matthew Zalaznick's picture

Capitalism vs. education: Why our free-market obsession is wrecking the future

A political system designed for gridlock, the grossly disproportionate influence of the rich, and Americans’ ideological aversion to class politics conspire to make it politically inadvisable for a Democratic president to even speak the words “income inequality” before a national audience.

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