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New state law creates sustainable source of funding for schools

State funding for school construction and maintenance has declined by 85 percent over the past five years in Florida. The funding for the Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) program comes, in part, from a tax paid on the use of landline phones. A proposal before the legislature would instead shift a portion of the revenue from the tax businesses pay on their electric bills to support PECO.

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Pricey construction spending draws scrutiny in California bond measure

West Contra Costa residents are some of the most generous in the area when it comes to their schools, approving six bond measures to rehabilitate old campuses and build new ones since 1998. But this year's request for another another $270 million comes as significant opposition to the district's spending habits -- and the secrecy with which it shrouds them -- is beginning to bubble. 

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Oregon teachers report their curriculums are aligned to Common Core

Oregon schools as a whole began a full-scale switch to teaching to the Common Core State Standards this school year. According to results from the TELL Oregon, 80 percent of teachers reported this spring that the curriculum taught in their schools covers the skills called for by the Common Core.

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Kicked out of school: Disparities are a looming crisis for all districts

A student kept out of the classroom three times by ninth grade is virtually guaranteed not to graduate. In addition, 95 percent of exclusions are for disruptive or disorderly conduct reasons. A group of classroom teachers in Minnesota banded together to request changes to the St. Paul School Board's policies regarding discipline and the mainstreaming of many special education students.

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Congress should start school reform with No Child Left Behind

Congress is taking up a large number of education bills this year. Unfortunately, the issue it is ignoring is the one that most needs its attention: an overhaul of the No Child Left Behind Act. It would be an understatement to say that school reform is in a state of disarray because of this legislative inaction.

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Lessons from abroad to help education reform succeed

If you could change the education system today, what would you create? Where would you start? Doesn't it seem logical to start by studying what the top performers in education do? Only when the United States does this, and learns the right lessons from these countries' practices, will the era of education reform truly arrive.

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Making school lunches healthier doesn't mean kids will eat them

Los Angeles Unified, the country’s second-largest school system, is home to more than 650,000 students, and 42 percent of them are overweight or obese. In 2011, the district decided healthier school lunches were the best way to help them not be. A new study suggests that despite the softened menu standards, students are still beelining toward carbs and meat and avoiding fruits and vegetables.

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Indiana makes progress on preschool, but education problems still daunting

For all the effort and money poured into school reform, Indiana is simply not making enough progress. Only about 10 percent of children from low-income families eventually graduate from a four-year university. We’re at severe risk of developing a nearly permanent underclass in our state, one with few opportunities for upward mobility.

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Why Vermont's top jobs in education turn over so quickly

At the end of June, nearly a third of Vermont's 60-something superintendents are leaving their posts. That is cause for concern if you ask Vermont's secretary of education, Rebecca Holcombe. "If this was a business, and you had 30 percent turnover every year, you'd think it was a crisis," she says.

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Congress' attempt to weaken school nutrition programs

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture just rolled back major steps toward a healthier school lunch. This is a travesty that puts the health of our children and their children at stake. We all need to push back on this and make the health of our children our primary goal, not the health of big business or even the bottom line of school food service operations.

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