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Don’t let politics kill Illinois’ school funding debate

The proposed SB16 bill demands greater financial transparency from school districts. It phases in reductions to state aid over four years and prioritizes resources where there is greater student need. Let’s have a fair, thoughtful, rhetoric-free debate about Senate Bill 16, and remember that it should be about a quality education for all Illinois children, not squabbling over politics.

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Students have right to sit during pledge

While students have the right to not participate in the pledge and should not be compelled to do so or disciplined for refusing, we hope few will choose to sit it out. Standing in silence during the pledge is a show of respect for other participants who feel strongly, similar to someone attending a religious service of a faith he did not follow, but still bowing his head during the prayer.

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Seattle’s special-education program needs more pressure from the state

After years of prompting the Seattle’s special-education program to fix ongoing problems, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is finally enacting real consequences. Hitting the program’s bottom line could serve as the heat Seattle Schools needs to fix its problems, but the district’s indolence on this important program does not inspire confidence.

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School referendums must be realistic, properly explained to voters

Districts need to market their referendums in a smarter way. Once they have a solid plan they need to reach out in new ways such as social media to get their message across. Voters are extremely busy today and must be convinced through new methods to lend their support at the polls.

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Transgender kids have rights in high school league

In a proactive move to conform with federal law, Minnesota is likely to join 32 other states and the NCAA in adopting guidelines for participation of transgender students in high school sports.

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State should listen to school superintendents’ concerns

The state’s school superintendents are calling on Florida lawmakers to take a reasoned approach to standardized tests. The superintendents want the state to slow down and exercise some caution as a number of significant changes are thrown at them, including a new standardized test to replace the FCAT.

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School systems have the real impact on student achievement

The consensus of most current research is that classroom teachers have a significant effect on student performance and achievement. Until recently, however, there was little data available to determine the effects that superintendents have on student performance. In general, school district superintendents have very little influence on student achievement in the districts they serve, a study found.

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United, communities can help youth at risk

In many ways the messages of Wes Moore, Michael Chitwood and Richard Dunlap are alike in that they focus on the importance of an entire community in helping young people become solid citizens. Sadly, sometimes it is necessary to take off the kid gloves to drive the point home.

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School administrators need to know who is carrying guns on campus

There is no reason that parents should be expected to trust every one of their children's teachers with a gun. Teachers are not trained law enforcement personnel. They may be fine teachers but are not necessarily equipped to handle a fast-moving crisis.

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New York must help tax-capped school districts

Three years after a tax cap was enacted, school districts are running out of ways to soften the blow. Passing a tax cap on the districts without relaxing some of the requirements - as was the plan when the tax cap was instituted - is forcing difficult choices.

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