Opinion & Analysis

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Fighting childhood obesity

In recent months and years, we’ve started seeing early signs of progress in reversing childhood obesity, a health crisis that many believed was intractable. Despite these signs of progress, overall rates among school-aged youth remain high and there are significant racial and economic disparities in obesity prevalence among children.

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High school stadiums belong near schools, not downtown

Besides the questionable expense, a downtown stadium likely would erode community support for athletic events. Though Des Moines is a large city by Iowa standards, sports events at local schools make their neighborhoods feel like small towns. It should keep that feeling.

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Screening high school athletes for heart conditions will save lives

The time has come for the federal and state governments and educators to realize that it is necessary to require students – especially high school athletes – to undergo ECG screening for heart irregularities. Let’s do everything we can to avoid losing any more children to sudden death.

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More work needed to improve Washington's graduation rates

Boosting test scores and increasing graduation rates aren't the same as reducing the dropout rate. To do that, educators, legislators and citizens need to focus on how to do a better job of making all of Washington's schools places where low-income students and students of color feel respected, valued and expected to succeed.

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Teacher attacks: Is there pressure not to report school violence?

In its investigation of workman comp claims in Baltimore, the Baltimore Sun found last year nearly 300 claims were filed by Baltimore school employees because of injuries received through assaults or altercations on the job. The report was so shocking to city leaders, they will hold hearings to look into the problem.

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Are test boycotts a growing trend?

At the bottom of the issue of teachers boycotting tests is the fact that federal, state and city bureaucracies keep imposing more and more standardized tests on schools. There seems to be little thought of how this will impact teachers, principals and teacher’s aides.

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The positives of uniformity

Acknowledging that education exists not only as an academic, but also as a social and socializing experience for children, it can be argued that a uniform or dress code remains exponentially beneficial.

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Parental involvement overrated? Don't buy it

A rapidly growing body of research looks at whether low-cost parental engagement interventions can cause changes in student performance. Results from randomized experiments suggest that involving parents is a potent, cost-effective and scalable way to increase student achievement in a number of settings.

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Who should pay to guard schoolchildren against Mother Nature?

It's worth debating what's the most fiscally responsible approach to building shelters against natural disasters: that is, whether to raise more money or to fund the projects from existing tax revenue. But leaving schoolchildren's safety up to the whims (and resources) of local voters is the wrong way to go.

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School support vital for foster care youths

Children and youths in foster care often struggle in school because of the challenges they face in their home lives. They are deprived of academic opportunity by virtue of their state involvement. Two bills currently being considered by Connecticut could help to improve the academic experience of children in foster care.

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