Opinion & Analysis

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Change needed in school testing rule in Washington state

About 2,000 high school seniors will fail to graduate this year despite many having enough credits because they didn’t pass an end-of-course test for biology in 10th grade or meet the state academic standard through an alternative approach that evaluates classroom work samples. New legislation needs to find a compromise to reduce testing but retain standards for learning.

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Stealing from poor kids a new low for Illinois

Pension costs account for a quarter of the Illinois’ operating revenues, are rising by at least $1 billion a year and are squeezing dollars that could be used for education, human services and other vital programs. Over the past decade, the state has been taking more and more Title 1 funds to pay teacher pensions instead of aiding low-income students.

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The realities of teaching matter

The best educational systems in the world set high standards for students and then let teachers decide how to get there. Teachers are given time to collaborate and design curriculum to fit their students. Standardized tests are given sparingly and used for the purpose they were intended, to help the student.

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Are preschoolers getting enough exercise during school?

Preschoolers may not be getting enough exercise while attending preschool, according to a new study. Instead of participating in physical activities for the recommended 120 minutes per day, children were receiving just 48 minutes a day to run and play during preschool hours.

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Facing the new realities of special education

Changing the state education funding formula to reflect more up-to-date special education enrollment numbers and costs would help relieve pressures on school budgets and provide school districts more flexibility in meeting student needs.

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It's time to school lawmakers on Alaska's need for education funds

This year, the legislative majority has continuously chosen to focus on strict adherence to a budget concept that leaves Alaska's schools underfunded and lacking any security going forward. Two-thirds of recently polled Alaskans want the Legislature to stop playing the legislative games each year with education funding.

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Pros, cons in proposed Minneapolis Public Schools budget model

District leaders are holding public meetings to discuss allocating funds using student-based budgeting (SBB). One advantage is that students with the same type of needs would get the same amount of funding, no matter which school they attend. SBB budgeting can give building principals more flexibility to tailor resources to fit their schools.

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Put an end to prevailing wage

The Michigan Legislature is on its way to repealing the state's prevailing wage law. The measure artificially drives up the costs of public construction projects for schools and other government buildings. That's bad for taxpayers, school districts and job seekers.

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Capping superintendent salaries has backfired in New Jersey

After Gov. Chris Christie imposed a cap on superintendent salaries in 2010, the savings — only about $10 million a year — were really a drop in the bucket. This coming school year, many more superintendents will see their contracts expire. The state Senate voted to lift the cap, before it drives more superintendents to other states. Let's hope the Assembly does the same.

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Suicide among elementary-aged black children is on the rise

Since the 1990s, suicide rates among elementary-age black children have nearly doubled, while suicide rates among white children have fallen, according to a new study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

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