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Court review of Fla. school vouchers long overdue

No state has a bigger voucher system. Florida is on the way to spending $1 billion on a program with questionable accountability that could be the start of an attempt to privatize public education. Legal review of the voucher program is long overdue.

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In schools, when should holy days become holidays?

Expanding religious diversity makes it impractical to keep adding religious holidays to the school calendar without strong evidence that classes can't function well on those days. All public schools can, however, have a clear policy allowing every student a reasonable number of excused absences for religious observance — without penalty.

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What every school can learn from preschools

A high-quality preschool program helps children develop soft skills and deal with emotions. But, a New America Foundation report argues, schools should focus on these same skills, habits, attitudes, and mindsets with older kids as they are just as important as academics.

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‘Lockdown’ vs. ‘silent safety drill’: The school security language debate

Measures to increase security have introduced their own law-enforcement-influenced jargon into conversations about kids’ safety. And in the process, they’ve launched an intense debate about how to make our language direct enough to protect kids, without excessively frightening or even endangering them.

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Unified sports give everyone a chance to excel

For students with special needs, school can be a constant reminder of exactly how they are different socially and academically. Unified sports programs can change some of that, by putting all participants — special and regular education — in the same uniform and on the same field of play at the same time.

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School turnarounds will fail without high-quality pre-K

As the idea of universal pre-K moved to center stage in election season this fall, interest in high-quality pre-K as a school turnaround tool grows. Tragically, millions of children begin elementary school years behind their peers, and the SIG program — overhauled by the Obama administration five years ago — has not closed that gap.

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Pennsylvania's ad hoc school funding is unfair, unpredictable

Pennsylvania is one of only three states without a consistently applied school funding formula, which creates unfairness for students and disparities among school districts across the state. State officials must find an equitable method to distribute state funds for public education so that all students can have access to high-quality educational programs and services.

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Gap years: Are they effective for students?

In Europe, it's been a longstanding tradition for high school students to embark on a "gap year" of traveling and volunteering before entering their post-secondary studies. This trend is now becoming more popular amongst American students who want to explore their interests through real world experiences.

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A school district's liability for teacher-student relationships

Title IX does not purport to establish the minimum age at which a minor is deemed to be capable of consenting to sexual activities with an older individual. Instead, Pennsylvania's Title IX prohibits certain forms of sex-based discrimination in the educational context.

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Matthew Zalaznick's picture

Bold action needed to improve struggling schools

It’s time to refocus the conversation happening around our district’s lowest-performing schools. There is entirely too much fighting and not enough substantive conversation about children and turning things around for them.

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