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Lauren Williams's picture

Push for more accurate teacher evaluations must focus on improving education

One big change is that district leaders will not have the leeway to decide how teachers are rated; perhaps that change will avoid any disparities between students testing poorly and teachers rated highly.

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Iowa Legislature needs to approve anti-bullying bill

While previous efforts have died in the Legislature, bipartisan support for substantive anti-bullying legislation is looking better this year. Developing strategies to wipe out bullying is one important step in getting our youths through an intense stage of their lives. We all need to invest in this endeavor.

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Education spending a civil rights issue

The disparities that exist in school discipline policy disproportionately impact students of color, children with disabilities and LGBTQ youth. Yet the federal government continues to offer funding to states to place police officers in schools while providing proportionately less funding to implement alternative positive discipline practices.

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No Child Left Behind overhaul should keep states accountable

The No Child Left Behind Act, a product of good bipartisan intentions and bad legislative drafting, is closer than ever to a rewrite that was supposed to have happened eight years ago. But the new bill would allow so much flexibility that it's unclear what would happen in states that don't try hard to reduce achievement gaps.

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Tribal history curriculum gets boost in Washington

A decade’s worth of work by tribal leaders, educators, legislators and activists has shown that having difficult conversations about issues of race, history and culture is necessary and productive. The state's House and the Senate passed bills that require schools to incorporate the history, culture and government of the nearest Indian tribes into the social studies curriculum.

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Increase cardiac health screening for young athletes

New Jersey needs to bring greater awareness to the risk cardiac problems present to student athletes. A new bill is being proposed that would help recognize and prevent cardiac illnesses in children through cardiac history-related family history questions and adequate training for health care practitioners to identify these conditions.

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Public boarding school as a solution for Detroit's students

Adding something truly radical to the mix just might help improve the entire effort to make a better living-and-learning environment for Detroit Public Schools’ students. For kids in enormous need of a stable, sustaining home environment that encourages good learning, a public boarding school model might make all the difference in the world.

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Dueling over guns in Florida's schools

One can oppose the guns-in-school campaign while still supporting the Second Amendment right to arms. Reasonable limits on where people can carry weapons do not jeopardize the right to own guns. Politicians who want to soften gun-control laws keep running up against school officials and law enforcement professionals who will have to deal with the consequences.

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'Opting out' into school choice

Fundamentally, the call for opt-outs is a call for more parental freedom. It may well be that test-based accountability has run its course in public education. If so, the opt-out movement ironically fueled by self-interested teachers unions — may be pointing us to what’s next: a lot more choice and unbundling of services in public education.

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Georgia prepares for new education assessment tests

Whether the new Georgia Milestones testing formula will be an improvement remains to be seen, but area educators seem confident that it will be better. It will almost certainly be harder, and that reality is both the benefit and the challenge for a state long struggling to up its game in public schooling.

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