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Matthew Zalaznick's picture

Schools emerge as big winner from Florida legislative session

Lawmakers simplified the complicated school grading formula. They created new scholarship accounts for children with special needs. And they directed a record-high $11 billion in state funding to the K-12 education system.

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Let’s end America’s dropout epidemic

What will it actually take to reach the 90 percent goal? America cannot reach this high school graduation goal without closing the opportunity gap. Graduation gaps between low-income students and their middle-to-higher-income peers reach nearly 30 percentage points in some states.

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Long-term fixes to Michigan school funding unlikely this year

Michigan State legislators on both sides of the aisle expect education funding to be a major discussion in this fall’s election season. Not only are long-term solutions unlikely, there is not even legislative support to fund a study of how much should be spend for Michigan students to compete with those in higher-performing states.

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Teach the teachers well

For decades, schools have tried to address problem behavior and emotional issue challenges with SEL programs that teach students how to understand and express feelings, manage behavior and solve arguments. But sometimes teachers found they needed something more fundamental: the chance to develop their own SEL skills.

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Education reform is destroying childhood as we know it

The pressure put on teachers to prepare young students for Common Core, college and careers is too much and should be replaced with inspiring them to explore and discover their learning passions.

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Schools should not push the costs of tests onto parents' wallets

These days, every kid has a list for the start of school. These costs pile up. On top of this pile, Illinois is now considering passing along the cost of required testing to students. The schools should pay, while the role of the parents ought to be to encourage studying.

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A master plan on education is a great first step

Connecticut’s Achievement Gap Task Force is drafting a master plan to ensure that every single child, regardless of race, income or ZIP code, gets a high-quality education. Particularly encouraging in the Task Force’s plan is the focus on early childhood education, especially early literacy.

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Accountability for schools requires quantitative measures of success

School districts throughout the country have found value in holding individual schools accountable for their success. The use of letter grades in Utah is just one part of the accountability process. The changes proposed through the Governor’s Education Excellence Commission are a move in the right direction.

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Rural school districts already provide free community college

While Oregon rural districts that are offering a fifth or sixth year using K12 funding are doing the right thing for kids in their communities, a better plan is one the state is studying now. It would fund two years of community college for high school graduates and take advantage of available federal money.

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Focus on ninth grade increases Chicago high school graduation rates

Efforts to improve the academic performance of freshmen drove large improvements in graduation rates three years later in a diverse set of 20 Chicago public high schools, according to a report released by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research.

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