Opinion & Analysis

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State's education gains at risk if Education Trust Fund breached

Moving funding from the Education Trust Fund in order to solve today's General Fund shortfall is a short-sighted decision. The economic future of Alabama heavily depends on the strength of the education students in its schools receive now.

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School buyouts are a burden for Minnesota taxpayers

“Settling" a buyout with staffers who are ineffective or behaving badly is common practice for many school districts. While paying someone not to work may be the less-expensive alternative than drawn-out litigation or arbitration, it still costs public dollars that could be better spent elsewhere.

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All should pay for school books

Once again, it is that painful time of the year for Indiana parents who must, unlike the school parents in most other states, pay for their children's textbooks. The estimated $90 million annual cost should be spread out to all taxpayers as Indiana's superintendent of public instruction proposed to the Legislature.

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Paying for pension loopholes

It appears that many Illinois districts are still awarding educators end-of-career pay raises and passing the penalty costs onto local taxpayers and increased pension costs onto taxpayers across the state. If districts believe these pay increases are justifiable, they should be more than willing to pay the penalties and explain their decisions to the taxpayers.

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Seeing struggling math learners as ‘sense makers,’ not ‘mistake makers’

When teachers are comfortable teaching in a more complex style, they are able to offer the multiple points of entry that allow for differentiation to take place — but in community, not isolation. If students are segmented out to learn only with the students “at their level,” some students will be in danger of never moving past fractions.

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What the right gets wrong about AP history

Conservatives are wrong in their caricature of U.S. history teaching. If high school students are going to test out of college history classes – something that the AP History test allows them to do – they need to demonstrate an awareness of how historians interpret the past. And the people who judge their ability to do that are trained historians, not political partisans.

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Green building jobs can help grow economy

A growing number of technical high schools are introducing environmental building programs to arm students with the necessary skills for sustainable careers. They should continue developing on these programs by offering specific courses aimed at helping students achieve credentials in green building and sustainable design.

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Current financial aid form has to go

Concerned that a bill from two U.S. senators proposing the use of as few as two questions to determine financial eligibility for college will gain traction, a national organization of financial aid professionals has presented an alternative for simplifying the process of applying for financial aid.

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Reforming schools, again and again

Reformers intent on school choice promised that the marketplace would reward good schools and force bad ones to close. But that’s not how it’s worked. It both offers parents real alternatives to failing schools yet beggars traditional schools.

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U.S. school districts should do more to protect LGBT students from bullying

A new report examined anti-bullying policies in 13,181 school districts nationwide and the effects of state law. It found that only one in 10 school districts has a policy that explicitly protects LGBT students from actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Nearly three in 10 have no anti-bullying policy at all.

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