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NCLB is failing, not Washington schools

School administrators throughout our state will be spending the summer trying to resolve how their schools will be designated as “failing,” following last April’s action by the U.S. Department of Education to make Washington the first state to lose its waiver for compliance to that legislation.

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Parents best at picking kids' schools — expand Florida vouchers

Florida families have had a chance to start voicing their opinion: Just recently the largest number ever — 100,000 — applied for K12 school choice scholarships. It's likely tens of thousands of Florida children will have to return this fall to schools they want to leave without the scholarships. Lawmakers need to expand Florida's voucher system and allow more parents to choose the school that best fits their child.

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Report shows balanced autonomy needed to support principals

The George W. Bush Institute’s Alliance to Reform Education Leadership and New Leaders, Inc. released a framework outlining the conditions necessary for principals to transform schools. The Conditions for Effective Leadership Project findings show that effective districts provide principals with more authority to make staffing decisions and delegate more leadership tasks to other leaders, among other conditions.

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National data confirm cases of restraint and seclusion in public schools

An analysis by ProPublica and NPR of data for the 2011-2012 school year of school discipline practices from the U.S. Department of Education's Civil Rights Data Collection shows restraint and seclusion were used at least 267,000 times nationwide. In 75 percent of the cases, it was children with disabilities who were restrained or secluded.

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Separate facts from fears on Common Core and PARCC

While some of the opposition to Common Core and PARCC is reasonable – no educational strategy can satisfy everyone — much of it is infected with misinformation and politics. First, these are standards, not a curriculum. Decisions on how to attain them — curriculum and school management — will still be made at the district and state level.

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What's wrong with outlawing bullying?

While legislation designed to stamp out bullying may make us feel better inside, such laws by definition encroach upon fundamental freedoms of speech and constitutional requirements that laws not be vague or overly broad. What's more, they may seek to outlaw that which may be beyond the purview of the crimes code: It may be the case that human law is simply no match for the law of nature.

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Sending Boston school kids on public transit is the wrong choice

Boston plans to eliminate bus service for its junior high school students next year. Instead, over 4,000 children will receive passes to ride public transportation to school. This transportation plan will force some families to choose between their preferred school and their child’s safety. Parents fear their children would risk increased exposure to bullying, harassment, and violence on public transportation.

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High-poverty urban districts strive to close the digital divide

Philadelphia's speedy Internet does students and teachers little good in many schools. The district paid for its Internet upgrades using the federal e-rate program, a subsidy that can only be used for networking and telecommunications, not for buying the devices teachers and students use to go online. Overall, the district has one computer for every two students with 60 percent of the computers being over five years old.

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How teacher prep programs are failing new teachers

The National Council on Teacher Quality's second annual evaluation of teacher preparation programs found that only 7 percent performed well enough to achieve "top status." Three out of four programs "fail to insist that applicants meet even modest standards," the group wrote, meaning at least a 3.0 grade point average, or scoring above the 50th percentile on the ACT or SAT.

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Avoiding summer learning loss for teachers and students

Students, teachers and parents can have an enjoyable summer while continuing the education process. Teachers can improve their craft by participating in professional development that focuses on how to better engage students in relevant learning. Continuous teacher training and learning are vital to student success.

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