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Trends and insights from across the nation

Universal Preschool

Actor Rob Reiner, left, chair of the First 5 California commission, supported California's Proposition 82. In May, voters soundly rejected the universal preschool proposition, crushing the hopes of early childhood education advocates who hoped to make universal preschool public policy in the nation's most populous state.

Reiner vowed to fight on, saying that the push for universal preschool would not go away.

Robot Tech

Achim Nurse, 13, listens during an eighth grade social studies class from his bed at Blythedale Children's Hospital in Valhalla, N.Y. Nurse, unable to leave his hospital room, attends classes through use of a robot with video and audio capabilities.

The robot provides what its inventors call "telepresence": It gives the boy an actual presence in the classroom, recognized by teachers and classmates. It can move from class to class on its four-wheel base and even stop at the lockers for a between-periods chat.

Columbine Memorial

Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Columbine Memorial in Littleton, Colo., seven years after the deadliest school attack in U.S. history.

The $1.5 million memorial will include a fountain, an inner Ring of Remembrance and an outer Ring of Healing. There will be one station for each of the 13 victims.