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Bill Siegel is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy winning documentary filmmaker and vice president of School Programs for the Great Books Foundation, a Chicago-based nonprofit educational organization.

Inquiry-based learning means asking questions that demand students use evidence from the text to support their thinking. It means challenging students to respond to the differing ideas of their classmates. And it means pushing students to further their own thinking.

District Administration surveyed readers on the race for president. (Click to enlarge)

When the next president takes office in January, he or she will preside over major shifts in the K12 education landscape—from implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act and Common Core, to the rollout of nationwide STEM initiatives, to the simmering battles over charters, school choice and teachers unions.

STEM, ahoy! First-grade students at Spotswood Elementary School in Harrisonburg, Virginia, prepare to test the results of a STEM design challenge using a plastic pool of water.

Harrisonburg City Public Schools in Virginia incorporates a technical- and engineering-based STEM curriculum starting with kindergarten and continuing right through high school.

The nation needs more STEM-focused youths, as only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in math and interested in a STEM career, according to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE).

A new survey says "increasing knowledge"—rather than increasing salary—motivates teachers to take online professional development. (Gettyimages.com: Dragan Radojevic)

Most educators are enrolling in online professional learning courses. The most common areas are classroom and behavior management, education software training and digital device training.

Passion project: Students in Deerfield Public Schools in Illinois created a healthy and tasty snacks project, with a goal to reveal the guidelines of the district's Food Management Plan snack policy.

Shortly after a teacher inadvertently gave almond biscotti to a student allergic to dairy and nuts, Deerfield Public Schools Superintendent Michael Lubelfeld convened the first of several meetings for parents of students with allergies.

The study of extremists: The new FBI website, “Don’t be a Puppet,” above, works almost like a video game, giving certain facts about extremism. Some education groups fear it might have unintended consequences.

The FBI is trying to prevent American youths from joining violent extremist groups—but some K12 groups worry it might unknowingly exacerbate bullying and bigotry in classrooms.

Young refugees who have fled foreign war zones, religious violence and dire poverty represent some of the country’s most “at-risk” students. In one New York district, for instance, refugee students who recently heard alarms during a fire drill worried the school was being bombed.

A law sponsored by Illinois state Sen. Julie Morrison should help students respond properly when pulled over by police.

State Sen. Julie Morrison of Illinois sponsored a law requiring students in all driver’s ed classes to receive instruction on how to interact with a police officer during a traffic stop. The goal is to teach them how to respond properly when pulled over, and help them avoid panicking or doing anything that might escalate a situation.

I am not a big advocate of movies. I tend to think of them as a 100 plus minute escape from reality. Moreover, movies tend to condition some minds for the oddness that will likely occur in the future. Despite my general disdain of movies, I was recently compelled to watch in its entirety, Bennett Miller/Brad Pitt’s Moneyball (2011)—a noteworthy take on the effects of analytics in Major League Baseball(MLB).

In less than a generation, schools have entered a complex new world of security concerns.  They have gone from a focus on fire drills to “hardening” against intruders to deter the rising threat of shootings and copycat violence across the nation.

With 74 school shootings since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, money is being thrown at the problem.  An estimated $4.9 billion will be spent on security systems by 2017.  Yet our schools cannot become prisons despite the threat of violence, and the money can be easily wasted if used ineffectively.

NYC Men Teach aims to add 1,000 black, Latino and Asian men to the city’s teaching rosters by 2018. (Photo: Gettyimages.com/digital vision)

Research suggests a diverse teaching force can improve students’ learning experiences. That’s the goal of a three-year, $16 million program called NYC Men Teach, designed to add 1,000 black, Latino and Asian men to the city’s teaching rosters by 2018.

Superintendent Genevra Walters has brought a new philosophy for elementary education to Kankakee School District in Illinois.

Superintendent Genevra Walters introduced a new philosophy for elementary education at Kankakee School District in Illinois. Her model calls for a focus on college and career prep from a young ages—students do a minimum of four hands-on, career-oriented projects per year that are based on a specific career strand.

 Cindy Elsberry is the former superintendent of Horry County Schools in South Carolina. The diverse, high-poverty district won national acclaim for its digital transformation under her leadership and was rated as one of the state’s highest-performing districts.

As one of today’s most promising models for instruction, blended learning is growing rapidly across the country. But what really is blended learning, and how can educators use it to improve student outcomes?

This past summer, a number of districts broke ground and got to work . (Photo: Gettyimages.com/martin barraud)

Districts and government agencies spend nearly $50 billion every year on school construction projects across the U.S.

This past summer, a number of districts broke ground and got to work while many others, with their projects still in the planning phase, approved funds for new buildings, upgrades and repairs.

In the 2013-14 school year, there were more than 1.3 million homeless students, a 7 percent increase from the previous year and more than double the number in 2006-07. While that number is troubling, researchers believe it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

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