Education, schools, and learning

Girl reading book
Personal Creations / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0 / www.personalcreations.com

I love reading paper books. The process of perusing bookstore and library shelves. The feeling of turning pages and the way they smell.

A few years ago, my husband bought me a Nook from Barnes and Noble so I could download e-books and have them at my fingertips. But I must admit that after a few uses, it now sits unused on my nightstand.

Why? Because reading books in print gives me an experience reading e-books doesn't.

And I'm not alone. Over half of kids ages 6 to 17 prefer to read in print, according to a recent report from Scholastic.

Kid hanging upside down at playground
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By the time they are just 18 months old, kids from low-income families and those from higher-income families display significant differences in their vocabularies.

Studies suggest that by age three, poor children hear roughly 30 million fewer words than their affluent peers. It's a disparity that researchers in the early 1990s coined the "word gap."

rows of desks in classroom facing chalkboard
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There are more than 90,000 kids in Michigan schools whose primary language is not English.

The number of these English language learners has grown 45 % in the past 5 years, according to data from the state of Michigan.

That has districts, and the state, scrambling to train teachers to help these kids learn.

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U.S. Education Secretary John B. King, Jr. is urging all states to eliminate corporal punishment - punishments like spanking or paddling - from schools.

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Nearly 2 million kids in the U.S. -- 3.4% of all K-12 students -- were home-schooled in 2012, according to a new report from National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Parents choose to break away from the traditional school system for a variety of reasons.

African-American student and teacher
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America's K-12 classrooms are more racially diverse than ever. The number of students who identify as minorities outnumber white students for the first time, and experts project that by 2023, only 45% of K-12 students will be white.

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Research suggests that among school-related factors, teacher quality is one of the most important determinants of student success. That's why recruiting and retaining good teachers is essential to improving schools. 

Stack of money
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The pursuit of higher education can be expensive. Many people graduate from college with a degree and crushing student loan debt to match.

This is especially true for black Americans who, just a few years after graduating, owe nearly twice as much in student loans as their white peers. That's according to a new study by a pair of Columbia University researchers, who analyzed U.S. Department of Education and Census Bureau data from 1993 and 2008 graduates.

jar of change
Pictures of Money / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Nearly 10 years after the recession, school funding is still way down in some states. That's according to a new report released Thursday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

According to the report, 35 states provided less overall state funding per student in the 2014 school year than in the 2008 school year, before the recession took hold. In 27 states, local funding per student fell over the same period.

Scantron Test Form
The Review Univ. of Delaware / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

For decades, grading students - from A to F - has been a standard method of measuring and communicating their skill, understanding, and mastery.

But could our current system of tying students' knowledge to grades actually be doing more harm to students than good? An increasing number of educators and researchers think so.

Educator Chris Crouch wrote for The Huffington Post: