About Public Schools

Here we cover the history of public schools, explain the various types and discuss their pros/cons. Learn more about technology on campus, health and nutrition issues, and the latest information related to a variety of student populations.
View the most popular articles in About Public Schools:
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Cyber-Education Coming to the Public School Realm
Online learning is no longer just for colleges, as more charter high schools are becoming completely virtual.
Online learning has become a popular way for many college students to earn a degree, but it is also making its way into many primary and secondary schools as well. With the rising popularity of cyber-charter schools nationwide, some public school districts are turning to cyber-education as a means of competing with other schools in their areas. But is online education the answer for public schools today? The answer depends on who you ask.

What is Cyber-Education?

 According to K12 (an online school), cyber or virtual schooling takes place on the Internet, rather than a traditional classroom. Students go online from anywhere they choose, allowing them to keep up with school work from home or on the road. Access to teachers is completed through phone calls, online through conferencing or face-to-face in some instances. Teachers that work in cyber-schools are state-certified and oversee virtual classrooms, where students often have the opportunity to interact with their instructors and peers.
While cyber-schools maintain a sense of structure in their virtual classrooms, there is flexibility in education that is not seen in a brick-and-mortar classroom. The success of students in cyber-education rests more squarely on parents, who must ensure students remain focused even if they are doing their learning from the comfort of home. However, unlike home schooling, parents do not act as instructors in the cyber-school experience.
The Benefits of Cyber-Schooling
Those who have participated in cyber-schooling tout numerous benefits with the model, including:
  • The ability to individualize lessons to a student’s ability and
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Cell Phones in Class? Many Schools are Saying Yes
We examine revised cell phone policies across the country that allow students to use phones during school hours – and whether those new policies are a good idea.
Cell phones have become an artificial appendage to many adults today, and teenagers have followed suit on this trend. However, many middle and high schools have adopted serious restrictions on cell phone use during school hours, with some schools still requiring students to keep cell phones completely out of sight as long as classes are in session. Other schools are beginning to lift many of those restrictions, as teachers realize the learning potential inside these small handheld devices. While the specific rules depend on each school, the overall consensus appears to be that cell phones, when used properly, can enhance the academic experience.

The Cell Phone Controversy

When students first began carrying cell phones, educators saw them primarily as a distraction in the classroom. Even more concerning was the fact that some students quickly learned how to use these devices to cheat on tests in class. The kneejerk reaction by many schools was to simply ban cell phones altogether, creating policies that would allow for the confiscation of phones that were seen in halls or classrooms during school hours.

However, Mind Shift reports that as phones become a more prevalent feature in daily life, some schools are rethinking their strict policies. Students themselves are beginning to lament that cell phone restrictions are one of the greatest obstacles in bringing technology into the classroom, according to this publication. As more teachers find uses for those tiny computing devices, some are beginning to side with the students on this issue as
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At the 20-Year Mark, Are Charter Schools Making the Grade?
On the 20th anniversary of the opening of the first charter school, are these schools really offering an attractive option to the standard neighborhood school? We’ll explore the evidence.
Charter schools have been touted as one of the solutions to a failing school system, but not everyone believes charter schools are the best way to reform public schools. Test scores offer little assistance in this area, since numbers can often be manipulated to support either side of the aisle. As these alternatives to traditional public schools celebrate their 20-year anniversary, can we know definitively if they are making the grade? It may depend on who you talk to and which school you are talking about.
The Growth of Charter Schools
No matter what educators, parents and lawmakers might think of charter schools, one thing remains crystal clear: the number of charter schools nationwide has been slowly and steadily growing over the past 20 years. The Huffington Post reports that there are now around 5,600 charter schools around the country, attended by more than two million students. In states like Michigan, caps have been removed, allowing for exponential growth of charter schools in that state as a multitude of charter operators have moved in to take advantage of more liberal charter authorization laws.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Michigan began the new school year with 31 new charter schools and a 32nd in the works. Eighteen of those schools are in the Detroit area. Those numbers represent the largest charter school growth in a single year since 1990. Currently, the state has 277 charter schools operating, with three-fourths operated by for-profit companies.
Are They Working?
With charter school growth booming,
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New Study Shows Vending Machine Laws Yield Positive Health Results in Schools
We analyze on a new study that shows restricting sugary snacks in vending machines in schools resulted in less weight-gain over a three-year period.
The debate over junk food in schools continues to rage in states across the country. Advocates for banning junk food in school districts just got a boost from a recent study that shows laws restricting high-calorie, low-nutrition foods in schools may contribute to lower obesity rates in students. The recently published study suggests that stronger restrictions on the food and beverages served in public schools may indeed contribute to the overall health of the school’s student population.

About the Study

The New York Times reports that the study, which was recently published in the journal “Pediatrics,” found a compelling link between laws restricting junk food sold in vending machines at school and obesity rates for that particular student population. The study tracked 63,000 students over a three-year period. While researchers who completed the study said the positive outcomes among students were still relatively small, the evidence suggests that stricter guidelines on school food offerings could actually curb the youth obesity epidemic currently faced by the United States.  

Students were evaluated between fifth grade and eighth grade. The study encompassed 40 states nationwide, ensuring the student populations were accurately represented. Weight changes among students were compared between states that have laws against junk food and sugary beverages in school vending machines, and those that did not. The study also classified laws governing food selections in schools; strong laws were those that completely restricted the sale of junk food and sugary beverages, while weak laws merely offered nutrition recommendations
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10 Ways to Help Your Student Start the School Year on the Right Foot
Use these sage tips to ensure your children’s start to the school year is as smooth and trouble-free as possible.
The upcoming school year brings a mix of emotions for kids and parents alike – from excitement over the promise of new beginnings to anxiety over the fear of the unknown. No matter how you child faces the new year, you can help him or her to make the most of the experience. These tips help you to help your child start the new school year on the right foot.

Ease into a Schedule

Most children spend their summers staying up late and sleeping in, which can make the adjustment to an earlier school schedule a bit of a shock to the system. Plan for a softer transition by easing children into the school schedule gradually during the last week or two of summer break. By pushing bedtimes up by one-half or one hour each week, your child will be better prepared to meet that first early bell with a smile.
Plan to Eat Right
PBS Parents recommends re-focusing summer eating habits that might have consisted of junk food on the run to healthy sit-down meals as a family whenever possible. When children spend many hours each day in a classroom, they need all the nutrition they can get to keep their brains in top performing condition. Begin with healthy breakfast selections, and try to have family dinner nights as often as possible throughout the week.
Set Up a Homework Station
Homework time will go that much more smoothly if all the necessary supplies are right at
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About Public Schools

Overview of Public Schools

A comprehensive look at the U.S. public school system, including history, governing bodies, funding, and services. Compare private, public and charter schools. Learn more about Magnet school programs and get tips on choosing the right school for your child.

Types of Public Schools

Explore the different types of public schools, from charter to language immersion, and learn about the unique pros and cons of each type. Is a co-ed or single sex classroom best for your child? Charter school or magnet? Read expert advice and get valuable tips on the various public education programs available and how to choose what works best for your family.

Technology on Campus

From eBooks to web cams, technology on campus continues to grow. Learn how the latest technology impacts your child’s education. Get tips on the best ways to integrate technology into education and stay abreast of the latest developments and challenges facing schools.

Health and Nutrition at School

From vending machines to Jamie Oliver, bed bugs to tuberculosis, we provide an in-depth look at health and wellness in public schools. Help your kids stay healthy on campus and learn about current health epidemics, vaccination requirements, physical fitness programs and the latest food initiatives.

Back to School

Learn more about preparing your child and wallet for a new school year. Inside you’ll find valuable advice to help your family prepare for the transition from swimsuits to school. While there is no tuition, public school education does not come without costs. Learn more about budgeting for a new school year and get great money saving tips.

Student Populations

The latest trends, laws and resources for a variety of student populations. Every child has different needs, and this section offers helpful information for LGBT, special education, gifted, low-income, and minority students.