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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Soda at School? More Districts are Just Saying No
As part of our on-going coverage of food reform in public schools, we report on the growing, nationwide trend by school districts to get sugary drinks out of schools – as well as the most recent evidence linking these beverages to a host of health issues.
Sugar-laden drinks like soda and some fruit juices have been linked to a wide range of ills, from the current obesity epidemic to the rising incidence of type II diabetes and heart disease in this country. The soda habit is one that frequently begins during youth, particularly for children that have the sugary drinks readily available at home or at school. Fortunately, many schools are taking a stand against allowing these types of drinks on their campuses, with fewer soda options available at public schools, according to a recent study.
 
Research Methodology
 
Recent research conducted by the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Chicago at Illinois indicates that the availability of sugary beverages at the elementary school level is on the decline. The study, conducted by Lindsey Turner and Frank Chaloupka, used the guidelines issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) when analyzing their research. The IOM recommends that schools only offer students water, 100-percent juice and non-fat and 1-percent milk on their beverage menus, according to the Los Angeles Times.
 
Turner and Chaloupka’s research looked at five years of surveys from public elementary schools nationwide. According to Reuters, researchers were able to compile data from hundreds of schools between 2007 and 2011. The information was provided by principals and food service workers that recorded the specific types of beverages available to students and precisely where in the school those beverages were sold.
 
What the Numbers Show
 
The research found that the number of students who could buy
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How Much Will Back to School Cost for Your Child?  More than Before!
As parents get ready to send their kids back to school, we calculate just how far they will have to open their wallets to pay for the rising cost of public education today. Given that parents are paying for the PTA, extracurricular activities, field trips, and more, the answer is quite more than "free" public schools.
Whoever said, “There is no such thing as a free lunch,” could have easily been referring to the state of public education today. In addition to the rising cost of school lunches, many other components of the so-called “free” education system in the United States are going up in price as well. As parents get ready to pack the children off for the world of academia in just a few short weeks, it is wise to weigh the cost of such an endeavor to hopefully avoid the sticker shock that many parents are faced with today.
 

BYOS (Bring Your Own Supplies)

Parents who grew up in school systems that provided supplies to students are often surprised by the long supply lists they are expected to fill before the school year begins. The New York Times reports that one Brooklyn mother spent more than $300 on supplies to equip her two first-graders for their year at Public School 130 last year. Included on the list were items like construction paper, crayons and markers.

However, this parent might have gotten off relatively easy for this school year, as other parents reported purchases of graphing calculators to the tune of $300 apiece, as well as other expensive equipment. Others cite lists that include basic necessities for the classroom, such as hand sanitizer, soap and paper towels. One parent even told the New York Times that rugs for the classroom turned up on one of her recent supply lists.
 
Tina Manis, a parent of
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Is Your Child Ready for the Upcoming School Year? 10 Ways to Know
From kindergarteners to middle school students, use this age-specific, sage advice to evaluate and help your child prepare for the next school year.
A new school year is filled with excitement and expectation for most children, but for those who are unsure whether they are prepared for the next grade, the time can also be filled with worry and trepidation. How can parents know definitively their children are ready to advance to the next step of their academic career? There are a number of signs to watch for, and many more tips parents can use to get their kids started on the right foot when the new school year begins.
 

Getting Started in Early Education – Separation, Focus and Reading 

The early years of school are an exciting time for children, but they can also be a scary time for some. To ensure your child is ready to enter the hallowed halls of academia, consider the following:
  • Leaving Mom and Dad – Is your child ready to say goodbye to you every morning? If not, begin breaking those attachment ties down by enrolling your tot in a preschool or church program. According to Family Education, children entering Kindergarten should be happy away from home and be able to handle basic needs like bathroom trips on their own.
  • Focusing on Tasks – Throughout the early years of school, children must learn to focus on tasks and see them through to completion. This process begins in Kindergarten with “circle time” and cut and paste projects and continues through first and second grade, with reading groups, math tests and writing practice. Great Schools recommends giving
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10 Characteristics of the Gifted Child
Is your child gifted? We’ll explore ten of the most common characteristics of gifted children and how schools assess whether students qualify for gifted programs.
The term “gifted” has been thrown around in public education circles for decades – often misused, misdiagnosed and misunderstood. Gifted children may present in various ways; some are positive characteristics and some, are not as desirable. When determining giftedness in a student, it is essential to take a number of factors into consideration, since not all gifted children will exhibit the same characteristics at the same time. This list offers 10 of the most common characteristics seen in gifted students.
 

Verbal Ability

Gifted children often begin communicating verbally at an early age, and they use vocabulary far beyond their age. These children are often referred to as “precocious” because of their language usage. The website for Amend Psychological Services list some of the verbal features of gifted children as “avid storytellers,” early talkers or those with and extensive and precise vocabulary. These children often choose their words carefully, but tend to use a lot of them. They can also get frustrated with children in the same age group who are unable to understand them and often turn to older children or adults for conversation.

Information Processing
 
Education.com states that gifted children often have an “unusual capacity for processing information” and are often able to process that information more quickly and accurately than their peers. These children typically master subjects like reading and math much more quickly than their peers, which can make it difficult to keep them challenged in a regular school setting. Bright Hub Education explains
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The Advent of the Digital Textbook: Boon or Bust?
How well are digital textbooks performing for students? We examine the move to digital textbooks, as well as the pros and cons of using online resources rather than traditional paper.
With technology becoming a major component in all aspects of life today, it should be no surprise that this trend is hitting the public school sector as well. One way that technology is changing the face of education is through how information is distributed – through electronic means, rather than the traditional textbook. While more students are turning to the screen rather than turning pages, the verdict is still out on whether digital textbooks have what it takes to replace traditional books for good.
 

Defining the Digital Textbook

Students are tossing traditional textbooks with paper pages in favor of looking up their information on the computer, Kindle or iPad. These devices offer the ability to rent digital versions of the same textbooks, which are accessible through any online device. In some cases, digital textbooks can be accessed for free, if they are part of the public domain in cyberspace. Teachers, as a general rule, do not mind if students use the electronic or the traditional model of the textbook, as long as it delivers the same information and students remain focused on the task at hand, rather than surfing the Internet during class time.

“Kids are wired differently these days,” Sheryl R. Abshire, chief technology officer for the Calcasieu Parish School System in Lake Charles, Louisiana, told the New York Times. “They’re digitally nimble. They multitask, transpose and extrapolate. And they think of knowledge as infinite.”
 
According to a report at Edudemic, sales of digital textbooks went up
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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.