Parenting and Learning Issues

Each child learns differently. Here we offer resources on learning styles and the classroom models that support them, expert advice on how to improve learning, and tips on parental involvement.
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Understanding Your Local PTA
Learn about how your local PTA works and how getting involved can help your community.
The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is a nationwide network of parents and teachers working together in national, state, and local organizations to improve the lives of children. Membership at the local level is open to anyone who has an interest in children. There are now close to 6 million members in 23,000 local chapters. Joining the PTA is an excellent way for parents to get involved in their children's education. Local PTAs throughout the country are making a difference in the quality of children's education.
A local PTA chapter is part of a national network of organizations working together for children's interests. Most parents join a local unit, which automatically gives them membership in the state and national PTAs. The local unit can represent a single school or a group of schools. Local units have autonomy to establish their own priorities, select the national programs in which they will participate, assess the needs of the school, and decide how to raise needed funds.
Local units frequently hold fundraisers, the proceeds from which go to support school programs, building maintenance or improvements, and educational events. The following are examples of how local PTAs can improve a child's education.
? The children at Washington Elementary School in San Gabriel, California, are enjoying their art classes once again this year, thanks to a $6,000 donation by the school's PTA. Art is not a required subject in the district, so no state funding was available. Knowing that there will be further cuts in the California
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Public School Uniforms:  The Pros and Cons for Your Child
Should students wear uniforms? Learn more about the pros and cons of uniform policies in public schools.
The prevalence of uniforms in public schools continues to rise in the United States, as parents and school administrators exert efforts to keep our schools safe environments. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 20%  of all public schools have adopted uniform mandates. Approximately 22% of elementary schools, 19% of all middle schools, and 10% of high schools currently require uniforms, and this trend continues to accelerate. 
Although uniforms have been a mainstay of private schools, public schools didn’t jump on the bandwagon until 1994, when the Long Beach California School District integrated school uniforms to address safety issues challenging the district. According to the school district data, within one year after the implementation of uniforms, the fights and muggings at school decreased by 50%, while sexual offenses were reduced by 74%. Across the country, similar statistics abound; for example, at Ruffner Middle School in Norfolk, VA, the number of discipline referrals decreased by 42% once uniforms were enforced. 
Fueled by these statistics, more schools across the country are requiring  uniforms in their public schools, naming school safety as their primary motivation. Even with these compelling statistics, however, there are other statistics that argue that uniforms are not as beneficial as school administrators and parents are encouraged to believe. Opponents cite research that shows a lack of individualism and comfort among students, working to actually decrease student learning and success. Thus, the question still remains: are public school uniforms good for your child? 
The Benefits of Public School Uniforms: Safer Learning
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What Parents Should Know About Graduation Rates
Learn about graduation rates in the U.S., and tips for keeping your child in school.
The high school graduation rate is a "barometer of the health of American society and the skill level of its future workforce," according to Heckman and LaFontaine, the authors of a 2007 study. From a different perspective, graduation from high school can mean the difference between an individual student's future success and a future marred by unemployment, poverty, and even crime. Whether the viewpoint is broad or narrow, the significance of a high school diploma is evident. This article discusses government efforts to improve graduation rates, examines a recent study that attempts to gauge the magnitude of the dropout problem, and suggests steps that parents can take to encourage their children stay in school.
In an age of information technology and a global economy, high school graduation is a minimum requirement for higher education and gainful employment. It is surprising, therefore, that there is no national average graduation rate on which all experts can agree. That is because there are numerous methods for calculating graduation rates. Estimates have ranged from 66 to 88 percent as a national average graduation rate, with 70 percent accepted by many authorities as the best estimate. Moreover, an average graduation rate does not tell the whole story. Black and Hispanic students drop out at higher rates than Non-Hispanic white students and Asian/Pacific Islander students. Students in urban environments are much less likely to finish high school than students in suburban areas. In some years, boys drop out at a higher rate than girls. These differences make
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Bullying, Name Calling, and Put Downs - Tips for Parents
Learn tips for helping your child deal with bullying, name calling and put-downs.
"Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…" - English Proverb. Once echoing throughout the halls of the nation’s schools, this simple phrase reminded children that the taunts that had been considered a rite of passage in childhood would one day end. 
Fast forward several decades and “sticks and stones” becomes increasingly rare as schoolyard bullying is recognized as a serious problem. School administrators and teachers now know that, not only do words hurt, they often escalate into physical conflict that envelops the bully and his victim as well as those around them, including adults and other children who may get caught in the crossfire.
All too often, what begins as minor name-calling or teasing, ends up with those involved coming to blows at the victim attempts to defend himself. This type of escalation is what experts insist leads to even more violence. Violence does not begin with a physical attack, but rather a psychological one. What begins as words, perhaps a taunt or name-calling, escalates into pushing and shoving, which then may lead to a bloody nose, a black eye, or even a broken bone.
Experts insist that today’s lifestyles put so much pressure on children that they often bring that added stress into the classroom making what would normally be a minor incident just the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The reality is that the intimidation, the anxiety, and the raw anger that children cause when they tease or harass their peers can all too easily spin out of
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Should Sixth Grade Be in Elementary School or Middle School?
Should sixth graders be placed in elementary or middle school? We explore the pros and cons of the issue.
Sixth grade has been described as a major crossroads of a child's development. Thus, it would seem important to place sixth graders in the proper environment during this critical period. Curiously, a decades-long debate continues regarding whether sixth graders are better off in elementary school or middle school. After looking at common characteristics of sixth graders, this article examines the pros and cons for each approach. Although a 2007 study concluded that sixth graders in elementary school behave and test better than sixth graders in middle school, 75 percent of school districts in the U.S. place sixth graders in middle school. Moreover, school district decisions to place sixth grade in elementary or middle school are sometimes based on purely financial considerations. The article concludes with some tips for parents who are concerned about sending their sixth graders to middle school.
What Are Sixth Graders Like?
Educators agree that sixth graders are an unusually diverse group to which few generalizations apply. They are all moving from childhood to adolescence, but each one seems to moving at a different pace. Here are some milestones that parents can expect as their children approach and enter sixth grade:
? Children mature physically around the time of sixth grade. Girls become concerned about their physical appearance as their bodies begin to change. Boys may gain a lot of height and may start to shave. These physical changes often occur before children develop the emotional maturity to deal with them.
? Girls mature physically sooner than boys.
? Children begin
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Parenting and Learning Issues

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Types of Learning

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Kindergarten and Elementary Issues

Weigh the pros and cons of preschool, full day kindergarten and other issues affecting our youngest learners. Learn what can be done to help your child prepare to enter school, boost confidence, and encourage reading at the grade school level.

High School Issues

Learn more about issues specific to high school students. Get an overview of high school graduation rates, college readiness, career choice and social issues impacting teenagers in public schools.