Public School Policies

From unions to vouchers, school budgets to discipline policies, we cover some of the most controversial issues affecting public schools today. Learn more about education reform and how it impacts your family. Keep current on the latest controversies regarding religion, sex-education, civil rights and more.
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Published May 18, 2018 |
Where Did the Members of the 115th House of Representatives Go to School?
Find out where the members of the 115th House of Representatives went to school and how many chose private school over public school for their own children.

The world of education in the United States is in a constant state of flux. Year after year, educational reform and new policies are passed that change the face of American education. As such, it is important to consider the educational background of the people who are representing the American public in approving or denying these policies and reforms.

We completed a survey of the 115th House of Representatives to gather information about the educational background of its members. We also gathered information about the type of education each Representative chose for his or her children. The results of that survey are summarized below along with some interesting points and thought-provoking questions.

Background on the United States Congress

The United States Congress is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Members of both are chosen through direct election, though it is possible for vacancies on the Senate to be filled via gubernatorial appointment. Congress is made up of a total of 535 voting members.

The Senate is comprised of 100 senators, two from each state, which are elected at-large by their constituents for a six-year term. The House of Representatives is comprised of 435 voting members as well as six non-voting members that represent Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Washington, D.C. Members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms, each representing a single district.

Within the 115th House of Representatives, there are 239 Republicans including 1 Delegate from Puerto Rico. There

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Updated April 05, 2018 |
How Much Does It Cost to Educate a Child?
Every year, standardized tests reveal that public school performance is woefully low. Yet you pay taxes to fund public education, so where does that money go? Keep reading to find out how much it really costs to educate your child.

When you think of how your child’s education is going to cost, you probably think of the expenses you cover yourself. From school books and uniforms to daily lunches, transportation to and from school, and extra educational materials at home, the costs add up quickly. But what about the costs you don’t cover? Things like teacher salaries, school maintenance and repairs, taxes, and more – someone has to pay these costs, but who?

If your child attends public school, it is likely that the majority of the cost for his education will be shouldered by the government (federal and state as well as local). One might argue that your taxes pay for a portion of those costs, but it is nowhere near the thousands of dollars it actually takes to send your child to public school for a year.

Depending where you live and the quality of the local education system, you may be wondering just where all of that money goes. In this article, we’ll discuss the average annual cost to educate a student in different states as well as some of the ways your tax dollars are spent.

Annual Costs for Public Education by State

Spending varies drastically for public education from one part of the country to another. The biggest spender is New York, shelling out over $20,000 per student per year. This includes teacher salaries as well as support services and other educational costs. On the other end of the spectrum, states like Utah and Idaho spend a fraction

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Published November 09, 2017 |
An In-Depth Look at Common Core – What’s Working and What Isn’t?
The Common Core State Standards Initiative, more commonly referred to simply as “Common Core”, was introduced to help American students graduate from high school better prepared for career and college. But what exactly are these "common core" standards, and are they working?

If you attended a public school in the United States, you have probably taken a standardized test at some point – probably a lot of them. Testing is one of the most common ways to evaluate the efficacy of an education program, though it may not always be the best way. One of the most well-known education programs that makes heavy use of testing is the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative, more commonly referred to simply as “Common Core”, was introduced in the early 2000s, though many people still have a poor understanding of what it is and how it has affected the nation’s school systems. This system has been in place for half a decade and yet the jury is still out on whether it works or not.

Whether you have detailed knowledge of what’s going on in the nation’s education system or not, you are probably aware that the most recent presidential election has led to some big changes. Keep reading to learn about the history of common core, it’s future, and whether or not it really works.

A History of Common Core

According to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the Common Core State Standards Initiative is, “a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy,” also known as ELA. These standards exist to outline exactly what a student should know at the end of each grade in public educational systems. In a perfect world, these standards will

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Published April 12, 2017 |
What are the Biggest Problems Facing the Public School System?
The American public school system is by no means perfect, but is it completely broken? Keep reading to learn about some of the top issues affecting the public school system.

The American public school system is far from perfect, but the list of top issues is constantly changing. Some say that the emphasis on standardized testing is destroying the quality of public education while others believe that schools are too crowded and parents are too uninvolved. The fact of the matter is that each public school system has its own problems depending where it is located, the local demographic, the amount of funding it receives, and myriad other factors. Keep reading to learn about some of the biggest problems currently facing public high schools in particular.

The Top 3 Issues Affecting Public High Schools

If you were to ask parents from one hundred different school districts about the problems they see with the public school system, you would probably get 100 different responses. Although there are many different problems with the American public school system, recent data collected from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) shows that the academic performance of American students is significantly lower than their international counterparts. School systems are evaluated on a wide variety of factors, but there are some issues that tend to fly under the radar which still have a significant impact. Here are the top three:

1. Students don’t spend enough time in school.

The requirement for number of school days varies slightly from one state to another. Currently, thirty of the U.S. states have a 180-day calendar – this requires students to be in school for approximately 49% of the year. Two states have

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Published December 06, 2016 |
Are Service Dogs Too Distracting in a School Environment?
Students with disabilities may require the assistance of a service dog, but how might the presence of a dog in the classroom affect other students? Could it be too distracting?

There is a special bond between children and their dogs but, for some children, a dog is more than just a best friend – he is an assistant for everyday tasks. Children with certain diseases and disabilities sometimes need the help of a service dog just to get through their day. The service dog accompanies them everywhere they go – even to school. While a service dog may be a necessity for the student he serves, it is possible the he could become a distraction for other students. But where do you draw the line?

In today’s modern society, distractions are everywhere. Cell phones and tablets are being given to younger and younger children as society as a whole becomes progressively more reliant on technology. But what determines whether something is too distracting? When it comes to service dogs, there are some legitimate concerns regarding allergies and fears that some students may have, but are these concerns more legitimate than the student’s need for the service dog? Keep reading to learn more about this issue.

What Exactly Do Service Dogs Do?

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the definition of service animal is, “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability”. Some of the tasks a service dog can perform might include pulling a wheelchair, picking up dropped items, reminding someone to take their medications, providing emotional

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Recent Articles
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Peek into what have been dubbed “Taj Majal” high schools, with a list of the five most expensive high schools in the country, how much they cost, and what they really offer students.
May 18, 2018
Find out where the members of the 115th House of Representatives went to school and how many chose private school over public school for their own children.
Public School Policies

Education Reform

Education reform is in the works, and you can stay updated on the latest changes, debates, and policies here. Learn more about No Child Left Behind and how it impacts your child. Explore how federal and state government is working to improve school performance, student achievement and education standards.

Teachers and Unions

A comprehensive look at teachers, tenure, and unions. Learn how unions impact school performance. Explore the impact of education reform on teaching qualification standards, traditional unions and controversial tenure rules.

Public School Budgets

We offer an overview of public school budgets; where the money comes from, how it’s spent and what schools are doing to get more funding. Learn how schools are cutting budgets and how the cuts will impact your child. Delve into some of the creative ways school districts are trying to raise money and where the extra money is spent.

Vouchers

Explore both sides of the school voucher debate. Learn what your options are, how those choices are funded and the impact on your local school district. From the latest government initiatives to results from recent studies, explore vouchers and the options they provide.

School Discipline Policies

Examine the various discipline methods being put to use in public schools. From detention to expulsion, spanking to handcuffing, school discipline can often be controversial. Does spanking work? Do police belong in schools? Learn more about what is being done to punish out of control students.

School Controversies

The most controversial issues impacting public school students today. From bullying to book bans, this is a comprehensive look at some of the most oft-debated issues. This section features articles on school segregation, religion, over-crowding, civil rights, and green technology.