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.
View the most popular articles in Public School Policies:
Updated May 30, 2016 |
Testing Students for Alcohol Use: Violation of Constitutional Rights?
A private school in Illinois will begin randomly testing students for alcohol use this year, raising the issue of the constitutionality of drug and alcohol testing in schools once again.
A private high school in Illinois is raising the stakes on testing. However, the testing in question is not standardized examinations or even pop quizzes in the classroom. This school is adding testing for alcohol consumption to their current tests that randomly screen students for drug use.
Hair Test Detects Alcohol Consumption
The Huffington Post reports that St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois, will unveil their random alcohol testing at the start of the new school year. The private Catholic high school has been testing students for drug use for a number of years, and now will use a similar test to check up on students’ alcohol consumption. The alcohol test is a new addition and the high school will be one of the first in the country to try out this new testing method.
“We’re adding this test because we care about our kids and we want them to be the best God created them to be,” St. Viator President Corey Brost was quoted as saying at the Huffington Post.
The new test will use hair samples, about the width of pencil lead, to reveal any alcohol use by the student. The test provides information about students who have had two to three drinks a week, over a period of the three months prior to the test. Hair samples have been used by the school in the past to test students for drug use, but this will be the first time the test is used to
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Updated October 14, 2016 |
While Students Enjoy Summer Break, Schools Grapple with Common Core Questions
While students are enjoying time off this summer, school district officials across the country are grappling with the issues associated with Common Core Standards, as well as plenty of opposition from parents and teachers.
As public school students get their fill of lazy, carefree summer days, their state school boards are grappling with new federal Common Core Standards slated to go into effect this year. States that were quick to grab onto the funding that was dangled with the standards are now realizing that implementation of those standards is meeting more than a little resistance. As students play outdoors with friends and enjoy long, leisurely bike rids, their local schools are embroiled in a battle, with no sign of a resolution in time for the fall semester.
Teacher Complaints Have North Carolina Rethinking Plans
North Carolina was one of the 45 states in the country to sign on for Common Core Standards, thanks to the $166 million state school districts received in Race to the Top funding. However, as the state tries to rewrite curriculum – and fast – to accommodate the new standards, education officials are realizing the process of switching over to the new requirements won’t be easy.
News Observer reports that the state department of education has received numerous complaints about new tests in a wide range of subjects. The tests were originally written to be used as means for evaluating teachers. Effective teacher evaluations were a key component to the state’s compliance with the new federal standards. However, a large number of teachers have complained to the state board that the questions on the tests do not match the curriculum they are teaching in the classroom.
Angela Quick, the deputy
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Updated October 23, 2017 |
Do Public Schools Need to Teach More Math and Science?
Some educators and community leaders are pushing for more math and science at the high school level. Is the move really necessary and if so, how do schools get students more interested in these STEM subjects?
Math and science are the backbone of the education system in the United States today, as STEM fields come to the forefront of the global marketplace. However, if one examines the test scores of U.S. students, it becomes clear that students in this country are not taking sufficient math and science to make the grade. As the U.S. continues to fall in math and science rankings on a global scale, many educators and business leaders are leading the charge for more rigorous math and science requirements in high schools. Will more math and science really make the U.S. more competitive?
U.S. Lagging Other Industrial Countries
Last year, William Bennett, the former U.S. Education Secretary, reported at CNN that the United States scored 23rd in math and 31st in science among the 65 top industrial countries in the world. The Wall Street Journal also issued a report, citing a warning in a report from the United States National Academies that stated the U.S. was losing ground in both math and science skills. Even as the U.S. has made some improvements in math and science test scores over the past decade, the country still lags behind many other countries across the globe in these key areas.
In addition to losing a global competitiveness, the U.S. may be cheating itself out of future math and science advancements. The CNN article also reported that only 26 percent of the high school seniors in this country score proficient or above on math examinations, and
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Updated June 16, 2016 |
 Is a Major Overhaul Coming to Texas High Schools?
Texas recently passed legislation decreasing the number of standardized tests for high school students, but how will this impact graduation standards?
Texas high school students may see fewer standardized tests in the future, thanks to new legislation that recently passed the state House and Senate. Known as House Bill 5, the bill reduces the number of standardized tests required for high school graduation from 15 to just five. While state lawmakers are patting themselves on the back for getting this legislation to the desk of Texas Governor Rick Perry, not everyone is happy about the changes coming to the Texas education system.
Texas at Forefront of Education Changes
Serving as the first in line for education reform is nothing new to Texas, according to a report at the Huffington Post. This state was one of the first to embrace No Child Left Behind and tougher standardized testing for all public school students. Now, all eyes are on the state once again, as lawmakers work to revamp graduation standards that would tone down the stringent standardized testing and accountability the state has supported for many years.
House Bill 5 encompasses education reform that drops the number of tests students must take for high school graduation. The five proposed tests that would be left in the standards would cover English reading and writing, Algebra I, U.S. history and biology. In addition, the new bill would allow students to pursue a base high school diploma that does not require the completion of Algebra II or other high level math and science courses.
ABC Local reports that the new diploma path would entail a
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Updated February 16, 2018 |
State-Mandated Recess May be Coming to New Jersey Schools
We look at current legislation New Jersey lawmakers are considering that would mandate recess time in all public schools. Do kids need outdoor playtime to learn better?
Recess has been a core component of the public education experience as long as most adults can remember. However, pressure from high-stakes testing and other concerns often make outdoor play time a casualty in the quest to improve academic performance. Some school districts have limited the amount of outdoor time students get in a school day, while a few have eliminated the practice altogether. Now, a New Jersey lawmaker is on a whole new quest – to guarantee public school students in her state get the outdoor time they need to succeed.
About S-1501
The new bill that has been introduced to the New Jersey state senate is S-1501, according to NJ Spotlight. The bill, authorized by State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer) requires all public schools to provide at least 20 minutes of recess time daily to students in grades K-5. The measure recently passed unanimously in the Senate Education Committee, and is now headed to the full Senate for consideration.
This bill is nothing new to Turner, who has been advocating for mandatory recess time in schools since 2009. Turner, who is also a college administrator, firmly believes that students perform better academically when they receive a “play break” during the school day. reports that Turner has plenty of experts and research in her court, backing up the idea that daily breaks should be an integral part of the learning process.
Health Benefits of Recess
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommends that children get at
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We examine the rise in atheist club in public schools across the country – and how the push for Christian clubs may have inadvertently spurred this growth.
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The Common Core State Standards Initiative has changed the course of education in the United States, particularly with its emphasis on standardized testing. But how does standardized testing affect teaching quality? Keep reading to find out.
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.


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.