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18 Must-Read Education Stories from This Week

A New Spelling Bee Champion, Catholic School Discipline, Changing Union Tactics, and More

1. Texas Teen Wins Largest Scripps National Spelling Bee with ‘Koinonia’

A new Scripps National Spelling Bee champion has been crowned. 14-year-old Karthik Nemmani from McKinney, Texas sealed the deal Thursday night by correctly spelling koinonia — “the Christian fellowship or body of believers,” according to contest sponsor Merriam-Webster.
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2. Study Finds Students in Catholic Schools are Less Likely to Act Out or Be Disruptive

Over the years, Catholic schools have been particularly committed to the formation of sound character, including the acquisition of self-discipline. But how well has that worked?
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3. Facing Declining Membership, Teachers Unions Say Anyone Can Join

Teachers unions are changing their tactics to maintain political clout and salvage potential losses.
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4. Percentage of Boys Interested in STEM Careers Dropped from over a Third to Under a Quarter

The declining male interest in STEM does not correlate with a heightened female interest in the subjects.
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5. Study Cites Factor Affecting Low-Income Achievement Gap Not Due to Schools: Family Trips

More affluent kids are about twice as likely to visit a museum, art gallery, or historical site or see a play or concert over the summer, as compared with their peers from low-income families.
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6. ‘It’s a Cage’: Outrage over Use of Seclusion Rooms in Schools

Thousands of schoolchildren, most of whom have disabilities, are involuntarily confined in U.S. schools each year.
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7. Voter Registration Group Targets Students in Effort to Elect Lawmakers Who Support Gun Control

Students at more than 1,000 schools across the country are registering young voters in lunchrooms, hallways and even at upcoming graduation ceremonies.
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8. Video Game That Simulates School Shootings Pulled from Online Marketplace after Backlash

A game developer attempted to profit off a game simulating school shootings, but the immediate backlash appears to have curtailed those efforts.
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9. Why This Rural School Turned to Digital Education

“When you eliminate the school, we’ve seen what happens to these small towns,” a school board member said. “We didn’t want our community to die.”
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10. The Personalized Learning Experiment in New Orleans That Few Have Noticed

A few years ago, with little fanfare or announcement, the New Orleans education system began a massive experiment that’s reshaping how kids learn across the city.
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11. Survey: 95% of Parents Using LA Private School Choice Program Are Happy with Child’s Academic Performance

The Louisiana Scholarship Program allows students to escape underperforming schools by attending the participating private school of their choice.
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12. WATCH: Organizer of Chicago Homeschool Collective Pushes Back Against Calls for Racial Diversity in Education

As racial diversity is increasingly promoted as the defining aspect of educational justice, an organizer of a thriving black independent school says “no thanks” to integration.
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13. Backlash Grows Against Teacher-Driven Tax Increase in Oklahoma, State AG Sides with Petitioners

In the second of two legal challenges, the Oklahoma attorney general’s office sided again with the group trying to repeal tax hikes recently approved to fund teacher pay raises.
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14. FL Teachers Union to Sue over Certification Rule Requiring 50% of Eligible Employees Pay Dues

Florida teachers’ unions are planning to sue the state over a new law that threatens their long-term survival.
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15. Students Protest Residency Fraud Investigation at DC School: Enrollment Shouldn’t Depend on Where You Live

Parents at the school — a competitive application school in Georgetown that is part of the D.C. Public Schools system — have also pushed back against the investigation, and filed a lawsuit.
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16. Missouri Legislators Approve Plan to Offer All K-12 Students Free Online Courses

“Having this course access kind of gets rid of the education by ZIP code and opens up a wide variety of classes for all the students,” said state Rep. Bryan Spencer.
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17. Charlotte-Area Towns Frustrated with District Could Soon Run Their Own Charter Schools

A bill that would allow towns to run their own charter schools moved closer to passage Thursday.
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18. Two Charter Organizations Set to Open New Schools in Indiana Geared Toward Adults

Two well-known organizations are opening charter schools in Gary next fall, both designed to help adults earn their high school diplomas.
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