Grants for STEM learning research

The Discovery Research K-12 program (DRK-12) seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by preK-12 students, teachers, administrators and parents. All DRK-12 projects should be framed around a research question or hypothesis that addresses an important need or topic in preK-12 STEM education. The emphasis in DRK-12 is on research projects that study the development, testing, deployment, effectiveness, and/or scale-up of innovative resources, models and tools.

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$10,000 for after-school programs

This award goes to outstanding after-school and out-of-school programs that are transforming the lives of young people. Programs that receive the award exemplify how arts and humanities programs outside of the regular school day enrich the lives of young people throughout the country by teaching new skills, nurturing creativity, and building self-confidence. These programs offer high-quality and intensive instruction on weekends, afternoons, and summer vacations, providing a safe and productive space for young people in the hours when they are often the most vulnerable.

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$2,500 for school running programs

ING Run For Something Better has partnered with the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) to increase physical activity in students and help fight childhood obesity nationwide through the creation of school-based running fitness programs.

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YouTube launches a section just for schools

Although there are lots of educational videos on YouTube, there are also many videos that aren’t appropriate for students—which is why many schools block access to YouTube from their networks. To solve this problem, YouTube has created a special section for schools, filled with age-appropriate educational content.

YouTube for Schools gives users access to the hundreds of thousands of educational videos on YouTube EDU. This includes short lessons from top teachers around the world, full courses from the world’s best universities, professional development from fellow educators, and inspiring videos from thought leaders.

Educators also can customize the content that is available from the site. Though all schools receive access to all of the content on YouTube EDU, teachers and administrators can log in to YouTube.com and create playlists of videos that will be available at their school.

School teachers and administrators can log in and watch any video, but students cannot log in and can only watch YouTube EDU videos and videos their school has added. All comments and related videos are disabled, and search is limited to YouTube EDU videos.

YouTube also has created a page for teachers, YouTube.com/Teachers, to help them learn to use the site as a powerful educational tool.

http://www.youtube.com/schools

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Online schools score better on Wall Street than in classrooms

By almost every educational measure, the Agora Cyber Charter School is failing, the New York Times reports. Nearly 60 percent of its students are behind grade level in math. Nearly 50 percent trail in reading. A third do not graduate on time. And hundreds of children, from kindergartners to seniors, withdraw within months after they enroll. By Wall Street standards, though, Agora is a remarkable success that has helped enrich K12 Inc., the publicly traded company that manages the school. And the entire enterprise is paid for by taxpayers. Agora is one of the largest in a portfolio of similar public schools across the country run by K12. Eight other for-profit companies also run online public elementary and high schools, enrolling a large chunk of the more than 200,000 full-time cyberpupils in the United States…

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CPS mulls deal to expand virtual education

With an eye toward expanding Chicago Public Schools’ online education offerings, the school board will consider awarding a share of a three-year, $1.9 million contract Wednesday to K-12 Virtual Schools LLC, a lucrative, publicly traded company that educators warn has a history of poor academic performance, the Chicago Tribune reports. The Virginia-based K-12 has been a forerunner in virtual classrooms since its creation a decade ago. It is now the nation’s largest for-profit education management organization, with more than 39,000 students in two dozen schools across the U.S. K-12 opened Chicago’s Virtual Charter High School to much fanfare in 2006, part of a push under former CPS chief Arne Duncan to expand alternative education options for parents seeking tougher curriculum for their children or safer learning environments outside of traditional neighborhood schools…

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$1B in mid-year budget cuts to affect California schools

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday ordered $1 billion in midyear cuts to California’s budget that will result in pain for students who rely on school buses to get to class, mothers who depend on child care subsidies to keep working, and support programs for the developmentally disabled, the Washington Post reports. Brown, a Democrat, said that the state’s revenues will fall about $2.2 billion below the $88.4 billion he and state lawmakers had hoped for when they passed the budget last summer. The announcement was not surprising and could have been worse. The state’s legislative analyst had predicted revenues would fall $3.7 billion below forecast. Still, the automatic midyear reductions sparked outcry from advocates and invited lawsuits from school districts.

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NTSB recommends full ban on use of cell phones while driving

A federal safety board called Tuesday for a nationwide ban on the use of cell phones and text messaging devices while driving, CNN reports. The recommendation is the most far-reaching yet by the National Transportation Safety Board, which in the past 10 years has increasingly sought to limit the use of portable electronic devices–recommending bans for novice drivers, school bus drivers and commercial truckers. Tuesday’s recommendation, if adopted by states, would outlaw non-emergency phone calls and texting by operators of every vehicle on the road. It would apply to hands-free as well as hand-held devices, but devices installed in the vehicle by the manufacturer would be allowed, the NTSB said…

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