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Campus crime statistics unavailable from government during shutdown, but we have 'em

(10/01/13 12:16pm)

We often encourage student journalists to look up campus crime statistics reported by their school using the Department of Education's "Data Analysis Cutting Tool." On that website, students can look up statistics reported annually by their school as required by the Jeanne Clery Act, as well as those reported by other schools. Students (and members of the public) trying to do that today won't be able to.

Chicago teacher's "teachable moment" about racial slur leads to favorable "academic freedom" ruling

(10/08/13 5:35pm)

Federal courts rarely afford much weight to the "academic freedom" of public school teachers when they're disciplined for what they say during class, but an Illinois district court has made an exception in a rather unlikely factual setting: A Chicago teacher suspended for saying the "n-word" in front of sixth-graders. In Brown v.

Obama's nominee to lead the Fed used to lead her student newspaper

(10/09/13 3:34pm)

Janet Yellen, President Obama's nominee for Federal Reserve chair, once interviewed herself for her high school newspaper. She was its editor-in-chief and school valedictorian. "Next year I will attend Pembroke College where I’ve decided to major in math or anthropology or economics," the 1963 graduating senior said in her own interview.

Two new reports on civic engagement in schools identify a central role for scholastic journalism skills

(10/13/13 2:44pm)

Youth will need digital media literacy skills to critically engage with all the information (and misinformation) they can now find online, to seek out a range of perspectives, and to be thoughtful about the content they circulate and create. That's among the big-picture takeaways from a groundbreaking new study, "All Together Now: Collaboration and Innovation for Youth Engagement," just released by Tufts University as the product of the nation's leading scholars in civic education. The Oct.

TRANSPARENCY TUESDAY: Call them "retreats" or "briefings," but government meetings are still open to the public

(10/15/13 7:29pm)

School boards and other government bodies required to admit the public to their meetings have come up a cute, but not especially persuasive, way of doing their business behind closed doors: By not calling their meetings "meetings." When a bunch of government officials sit around a table and talk about government business, common sense, Webster's dictionary and 20-20 vision say that's a "meeting." Regrettably, some government officials who distrust the public's ability to maturely deal with information -- or who realize their behavior is so deplorable that it can't withstand public scrutiny -- will go to extraordinary lengths to argue otherwise. They'll claim to be holding a "working session" or some other euphemism that sounds less "meeting-like." That may be reassuring for their consciences, but it's rarely a legally adequate justification to shut the public out. Recently, a Rhode Island judge ordered that state's Board of Education to invite the public to an "informational retreat" where board members were scheduled to discuss high school graduation requirements and standardized testing.