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June 1st, 2012
11:56 AM ET

Scripps Spelling Bee champ Snigdha Nandipati says didn't expect to win

(CNN) - Snigdha Nandipati, 14, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday night by spelling "guetapens," which means an ambush, snare or trap.

"I was just taking it one word at a time," the eighth-grader from San Diego told CNN on Friday morning. "I just wanted to get each word right. I didn't really think about winning, really."

She said that properly spelling the winning word, which is derived from French, was not difficult. She had seen the word before and knew it, she said.

Nandipati didn't truly register her victory until the confetti started falling, she said.

FULL STORY


Filed under: Education
May 31st, 2012
01:58 PM ET

Online education, revolutionized: Khan Academy's Sal Khan previews his All Things Digital appearance

You probably wouldn't recognize his face, but Sal Kahn's voice is known by countless students.

Kahn founded the "Khan Academy" three years ago with video tutorials on a wide variety of subjects, including photosynthesis, calculus, the Bay of Pigs invasion and more. He has a knack for breaking down and explaining tough topics. Approximately 6 million students view the videos each month, and Khan is changing the way we teach kids.

He's going to be speaking at the Wall Street Journal's "All Things Digital" tech conference taking place in California today. He talks to Soledad on "Starting Point" this morning to talk about how his technique is revolutionizing education, and not just for kids.


Filed under: Education • Technology
May 28th, 2012
11:57 AM ET

Steve Perry: should scholarships be earned through merit or through heritage?

One recent high-school graduate earned a 3.75 GPA at an elite private school and as a result of his athletic prowess was granted a $54,000 scholarship to UCLA in the fall.

But because that kid is Justin Combs, there has been widespread debate over his accepting of state-funded money. With a net worth of over 500 million dollars, should father and music mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs even consider accepting state funding for his son's education when the California taxpayers' money could go to someone much more in need?

CNN Education correspondent Steve Perry discusses the issue with the Starting Point panel.

"It's a meritocracy," he says. "No matter who your father is, whether he be rich, poor, or absent... You can, in fact, be successful on your own merit."

And, recounting the amount of physical and academic work that goes into maintaining an award like this, Perry explains, "There's nothing free about a division 1 athletic scholarship."


Filed under: Education
May 21st, 2012
12:07 PM ET

Are 'gap years' a good idea for students? Dr. Steve Perry weighs in

CNN education contributor Dr. Steve Perry isn’t a fan of gap years and believes that they only make it harder for students to go back to school.

“We’ve over diagnosed and over pampered this generation enough. I mean, for God’s sake, you want a gap, its called summer. Get over it,” says Perry on this morning’s Starting Point.

Perry believes that internships, studying abroad and taking a break between college and grad school are better options for students looking to engage other interests.

“In America, our persistence rates, our college matriculation rates actually have decreased over the past couple of years," Perry explains. "So, doing something like this only adds fuel to the fire for people to stay home.”

May 14th, 2012
11:41 AM ET

Charter schools: Segregation or choice? CNN education contributor Steve Perry on why inner-city charter schools lack diversity

More than 2 million kids are enrolled in charter schools, 32% of which are African American - and of that 32%, more that half attend schools comprised mostly of minority students. This morning, CNN education contributor Steve Perry explains the lack of diversity, saying "We had to convince white people to come to a very good school in the hood."

Perry is the founder of charter school Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, CT. The demographic of his school has, in the past, been primarily black, poor students–until they were given a quota to provide some semblance of balance. Perry explained the reasoning for the so-called "segregation."

"The children who are typically choosing charter schools are the children who don't have the best education options in the nearby neighborhood, which in many cases are people of color and/or low-income students. They choose the schools they feel are going to give the best opportunity to fulfill what they believe is their true potential. So, many of those families choose charter schools and overwhelmingly they are people of color," he says.

But, he vehemently refutes the segregation claim, saying there is a fundamental difference between choice and segregation.

May 14th, 2012
11:28 AM ET

Math whiz Chad Qian on what its like to win a national math competition

Hundreds of middle school math students competed in the Raytheon MATHCOUNTS national competition, but 8th grader Chad Qian of Indiana took top prize including a $8000 scholarship! This morning he explains how he won.


Filed under: A little fun • Education • Math • STEM
May 7th, 2012
09:02 AM ET

Harvard and M.I.T. team up to offer free online courses

Harvard and M.I.T. committed $30 million each to a joint online education partnership last week in which both universities will offer free courses online.

Called "edX" and set to launch this fall, the partnership's goal is to offer campus-based learning through the Internet in order to build a global community of online learners.

Anyone in the world can take these courses, although credentials will be granted only to students who earn them by demonstrating a mastery of the material of a subject.

Today on Starting Point, CNN education contributor Steve Perry explains why he thinks that the "edX" program is "revolutionary."


Filed under: Education
April 30th, 2012
08:29 AM ET

Should there be more teacher surveillance in the classroom? CNN education contributor Steve Perry weighs in

One of the teachers accused of being caught on audio tape bullying a 10-year-old boy with autism is on paid leave this morning.
But Kelly Altenburg's attorney says his client wasn't even at work that day.

The stunning recordings were caught on tape after Stuart Chaiffetz sent his son Akian to school wearing a recording device. You can see Soledad's interview with Stuart here.

Many special-needs advocates call this a wakeup call for school districts across the nation. But should parents be wiring their kids to monitor their teachers?

CNN education contributor Steve Perry talks with Soledad on "Starting Point" this morning on the story, and agrees with parents who want increased monitoring of their children's teachers.


Filed under: Education • Surveillance
April 26th, 2012
01:42 PM ET

Dad explains why he wired his son, says he was heartbroken when listening to recordings of teachers talking about drinking, abusing kids

It's a story that's creating a national stir: A father in New Jersey planting a recording device on his 10-year-old son to spy on his teachers in the classroom.

Stuart Chaifetz became suspicious when administrators told him Akian, who has autism, had been acting out violently in school.
Chaifetz hooked up his son with a wiretap and that tape had stunning revelations.

With over six hours of recordings, Chaifetz says teachers and aides are heard apparently talking about alcohol and sex in front of the class, punctuated by yelling at his son to "shut your mouth."

The school fired an aide, but another teacher caught on tape was just transferred to another school.

Chaifetz explains why he was compelled to wire his son, and talks about the enormous public support he's received.

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Dad explains wiring son to catch abuser

Dad Stuart Chaifetz on how he placed an inexpensive digital audio recorder in his son's front pocket to document abuse.

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Dad: Blame tenure for teacher transfer

Stuart Chafetz expresses frustration that the teacher involved in abusing his son was transferred to another school

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Public support for dad who wired son

Dad Stuart Chaifetz explains the outpouring of support for exposing the abuse at his son's school.


Filed under: Education
April 25th, 2012
01:57 PM ET

2012 Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki on using business lessons to transform the classroom

2012 Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki shares how she used lessons from her business background to transform education, and explains the type of effort is needed to improve the U.S. education system.


Filed under: Education
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