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August 30th, 2010
01:50 PM ET

From Today's Show, August 30, 2010:

CHALK TALK: She's a nine-time Grammy award winning artist, an actress and all-around super star but Mary J. Blige is taking on a new cause–Educating young girls and getting them interested in science, engineering and math! The R&B star has paired up with NASA and is showing young girls that not even the sky is the limits. You can read all about what Mary J is doing on her foundation website! 

MISSION POSSIBLE: If you were watching today, chances are Tae Tae Davis captured your heart-if you weren't, she will! This 13 year-old is a on a mission to keep art in school and isn't just talking about it, she's acting! Read all about Tae Tae here!


It's the last week of summer vacation for most public school students; a week filled with dread, excitement, back to school shopping or last minute vacations.  And it's a time of stress and anticipation for their families, many of whom see school as the key to a bright future.  For NINETY percent of American students, school means PUBLIC school.  Some public schools are exemplary – with teachers and lessons and buildings that will remain in a student's consciousness forever.  Others are marred by violence, poverty, poor equipment, frustrated teachers and bullies.  But public education in the United States remains the absolute best hope for the future.  On this show, you've seen our Chalk Talk segment, but this week CNN is dedicated to a week-long discussion called "Fix Our Schools"

Literacy is high in America – among the highest in the world.  Despite that, America is NOT graduating the most competitive students, and we're not giving them the number of instructional hours that some of the world's most competitive economies provide.  Now, "Fix Our Schools" DOES presume something is broken when, in fact, much is right in U.S. public schools. Education is compulsory in the U.S. and, although schools are increasingly calling on families to provide supplies, public education is, for the most part, free.  What, exactly IS broken in public schools?  Disputes center around cost, curriculum and control.  What sort of facilities are best? Does the environment matter as much as what students learn, how they learn and who teaches them?  Is the role that teachers play more important than the role parents play? And are we adequately dealing with the fact that many students in America – in 2010 – still go to school hungry.  Then there's standardized testing.  Does it guarantee that students are uniformly competitive with their peers here and around the world?  Or does it encourage the teaching and memorization of facts rather than concepts and theories?  And should standards be set by the feds, the state, or the locals? Another issue is whether parents should be allowed to CHOOSE their children's public school, or should they just go to the nearest? And what about charter schools, which allow public money to be used for selective admission?  While they improve education, do they impoverish the overall  system by creating a two tier world?

On this show we feature solutions –  And we'd like to hear from you – Add a Comment right here on this page. We are listening and thanks for watching.

Filed under: Ali Velshi • Chalk Talk • Mission Possible • XYZ
August 30th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

How Do We Fix Our Schools?

That's the question we're trying to answer this week on CNN. 

From teacher shortages and budget cuts to high dropout rates, we're examining the challenges school systems face every day. We’re also taking a look at successes.  Which schools are getting it right and how can other schools follow their lead?

That's where you come in. We want to hear your ideas and suggestions on ways to fix our schools.

Leave us a comment. We’ll share them throughout the week in the CNN Newsroom.

Filed under: Tony Harris