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Experiment: Gym Class Helps Kids Read Better

Want to boost test scores in reading and math? Have kids exercise before tackling tough academic subjects.

It looks like all the school districts that have cut back or eliminated recess and physical education classes in order to spend more time on test prep are on the wrong track. According to results from a 3,000 student high school out in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Illinois, putting students who struggle in reading and math into physical education classes can shrink waistlines and boost academic performance.

PBS NewsHour recently highlighted the innovative exercise program at Naperville Central High School where freshman and sophomores start their school day with 7:45 a.m. workouts. Teachers were skeptical when the brains behind the program, retired physical education coordinator Paul Zientarski, first came up with the idea six years ago, but the results are impressive.

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Poking Holes in Obama's Praise of Denver's Bruce Randolph School

The school is graduating 97 percent of seniors, but how many students drop out senior year?


In this week's State of the Union address, President Obama praised Denver's Bruce Randolph Middle and High School as a model of education reform that works. Last year the campus, which was taken over by its teachers, graduated 97 percent of seniors despite being located in a low-income, urban area—something most similar high schools have yet to achieve. But is Bruce Randolph's success all that it's cracked up to be?

Mike Cohen, the head of the advocacy group Achieve, Inc., says that although that graduation rate is worthy of praise, there's a another data point the public needs to know.

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