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What we’re following: A possible soda tax to benefit education and virtual field trips to engage students


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  • Lisa Irish/Arizona Education News Service

Photo Of Soda With Ice In A Glass. Photo Courtesy Of Pixabay

A recent poll indicates that Arizona voters would support a 2-cent per ounce tax on soda that would raise about $660 million annually if all the funds raised went to directly to education, reports Fox 10 News ArizonaArizona Public Media says the idea has strong support from voters in rural areas, although there is no current legislation for the idea or citizen initiative yet.

Teachers are taking their students on virtual field trips to Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp, ancient cities, expeditions to Mars and scuba dives on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to engage their students more deeply in learning, said The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Filming has started for an educational Navajo and English puppet television show aimed at preschool children interested in learning the Navajo language. The show will also focus on the Navajo way of knowing, reports the Navajo-Hopi Observer.

American high school students’ scores improved by five percent on low-stakes tests when they were given money as a reward, which suggests that the achievement gap between U.S. and international students has more to do with incentive not knowledge, according to a CNBC article.

The number of Arizona high school students enrolled in career and technical education courses has more than doubled in the past five years and this increased interest is part of a national trend, said KJZZ 91.5 FM.

Maine’s Child Development Services provides services for children with disabilities before preschool, which has helped reduce their need for costly special education services when they reach school. While the program has expanded its services for children with autism, it has also fallen short of its legal obligations, according to interviews with school officials, experts and parents, and based on a review of program data by the Bangor Daily News.

Mesa Public Schools is considering a plan that would raise a student’s semester course grade by a full letter grade if they achieve “proficient” or “highly proficient” on the AzMERIT exams. School officials say the plan might motivate students to do better on the standardized tests since students are no longer required to pass them to graduate, reports The Arizona Republic.

Four years after a Los Angeles school that focuses on the arts adopted a STEAM curriculum, students who originally came to improve their skills as musicians are using their math and engineering skills to build stages for the school’s performances and considering careers in STEM fields, says EdSource.

A Kingman fourth-grader saved his friend who was choking on a piece of candy at a school bus stop by using the Heimlich maneuver, which he learned by watching a YouTube video, according to the Kingman Daily Miner.

Congress has recently increased federal funding for apprenticeships, where people earn as they learn career skills. The boost from $90 million to $95 million a year is being described as a simple way to reduce the $1.3 trillion student-debt crisis and unemployment among recent college graduates, says The Atlantic.

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