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This year the Deseret News shifted its focus to six core areas of editorial emphasis: the family, financial responsibility, care for the poor and needy, education, values in the media and faith. Today we look back on ten of the 10 best stories we did this year about education. » Read best of: The family Financial responsibility Care for the poor Values in the media Faith

10 Pulling the Plug
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It's a paradox playing out in states across the country: already cash-strapped colleges are encountering budget cuts while at the same time seeing record-level enrollments. Tuition costs seem to be going out of control with no end in sight. Students are going into more debt than ever before, and colleges must choose what programs to cut and which professors to layoff.

Read the full report here: Pulling the Plug

9 Less stigma over home-schooling
Ravell Call, Deseret News

Over the last few years, more parents are choosing to home-school their children. From 2007 to 2010, the number of home-schooled children nationwide rose by about 25 percent, to the current estimate of 2 million.

Many parents choose home schooling because of dissatisfaction with the quality of instruction at public schools, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Read the full report here: Less stigma over home-schooling

8 Debate Over Online Learning
Mike Terry, Deseret News

Since the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, teaching styles nationwide have focused more on basics, whole classroom instruction and helping the lowest performers in the class catch up. Students who are ahead in a class are sometimes told to silently read or work on their homework instead of learning material at a faster pace.

Read the full report here: Debate Over Online Learning

7 Where Have all the Male Teachers Gone?
Tom Smart, Deseret News

Male teachers are consistently in the minority in elementary schools across the state, country, and even the world. In Utah, just 11 percent of elementary teachers are male, according to '08-'09 data from the state.

Many factors contribute to the discrepancy. Many men don't go into teaching is because of the low salary, making supporting a family difficult.
Beyond that, experts note a stigma in the society that needs to change.

Read the full report here: Where Have all the Male Teachers Gone?

6 When Mainstreaming Isn't Working
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Since the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, teaching styles nationwide have focused more on basics, whole classroom instruction and helping the lowest performers in the class catch up. Students who are ahead in a class are sometimes told to silently read or work on their homework instead of learning material at a faster pace.

Read the full report here: When Mainstreaming Isn't Working

5 Firing Bad Teachers
Ravell Call, Deseret News

States around the country, including Idaho, Tennessee and Florida, are in the process of implementing reforms that would make public school employment contingent on some measure of teacher effectiveness.

These reforms are based on a simple philosophy: If we want students to perform in a global economy, we need effective teachers. This philosophy is supported by a 2007 McKinsey report on education, which found that the best schools in the world are those that do not allow ineffective teachers to remain in the classroom.

Read the full report here: Firing Bad Teachers

4 Drowning in debt
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Millions of students nationwide are going into debt, more so than ever before; two-thirds of students now graduate with at least some amount of debt. College students are also taking out more loans — averaging about $24,000 worth of debt at graduation and more students are defaulting on those loans than ever before.

Read the full report here: Drowning in debt

3 Why Class Size is Such a Big Deal
Tom Smart, Deseret News

Experts say not all degrees are created equal. The recommended amount of middle schoolers in a science class is 24, according to the National Science Teachers Association. But with the economic downturn and cuts looming over state legislatures around the nation, smaller class sizes may not be an option for lawmakers.

In fact some states like California and New York are increasing class sizes to cope. Utah's State Board of Education said it is just trying to maintain class sizes as the number of Utah students in K-12 public education grows by thousands each year. Utah schools have the highest student-teacher ratio at 27.

Read the full report here: Why Class Size is Such a Big Deal

2 Degrees to Nowhere
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Experts say not all degrees are created equal.

In fact, in America's current economic and political climate, it's fair to ask if the liberal arts model is dead. What's the point of a philosophy degree, or a doctorate in English, when tomorrow's jobs will require a solid grounding in math and science?

Utah State Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, captured that sentiment when he questioned the value of certain diplomas, dubbing them "degrees to nowhere."

Read the full report here: Degrees to Nowhere

1 On the Frontier
Michael Lewis

Over the last decade, BYU-Idaho has morphed from a two-year junior college into a four-year university with an international reach and an enrollment nearing 24,000. The school’s focus on students and teaching (over faculty and research), a year-round schedule, innovations in online learning (including the use of remote online instructors), and a program for distance education called Pathway have turned the conventions of higher ed upside down.

Read the full report here: On the Frontier