Published Online: June 12, 2012
Published in Print: June 13, 2012, as Blogs of the Week

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Sportsmanship Wins at State Track Meet

At Ohio's Division III state track meet, junior Meghan Vogel of West Liberty-Salem High School won big with a state title in the 1,600-meter race. Then she did something really impressive.

In Vogel's second race of the day—with less than an hour to prepare after her 1,600-meter win—she competed in the 3,200-meter race. While she didn't finish first, she did win a standing ovation from the crowd, reports the Springfield News-Sun.

Within 20 feet of the finish line, fellow competitor Arden McMath of Arlington High School collapsed. Rather than run past her, Vogel helped McMath reach the finish line, making sure McMath crossed before her.

The YouTube video of Vogel and McMath's crossing the finish line for the June 2 race has received more than 2 million views. ESPN's coverage earned more than 25,000 recommendations on Facebook.

Vogel doesn't understand why everyone is so interested, telling ESPN, "When I hear words like that, I think of Harriet Tubman and saving people's lives. I don't consider myself a hero. I just did what I knew was right and what I was supposed to do."

While she may not understand others' responses, she admits it was meaningful for her, telling the News-Sun that helping McMath finish meant more to her than winning the state championship.

Although the rules state a runner is to be disqualified for aiding another competitor, the management did not disqualify McMath or Vogel, awarding them 14th and 15th place, reports the newspaper.

—Hannah Rose Sacks


A Student's Presidential Pardon

Eleven-year-old Tyler Sullivan brought his teacher arguably one of the best excuse notes for missing class ever written:

Mr. Ackerman—

Please excuse Tyler ... he was with me!

Barack Obama

Rather than attend school June 1, Tyler had gone with his father to see the president give a speech at Honeywell in Minneapolis, according to The Huffington Post. The 5th grader was standing in the front row when the president shook his hand and chatted with him about school. Obama then pulled out his presidential stationery and penned the note to Tyler's teacher.

The Post has yet to report whether Tyler's excuse was accepted.

—Liana Heitin


Experts Call for Uniform Standards for Pre-K

To maximize the return on its investments in early-childhood education for disadvantaged kids, the federal government ought to encourage states to adopt a "common approach" to learning in publicly funded programs that serve children up to age 5.

That is one of 10 policy recommendations in a new report by the Center for American Progress that draws on ideas from experts who make up the center's advisory panel on early childhood.

The report invokes the Common Core State Standards for mathematics and English/language arts adopted by nearly every state as "momentum" in getting states to move toward uniformity for preschool programs and to align them with the common core.

Other key areas to focus on, the report says, are developing better assessments of how programs are working, including using more observation tools, and better assessments of how children are doing in those programs. The federal government should use its leverage to insist on a more professional workforce in early childhood, both in teacher- preparation programs and certification, as is required in K-12. The report also says more attention needs to be paid to training a workforce with second-language skills, as the number of English-learners entering such programs increases.

Many of the recommendations in the report echo the priorities in the Obama administration's Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge, in which nine states are splitting $500 million to improve the quality of early-childhood education for tens of thousands of low-income children who rely on a patchwork of publicly financed child-care and preschool programs.

—Lesli A. Maxwell

Vol. 31, Issue 35, Page 14

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