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PHOTO: Officer Briggs Schulz, left, of the Federal Way Police Department shares his views with a group of high school students in a "Teens Against Distracted Driving" presentation. Attorney Jason Epstein (R) asks teens to pledge to not text and drive, and not to ride with friends who do. Photo credit: Sam Fletcher, Premier Law Group

BELLEVUE, Wash. - Laws that ban texting while driving - and that allow law enforcement to cite someone for texting without another reason to pull the vehicle over - are the most effective at preventing distracted driving deaths, according to a new study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. ...Read More

PHOTO: Educators say third grade is the critical time when students move from learning to read to reading to learn. Some children's advocates don't think a law requiring third-graders to be held back if they don't read proficiently is the answer to Michigan's current education problems. Photo credit: jdurham/morguefile.com.

LANSING, Mich. - Too many Michigan fourth-graders aren't making the grade when it comes to reading, but should struggling students be required by law to repeat third grade? The latest Kids Count data ranks the state 37th in the nation for the number of fourth-graders reading at grade level, and som ...Read More

PHOTO: Smoky Mountain High School in Jackson County will be the pilot site for Jackson County Schools' program to monitor the online activity of its students. Photo courtesy Jackson County Schools

SYLVA, N.C. - Who should be monitoring students' online activity? Traditionally, the answer is parents, but one North Carolina school system is employing a private company to monitor posts and "tweets" in what it describes as an effort to protect students' safety. Meanwhile, the ACLU of North Caroli ...Read More

PHOTO: Nutritionists recommend including some combination of two fruits and two vegetables in a child's lunchbox, and having them help with the selection and lunch-packing process. Photo courtesy of HealthyChild.org.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The start of the school year is just weeks away, and while there's no shortage of the latest backpacks and school supply displays at big box department stores, nutrition experts are reminding parents of the importance of what goes into their child's lunchbox. Nutritionist Dr. Ke ...Read More

PHOTO: Utah state Senator Jim Dabakis says Utah and all of the U.S. have a moral obligation to care for the tens of thousands of undocumented children arriving along the nation's southern border until their immigration status is determined. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense.

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah state Senator Jim Dabakis is calling on Gov. Gary Herbert and state faith leaders to support efforts to temporarily house and care for 1,000 undocumented children in Utah. Dabakis says he was motivated to take action after Herbert was among several Republican governors who sen ...Read More

PHOTO: Microphone in hand, Royce Markley addressed policymakers at a luncheon last week. Members of the Oregon Foster Youth Connection shared their views about problems with the foster care system and outlined possible solutions. Photo credit: Nathaniel Schwab, Children First For Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. - Copies of the new Oregon Bill of Rights for Foster Children are being sent to every foster home and group home this week, and given to foster children and the people who work with them. Now, the same team of kids who developed it is making new recommendations to policymakers. They ...Read More

PHOTO: Dave Fidanque with the ACLU of Oregon says Central American children who have come to the U.S. seeking asylum have a right to legal representation and an immigration hearing before being summarily deported. Photo courtesy of the Oregon AFL-CIO.

PORTLAND, Ore. - Most have not traveled this far north yet, but Oregonians are already expressing concern for the thousands of children and teens crossing the U.S. border to escape violence and poverty in their Central American homelands. On Wednesday a group of labor, religious and immigrants' rig ...Read More

GRAPHIC: The annual Kids Count data snapshot for Virginia shows improvements in education and health, but also rising poverty among the state's children. Credit: Annie E. Casey Foundation

RICHMOND, Va. - Big steps forward on education, teen safety and reductions in teen pregnancy - but also rising poverty - are reflected in the latest "Kids Count" data snapshot. According to the 25th annual Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count report, Virginia has moved up two spots in the overall n ...Read More

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