USA Today natl education & demographics writer. Author of THE GAME BELIEVES IN YOU: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter (out 4/21/15)

Children's author tackles environment — Award-winning children's author Paul Fleischman is nothing if not eclectic. In a career that spans decades, he has written fiction, poetry, plays and non-fiction. His newest book, Eyes Wide Open, took shape after he began noticing dead bees in his California driveway.

Census: Florida's population overtakes New York's — They are the Snowbirds Who Stayed in 2014. Florida has passed New York in population to claim the rank of the USA's No. 3 state, with almost 20 million residents, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. California remains the most populous state, followed by Texas.

4 questions to ask yourself before transferring schools — Most high school students devote a great deal of time to the college selection process. But what do you do if your perfect school no longer feels like the correct fit after a semester or a year? A natural reaction - and occasionally a wise option - is to transfer elsewhere.

Thanksgiving brings reprieve in Ferguson protests — FERGUSON, Mo. - After days of turmoil, Ferguson found a semblance of normalcy on Thanksgiving Day, a reprieve after days of violence and protests that unsettled this town. Hundreds of protesters had gathered late Wednesday for a third straight night outside the Ferguson Police Department following the announcement that a grand jury would not indict police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Grand jury charges are easy, except against police — New York state judge Sol Wachtler once famously remarked it's so easy to get a grand jury to indict, they'd indict a ham sandwich if that's what the prosecutor wanted. Except when it comes to police officers. A grand jury proved that Monday when it declined to charge a white Ferguson, Mo., police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed black youth.

Nation reacts to Ferguson grand jury decision — Protests erupted across the nation Monday night, shortly after a grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the August shooting death of teenager Michael Brown. Demonstrators reacted in several cities, where police were braced for raucous protests, but they reported initially that gatherings were mostly peaceful.

Pope says annulments should be cheaper and easier — ROME - Pope Francis on Wednesday called for speeding up the process for granting annulments, a ruling from a Church court that allows a Catholic whose marriage

I’m upset that my parish priest refused to allow more than one person give remarks at my father’s funeral — The Catholic funeral Mass is not intended to be a "celebration" of a person's life, marked by a parade of make-you-laugh, make-you-cry intimate stories. But there is a loophole.

Voters pass wage hikes, legal pot; divide on abortion — Voters on ballot initiatives in 41 states gave a resounding thumbs-up to recreational marijuana and higher minimum wages, while dividing on abortion-related measures and GMO labeling. Scores of measures that thickened ballot booklets from Alaska to Florida included a ban on bear baiting (overturned), immigrants IDs (rejected) and gun background checks (approved).

Voters take to polls on marijuana, abortion, other heated issues — ( USA TODAY) -- Voters in 41 states took to the polls Tuesday to cast their votes deciding the future of medical marijuana, minimum wages, bear hunting and controversial gaming. Some of America's most debated issues - abortion, pot, gun owners' rights - were at the forefront in several states.
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Jan 24, 2015

Disney's making a kids show about a retired 15-year-old eSports player

Jan 22, 2015

What happens when senior citizens sit down with Grand Theft Auto 5 and no instruction?… via @Polygon #gta5

Jan 22, 2015

RT @stlhood: You keep saying "Rice Krispies." I do not think it means what you think it means.

Jan 22, 2015

Police face counterprotesters at #marchforlife in front of US Supreme Court. Several arrested, crowd cheers @usatoday

Jan 22, 2015

A small pro-choice counter-protest greets #marchforlife in front of U.S. Supreme Court. @usatoday

Jan 22, 2015

A counter-protest blocks #marchforlife in front of US Supreme Court. Police arrested counter-protesters. @usatoday

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