EDUCATION AND EQUITY NEWS
Below are links to recent news articles and special reports on education and equity issues at the national level and for the District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. (Note: Links are often rendered inactive some time after the article's publication date. If you are unable to locate an article by clicking on the title, please search the website of the publisher.) To search the archives for older articles, please click here
Looking at the Best Teachers and Who They Teach (Center for American Progress, April 11, 2014)We want to get the best teachers to the students who need them most, but a review of data from the newest teacher evaluation systems show that that is not always what happens. In an analysis of the newest data, we find that in some areas, poor students and students of color are far less likely than others to have expert teachers.
More Than Half of Students 'Engaged' in School, Says Poll (Education Week, April 9, 2014)Students who have teachers who make them “feel excited about the future” and who attend schools that they see as committed to building their individual strengths are 30 times more likely than other students to show other signs of engagement in the classroom—a key predictor of academic success, according to a report released Wednesday by Gallup Education.
Is the Stress of Poverty to Blame for Academic Failure? (Education Week, April 8, 2014)Every three years, 15 year-olds from around the world take a test to measure proficiency in reading, math and science, and every three years, the results for American students disappoint. Here are the latest: 36th place in math (behind Slovakia but just ahead of Lithuania), 28th in science, and 24th in reading (5 notches below Vietnam). Disappointing, but not the whole story.
Schools can overcome the challenges of poverty — with the right interventions (Hechinger Report, April 8, 2014)When President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper last month to help young men and boys of color reach their full potential, he shared what had made the difference in his own life: “I had people who encouraged me — not just my mom and grandparents, but wonderful teachers and community leaders — and they’d push me to work hard and study hard and make the most of myself…They never gave up on me,” he recounted, “and so I didn’t give up on myself.”
ESL Teachers in Common-Core Era Need Different Prep, Paper Argues (Education Week, April 7, 2014)As public schools move headlong into teaching new, more rigorous standards in reading, math, and science, English-as-a-second-language teachers must become more involved in the central enterprise of teaching and supporting academic content for ELL students than has traditionally been the case, a new paper argues.
Poverty-related Challenges Sap Instructional Time in High Schools (Education Week, April 7, 2014)Poverty-related challenges steal time from high school class periods, leading students at low-income schools to receive an average of half an hour less instruction per day than their higher-income peers.
The STEM Enrollment Boom (Inside Higher Ed, April 7, 2014)Policy makers regularly talk about the need to encourage more undergraduates to pursue science and technology fields. New data suggest that undergraduates at four-year institutions in fact have become much more likely to study those fields, especially engineering and biology.
Robotics Day targets minority students for careers (The News Journal, April 7, 2014)When Derrick Hunter was in sixth grade, a teacher recognized his interest in math and suggested he go to a program on the weekend to enrich what he was learning at school.
Study: Top Minority Students Fall Off During High School (US News, April 2, 2014)Despite entering high school at the tops of their classes, many high-performing minority and disadvantaged students finish with lower grades, lower AP exam passage rates and lower SAT and ACT scores than their high-achieving white and more advantaged peers, according to a report released Wednesday by The Education Trust.
Teaching Argument Writing to ELLs (ASCD, April 1, 2014)How in the world are we supposed to apply the Common Core writing standards to teaching English language learners? We've been asking that question of ourselves and others over the past two years, and we suspect we're not the only educators doing so. After reviewing the many resources available that attempt to provide guidance to teachers of English language learners (see "Resources of Note") and combining what we've learned through our daily classroom experience, we've developed a tentative answer to that question.
Report finds wide racial disparity in U.S. children's well-being (Reuters, April 1, 2014)African-American children's poverty, poor housing and lack of access to education pose a national crisis, said a report released Tuesday that found a wide gap in well-being among U.S. children of different races.
New State Laws Require More Sex-Abuse Training in Schools (Education Week, April 1, 2014)An Illinois woman has turned the lessons she learned in her recovery from her own childhood sexual abuse into a nationwide push to pass state laws that require student lessons and teacher training about the issue in public schools.
U.S. Must Improve Outcomes for Minority Youth as Demographics Shift, Report Says (Education Week, April 1, 2014)As children from minority populations gradually become the majority in the United States, the country must address unequal outcomes and opportunities between racial and ethnic groups to ensure a prosperous future, a report released April 1 said.
Pre-K Suspension Data Prompt Focus on Intervention (Education Week, March 31, 2014)New data showing that thousands of children—including a disproportionate number of boys and black children—are suspended from school before reaching kindergarten have researchers and policymakers asking tough questions about pre-K discipline, and highlighting programs that help keep challenging children in preschool.
Technology and Graduation Rate: A Direct Correlation (Education Week, March 31, 2014)There is a lot of talk out there about ways to raise the graduation rate. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan proudly wore #80 in the NBA All-Star celebrity game to tout the highest graduation rate the country has seen since 1974. Educators are collectively working harder to help students make it to the high school finish line and get prepared for college and the workforce. There is a lot of credit to be handed out for the successful graduation rates around the country (of course, there are still plenty of areas for improvement), but I think one shining area deserves a lot of the praise: technology.
Racially Segregated Schools in America: The Bloomberg, Gates, Bush and Obama Legacies (Huffington Post, March 31, 2014)The just released UCLA Civil Rights Project report on increasing racial segregation in American schools identified schools in New York City and State as the most racially segregated in the United States. The report highlights the numbers, but unfortunately the Civil Rights Project shies away from drawing the hard and I think obvious conclusions.
50 Years Later, Housing Programs' Reach Is Limited (Education Week, March 25, 2014)Fifty years after President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a War on Poverty, the U.S. rental-assistance programs expanded through that initiative—public housing and rental vouchers—have provided a measure of stability for participating families and their children.
Segregated Housing, Segregated Schools (Education Week, March 25, 2014)School reform alone cannot substantially raise performance of the poorest African-American students unless we also improve the conditions that leave too many children unprepared to take advantage of what schools have to offer.
Questioning Parental Involvement (Education Week, March 24, 2014)Healthy parenting is more art than science. What works well with one child does not work for another, even in the same family. Moreover, there are racial and cultural differences that play a powerful role. For example, the study found that white parents are at least twice as likely as black and Hispanic parents to request a specific teacher. Since the single most important in-school factor in learning is the teacher, this difference is significant.
School Data Finds Pattern of Inequality Along Racial Lines (New York Times, March 21, 2014)Racial minorities are more likely than white students to be suspended from school, to have less access to rigorous math and science classes, and to be taught by lower-paid teachers with less experience, according to comprehensive data released Friday by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
Study Finds No Upswing in Racially Isolated Schools (Education Week, March 13, 2014)Using one type of school segregation measurement, Arace could be considered racially segregated because black students there share the school with relatively few students of other races. This type of indicator is known as an “exposure” or “isolation” index because it indicates whether the school’s demographics promote isolation or exposure among students of different races.
Number of High School Graduates to Decline by 2022, NCES Predicts (Education Week, March 4, 2014)New data from the National Center for Education Statistics forecast a decline in the number of high school graduates over the next decade and college enrollment rising, but at a much slower pace than in recent years.
Women's Group: 'Common Core Will Help Close STEM Gender Gap' (Education Week, February 20, 2014)The American Association of University Women came out in support of the Common Core State Standards yesterday. And while education groups have been announcing their common-core allegiances left and right, what's interesting in this case is that the organization cites the need to close the STEM gender gap as a major reason for its support.
Common Core and Parent Engagement (Education Week, February 18, 2014)School leaders can leverage parent engagement by explaining to parents that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are part of a larger effort aimed at ensuring all students graduate from high school ready for college and career. The Standards promote three important goals: addressing a smaller number of learning objectives but in greater depth; providing challenges so that all students have access to rigorous coursework; and assuring quality of curriculum and assessments across states. Paired with effective and engaging instruction, the CCSS hold promise for reducing learning gaps and increasing opportunities for students
Harm can continue even after bullying stops (USA Today, February 17, 2014)Intervening early to stop bullying is important because the health effects – including anxiety, depression and impaired self-worth – can persist even after bullying stops, a study shows.
Getting Low-Income Students on the College-Degree Path (Education Week, February 12, 2014)In January, the White House hosted more than 100 college, philanthropic, and nonprofit leaders at the College Opportunity Summit, where first lady Michelle Obama announced: “It is our mission … to take real, meaningful action that will help our young people get into college and, more importantly, actually get their degree.”
Testing To, and Beyond, the Common Core (NAESP, February 1, 2014)After more than a decade of test-driven, high-stakes accountability in the No Child Left Behind era, many educators and policymakers in the United States are looking to move toward a more thoughtful approach. Rather than maintaining a system that uses narrow measures of student achievement to sanction poorly performing schools, the push is now to implement next-generation learning goals that encourage higher-order thinking skills.
A Continuing Portrait of Inequality: The Black Child in Today's America (Huffington Post, January 31, 2014)The Children’s Defense Fund’s recent report on The State of America’s Children 2014 shows children of color are already a majority of all children under two, and in five years children of color will be the majority of all children in America. All of our children -- including all of our Black children -- truly must be ready in critical mass to take their place among the workers, educators, members of the military and political leaders of tomorrow. America is going to be left behind if our children are not enabled to get ahead and prepared, in Dr. Woodson’s words, to “answer the present call of duty.” Yet CDF found the state of Black children in America today is grim.
How We Know Kids Living in Poverty Can Meet the Common Core Standards (ASCD, January 30, 2014)Although the Common Core standards contain significant shifts for teaching and learning, decades of research highlight successful programs and curricula that demonstrate educational rigor and equity is possible for students who live in poverty.
SIG Program Gets Makeover in Newly Passed Budget (Education Week, January 28, 2014)After more than three years of a strong federal footprint when it comes to turning around the lowest-performing schools, states and districts may get a lot more say over how they spend millions in school improvement dollars—a consequence of the $1.1 trillion spending bill that rocketed through Congress this month.
Climbing Economic ladder as hard as ever, study finds (USA Today, January 23, 2014)Young Americans from low-income families are as likely to move into the ranks of the affluent today as those born in the 1970s, according to a report by several top academic experts on inequality.
Newer Advocacy Groups Find Foot Soldiers in Parents (Education Week, January 15, 2014)Jose A. Herrera, the father of two school-age children in New York City, said he used to be completely disengaged from politics—he didn’t even vote. But that all changed after he successfully teamed up with other parents to push to move his elder son’s charter school from a community center into a real school building, where students would have access to a cafeteria, a library, and a gym.
Two Courts Aim to Move Education Beyond Race (Education Week, January 14, 2014)Two federal courts issued important rulings affecting race and education over the past week, serving reminders that those two issues remain inexorably entwined. But both decisions, in their respective ways, aim to move parts of the country beyond race.
No Girls, Blacks, or Hispanics Take AP Computer Science Exam in Some States (Education Week, January 10, 2014)A new analysis of test-taking data finds that in Mississippi and Montana, no female, African American, or Hispanic students took the Advanced Placement exam in computer science.
Helping English-Language Learners Adapt Under the Common Core (Education Week, January 7, 2014)The Common Core State Standards can be intimidating for those of us who teach students who are English-language learners or have special needs. How can we get a jump-start on preparing our students to succeed?
Waiver States Struggle With Priority Schools, English-Learners, Ed. Dept. Finds (Education Week, January 6, 2014)The first intensive federal monitoring of No Child Left Behind Act waivers shows states struggling to intervene in schools with the biggest achievement gaps, to ensure that the worst schools implement the right improvement strategies, and to help English-learners adjust to new standards.
50 Years Later, War on Poverty Is a Mixed Bag (The New York Times, January 4, 2014)To many Americans, the war on poverty declared 50 years ago by President Lyndon B. Johnson has largely failed. The poverty rate has fallen only to 15 percent from 19 percent in two generations, and 46 million Americans live in households where the government considers their income scarcely adequate.
Equity in Achievement, Funding Are Hurdles for States Amid Progress (Education Week, January 3, 2014)In 1997, Education Week first published Quality Counts as a report card assessing state progress in adopting policy measures in several key areas. The annual report offered a way for policymakers to track central tenets of standards-based reform, a movement continuing to come into its own as a major force in K-12 education.
Twelve Tips All Educators Must Know About Educating African American and Latino Students (Huffington Post, January 3, 2014)In order to achieve success in the classroom with African American and Latino students, the educator must understand the population that he/she teaches, as well as consistently analyze if his/her teaching practices are effective. If you do not understand the population of students you teach, your success in the classroom can be greatly minimized.
What Can U.S. Schools Learn From Other Nations? (Education Week, December 19, 2013)At least two factors—the evolution of the global economy and ongoing concerns about the quality of American education—are fueling interest in how other nations approach teaching and learning.
NAEP Gains in D.C., Los Angeles Outpace Other Big Cities (Education Week, December 18, 2013)Reading and mathematics achievement on national tests stagnated in many big-city districts since 2011, but rose notably in a few, especially in the historically low-performing school systems in the District of Columbia and Los Angeles, where students demonstrated progress in both subjects.
Coalition Pressures Education Dept. Over Teacher-Equity Backtracking (Education Week, December 17, 2013)A coalition of nearly 100 groups is turning up the heat on the U.S. Department of Education over its decision to roll back a requirement pertaining to "teacher equity," or ensuring that poor and minority students have access to the most capable teachers.
Are NCLB Waiver States Intervening in the Right Schools? (Education Week, December 17, 2013)In Nevada during the 2011-12 school year, 86 schools were in "restructuring" under the No Child Left Behind Act—the most aggressive sanction under the federal school accountability law.
U.S. Girls Perform Evenly With Boys in Math and Science, PISA Data Show (Education Week, December 13, 2013)There's still a mountain of PISA data to dig into (with caveats in mind, of course). But one piece I've found particularly compelling is that, in the United States, there was no statistical difference between boys' and girls' scores in either math or science. In many other countries, the 2012 OECD report notes, "marked gender differences in mathematics performance—in favour of boys—are observed." Three years ago, American boys outperformed girls in math on PISA; their science scores were similar.
One in Four Parents Dissatisfied With Schools' Phys. Ed. Offerings (Education Week, December 4, 2013)One in four K-12 public school parents believe their child's school isn't placing enough emphasis on physical education, according to a new survey from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Harvard School of Public Health, and National Public Radio.
Tablet Study Sheds Light on Importance of Students' Socioeconomic Levels (Education Week, November 22, 2013)A new survey of students and teachers involved in tablet programs implemented in schools in two of the nation's largest school districts looks to get to the bottom of the efficacy of 1-to-1 tablet initiatives in classrooms.
Struggling 1st Graders Make Strides Under Reading Recovery, i3 Study Finds (Education Week, November 20, 2013)Students who entered first grade with limited reading skills made substantial progress in both reading words and comprehension through the Reading Recovery intervention, according to first-year results of the program's massive expansion under the federal Investing in Innovation grant.
English-Language Learner Clearinghouse To Be Revamped, Ed. Dept. Says (Education Week, November 20, 2013)The U.S. Department of Education has chosen Leed Management Consulting, a small Silver Spring, Md., company, to become the new manager of its $2 million contract for the clearinghouse better known as NCELA. Leed was the Education Department's first choice a year ago. But the contract was withdrawn after formal protests with the federal Small Business Administration and the Government Accountability Office prompted the department to take "corrective action" and review the procurement process that led up to the award being issued to Leed.
Duncan tries to quell uproar over Common Core comments (Washington Post, November 19, 2013)Education Secretary Arne Duncan tried Monday to quell the outrage sparked by his comments that injected race and class into the debate about the Common Core academic standards taking root in classrooms across the country.
Want to Close the Achievement Gap? Require Pre-K (Education Week, November 14, 2013)We are a nation convinced our schools need to be different, our students more successful, and our graduates more ready. In our quest to achieve this, opposing camps have formed regarding standards and assessment. It seems common sense and common ground are receding to the background. Let's bring them forward and start at the beginning. There are some fundamentals that could help.
Disadvantaged Students Receive Less-Effective Teaching, Study Says (Education Week, November 11, 2013)Students who qualify for federal lunch subsidies receive less effective instruction in school, on average. And that disparity appears to be a function of the schools those students attend, rather than the classes they're assigned, concludes a federally financed study released last week.
ELLs and Nation's Report Card: No Change in Reading and Math Performance (Education Week, November 11, 2013)The reading and math achievement of the nation's English-language learners in 4th and 8th grades shows few signs of budging, according to national test data results released last week. Results from the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, better known as NAEP, or the nation's report card, show that 8th grade English-language learners posted an average score in math that rose by two points since 2011, the last time the test was given, and one point in reading on the exam's 500-point scale, though neither is a statistically significant gain. For 4th grade ELLs, the average math score was exactly the same as two years ago and for reading, it dropped by one point, which was not a statistically significant change.
Minorities More Than Whites Embrace the Value of College, Survey Finds (Education Week, November 8, 2013)While minorities worry more than whites about paying for higher education, a new survey finds that Latinos, Asian-Americans and African-Americans are more likely to see value in the investment for themselves and for the country overall.
U.S. Math, Reading Achievement Edges Up, But Gaps Remain (Education Week, November 7, 2013)The reading and mathematics achievement of the country’s 8th grade students improved in the last two years, but the performance of 4th graders remains stubbornly mixed, with progress in math, but not in reading, according to national test data released Thursday.
Facing Racism (Education Week, November 7, 2013)Adding the element of race to a discussion makes people uncomfortable. It is as if some illusive, powerful force has entered and takes up all the air. For all the hope we hold as our national image, we can be a hard place. In fact, we have a horrible and unhealed history. It becomes difficult to move forward because we are not expanding our understanding. It is a rare moment....and one of true opportunity...when someone opens a door to welcome a different perspective and a dialogue is entered that can hold multiple truths of those whose life experiences are vastly different. Yet, educators cannot avoid these face to face encounters...in fact, we must seek them out... if we aspire to create environments safe for all students and produce a generation of young adults who will lead well in a multi-cultural, multi racial world.
High School Dropout Rate: Causes and Costs (Education Week, November 6, 2013)On Monday I dug into the current state of high school dropouts and where American students today stand in historic statistics. In my research, I discovered that while dropout percentages are much lower today than they were a few decades ago, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
Schools Still See Surges in Homeless Students (Education Week, November 5, 2013)In the year after Hurricane Katrina buffeted the Gulf Coast, Denise Riemer and Larissa Dickinson, both homeless education liaisons for their school district, saw more than 2,000 homeless students and their families in the public schools in Mobile, Ala.
Rethinking Parent Engagement (Education Week, October 30, 2013)It's that time of the school year, where droves of parents descend upon their children's schools for parent-teacher conferences. Unfortunately, for many, this will be the first and last time parents and teachers see each other this year. We might see them at the book fair or the field trip to the museum, but the challenge for schools is to engage parents in more meaningful ways.
Most States Surpass Global Average in Math, Science (Education Week, October 24, 2013)A new analysis of how all U.S. states stack up against countries around the world shows that 8th grade students in 35 states outperformed the international average in math and those in 46 did so in science.
Why We Don’t Use the Word “Bully” to Label Kids (StopBullying.gov, October 23, 2013)The labels bully, victim, and target are used often by media, researchers and others to refer to children who bully others and children who are bullied. Yet, you won’t find these terms used in this way on StopBullying.gov. For example, rather than calling a child a "bully," our website refers to "the child who bullied."
Who Is an 'English-Language Learner'? (Pew Charitable Trusts, October 22, 2013)If a U.S. student learning English were to drive across the country, he would find that in some states he would be classified an “English-language learner,” eligible to receive extra support. In other states, the same student would not qualify for the special designation—or the additional help.
Common Core and Disadvantaged Students (Education Week, October 22, 2013)It's no secret that there has been plenty of heated debate about the Common Core State Standards. Supporters say we need the standards to strengthen our workforce. Opponents contend that control over educational expectations should rest with local school boards and teachers, causing some lawmakers to back away from the standards. In May, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed legislation delaying common-core implementation in his state; funding for the standards has stalled in Michigan; and bills scrapping the common core are pending in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.
Language-Gap Study Bolsters a Push for Pre-K (New York Times, October 21, 2013)Nearly two decades ago, a landmark study found that by age 3, the children of wealthier professionals have heard words millions more times than those of less educated parents, giving them a distinct advantage in school and suggesting the need for increased investment in prekindergarten programs.
Rural, Urban Students in Poverty Show Different Working Memory Problems (Education Week, October 18, 2013)Students in poverty have been repeatedly shown to have poorer working memory than higher income students, but those working memory problems seem to differ between students in rural and urban poverty.
Common Core: N.Y. districts with more Spanish-speaking students struggle on new tests (The Journal News, October 10, 2013)Most school districts are trying to come to terms with disappointing results on the new, harder state tests for grades 3 to 8. But districts with large numbers of Spanish-speaking students got absolutely blasted on the new tests and now have to figure out how to move forward.
State and Locals to U.S. Senate: Rewrite No Child Left Behind Act (Education Week, September 12, 2013)A collection of big-name state and local government groups really, really wants U.S. Senate leaders to bring a bill to the floor to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and soon.
Expecting the Best Yields Results in Massachusetts (The New York Times, September 12, 2013)Conventional wisdom and popular perception hold that American students are falling further and further behind in science and math achievement. The statistics from this state tell a different story.
States May Move Closer to Uniform Way of Identifying ELLs (Education Week, September 5, 2013)The widespread adoption of the common-core standards and the imminent rollout of shared content assessments is pushing states to find common ground in yet another dimension of schooling: how best to serve the growing population of English-language learners.
Calling Black Men To The Blackboard (Shanker Blog, September 4, 2013)The parallels between prisons and schools are well-documented. The term “school-to-prison pipeline” refers to the fact that many school systems are unable to provide struggling students with enough skills and support, thereby increasing their likelihood of entering correctional facilities. Those students most trapped in this pipeline are Black males. Given this reality, like Attorney General Holder, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan described a policy initiative aimed at improving the in- and out-of-school outcomes for Black boys: increase the number Black male teachers in U.S. public schools.
Federal Survey Examines Parent Engagement in Education (Education Week, September 3, 2013)A new national survey finds that most parents are attending their schools' parent-teacher conferences, receiving school notes and e-mails, and helping their children with homework.
Separation Is Not the Answer: Getting Girls Interested in STEM Subjects  (Education Week, August 30, 2013)Recently, New York City mayoral potential Christine Quinn announced a plan to open five all-girls tech-based middle schools. She addressed the gender gap in areas like engineering and computer science when explaining her reasoning on Women's Equality Day. Under her plan, each of the five New York City boroughs would open a STEM-based school designed to influence girls at a key point in their development.
Arne Duncan: Integration Alone Doesn't Equal a World-Class Education (Education Week, August 27, 2013)On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called on educators and students to advance a civil rights agenda that presses for equal opportunities—and not just equal rights.
Education and Civil Rights, 50 Years After the March on Washington (US Department of Education Blog, August 27, 2013)Civil rights means having the same opportunities that other people do –regardless of what you look like, where you come from, or whom you love.
Study: Waivers Leave Behind At-Risk Students (Education Week, August 27, 2013)Millions of at-risk students could fall through the cracks as the Education Department gives states permission to ignore parts of No Child Left Behind, according to a study education advocates released Tuesday.
Bullying's Long Shadow (Education Week, August 23, 2013)According to a new study published in the August edition of Psychological Science, victims of bullying, including those who go on to bully others, are at increased risk of bad health, poor finances, and unstable relationships, years after bullying occurs.
Turnarounds Take Leadership, Humility  (Education Week, August 21, 2013)There is a connotation of simplicity that comes with the phrase "school turnaround," as if it involved a business merely in need of better management and modern marketing. There is also at least a hint of arrogance.
Most Students Aren't Ready for College, ACT Data Show  (Education Week, August 21, 2013)Most students are not adequately prepared to face the rigor of college, according to the latest ACT scores , which also show that the average composite score on the college-entrance exam fell from last year.
Closing the Achievement Gap: What Lies Ahead (Education Week, August 21, 2013)A University of Chicago report found that closing the achievement gap between students of color, or with documented economic disadvantages, was completely stagnant from 1990 to 2000. A 2007 report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress found that white students scored an average of 26 points higher on reading and math standardized tests for 4th and 8th grade (on a scale of 0 to 500). A recognition of the fact that the achievement gap exists - and that it is in everyone's best interest to close it - has become a standard of the K-12 education conversation.
For Young ELLs, Learning in Two Languages Best, Review Says (Education Week, August 19, 2013)Instruction in English and in a child's home language in the preschool and early elementary years leads to the best outcomes for the youngest dual-language learners, both in terms of academic-content achievement and as English-language proficiency, a new research review and policy brief concludes.
Demographics Divide Parents' Views of Schools, Poll Finds (Education Week, August 19, 2013)Minority and low-income parents are more likely to see serious problems in their schools—from low expectations to bullying to out-of-date technology and textbooks—than those who are affluent or white, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research Poll.
AP-NORC Poll: Often criticized by teachers, standardized tests have support from parents (Washington Post, August 17, 2013)Often criticized as too prescriptive and all-consuming, standardized tests have support among parents, who view them as a useful way to measure both students’ and schools’ performances, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll.
Don't segregate boys and girls in classrooms  (CNN.com, August 9, 2013)That's because recently, under a legal challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union and its local affiliates, the Wood County Board of Education agreed to abandon for two school years its program of separating boys and girls into single-sex classes. The ACLU had filed a lawsuit on behalf of a mother and her daughters who claimed the sex segregation was a form of sex discrimination against girls.
Obama Says Income Gap Is Fraying U.S. Social Fabric (The New York Times, July 27, 2013)In a week when he tried to focus attention on the struggles of the middle class, President Obama said in an interview that he was worried that years of widening income inequality and the lingering effects of the financial crisis had frayed the country’s social fabric and undermined Americans’ belief in opportunity.
KIPP builds college pipeline through written agreements (Washington Post, July 25, 2013)The expansion is the result of an unusual tactic that the network once known as the Knowledge Is Power Program has developed to help its students get into and through college. Starting in October 2011, KIPP and college leaders signed pledges to create recruiting pipelines and campus support systems for students who often lack the higher-education connections routinely found in affluent communities.
Achievement Gap Narrows on Long-Term NAEP (Education Week, June 27, 2013)Achievement gaps for black and Hispanic youths have declined by substantial margins in reading and math since the early 1970s, according to new federal data issued recently. The gaps with their white peers, while still in evidence, have narrowed across all three age levels tested as part of a national assessment of long-term trends that offers a look at test data spanning some 40 years.
New PTA President to Emphasize Diversity, Advocacy, Leadership (Education Week, June 27, 2013)Thornton, 45, the first African-American man to head the National PTA, said in an interview that the organization's membership must become more diverse as it advocates on behalf of the nation's children.
Breaking the Gender-Labeling Habit Early  (Education Week, June 14, 2013)In February of this year, the department of elementary and secondary education for my state of Massachusetts issued guidelines that grant transgender students Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader the right to access school bathrooms, use locker rooms, and play on athletic teams for their preferred, self-identified gender. The document also directs schools to honor student preferences for name and gender-specific pronoun usage. It is relatively easy to see how these newly protected rights relate to the high school setting, but it is less clear what the appropriate translation should be for our younger students who are more likely to be perplexed by their feelings and unclear regarding their choices.
Supporting the Academic Success of Pregnant and Parenting Students Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (US Department of Education, June 1, 2013)The pamphlet provides background on school retention problems associated with young parents and the requirements related to these issues contained in the Department’s regulation implementing Title IX, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq. As the pamphlet explains, it is illegal under Title IX for schools to exclude pregnant students (or students who have been pregnant) from participating in any part of an educational program, including extracurricular activities. Schools may implement special instructional programs or classes for pregnant students, but participation must be completely voluntary on the part of the student. Also, the programs and classes must be comparable to those offered to other students with regard to the range of academic, extracurricular and enrichment opportunities.
Duncan: More Hispanic children need to enroll in preschool (Washington Post, May 29, 2013)Record numbers of Hispanic students are staying in high school, graduating and enrolling in college, but they lag behind other groups in preschool attendance, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday morning.
High School Students Taking More Math and Science Courses (Education Week, May 23, 2013)High school students are being told to take more rigorous math and science courses if they want to be prepared for college and get lucrative jobs in STEM careers.
Student Data Too Often a Tangled Web for Schools, Report Says (Education Week, May 21, 2013)Schools are flooded with data these days, but students, parents, teachers, and administrators often lack the ability to make use of it because the systems for collecting, storing, and analyzing that information don't mesh with each other, many officials who work with, or in, K-12 education say.
Ariz. ELL Dispute Continues, Despite Federal Ruling (Education Week, May 14, 2013)Disputes over Arizona's approach to educating English-language learners show few signs of abating as the plaintiffs in a 2-decade-old lawsuit continue to challenge the state's requirement that such students spend more than half their school day learning English, with little access to other academic content.
Parents, More Than Teachers, Are the 'Silver Bullet' for Students in Poverty (Education Week, May 14, 2013)I remember a conversation that I had with my dad. It was short, mostly one-sided, and incredibly memorable. With a thick Spanish accent, and a somewhat intimidating look, my dad asked, "Pérsida, to what college you go?"
We Must Create Opportunities for STEM Learning (Education Week, May 14, 2013)Our country is in trouble. That's the key takeaway from my experience as the undersecretary in the U.S. Department of Education. We have been inching along in math and science while other countries are speeding forward. The United States ranked 25th in math and 17th in science in the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment.
How Do Schools Unlock the Potential of English-Language Learners? (Education Week, May 12, 2013)On the first day of school, Juyeon sat in my second grade classroom crying. Her arms were locked around the back of her chair. I tried to comfort her but it didn't work. She looked at me but didn't understand a word I was saying. As the rest of my class met on the rug for the first time so we could go over the calendar, rules, and read a book, she sat sobbing because she was scared. How couldn't she be? Two weeks before the beginning of school she moved to the U.S. from Seoul, Korea.
Cyberbullying Common Among High School Students, or Is It? (Education Week, May 10, 2013)Analyzing survey responses from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Andrew Adesman of Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York found that about 16 percent of high school students reported being electronically bullied within 12 months of the survey. And girls were more than twice as likely to report being a cyberbullying victim.
A New Family Engagement Partnership with the National Center for Family Literacy (U.S. Department of Education, May 10, 2013)A parent is a child’s first and most important teacher, but our approaches to family engagement often fall short of recognizing the full potential of partnerships between schools and families. The challenges we face in education require that we go beyond these basic messages on family engagement – moving from communication to collaboration among schools and families.
Latino High School Grads Enrolling in College at Record Rates, Outpacing Whites (Education Week, May 9, 2013)Latino students have reached a new milestone in the United States: A higher percentage who graduate from high school are enrolling in college than white students.
School Climate Matters (Education Week, May 8, 2013)Distilling more than 200 studies and literature reviews, they concluded that "sustained positive school climate is associated with positive child and youth development, effective risk-prevention and health-promotion efforts, student learning and academic achievement, increased student graduation rates, and teacher retention."
How far has the women's movement moved in the last 40 years? (ACLU Women's Rights Project, April 25, 2013)Forty years ago, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) board of directors determined that women's rights should be the organisation's highest priority. Then executive director Aryeh Neier, created the ACLU Women's Rights Project and named Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the first director. Since then, Ginsburg has become a justice on the United States Supreme Court, and the Women's Rights Project (WRP) has won many landmark court decisions, achieved significant legislative successes, and shifted public awareness and understanding of women's equality.
Investments in Education May Be Misdirected (New York Times, April 2, 2013)Children of mothers who had graduated from college scored much higher at age 3 than those whose mothers had dropped out of high school, proof of the advantage for young children of living in rich, stimulating environments.
Honors Classes: A Need for More Diversity  (Edutopia, March 28, 2013)I work in a middle school that many would call diverse, if you were looking at nationalities rather than race. The student body is 49 percent Latino and 49 percent Asian. The Asian demographic is, however, divided into many different countries, from China to Vietnam. So it should go without saying that our honors classes, those classes helping to move students beyond simply meeting the standards and into more rigorous, pre-AP level discussions and material, should reflect that same break down, right? Wrong.
Partners Are Essential (Education Week, March 26, 2013)Leaders and their schools need partners in this business of educating society's youth and creating responsible, productive, creative and active citizens. Hopefully, these young people will possess values, conscience and courage as well. If we truly care about that whole description, we need partners.
English-Learner Achievement Mixed in Big City School Systems (Education Week, March 22, 2013)The experiences of English-language learners in some of the nation's largest school systems vary widely when it comes to who teaches them, what types of language instruction programs are available to them, and how well schools do in supporting their progress toward becoming proficient in English.
Teachers facing achievement gap try cross-race connections (Education Week, March 20, 2013)All the bleak statistics about Minnesota's achievement gap became personal to fifth-grade teacher Jen Engel, when she realized that gap was playing out in her own classroom.
Better Colleges Failing to Lure Talented Poor (The New York Times, March 16, 2013)Most low-income students who have top test scores and grades do not even apply to the nation’s best colleges, according to a new analysis of every high school student who took the SAT in a recent year.
Fragmented Data Systems a Barrier to Better Schools, Experts Say  (Education Week, March 15, 2013)The fragmented nature of data systems in school districts, a lack of common data standards across states, and the financial challenges of providing professional development to data users in schools combine to leave many districts and states struggling to provide meaningful, real-time data about student performance to educators.
Survey Suggests Hurdles for Math, Science Teaching (Education Week, March 12, 2013)A rich new set of survey data on math and science teachers highlights some big challenges the nation faces if it hopes to significantly increase student achievement in those disciplines. It also drives home, experts say, the huge need to support teachers as districts begin implementing the common-core math standards, and as an effort to develop common standards for science nears completion.
Education Department Releases New School-Level Graduation Rate Data to Better Inform Parents, District Leaders (U.S. Department of Education, March 5, 2013)The U.S. Department of Education released provisional school-level graduation rates for 2010-11 – the first school year for which all states used a common, rigorous measure for reporting high school graduates. The data release furthers the Department's efforts to provide transparent information to parents and students about their schools and ensure all schools are preparing students for college and careers.
School Climate: Missing Link in Principal Training? (Education Week, March 5, 2013)Improving a struggling school's climate can be both the foundation of long-term school improvement and a source of immediate, visible progress for a new principal. The tricky part for many principals, experts say, is translating an idyllic vision into classroom reality.
Biggest study ever says KIPP gains substantial (Washington Post, March 4, 2013)KIPP, previously known as the Knowledge Is Power Program, has had more success than any other large educational organization in raising the achievement of low-income students, both nationally and in the District. But many good educators, burned by similarly hopeful stories in the past, have wondered whether KIPP were for real.
Survey finds gap in Internet access between rich, poor students (Washington Post, March 1, 2013)Technology has become essential to middle school and high school learning, but a gap in access to the Internet between the rich and poor is leading to troubling disparities in education, according to a survey of teachers.
U.S. Department of Education Asks School Leaders to Initiate New Efforts to Reduce Gender-Based Violence (U.S. Department of Education, February 28, 2013)The U.S. Department of Education today issued a Dear Colleague letter to state school chiefs requesting immediate action to reduce gender-based violence in schools and to help ensure all students are safe. The letter and additional materials were released during a White House event on teen dating violence prevention, which was part of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, and the Obama Administration’s efforts to raise awareness of gender-based violence.
Ensuring Safe Schools for LGBT Youth (U.S Department of Education, February 20, 2013)This past weekend in San Diego, I had the opportunity to participate in the 4th Annual National Educator Conference focused on creating safe, supportive, and inclusive schools for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth. A goal of the conference, presented by the Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership (CESCaL), was to bring together education leaders and LGBT experts to empower and provide educators and school personnel with the knowledge and skills necessary to create safe, welcoming and inclusive school environments for all youth, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Why Gender Equality Stalled (The New Yorok Times, February 16, 2013)THIS week is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan’s international best seller, “The Feminine Mystique,” which has been widely credited with igniting the women’s movement of the 1960s. Readers who return to this feminist classic today are often puzzled by the absence of concrete political proposals to change the status of women. But “The Feminine Mystique” had the impact it did because it focused on transforming women’s personal consciousness.
The Boys at the Back (The New York Times, February 2, 2013)Boys score as well as or better than girls on most standardized tests, yet they are far less likely to get good grades, take advanced classes or attend college. Why? A study coming out this week in The Journal of Human Resources gives an important answer. Teachers of classes as early as kindergarten factor good behavior into grades — and girls, as a rule, comport themselves far better than boys.
STEM Interest on Rise Among High Schoolers, Report Finds (Education Week, January 30, 2013)High school students are increasingly interested in pursuing STEM majors and careers, a new report finds, with about 1 in 4 now stating such an inclination. But a longstanding gender gap is widening, the data show, with fewer females than males signaling STEM interest.
Internships Help Students Prepare for Workplace (Education Week, January 29, 2013)Internships and job shadowing offer a close-up look at life in the workplace, yet some high school students are so focused on academics that they pass up the opportunity, or they are uncertain about their interests and don't know where to start.
Selling a New Generation on Guns (New York Times, January 26, 2013)Threatened by long-term declining participation in shooting sports, the firearms industry has poured millions of dollars into a broad campaign to ensure its future by getting guns into the hands of more, and younger, children.
Study: Latino Children Make Up For Academic Shortcomings With Strong Social Skills (NPR, January 23, 2013)Mexican-American preschoolers start school way behind their white counterparts. Their poor language and pre-literacy skills put them at a huge disadvantage academically. But new research is showing that their social skills are fully developed and robust by the time they start school and are indistinguishable from their white peers. Experts believe the new findings have promising implications.
National High School Graduation Rate Climbs (Education Week, January 22, 2013)The national high school graduation rate has improved notably, with 78.2 percent of public school students receiving a diploma in 2009-10, up from 75.5 percent the year before, according to the newest figures released from the National Center for Education Statistics Tuesday.
School Safety and Climate: Mirrors, Tubas, and Notebook Paper (Education Week, January 22, 2013)As I read M. Kristiina Montero's article "Literary Artistic Spaces Engage Middle Grades Teachers and Students in Critical-Multicultural Dialogue" (Middle School Journal, November 2012, pp. 30-38), I thought about student voices and how critical they are to school safety and climate. Our journey to better school safety involves tentative steps and uncertain landscapes. We have safety plans, crisis teams, and protocol notebooks--and thank goodness we do. Maybe our next steps to improve school safety and climate should include other items on this new path; items that connect to the middle grades student.
Senior Mentors, Not Bonuses, Boost College Enrollment, Study Finds (Education Week, January 17, 2013)When it comes to helping students make the jump from high school to college, every little bit helps. New research presented at the American Economic Association conference suggests mentoring, even in the closing months of high school, can push students to continue their academic careers.
Anti-Poverty Program Found to Yield Few Academic Gains (Education Week, January 15, 2013)Ten to 15 years after leaving neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, children of the Moving to Opportunity program are in most ways no better off than their peers who stayed put. But new findings from the ongoing study of their urban communities suggest more comprehensive school-neighborhood improvement initiatives stand a better chance of breaking the cycle of poverty.
For Girls, Teachers' Gender Matters, Study Says (Education Week, January 15, 2013)Girls taught by a female teacher got a learning boost if that teacher had a strong math background, but had consistently lower math performance by the end of the school year if she didn't, according to a study presented at the American Economic Association's annual conference here.