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
Teachers of English-Learners Feel Least Prepared for Common Core, Survey Finds (Education Week, August 14, 2014)Educators, in general, feel inadequately prepared for teaching the common core to students, but when it comes to teaching the more rigorous standards to their students who are still learning English, their confidence drops sharply, according to a new survey from the Education Week Research Center.
Slim Hope for ESEA Reauthorization, Say Education 'Insiders' (Education Week, August 14, 2014)The Elementary and Secondary Education Act will never be reauthorized. At least that's what 20 percent of education "insiders" surveyed by a Washington consulting group think.
Can You Fight Poverty by Paying Kids to Go to School?  (Politico, August 12, 2014)But these are different times, and a new kind of anti-poverty push, less a movement than a technocrat’s dream, is quietly being tested here, a modest experiment that could help redefine a static national conversation about how to deal with intractable poverty of the sort that not only has overwhelmed the old projects like Foote Holmes, but also afflicts even the shiny new places like Cleaborn Pointe. Three years ago, Gordon-Cole was one of 600 people (most of them single mothers) selected for the Memphis Family Rewards Program, a widely watched trial that provides cash incentives to poor parents and their high school-age children for completing tasks that seem, at first glance, absurdly second nature for middle-class families. A student who compiles an acceptable school attendance record gets $40 a month, showing up for an annual dental or medical check-up means a $100 check, grades are monetized ($30 for an A, $20 for B, $10 for a C) and taking a college entrance exam like the ACT gets you a $50 check. Parents are also rewarded: Adults get a $150 monthly bonus, up to $1,800 a year, simply for working full-time.
Diversity on the Rise Among TFA Recruits (Education Week, August 12, 2014)The focus on diversity is a deliberate move by the organization, which changed some of its recruiting techniques in order to have a more diverse pool of applicants. According to its figures, 47 percent of the new teaching corps received Pell Grants, which are meant for low-income college students; 33 percent are actually coming from graduate school or with professional experience, and 22 percent identify as African-American.
Schools brace for up to 50,000 migrant kids (USA Today, August 11, 2014)Schools across the USA are bracing for as many as 50,000 immigrant children who would start school this fall, most of them unaccompanied by their families.
STEM: Where Are the Girls?? (Middle Web, August 10, 2014)Even if women don’t go into STEM, they need a foundation of STEM knowledge and practices to participate in a healthy 21st century democracy. We need to fix this problem, but before we can come up with a solution, we need to answer an important question: Why aren’t there more girls or women in STEM courses and fields? In other words, what’s the problem?
Parent-Student Education Needed for Homeless Families, Studies Say (Education Week, August 10, 2014)A strong relationship with parents can make the difference in whether homeless students thrive in spite of their disadvantage.
White Students No Longer to Be Majority in School (ABC News, August 9, 2014)Inside, giggling grade-schoolers who mostly come from homes where Spanish is the primary language worked on storytelling with a tale about a crocodile going to the dentist. The children and their classroom at the Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center, near both mushroom farms and the borough's bucolic red-brick downtown, are a subtle reminder of America's changing school demographics.
Multigenerational Programs Aim to Break Poverty Cycle (Education Week, August 5, 2014)It’s part of rising national interest in multigenerational approaches to reduce poverty and improve student achievement, based on mounting evidence that parents’ and children’s educational and life trajectories are inextricably linked. More than 60 percent of American children live in families whose highest educational degree is a high school diploma or less, according to a new report by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation. While that is an improvement over 2008 levels, parents are often not advancing their education fast enough to keep up with rapidly growing job requirements.
Recasting At-Risk Students as Leaders (Education Week, August 5, 2014)Nearly 100 students were invited to join a new leadership committee. The students were all potential dropouts, mainly because of their high absentee rates. The staff worked hard to "rebrand" the program from yet another don't-drop-out lecture to a unique opportunity. The key to making this work was to impress upon the selected students that they were on the committee not to help themselves, but to help other struggling students. They would be the team that would help reshape their school and possibly their entire district.
How We Can Strengthen Schools Serving Low-Income Children (Education Week, August 5, 2014)Changes in the American economy pose enormous challenges for America's public schools and the dream of socioeconomic mobility for low-income families.
15 Strategies for Placing Excellent Teachers in High-Need Schools (Education Week, August 1, 2014)In July, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced his department’s new Excellent Educators for All initiative, which seeks to ensure that students in high-need schools have equitable access to effective teachers.
White House Symposium Addresses Family-Engagement Practices Nationwide (Education Week, August 1, 2014)Family-engagement methods intended to involve parents in their children's education far beyond the annual parent-teacher conference took center stage at a White House event July 31 that drew representatives from the research and philanthropic communities, as well as Obama administration officials.
Poverty Has Spread to the Suburbs (And to Suburban Schools) (Education Week, July 31, 2014)More Americans are living in poverty in the suburbs than in urban or rural areas, a dramatic demographic shift that has occurred since 2000, a new report by the Brookings Institution finds. It's a finding that won't be a surprise to plenty of suburban superintendents, who've seen that residential change reflected in the enrollment makeup of their schools.
Year-Round Schooling: How It Would Help Minorities (Education Week, July 29, 2014)In my previous two posts, I've emphasized the need for all American K-12 schools to transition to a year-round school calendar. I've highlighted and debunked the most common arguments against year-round schooling and called for educators to stand behind a push to shift to a more consistent school calendar that maximizes student learning. Perhaps one of the strongest arguments in favor of year-round schooling however is the boost it would give to minority and other traditionally disadvantaged groups.
My son has been suspended five times. He’s 3. (Washington Post, July 24, 2014)Black children represent 18 percent of preschool enrollment but make up 48 percent of preschool children receiving more than one out-of-school suspension, according to the study released by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights in March.
Principals in U.S. Are More Likely to Consider Their Students Poor (New York Times, July 22, 2014)The phrase “soft bigotry of low expectations” is inevitably associated with George W. Bush, who used it frequently. But whatever your politics, the idea has undeniable merit: If schools don’t expect much from their students, the students are not likely to accomplish much.
In 25 Years, U.S. Children Make Fragile Progress, Kids Count Analysis Finds (Education Week, July 22, 2014)American children are in many ways healthier and better educated today—even after the Great Recession—than they were a quarter-century ago, according to the latest Kids Count data book, an index of child well-being released Tuesday morning. But children's and parents' gains are precarious as families continue to sink into poverty, and wide racial gaps remain.
Obama to Report Widening of Initiative for Black and Latino Boys (New York Times, July 20, 2014)The districts, which represent about 40 percent of all African-American and Hispanic boys living below the poverty line, have committed to expand quality preschool access; track data on black and Hispanic boys so educators can intervene as soon as signs of struggle emerge; increase the number of boys of color who take gifted, honors or Advanced Placement courses and exams; work to reduce the number of minority boys who are suspended or expelled; and increase graduation rates among African-American and Hispanic boys.
Zero-tolerance policies are destroying the lives of black children (Washington Post, July 7, 2014)President Obama wants to limit the number of students expelled every year from high schools. He believes the rates of suspensions and expulsions are racially biased, arbitrary and ineffective. “Although African-American students represent 15 percent of students in the CRDC, they make up 35 percent of students suspended once, 44 percent of those suspended more than once, and 36 percent of students expelled,” writes the Education Department. “Further, over 50 percent of students who were involved in school-related arrests or referred to law enforcement are Hispanic or African-American.” So the administration sent to educational leaders a Dear Colleague guidance letter on civil rights and discipline. To close the racial gap, he said, go easy with the zero-tolerance policies. Predictably, the ed-reform types, rending their garments and gnashing their teeth, see this is as a disastrous stripping of school autonomy.
Obama administration wants better teachers for nation’s poor schools (Washington Post, July 7, 2014)The Obama administration is ordering states to devise strategies to get better teachers into high-poverty classrooms, correcting a national imbalance in which students who need the most help are often taught by the weakest educators.
Parenting Program Aimed at Latinos Helps Boost Literacy Behaviors (Education Week, June 11, 2014)Latino parents of young children who attended a 10-session education program called Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors end up sticking with behaviors that are linked to child academic success, a new study finds. Those outcomes include parents reading to their children at home, taking them to the library, and being more mindful of how parent behavior sets an example for children.
NCLB Not So Negative for Teachers, Study Says (Education Week, June 10, 2014)The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 has not necessarily been the teacher's pet of education policies. If you follow education news, you've probably heard something about educators' dissatisfaction with the latest incarnation of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
English-Speaking Abilities of Immigrants: A Snapshot From the U.S. Census Bureau (Education Week, June 10, 2014)Forty-four percent of recent immigrants—those who have arrived in the United States since 2000—said that they speak English "very well," while 13 percent said they speak no English at all, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.
American Schools - Back to 'Separate But Equal'? (Education Week, June 6, 2014)The Supreme Court ruled in Plessy vs. Ferguson in 1896 that separate schools for minority students were constitutional as long as they provided educational services that were equal to those provided majority students. In 1954, in one of the most important cases in the Court's history, it reversed Plessy, holding instead that American schools could not be equal as long as they are segregated. Now, however, the nation's schools are nearly as segregated as they were before Brown vs. Board of Education. But there is no hue and cry about this, no broad movement to reverse course. Quite the contrary. We have instead been busy accommodating ourselves to the idea that our schools will be segregated and have been trying to make the best of it.
ELLs Test-Drive New English-Language Proficiency Assessments (Education Week, June 5, 2014)It's been a field-testing frenzy all spring with five separate assessment groups asking school districts and students to test drive the array of new exams they are designing to measure students' command of the common-core standards.
A Black Father's Search for a Diverse Preschool (Education Week, June 3, 2014)In just two years, I have visited almost two dozen preschool facilities—searching for the "right" fit for my daughters. While many of these facilities have cleverly constructed brochures, websites, and marketing materials that celebrate racial and ethnic diversity, the reality I found is that many are not really racially and ethnically diverse, in terms of students, faculty, or staff.
Graduation Gaps: Disparities in H.S. Completion (Education Week, June 2, 2014)The Education Week Research Center calculated the number of graduates and nongraduates for the class of 2012 by multiplying the 2011-12 graduation rate by the estimated size of the entering freshman class four years earlier. Nationally, about 760,000 of the 3.8 million students who started high school in 2008 failed to earn diplomas. (See related graphic: Nongraduates, Class of 2012)
Immigrant parents less likely to read to their children: study (Reuters, June 2, 2014)Minority children often lag behind their peers in language development when they start preschool. According to a new study, some of that disparity in school readiness may be due to differences in the frequency of “book sharing” among families.
Studies of STEM-Focused Schools Yield Mixed Results (Education Week, June 1, 2014)In an article published online in March by the peer-refereed Journal of Educational Research, Michael Hansen, a principal researcher at the American Institutes for Research, found that students in STEM schools in North Carolina were significantly more likely to take core, advanced, and vocational-technical STEM courses than were their peers in other types of schools. However, in Florida, STEM students participated in vocational-technical STEM courses at higher rates but were about as likely as students at other types of schools to take core and advanced STEM courses.
Community engagement is a euphemism for “how to deal with black folk” (The Hechinger Report, May 29, 2014)Local community groups, alumni associations, teachers unions, parents and non-profits may be part of the problem, but they are the undeniable part of the solution. Turnaround districts should incubate local talent to apply successfully for charter schools. In most cases, the benefits of changing the name of a school don’t outweigh the ill will. Districts can recruit teachers from a diverse pallet of prep programs. If building a positive school culture contributes to the disproportionate expulsion and suspension rates of black and brown children, use another strategy. Ensuring that parents and neighbors are represented on charter school boards heightens trust. Demand that diversity be a key performance indicator for faculty and staff hires. Work with local civil rights organizations to help conceptualize a community relations strategy. There are too many different ways to facilitate authentic community engagement.
Few At-Risk Students Are Able to Turn Around Academically, ACT Report Finds (Education Week, May 29, 2014)The report, "Catching Up to College and Career Readiness: The Challenge is Greater for At-Risk Students," showed that despite early detection of academic struggles, students seldom were able to close the gap as they progressed through school. Two previous reports by ACT in this series found that strong preschool and elementary programs contribute to student success in later years, yet students in the general population who were behind in 4th and 8th grade struggled to improve much by middle and high school.
School Spending Increases Linked to Better Outcomes for Poor Students (Education Week, May 29, 2014)In districts that substantially increased their spending as the result of court-ordered changes in school finance, low-income children were significantly more likely to graduate from high school, earn livable wages, and avoid poverty in adulthood.
Analysis Offers Insights Into Tapping Parent Power to Increase Achievement (Education Week, May 28, 2014)Built into the body of No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is an assumption that increasing parental involvement will improve student achievement. For instance, when schools consistently fall short of making what the law calls "Adequate Yearly Progress" (AYP) toward improving their test scores, they may be required to take steps like hiring a parent-involvement coordinator.
Toledo Public School programs hope to reduce ‘summer slide’  (The Blade, May 27, 2014)During the last two years, TPS has built a piecemeal summer-school system, opening its doors to community agencies that offered academic enrichment, summer activities, and food. Each year, the system has grown, as the district has moved toward something that approaches a comprehensive summer program. Read more at http://www.toledoblade.com/Education/2014/05/27/Toledo-Public-School-programs-hope-to-reduce-summer-slide.html#86D6k801KD6jX41J.99
Cyberbullying becoming a bigger problem in low income areas according to MSU study (M Live, May 21, 2014)Cyberbullying, which has come to the forefront as a major issue the last decade, is more than just a middle class issue isn't just a problem in upper and middle class America according to new research by a Michigan State University criminologist.
For Schools, Long Road to a Level Playing Field (New York Times, May 20, 2014)In the American national mythology, there are few more revered ideas than the belief in education’s power to provide every child a shot at success and to overcome entrenched inequality.
Integration: New Concepts for a New Era (Education Week, May 13, 2014)In 2007, in a ruling that would resonate nationwide, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected voluntary school desegregation plans for Louisville, Ky., and Seattle. Since then, the conventional interpretation of the decision in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District has been that the court prohibited school boards from pursuing integrated schools. I disagree. Indeed, I think this view is dangerous because it discourages schools from seeking integration, something I believe they can do legally, and should.
Hispanics Are Forgotten in Civil Rights History (Education Week, May 13, 2014)Whenever civil rights has been covered in history class, or when I've seen a documentary or read an article concerning such, I have always been very aware of what is missing, and it is something that I am interested in and looking for. As an American of Hispanic descent, I never see any information related to my ethnicity's cause for civil rights. Where is the plight of Hispanics represented in the civil rights discussion and history of the United States?
Data: Race and Ethnicity in U.S. Schools Today (Education Week, May 13, 2014)The U.S. Department of Education’s 2010 report “Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups” paints a detailed picture of where American children live, the conditions they find in their public schools, and their home lives. Based on data from the 2007-08 school year, the study offers widely divergent snapshots of the life experiences of children.
Secretary Duncan and Attorney General Holder Issue Guidance for School Districts to Ensure Equal Access for All Children to Public Schools, Regardless of Immigration Status (Ed.gov, May 8, 2014)Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder today announced updated guidance to assist public elementary and secondary schools to ensure enrollment processes are consistent with the law and fulfill their obligation to provide all children—no matter their background—equal access to an education.
What Relationships Mean in Educating Boys (Education Week, May 6, 2014)Pundits ranging from academic demographers to New York Times columnists have weighed in recently on the declining prospects for males in the developed world—a situation the journalist Hanna Rosin suggested in an article and 2012 book might herald an "End of Men."
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.
15 Strategies for Placing Excellent Teachers in High-Need Schools (Education Week, April 1, 2014)In July, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced his department’s new Excellent Educators for All initiative, which seeks to ensure that students in high-need schools have equitable access to effective teachers.
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.