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
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.
Harvard, SurveyMonkey Offer Tool to Weigh Parent Engagement (Education Week, January 15, 2013)A new survey tool that school districts and parent-teacher organizations can use to measure the quality of parent-school relationships has been created by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and released by SurveyMonkey, a Palo Alto, Calif., company, for widespread use by schools, districts, and parent groups.
Future High School Graduation Classes Will Be More Diverse  (Education Week, January 14, 2013)A new report projects that, by the 2019-20 school year, 45 percent of public high school graduates in the United States will be nonwhite, up by more than 7 percent over the class of 2009 and driven by a rapid increase in the number of Hispanics completing high school.
How to Create a Boy-Friendly School (Education Week, January 7, 2013)He is sitting in your classroom, in your school, in your district. As every day goes by, more boys are disengaging, becoming apathetic. Boys are at risk. The statistics bear it out and, despite a decade of talking about it, the trend continues downward. Parents are wringing their hands and teachers are frustrated. It's time we ask the question: Why isn't school a better fit for so many of our boys?
Texting In The Classroom: 3 Tools To Do It Right (Edudemic, January 1, 2013)Whether you teacher teenagers or five-year-olds, keeping in touch with students and/or their parents is often on a teacher’s to-do list. Gone are the days of sending home hand-written and photocopied notes to parents, this is 2013. So how do important messages get passed along these days? In “real” life (read: non-school life), most people are sending text messages to pass along their most important (and unimportant!) messages to those who need to know.
U.S. Math, Science Achievement Exceeds World Average (Education Week, December 11, 2012)The math and science achievement of U.S. students continues to surpass the global average for nations taking part in a prominent assessment, results issued Tuesday show, but several East Asian countries and jurisdictions far outpace the United States, especially in mathematics.
English-Learners and NCLB Waivers: A Guide for States and Districts (Education Week, December 10, 2012)As 34 states move ahead with the plans that granted them U.S. Department of Education waivers from parts of the No Child Left Behind law, a team of researchers at the American Institutes for Research have been developing guides to help states and districts keep the promises they made to win the flexibility.
A New Framework: Improving Family Engagement (Ed.gov, December 7, 2012)For many, it’s just common sense. The more a student’s family is engaged in their child’s learning and in the improvement of their child’s school, the better off the student and the school. On Wednesday, Secretary Duncan joined more than 80 family engagement thought leaders at DC’s Scholars Stanton Elementary School to discuss the strong correlation between family engagement and academic outcomes, and how the Department of Education can provide more support.
NAEP Data on Vocabulary Achievement Show Same Gaps (Education Week, December 6, 2012)A new analysis of federal data that provide a deeper and more systematic look into students’ ability to understand the meaning of words in context than was previously available from “the nation’s report card” finds stark achievement gaps in vocabulary across racial and ethnic groups, as well as income levels.
'Soft Skills' Pushed as Part of College Readiness  (Education Week, November 13, 2012)To make it in college, students need to be up for the academic rigor. But that's not all. They also must be able to manage their own time, get along with roommates, and deal with setbacks. Resiliency and grit, along with the ability to communicate and advocate, are all crucial life skills. Yet, experts say, many teenagers lack them, and that's hurting college-completion rates.
Research Traces Impacts of Childhood Adversity (Education Week, November 6, 2012)While educators and psychologists have said for decades that the effects of poverty interfere with students' academic achievement, new evidence from cognitive and neuroscience is showing exactly how adversity in childhood damages students' long-term learning and health.
Funders Set New Round of Support for STEM Teachers (Education Week, November 2, 2012)A national network is launching a second “innovation fund” with a goal of raising $20 million to support what it calls entrepreneurial approaches to bringing more high-quality teachers into the STEM disciplines.
At S.C. School, Behavior Is One of the Basics (Education Week, October 25, 2012)Along with reading, science, and mathematics classes, every student here at Haut Gap Middle School takes a course in how to be a Haut Gap student.
From STEM to ST2REAM (Education Week, October 24, 2012)Countless millennia before the acronym STEM—for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—entered our modern lexicon, early man was already engaged in STEM endeavors. Our ancestors spent significant portions of their days experimenting, tinkering, and thinking their way through myriad problems and challenges. During those prehistoric periods, the dreamers, the designers, and the builders identified the urgent problems, and subsequently crafted tools, crude instruments, and strategies to resolve them, working collaboratively for both survival and human progress.
First Focus releases America’s Report Card on child well-being (America's Promise Alliance, October 18, 2012)America earned a lackluster C- grade on child well-being, according to a national report card released by First Focus and Save the Children. Artist Ambassador for Save the Children Jennifer Garner joined Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn., retired) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) to announce the findings of America’s Report Card 2012: Children in the U.S.. Commissioned by Sen. Dodd and Sen. Casey, the report card provides a holistic picture of unmet needs in five areas of a child’s life: economic security, early childhood education, K-12 education, permanence and stability, and health and safety.
Rethinking the Classroom: Obama’s overhaul of public education (Washington Post, September 20, 2012)In 31 / 2 years in office, President Obama has set in motion a broad overhaul of public education from kindergarten through high school, largely bypassing Congress and inducing states to adopt landmark changes that none of his predecessors attempted.
Low Proficiency Seen on Computer-Based NAEP Writing Exam (Education Week, September 19, 2012)After decades of paper-and-pencil tests, the new results from the "nation's report card" in writing come from a computer-based assessment for the first time, but only about one-quarter of the 8th and 12th graders performed at the proficient level or higher. And the proficiency rates were far lower for black and Hispanic students.
Global Study Finds U.S. Trailing in Early-Childhood Education (Education Week, September 19, 2012)The United States lags behind most of the world's leading economies when it comes to providing early-childhood-education opportunities, despite improvements in recent years, a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shows.
New Studies Dissect School Turnarounds (Education Week, September 19, 2012)What makes one low-performing school turn around and build momentum over time, while another, seemingly similar school tries the same strategies but continues to struggle? It's not just particular programs or practices, but the interplay of school implementation with district policies and support, according to the Institute of Education Sciences' Turning Around Low-Performing Schools project —the most comprehensive federal research on such schools to date.
NSF Awards Grants for Climate-Change Education (Education Week, August 28, 2012)Efforts to advance climate-change education in schools and communities are getting a boost from a new set of six grants awarded by the National Science Foundation, totaling more than $33 million over five years. The federal aid will support a number of initiatives, including a joint project in Delaware and Maryland to help schools deliver effective and regionally relevant instruction in grades 8-12, and work led by the New England Aquarium to enhance opportunities for climate-change education in zoos, aquariums, and other out-of-school settings.
Starving the Future (The New York Times, August 25, 2012)America is in trouble. Emerging economic powers China and India are heavily investing in educating the world’s future workers while we squabble about punishing teachers and coddling children
AP Interview: Duncan on reform and back to school (AP Education Writers, August 6, 2012)A more well-rounded curriculum with less focus on a single test. Higher academic standards and more difficult classwork. Continued cuts to extracurricular and other activities because of the tough economy. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says those are some of the changes and challenges that children could notice as they start the new school year.
Buttoned Up: Help child organize for academic success (NewsTribune, August 6, 2012)Ensuring your students' academic success depends a lot on how organized and ready they are. To help your child this school year, make sure you work together to become organized. With school just around the corner, this is a great time to develop a plan.
Are 'No Pass, No Drive' Laws An Effective Answer To America's Dropout Epidemic? (Forbes, August 1, 2012)In 1988 West Virginia passed a law aimed at keeping high school students in school by tying their driving privileges to attendance. The following year the state reported that its high school dropout rate decreased by one-third. After the new policy’s success, others states followed suit with their own sanctions: Tennessee in 1990, Kentucky in 1991, Alabama in 1993.
Engaging Families: Supporting Students From Cradle to Career (U.S. Department of Education, August 1, 2012)The Office of Communications and Outreach family engagement specialists work with state and local education agencies to empower parents with the information and training they need to be full partners in the education and the academic progress of their children. Serving as an information conduit, the team recognizes that parents need to be equipped with the tools necessary to make them informed partners and equal stakeholders.
Jennifer Garner: 'Kids are hungry to learn' (Charleston Daily Mail, July 31, 2012)Jennifer Garner, an award-winning actress and mother of three small children, does not have much extra time. So, the fact that she chooses to serve as an advocate for Save the Children speaks volumes about what the organization means to her. "I travel to D.C. a lot to do advocate work," said Garner, who for three years has held the position of artist ambassador with Save the Children's U.S. programs.
Education secretary urges balanced budget cuts (Associated Press, July 26, 2012)Services would have to be slashed for more than 1.8 million disadvantaged students and thousands of teachers and aides would lose their jobs when automatic budget cuts kick in, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday. He urged Congress to find an alternative deficit-reduction plan that won't undermine the department's ability to serve students in high-poverty schools and improve schools with high dropout rates.
More states and D.C. receive NCLB waivers; Vermont, Alabama, Nebraska reject them (CNN, July 24, 2012)The White House announced on Thursday that it would grant seven additional waivers from restrictive provisions of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. will receive the newest flexibility waivers, according to a U.S. Department of Education press release. To date, 32 states and D.C. have received waivers.
Enrollment Off in Big Districts, Forcing Layoffs (New York Times, July 23, 2012)Enrollment in nearly half of the nation’s largest school districts has dropped steadily over the last five years, triggering school closings that have destabilized neighborhoods, caused layoffs of essential staff and concerns in many cities that the students who remain are some of the neediest and most difficult to educate.
Girls in science: Gender gaps still persist in STEM subjects (Education Week, June 27, 2012)Evidence abounds that women have made huge inroads in the academic and professional spheres since the federal Title IX law on gender equity in education was enacted 40 years ago. More than half those graduating from college each year are women. The percentage of law degrees earned by females climbed from 7 percent in 1972 to about 47 percent in 2011. Likewise, far more women are earning advanced degrees in business and medicine.
Becoming a 21st-century elementary principal (SmartBlog on Education, June 27, 2012)It seems as though being a principal has really changed. I don’t have much experience in the role compared with others — I have been an elementary principal for six years. However, day by day, it seems to be evolving into something different, which is good, because principals lead buildings that have a reputation for being caught up in the past.
Report Released on Single-Sex Education (Feminist Majority Foundation, June 26, 2012)The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) announced the release of a multi-year study (2007-10) of single-sex education in U.S. K-12 public schools today. This study reveals that after the Bush Department of Education weakened previous Title IX restrictions on sex segregated education in K-12 public schools in 2006, over 1,000 public schools sex segregated at least some of their classes.
StudentsFirst Spending: National Education Reform Group's Partial Tax Records Released (Reuters, June 25, 2012)The national education reform group StudentsFirst, which has set out to transform U.S. schools by introducing more free-market principles to public education, raised $7.6 million in its first nine months - and spent nearly a quarter of it on advertising - according to partial tax records released on Monday.
Testing Group Wrestles With 'College Readiness' Meaning (Education Week, June 22, 2012)The unprecedented work to design assessment systems for the Common Core State Standards is bringing together K-12 and higher education in new ways. But it is also forcing new and sometimes uncomfortable discussions about the heart and soul of the enterprise: the meaning of college readiness.
Common Standards Released for Career and Technical Education (Education Week, June 19, 2012)You've heard tons about the common standards in mathematics and English/language arts that have been adopted by all but four states. You've heard, also, about the science frameworks that are intended to support shared standards in that subject. Now there are common standards in career and technical education.
New venture connects US teachers online (Associated Press, June 19, 2012)Discussing education reform at Stanford University last year, the leader of one of the nation's largest teacher unions decided to turn the tables and ask a question of the audience. "You're all technology people," said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. "Could you actually help us?" Weingarten said she received one call -- from Louise Rogers, chief executive of TSL Education, a United Kingdom-based company that operates an online network that lets teachers around the globe access, review and discuss lesson plans and other learning materials.
Evidence Persists of STEM Achievement Gap for Girls (Education Week, June 11, 2012)With the 40th anniversary of Title IX just days away, one key area where questions about gender equity persist is STEM education and the under-representation of women in those professions.
Black and White Women Far From Equal Under Title IX (New York Times, June 10, 2012)Last week, 20 African-American women with various connections to athletics met in Harlem at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. This was a private event — no stage, no audience — but a gathering of accomplished, like-minded women who had come to tackle the vexing issues of gender and race. The topic was “What’s Not Being Said About the Title IX Anniversary.”
Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment on Our Nation's School Buses (U.S. Department of Education, June 8, 2012)The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students and the Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center partnered with the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) to coordinate a special event on Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment on Our Nation’s School Buses. The purpose of the event was to bring together national and state leaders, representatives of key education organizations, and other federal agencies who want to improve working conditions for our nation’s school bus drivers, create a safe a respectful environment on our schools buses, and create confidence and partnerships in school with administrators, teachers, parents, students and community members.
Reviving Teaching With 'Professional Capital' (Education Week, June 6, 2012)The results of the latest MetLife Survey of the American Teacher confirm what many of us are experiencing and seeing in the depressing descent of the teaching profession. In the past two years, the percentage of teachers surveyed who reported being very satisfied in their jobs has declined sharply, from 59 percent to 44 percent. The number who indicated they were thinking of leaving the profession has jumped from 17 percent to 29 percent. Imagine being a student knowing that every other teacher you encounter is becoming less and less satisfied, and close to one in three would rather be somewhere else.
How summer increases the achievement gap (Hechinger Ed, May 24, 2012)As I was visiting a school in Delaware last month, an elementary school principal ushered me over to his computer to show me a graph that distressed him. It traced how one of his students, who came from a poor family, had progressed over the course of two years.
Dear Data, Please Make Yourself More Useful (Education Week, May 22, 2012)As surely as the trees bud in spring, night turns to day, and the Kardashians provide grist for the tabloids, another education practice—the use of education data—is turning ugly. Factions are setting up camp at two extremes: one for those who believe data is the Holy Grail, and the other for those who shun it.
Making Schools Work (New York Times, May 19, 2012)A generation later, public schools that had been ordered to integrate in the 1960s and 1970s became segregated once again, this time with the blessing of a new generation of justices. And five years ago, a splintered court delivered the coup de grâce when it decreed that a school district couldn’t voluntarily opt for the most modest kind of integration — giving parents a choice of which school their children would attend and treating race as a tiebreaker in deciding which children would go to the most popular schools. In the perverse logic of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., this amounted to “discriminating among individual students based on race.” That’s bad history, which, as Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote in an impassioned dissent, “threaten[s] the promise of Brown.”
Census: Minority babies are now majority in United States (Washington Post, May 17, 2012)For the first time in U.S. history, most of the nation’s babies are members of minority groups, according to new census figures that signal the dawn of an era in which whites no longer will be in the majority.
8th Grade Scores Inch Upward on National Science Assessment  (Education Week, May 15, 2012)Fewer than one-third of American 8th graders are proficient in science, but most students are improving, and achievement gaps are closing between students who are black or Hispanic and their white peers, a special administration of the test known as "the nation's report card" shows.
(Education Week, May 15, 2012)Fewer than one-third of American 8th graders are proficient in science, but most students are improving, and achievement gaps are closing between students who are black or Hispanic and their white peers, a special administration of the test known as "the nation's report card" shows.
Math Teaching Often Doesn't Fit With New Standards (Education Week, May 9, 2012)Many mathematics teachers are teaching topics at higher or lower grade levels—and for more years—than the Common Core State Standards recommend, according to preliminary results from new research.
Scholars Say Pupils Gain Social Skills in Coed Classes (Education Week, May 7, 2012)Preschool teacher Jacque Radke started the school year at Kenilworth Elementary in Phoenix with a pretty typical bunch of 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds. Some of the girls had started to form cliques and “no boys allowed” lunch tables, while Ms. Radke and her instructional assistant worried that one quiet little girl was getting shunted to the sidelines by the boys.
Teach black and Hispanic students differently (USA Today, May 1, 2012)In late March, a panel of 10 education experts gathered in Washington to nominate four most-improved urban school districts for a national education prize. What should have been a routine review of student data, however, suddenly took a new direction.
Family Engagement: A Driving Force Behind School Turnaround Efforts (Education Week, April 19, 2012)A 2010 study examining school improvement work in Chicago's lowest performing public schools found that success depends on five necessary ingredients. Not surprisingly, family engagement is one of them. Like baking a cake, researchers found that if even one ingredient was not in place, there was no recipe for success. We know this to be true, yet we fail to see family engagement made a priority in many reform movements.