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Why it’s so hard to help with your kid’s math homework

The Chicago Tribune – Jessica Lahey

“The simple answer to why math education has changed, “Common Core State Standards,” is only part of the story. Math teacher Christopher Danielson outlines the rest of the story in his book, “Common Core Math for Parents for Dummies,” and it goes something like this: Math education in America has evolved in response to concerns about our international competitiveness, first with Europe, and later, with Russia and its space program. Consequently, American math education prioritized the education of professional scientists and mathematicians who could get satellites in orbit and send men to the moon. While we were busy chasing those lofty goals, we failed to educate most students in the basic foundations of math.” (more)

What to expect when your child is held back a grade

USA Today – Amanda Kingsbury

“Grade retention. Being held back. Repeating a grade. These words strike fear into the hearts of students and parents alike. After our struggling first-grader tried occupational therapy, vision therapy, ADHD diagnostics, tutoring and medications, my husband and I reached the end of interventions.” (more)

Early-Grades Science: The First Key STEM Opportunity

Education Week – Madeline Will

“Indeed, research shows that students who are engaged in STEM by the time they are adolescents are more likely to pursue the field as adults. But elementary teachers are generalists, and few are trained to specifically teach STEM. Just 3 percent of undergraduate elementary programs require relevant coursework—or ask candidates to pass an admissions test—in biology, chemistry, and physics or physical science, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality. Sixty-six percent of the 810 programs studied don’t require coursework in any of those core subjects.” (more)

Have States Maintained High Expectations for Student Performance?

Education Next – Daniel Hamlin and Paul E. Peterson

“The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), passed into law in 2015, explicitly prohibits the federal government from creating incentives to set national standards. The law represents a major departure from recent federal initiatives, such as Race to the Top, which beginning in 2009 encouraged the adoption of uniform content standards and expectations for performance. At one point, 46 states had committed themselves to implementing Common Core standards designed to ensure consistent benchmarks for student learning across the country. But when public opinion turned against the Common Core brand, numerous states moved to revise the standards or withdraw from them.” (more)

Home Visits Proving Valuable and Growing

Education World – Jim Paterson

“Home visits by teachers may seem impractical, but more districts are undertaking them, and a new report says they build partnerships between parents and the school, change parent beliefs about the classroom and raise student performance. Anne Henderson, a senior consultant at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform who has studied the issue of family engagement for years and authored a leading book on the topic, believes that home visits are the most effective ways to make a school-family connection.” (more)

Making Sure Students Feel Connected

Edutopia – Scott Taylor

“Spend some time in a U.S. middle or high school and you’ll likely hear and see what a very recent study in Clinical Psychological Science confirmed: Adolescents are dealing with more mental health issues than ever before. Few would argue against the idea that we need to draw kids into the school community and enhance their feeling of connectedness to their peers and the adult educators with whom they interact. There are three things schools can do to achieve that:” (more)

Spending time in China is the best way for children to learn Mandarin

The South China Morning Post – Anita Shum

“There’s no better way to learn a language than to speak it, and there’s no better way to “make” you speak it than travelling to that country. To practise Mandarin, China is a preferred choice for most as it is the only official language, but you can choose other destinations such as Singapore, Taiwan and even Malaysia, where Mandarin is one of the official languages. Check beforehand whether your children will be learning simplified or traditional Chinese characters. Taiwan is the only one of the three that uses traditional characters, the others use simplified characters.” (more)

Two studies point to the power of teacher-student relationships to boost learning

The Hechinger Report – Jill Barshay

“Two studies on how best to teach elementary schools students — one on the popular trend of “platooning” and one on the far less common practice of “looping” — at first would seem totally unrelated other than the fact that they both use silly words with double-o’s. “Platooning” refers to having teachers specialize in a particular subject, such as math or English, and young students switch teachers for each class. “Looping” is a term used when kids keep the same teacher for two years in a row. They don’t switch teachers for each subject and don’t switch each year.” (more)

Summer Reading Lists Abound on the Web

Education World – Gary Hopkins

“Today, Education World surveys some of the best children’s summer reading lists on the Web. Here, you’ll find an overview of great lists that you or your school’s staff might use to create your own summer reading program. Every educator knows it. So do most parents. Summer reading is essential for kids!” (more)

Four Classroom-Ready Tips to Boost Reading Engagement and Drive Learning

Ed Surge – Malvika Bhagwat

“What leads to reading success? In my view, success with reading doesn’t follow from drill and kill practices that stifle interest and motivation. Rather, it follows from nurturing a love of reading and closing the reading engagement gap—the discrepancy between how students engage with modern digital content and how they engage with traditional texts in school.” (more)