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How parents can prevent kids from backsliding academically this summer

The Star – Meghan Leahy

“What are your thoughts for keeping children fresh/up on things so the transition back to school isn’t too tough? My child is going into Grade 4 and we have lots of fun all summer, then returning to school is beyond difficult and it takes him three months to get back into the routine and remember he has to do work. Is there a little work we should do this summer? While still enjoying the summer, of course. When I read this question, I knew that there would be more than one parent having the same concern, especially coming at the end of the academic year. A couple of years back, one of my children switched schools for second grade. It soon became clear that my daughter, who was good at school and liked it, was a full year behind in math. She and I were shocked and disheartened. What were we going to do? Homework was an impossible task as the numbers swam in front of her eyes. Every night, she sat with her head in her hands and cried. I looked on, powerless. The school swung into action, giving her intense help with a specialist a couple of days a week. The math skills came fairly quickly; the confidence took longer. My daughter felt pretty insecure for a long time. But between math games and reassuring smiles from the specialist, my daughter fully caught up in both skills and confidence.”(more)

New coalition seeks answers to state’s early education woes

The L.A. School Report – Craig Clough

“Despite a state budget flush with extra billions for education, Gov. Jerry Brown is receiving criticism from some early education advocates for a “strikingly minimal” approach to early education funding. In response to the growing body of evidence of the importance of preschool, a coalition of academics, lawmakers, community leaders and business leaders has created the Right Start Commission, whose goal is to help California find a blueprint for providing universal early education to the state’s youth. The commission, formed by the non-profit Common Sense Kids Action, includes Stanford University Professor Linda Darling-Hammond, Apple Vice President of Environmental Initiatives Lisa Jackson, retired Congressman George Miller and Common Sense Media founder and CEO Jim Steyer.”(more)

Dale Dougherty, Father of the Maker Movement Talks About Breaking Rules, Erasers & Building a Learning Culture

Ed Surge – Betsy Corcoran

” I met Dale Dougherty back in 2008 when I put the “Do It Yourself” trend on the cover of Forbes magazine. Back then, I called him and his long-time business partner, Tim O’Reilly, the “Tom Paines” of this new trend because they had started the quarterly publication, Make Magazine in 2005. Now, a decade into the Maker movement, Dougherty is earned an upgrade: He’s become the George Washington of the Maker movement, the leading figure in evangelizing a world in which we learn by doing. Recently, I caught up with Dale to get his reflections on makers, the movement and yes, cutting in line.”(more)

Students need more STEM opportunities (Guest View)

The Globe Gazette – Paul Gibbins

“As a career educator who has spent most of my occupation teaching, I’ve seen how science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) benefit students of all ages. I’ve helped educators develop curricula that helped students prepare to be successful STEM majors when they went to college. I’ve also seen my own children develop an interest and understanding in STEM through coaching their FIRST LEGO League team, which has qualified for state the past two years. After these experiences and others, working with the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council is a natural fit for me. The STEM Council began in 2011 through a leadership mandate to raise awareness and interest in STEM education across the state and help keep our students competitive with peers around the world. To ensure students in every corner of Iowa are receiving a quality STEM education, the STEM Council created six STEM regions, each with a designated manager. As the new regional manager for the North Central STEM Region, I serve as a connector. While I’m based at Iowa State University’s Extension and Outreach, my job is to work with community partners, business and industry leaders, economic development, higher education and K-12 education across the region to create more opportunities for all students.”(more)

Is STEM taking root?

Crain’s Detroit Business – Gary Anglebrandt

“Michigan has gotten the hint: Employers need STEM-trained workers. Efforts have been made to plug the gap by lots of stakeholders — high schools, community colleges, employer groups, nonprofits, workforce agencies, foundations and businesses. Yet the need for specific kinds of workers still exists. “The issue has been out there long enough for people to have an understanding of it,” said Gary Farina, executive director of the Michigan STEM Partnership in Lansing. “It’s on their radar, and they’re out there seeing what they can do.” And there is a lot to do, judging by recent studies. Much of the growing need is for middle-skill workers — those with more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree, such as largely technical jobs in manufacturing and health care, said a J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. report published in April. It’s one of the most recent of many studies showing the need to educate more students in science, technology, engineering and math. The Chase report focused on the six-county metropolitan statistical area of Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair and Wayne counties.”(more)