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‘Not a Math Person’: How to Remove Obstacles to Learning Math

KQED News Mind/Shift – Katrina Schwartz

“Stanford math education professor Jo Boaler spends a lot of time worrying about how math education in the United States traumatizes kids. Recently, a colleague’s 7-year-old came home from school and announced he didn’t like math anymore. His mom asked why and he said, “math is too much answering and not enough learning.” This story demonstrates how clearly kids understand that unlike their other courses, math is a performative subject, where their job is to come up with answers quickly. Boaler says that if this approach doesn’t change, the U.S. will always have weak math education. “There’s a widespread myth that some people are math people and some people are not,” Boaler told a group of parents and educators gathered at the 2015 Innovative Learning Conference. “But it turns out there’s no such thing as a math brain.” Unfortunately, many parents, teachers and students believe this myth and it holds them up every day in their math learning.”(more)

Desert Sands: School begins at home

The Desert Sun – Mary Perry

““By the time a child enters kindergarten, his or her brain is already very largely developed. Studies show that the vast majority of children who are behind in kindergarten will never catch up,” according to Conway Collis, a commissioner with First 5 of California. The Early Childhood Education (ECE) program of Desert Sands Unified School District supports the work of First 5 California and operates 11 preschool programs at various locations, including elementary schools and city-sponsored sites. This year, a special preschool program was introduced called Home Base Program. Currently a maximum of 12 students participate in this program which takes place in the child’s own home. The program is developed and funded by Riverside County Office of Education for the Office of Head Start. Lorena Fernandez serves as teacher of this program. A certificated teacher, Fernandez is a graduate of Cal State San Bernardino with a double major in psychology and human development with an emphasis in child development. She holds a teacher permit issued by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing and has six years of early childhood teaching experience in both the United States and Japan. Each week, Fernandez spends 90 minutes in the home of a participating family where she and the parents set goals for the children.”(more)

Jobs of the future require science, tech, engineering and math skills: Leslie Jacobs

The New Orleans Times Picayune – Leslie Jacobs

“The greater New Orleans region is home to some of the nation’s most improved educational systems. Our teachers take pride in preparing today’s students to become tomorrow’s leaders and excel in an ever-evolving professional landscape. However, students continue to struggle as they transition from school to the world of work, especially into the highly technical jobs of today and tomorrow. We have a unique window of opportunity to deliver on the promise of education: to help our students elevate themselves out of poverty and excel in an increasingly competitive and technological world, as well as to advance regional economic growth. Students must be supported in leveraging their academic gains into economic opportunity, and it starts within our community. Over the next 10 years, our region is projected to have more than 60,000 job openings, due to both expansion and an aging workforce, in industries such as energy, advanced manufacturing, information technology, healthcare, biosciences, digital media and international trade. The common denominator of these industries and jobs is science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, which also contributes to the industries’ strong wages and great potential for advancement. For example, the oil and gas industry employs skilled laborers with high-wage jobs in refinery operations, electrical and maintenance activities, pipeline operations and many more.”(more)

Utah lawmakers eyeing early childhood education

The Deseret News – Morgan Jacobsen

“Lawmakers and education leaders are setting their sights on new funding and policies for early childhood education as they prepare for the 2016 legislative session. Adding to two bills that propose expanding full-day kindergarten, the Utah Legislature is considering a proposal for funding to extend more preschool options to disadvantaged students. Both initiatives are part of a focus state and education leaders hope will lead to better readers and more school-ready children among low-income families, minorities and other at-risk populations. “If we get high-quality (early childhood education) to these kiddos, that is huge for them. It changes their lives,” said Nannette Barnes, assistant director of preschool services at the Granite School District.”(more)

How schools would be judged under ‘Every Student Succeeds,’ the new No Child Left Behind

The Washington Post – Emma Brown

“Federal lawmakers on Monday released the final text of a compromise bill to rewrite No Child Left Behind, including closely watched language outlining how the nation’s K-12 schools would be judged — and how struggling schools would be improved — if the legislation passes. The bill, dubbed the Every Student Succeeds Act, would largely shift authority from the federal government to states and districts, giving local officials far more power to define what it means for a school to be successful and to decide how and when to intervene in schools that persistently fail to live up to expectations. It attempts to thread the needle between conservatives who want to shrink the federal government’s footprint in education and civil rights advocates who worry that some states, left to their own devices, will obfuscate or ignore the poor performance of schools serving low-income and minority students.”(more)