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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Trouble can start for schoolkids after classes end

The San Francisco Chronicle – Aerin Curtis

“It’s the same story for juvenile school students. Unsupervised after-school hours can lead to a number of problems, including criminal activity.” (more)

Ofsted: too many teachers ‘accepting low-level disruption’

The Telegraph – Graeme Paton

“Ofsted warn that large numbers of pupils are being allowed to disrupt lessons by making silly comments and swinging on chairs, with few sanctions from head teachers.” (more)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Truancy rates are higher among California’s low-income students, report says

The L.A. Times – Sara Hayden

“Across California, truancy rates for students from low-income backgrounds were disproportionately higher than for their more affluent peers during the 2013-14 school year, according to a report released Thursday.” (more)

Minneapolis Superintendent Bans Suspensions for Younger Children

Education News – Grace Smith

“Minneapolis has decided that suspending children in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first-grade for non-violent behavior is the wrong approach to discipine.” (more)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Julia Steiny: We’re Crippling Our Kids with Fear

Education News – Julia Steiny

“I hate to date myself, but when we were 9 or even younger, my friends and I were off into the big bad world with only strict orders to be home when the street lights when on. Often we rode our bikes to a commercial street at least a mile away from the house.” (more)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Pupils must follow ‘five-a-day’ rule to boost mental health

The Telegraph – Graeme Paton

“The headmaster of Highgate School in London says that children need to be given more structure to their life – including a ban on computers in the bedroom – to improve their mental health.” (more)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Obesity is now so normal that parents can’t see if their child is too fat

The Conversation – Jane Ogden

“Parents need to recognize that their child is overweight, and when they do they need to manage it in a ways that does good not harm, seeking to change their behavior in ways that won’t make a bad situation worse.”

We’ve all heard those phrases that denote a certain blindness to the passage of time. “She looks as young as the day I met her” husbands say of their wives 50 years into married life, or “haven’t they grown”, people tell me of my children. How about “it wasn’t even hot” said the frog, realising too late that he had sat unawares in the pot while the water slowly crept up to boiling point.


The thing is, we don’t tend to notice change if it’s gradual. And according to a recent study from Georgia Southern University and published in Paediatrics, parents don’t recognise when their children have become obese.


Slow changes over time in anything we see every day become invisible and can be ignored – which is great for the ageing wives among us but not so helpful for frogs or children whose parents who should be taking notice so something can be done about it.


But is it just a matter of timing and what should parents do when they do eventually realise that something is wrong?


The new normal


Fat children may be invisible to their parents not only because the weight gain has been gradual but because their point of reference has changed. The term “obesity” not only means excess body weight but it also implies disease, illness, difference and a “problem”. (more)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Language Skills Can Shape Children’s Impulse Control, Research Says

Education Week – Sarah D. Sparks

“Now, research from Indiana University finds that some children with poor language skills not only have trouble communicating with others, but can also lack the “running internal monologue” that helps them control their behavior.” (more)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Is your child a candidate for stress-related substance abuse?

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


Is your wise, well-adjusted teen really drug abuse proof?


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse more than 660,000 Americans used heroin in 2012, double the number six years earlier. Most of the new heroin users are young adults, age 18-25.


Because illicit drug and alcohol use among middle and high school students has been relatively steady, the increase has gone largely unnoticed by parents with school age children. Even though there is no immediate threat to younger kids, it is probably wise for parents to take notice.


With the weak economy, there is concern that college students and recent college graduates may be turning to drugs as a cheap way to cope with employment prospects and debt.


Finding high quality employment is challenging. About 40% of the recent college graduates are unemployed, 16% have part time jobs, and many of those that do have jobs are stuck in assignments that do not require a college degree. According to a recent Gallop/Purdue University poll, about 70% of college graduates have debt. The average debt is more than $33,000, up from $18,600 in 2004. Among those who took the poll, 11% took out more than $50,000 and an additional 21% borrowed between $25,000 and $50,000.


Between job woes and loan payment stress, it is easy to understand why this age group is under pressure.


How can parents help?


It is imperative for parents understand that the job market has changed. Good jobs, regardless of the field, require outstanding math, science, communication, and critical thinking skills.


Then parents need to talk with their children about the financial realities of higher education. Higher education only makes sense when the cost, including loans, is low compared to the income generated after graduation. Otherwise, kids should pursue a trade that has good earning potential and low entry costs like plumbing, hair dressing, and real estate.


Finally parents should think critically about high cost sports and arts activities. Frequently the costs of teachers, coaches, and travel reduces the money a family can save and may force a child to accept admission to a college where the prospects of high quality employment are low.


Making sure your child has strong math and science skills, carefully selecting extra curricular activities, and evaluating the need for higher education can decrease pressure and reduce the chance your child will turn to drugs to cope with financial stress.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What’s a few days missed? Autumn absences often snowball

The Seattle Times – Claudia Rowe

“Students who frequently miss class do much worse than their peers academically. No surprise there. What’s astonishing is how early in the school year those patterns show up and, by extension, how quickly they could be addressed.” (more)