Renascence School Education News - private school

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

In our opinion: Liberal arts vs STEM education: Technology may improve, but creativity is always necessary

The Deseret News – Deseret News editorial

“As science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) garner greater attention from an international marketplace for talent, it’s increasingly difficult to see the value of a liberal arts or humanities degree in today’s hyper-digital world. Yet this is precisely the position Washington Post writer Fareed Zakaria makes in his new book, “In Defense of a Liberal Education.” Despite the direct correlation between STEM degrees and available jobs, Zakaria advocates for the future of liberal education, even when some political leaders are trying to phase it out of modern universities. North Carolina’s Gov. Patrick McCrory suggests liberal degrees should only be offered at private schools where they won’t eat up money from the state. Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott and even President Barack Obama have joined their voices with McCrory in the past, touting liberal degrees as unnecessary luxuries in a fast-paced country. However, it was the late Steve Jobs of Apple who described how vital it was for technically trained workers to understand and work in conjunction with creative thinkers. To Jobs, both sides played an equal role in creating effective, useful technology. Perhaps that’s why Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, was a psychology major with a passion for computers.”(more)

Commentary: Studying foreign language in high school helps in a globalized world

The State Journal-Register – Megan Crain

“The concept of foreign languages has always fascinated me. When I was a little kid watching “Dora the Explorer,” it was so cool to realize that “red” and “rojo” meant the same thing. I looked forward to taking a foreign language class in high school, because my junior high only offered a Spanish class with a limited number of students. When I got to high school and had to pick a foreign language class, I decided to take French. To me, the French language is one of the most beautiful languages in the world, and I couldn’t wait to learn how to speak it. That first class freshman year, I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t know if my teacher would be speaking completely in French, if I needed to have any background in the language, or how quickly I would have to learn. But we just went over classroom rules and discussed English words with French origins. While that doesn’t sound like the most interesting topic, it was kind of amazing to see what influence French had on other languages.”(more)

Parents of Successful Kids Have These 7 Things in Common

Entrepreneur – Drake Baer

“Anybody who has kids — or hopes to — wants them to stay out of trouble, do well in school, and go on to do awesome things in the professional world. While there isn’t a set recipe for raising successful children, psychology research has pointed to a handful of factors that predict success. They are: .”(more)

California celebrates multilingual students

The Sacramento Bee – Marissa Lang

“Speaking Spanish doesn’t make high school senior Karla Garza Plascencia feel different. It doesn’t make her feel like an outsider in a school where English dominates, or like a foreigner in a state where – just 16 years ago – more than 60 percent of voters supported a measure that gutted the state’s bilingual education programs. It gives her a sense of community, said Plascencia, who earned top scores on her Advanced Placement English and Spanish exams. It makes her feel more confident about her future. Plascencia, 17, of Foothill High School was among hundreds of students who received certificates Monday night acknowledging their achievement of the State Seal of Biliteracy, a state program that recognizes high school seniors who have achieved a “high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing one or more languages in addition to English,” according to the California Department of Education.”(more)

Making the Shift from Raising Awareness to Raising Healthy Kids

The Huffington Post – David Satcher, MD, PhD

“Our healthcare system is criticized for a greater focus on treating versus preventing disease and for not always supporting behavioral changes that lead to positive health outcomes. But many diseases, such as type II diabetes, heart disease, overweight and obesity, are complex societal issues, which many facets of society, and not just the healthcare system, play a role in preventing. Furthermore, just as the problems that have led to poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and overweight among our youth are multifaceted, so too are the solutions. This week, schools around the country celebrate Every Kid Healthy Week, a moment during the school year to celebrate their health and wellness accomplishments achieved through nutrition and physical activity initiatives. We have come a long way since 2001 when I was Surgeon General and we issued a call to action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity. The growing epidemic required a seismic shift in thinking about how to prevent childhood obesity, keep children from becoming overweight adults and teach lifelong habits necessary to promote health.”(more)

Schools And Parents Disagree Over Serving Breakfast In Classrooms

The Huffington Post – Christine Armario

“The number of breakfasts served in the nation’s schools has doubled in the last two decades, a surge driven largely by a change in how districts deliver the food. Instead of providing low-income students free or reduced-price meals in the cafeteria, they’re increasingly serving all children in the classroom. Food policy advocates say the change increases equity, however, it’s fueled a backlash from parents and teachers. They contend that it takes up class time that should be devoted to learning and wastes food by serving it to kids who don’t want or need it. Lilian Ramos, a mother of two elementary school children in a working-class Los Angeles neighborhood, said she takes offense at the district’s assumption that she hasn’t fed her children: She serves them a traditional Mexican breakfast each day.”(more)

On The High School Diploma: A ‘Bilingual’ Stamp Of Approval?

NPR – Jasmine Garsd

“In the 1920s, Aurora Orozco crossed over from Mexico to Texas — a child of African descent who spoke not a word of English. She was an uneasy transplant. Many years later, in an essay published in 1999, she recalled attitudes towards students who were caught speaking Spanish in school: “My teacher, Mrs. White, would make me stay after class. With a red rubber band, she would hit my poor hands until they nearly bled.” Today’s students don’t have it so bad. Texas recently started offering a “State Seal of Biliteracy.” It recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in one or more languages in addition to English. Several states now offer these seals. Indiana passed a bill last week that would make that state the ninth to do so. Eight other states are considering joining the list.”(more)

These students are using PBL to define their own learning

E-School News – Ashleigh Schultz

“If you’re doing it right, most project-based learning will hit every area of the curriculum, whether it’s social studies, math, reading, or even technology. Any part of the curriculum can shine whenever kids are taking a hands-on approach to learning, because they’re not just sitting at a desk listening to you preach it. They’re the ones doing it themselves, which means they’re kind of assuming that role of the teacher. For much of my 13 years as an educator, I was in a traditional classroom. But for the past two years I’ve really started to incorporate PBL into my fourth- and fifth-grade gifted students. I teach an enrichment class one day a week, where we accelerate and enhance the curriculum. When I was a regular ed teacher it was a little harder, because you have the mandate of the curriculum. But being the gifted teacher allows me to have project-based learning for pretty much everything I do. The kids really get to take control, and dive deep into these projects, which can last up to an entire semester.”(more)

Charter Schools and Backfill: The Debate We’re Not Having

Education Next – Robert Pondiscio

“A new report by a Harlem-based parent advocacy group calls on New York City charter schools to reduce their long waiting lists by “backfilling,” or admitting new students whenever current ones leave. The report from Democracy Builders estimates that there are 2,500 empty seats in New York City charter schools this year as a result of students leaving and not being replaced the following year. It’s a deeply divisive issue within the charter sector. When transient students (those most likely to be low-performing) leave charter schools and are not replaced, it potentially makes some charters look good on paper through attrition and simple math: Strugglers leave, high performers stay, and the ratio of proficient students rises, creating an illusion of excellence that is not fully deserved. Charters should not be rewarded, the backfillers argue, merely for culling their rolls of the hardest to teach or taking advantage of natural attrition patterns. Fair enough, although there’s a distasteful, internecine-warfare quality to all of this: Charters that backfill resent the praise and glory heaped upon those who do not, and seek to cut them down to size. Traditional schools hate them both.”(more)

The forest school revolution: leaves, logs and life skills

The Guardian – Lucy Ward

“Grey clouds are looming above Chrishall Holy Trinity and St Nicholas CE primary school in the rural north-west corner of Essex, but a row of bright wellies are lined up ready for action outside the reception classroom. Inside, class “praying mantis” are sitting in fleeces and overtrousers, writing and drawing preferred activities on mini-whiteboards for their weekly morning in the forest. A clutch of girls have joined forces to portray a den, buckets for mud-carrying and stick figures of themselves, while Louis – bundled in many layers – has drawn “a massive secret hideout”. Each student in turn describes their plan to Liz Bicknell, a veteran outdoor learning specialist who – accompanied by her small white dog Fluff – co-ordinates the forest school here. A falling tree might not be audible in an empty forest, but it’s a safe bet that Mrs B would be: her cheerfully commanding tones are just the thing for guiding four- and five-year-olds in the great outdoors.”(more)