Renascence School Education News - private school

Monday, March 30, 2015

United Way: Investment in early childhood education pays big dividends throughout a child’s life

The Lawrence Journal World – Micki Chestnut

“When the teachers at the Ballard Center tell their 1- to 5-year-old students to “catch a bubble,” they aren’t urging the kids to scramble after soap bubbles floating in the air. They are instructing them to sit quietly and listen. Like most schools, Ballard has unique vocabulary and procedures for its students. But when you are a parent who is not privy to the lingo or the expectations set for your child, you can feel like an outsider, making it difficult for you to connect with the school and provide your child with the support he or she needs to continue learning at home. Enter Shawn Hough, Ballard’s family connections coordinator, a position funded by the United Way of Douglas County to engage Ballard parents in their children’s early education experience. Hough’s mission is to ensure the children’s transition between school and home is seamless, so they have the family support they need to succeed throughout their educational career.”(more)

Opinion: In defense of school choice and market-based education reforms

The Atlanta Journal Constitution – Maureen Downey

“Gov. Nathan Deal is under much fire for wanting to bring parent-driven reforms to Georgia with his plan to launch a recovery school model to the state, similar to what is found in New Orleans. His proposal would allow the state to take over consistently failing schools and enable private management companies to open charter schools in failing neighborhoods. Skeptics say this follows in the footsteps of Milton Friedman’s greatest influence in South America – Chile– where reforms of the past 30 years have radically reformed and improved public education. Two scholars who blogged for the AJC on the Chilean miracle seem to have repeated the mantra of the current Chilean Administration and left out key data points that a state like Georgia could only hope to achieve with a recovery district. In fact, it is going to take a much greater infusion of parent choice and private sector influence – meaning competition from private schools, not just a few recovery school experiments – for Georgia’s public schools to be even more motivated to improve. We would like to see Deal take a bolder step and embrace vouchers for all children just as leaders did in Chile and watch beautiful changes unfold for children.”(more)

The Gender Gap in Reading

Education Next – Tom Loveless

“This week marks the release of the 2015 Brown Center Report on American Education, the fourteenth issue of the series. One of the three studies in the report, “Girls, Boys, and Reading,” examines the gender gap in reading. Girls consistently outscore boys on reading assessments. They have for a long time. A 1942 study in Iowa discovered that girls were superior to boys on tests of reading comprehension, vocabulary, and basic language skills. [i] Girls have outscored boys on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading assessments since the first NAEP was administered in 1971. I hope you’ll read the full study—and the other studies in the report—but allow me to summarize the main findings of the gender gap study here.”(more)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Lessons from Spain: Five reasons to learn a foreign language

The Delphic Times – SHAEFFER SMITH

“It’s been a long, challenging 14 years learning Spanish. I’ve grown from proudly counting to 10 to living and learning in a country that only speaks Spanish. I’ve had my ups and downs in my career, struggling with conjugations and translations that just didn’t turn out quite right, but now I am studying in Salamanca, Spain, working everyday to improve. I am so grateful to be immersed in Spanish, challenging myself everyday, and I think that everyone should be doing the same. Learning another language has a ton of advantages, both personally and professionally, but these are my top five reasons why you should learn another language:.”(more)

Young Girls Are Much, Much Better Readers Than Boys, And Have Been For A Long Time

The Huffington Post – Rebecca Klein

“The gap between boys’ and girls’ respective reading abilities has been getting a lot of attention lately, but the trend itself is not new. Girls have been better readers than boys for a long, long time, according to a report released Tuesday by the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution. The annual report analyzes three topics in contemporary education through the lens of up-to-date research. This year, the report looked at the effectiveness of the Common Core state standards, the relationship between student engagement and academic achievement, and the gender gap in reading. Below are three key insights into gender gaps the report provided:.”(more)

Stretching One Great Teacher Across Many Classrooms

NPR – Blake Farmer

“A stack of research suggests that all the classroom technology in the world can’t compare to the power of a great teacher. And, since we haven’t yet figured out how to clone our best teachers, a few schools around the country are trying something like it: Stretching them across multiple classrooms. “We’ll probably never fill up every single classroom with one of those teachers,” says Bryan Hassel, founder of Charlotte-based education consulting firm Public Impact. But, he says, it’s important to ask: “How can we change the way schools work so that the great teachers we do have can reach more of the students, maybe even all of them?” Public Impact is working with schools in Tennessee, North Carolina and New York to build what it calls an “opportunity culture” for teachers. It’s part of a broader turnaround strategy at schools like Bailey Middle Prep in Nashville.”(more)

Entrepreneurs Are Changing The Future Of Education By Starting New Schools In New Orleans

Forbes – Adriana Lopez

“For the past four years, Matt Candler has obsessed over students, families and teachers, despite the existing, outdated school system around them. Finally with 44 education startups under his belt, he’s starting to see the future of schools change in ways he had only imagined with 4.0 Schools, a non-profit incubator for education-based startups. “4.0 Schools exists because there are no places to innovate schools and education in The United States,” said Candler, 4.0’s Founder and CEO. “But, we are not an accelerator for startups. We are a community of people re-imagining the future of schools.” In 2010, 4.0 Schools was founded in New Orleans on the belief that schools could be made dramatically better. However, outdated systems and the hierarchy that surrounds education creates inefficiencies that make any kind of change nearly impossible. 4.0 Schools equips people with the resources needed to create those changes, using an entrepreneurial mindset. The goal is to create startups or even new school concepts that can help shape the future of schools.”(more)

Front Row Education Is Changing The Way Math Is Taught In U.S. Elementary And Middle Schools

Forbes – Alexander Taub

“In 2013, Sidharth Kakkar and Alexandr Kurilin had the opportunity to watch children learning math in an inner-city Baltimore school. For a month, they attended to school every day and worked with students. At night, they programmed to make an application that could help the students learn. In September they launched their company, Front Row Education, with 3 teachers. Today there are over 80,000 teachers & 1.1 million students using Front Row across 19,000 US schools. Front Row develops a math program for students and teachers in Kindergarten through eighth grade classrooms. For students, Front Row personalizes practice and lets them work on math problems at their own pace. For example, in a third grade, students learn multiplication. But in every classroom, there are some students who are substantially ahead of their peers: they’re already great at multiplication, and are ready for exponents. On the other hand, there are students trail their peers: their previous teachers were weak and so they lacked a foundation for math. As a result, they still haven’t mastered basic addition. In fact, for most classrooms, 80% or more students fall into one of those two categories.”(more)

Common Core fact check: A primer on myths and reality

The Mercury News – Bill Barrow and Kimberly Hefling

“In the political uproar over Common Core, various myths are peddled as fact. Do the learning standards really mean the federal government is serving as a “national school board,” as Sen. Marco Rubio says? That’s hard to square with the reality that the standards were developed by governors and state education leaders. Should leaders “repeal every word of Common Core,” as Sen. Ted Cruz demands? Actually there’s no federal law — or even federal program — to repeal. Sen. Rand Paul slams “rotten to the core” propaganda forced on children by an initiative that has no curriculum at all.”(more)

Milwaukee ‘turnaround schools’ plan likely to be scaled back

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel – Alan J. Borsuk

“Why don’t we just turn all these failing schools in Milwaukee over to people who will run them better? Because experience elsewhere and realities in Milwaukee suggest it is close to impossible that big steps like that would turn out well. That doesn’t mean there won’t be important action coming out of the state Legislature soon. But it does mean that, if it comes, it will be in smaller increments. What is very likely to be put before legislators will be scaled back from ideas floated earlier to turn a bunch of low-performing schools in the Milwaukee Public Schools system over to independent charter operators and create something like the New Orleans Recovery School District. Two to five schools a year for the next several years — that’s what state Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) and state Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) are talking about now.”(more)