Renascence School Education News - private school

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Report Shows School Suspensions Amount to 18 Million Days

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“New research from the University of California at Los Angeles has found that despite suspension rates dropping in school districts across the country, US students still lost around 18 million school days due to out-of-school punishments in the 2011-12 school year. The report, “Are We Closing the School Discipline Gap,” looked at data for every school district across the country, finding school systems in Missouri, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania that have an “alarming” suspension rate of 20% or higher among their elementary school students…Despite a number of improvements, there have not been many meaningful changes to the national suspension rate, causing racial gaps to continue to persist. Including all grade levels, 16% of black students were suspended in 2011-12 in comparison with 7% of Hispanic students and 5% of white students. Researchers suggest the current concern pertaining to out-of-school suspensions comes from a greater risk of academic failure, dropping out of high school, and involvement within the juvenile justice system…“We conclude that our nation cannot close the achievement gap if we ignore the discipline gap,” the UCLA report said.”(more)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Adults shouldn’t reduce learning to a single language

The Springfield News-Leader – Dana Carroll

“Many years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Reggio Emilia, a small city in Northern Italy, famous for two things: Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and an incredible approach to early education. The Reggio Emilia approach developed at the end of World War II. Preprimary schools with the Reggio philosophy are organized to support a collaborative, problem-solving approach to learning, with an intensely participatory relationship among parents, educators and children. Although I marvel at the incredible work of the pedagiosts who follow the Reggio philosophy, I am equally taken with the founder of their movement, Loris Malaguzzi. He wrote extensively about children and our approach to their learning. In his poem, “The Hundred Languages of Children,” he talks about all the ways children communicate their knowledge and understanding of the world. They speak through sculpture, dance and drawing. It involves singing, discussion and debate. It is joyful, pensive and a struggle. That is probably what makes Reggio Emilia preschools so effective — their ability to highlight and emphasize each of the ‘languages.'”(more)

NASCAR Has a Need for Speed…and STEM Education

PC Magazine – Stephanie Mlot

“How do you get kids interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)? How about incorporating NASCAR? The racing organization today announced Acceleration Nation, a learning program in partnership with Scholastic that will use NASCAR to teach students about math and science. Specifically, the program will focus on NASCAR’s Three D’s of Speed: Drag, Downforce, and Drafting. “NASCAR Acceleration Nation is about bringing kids closer to our sport in an entertaining and educational way,” COO Brent Dewar said in a statement. “When you look at the speed and design of our racecars and their performance on the track, NASCAR represents a unique platform to teach math and science. Our goal is to make learning these subjects fun for kids.” NASCAR will distribute kits designed for elementary and middle school students to 7,400 classrooms in the U.S. during the first year, while additional materials can be downloaded from”(more)

In LA, Missing Kindergarten Is A Big Deal


“In kindergarten, kids are learning really important stuff. Basic reading skills. Numbers and math concepts. And to keep from falling behind, one of the major things they need to do is make it to school every day. In Los Angeles, the nation’s second largest school district, kindergarten absence is a big problem, with some students missing 10, 20, 30 days or more. In 2012, district officials say that almost 10,000 students were chronically absent from kindergarten. Last year that number it improved, but only slightly. It’s a problem around the country as well, and research confirms the academic peril chronic absence creates for the youngest students. A 2008 report from the National Center for Children in Poverty found that children who missed more than 10 percent of school in kindergarten were the lowest-achieving group in the first grade.”(more)

Engineer’s Week: Prioritizing Women in STEM Today and Moving Forward

The Huffington Post – Claire Topalian

“Despite consistent growth in the STEM job market over the past 10 years, we still see a disparate number of young women entering STEM fields. In a recent article, Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chavez explains, “While women comprise 48 percent of the U.S. workforce, just 24 percent are in STEM fields, a statistic that has held constant for nearly a decade.” Just last year, major tech companies made their diversity numbers public, revealing that only 17 percent of Google’s team is comprised of women, and at Facebook just 15 percent. These numbers are likely related to another data point: while women make up 57% of U.S. College students, only 18 percent earn computer science degrees. These numbers ultimately leave us asking the same questions: What might account for the lack of women in STEM, why do companies benefit from hiring more women in STEM, and what can be done to encourage young women to pursue careers in STEM-related fields? Tackling the first question — what might account for the lack of women in STEM — is the most difficult one to answer in tangible terms. The root causes of such an issue would require an in-depth approach that includes an assessment of sociological implications — something that most of us aren’t equipped to discuss holistically let alone begin to solve. It is perhaps more useful, then, to focus not on the problem so much as the solution and the reasons why it is so important to strive towards a solution.”(more)

Where blended meets personalized learning—and gets results

E-School News – Lucille Renwick

“For the past two years, the Washington, D.C. Public School District (DCPS) has earned a sort of celebrity status with lawmakers, superintendents, and think tank heads filing in to see what, and especially how, students are learning. They have a good reason to visit. In a district that has been plagued with low test scores and student performance, several D.C. schools have seen student proficiency levels jump in math and reading in recent years. Part of their success has hinged on the way teachers are using blended learning in the classroom. “Blended learning definitely has been an important factor in the changes we’ve seen in our students, our teachers, and in our schools,” says David Rose, deputy chief in the district’s Dept. of Educational Technology and Library Programs.”(more)

Too much or too little school discipline? Data often at odds with teacher, parent experiences

The Atlanta Journal Constitution – Maureen Downey

“Nothing brings out the blog skeptics as reports on disparities in how schools dole out student discipline, the focus a new report released this morning. The disparity in school discipline is an important issue and one that needs to be better understood. It’s also a complex issue because many parents and teachers contend they are seeing increased discipline problems in their schools and feel little is being done about it. My own teens complain of time lost to kids acting up in their classes. The conflicting views of student discipline – too much or too little — explain why a five-member Senate study committee led by Sen. Emanuel Jones, D-Decatur, could not come to consensus on recommended policy changes. Among the research discussed by the committee at its fall hearings: Georgia third-graders and eighth-graders who’ve been suspended for 10 days or more are less likely to earn a high school diploma. An AJC investigation a year ago found 57 percent of students expelled and 67 percent of students given out-of-school suspensions were black. Thirty-seven percent of Georgia public school students are black.”(more)

The New Orleans Case for All-Charter School Districts

Education Next – Neerav Kingsland

“Across the country, children in urban districts are being denied rich, rigorous educational opportunities. The causes of these poor opportunities are multifold: urban students suffer from high rates of poverty and violence; additionally, as a country, we do not develop enough teachers who can succeed in these difficult conditions. But, contrary to many leading reform voices, progress on the important issues of poverty and talent will not be enough to reverse the dysfunction of urban school districts. Poor educational opportunities will remain the norm unless we tackle one remaining issue: the structure of urban school districts. The structure of urban school systems has made a mess of the relationships between family, educator, and government. Families have little power. Educators are trapped in a Kafkaesque maze of contracts, rubrics, and rubber rooms. And government is tasked with the overbroad mandate of both regulating and operating schools. How do we right these relationships? My hypothesis is that we should transition our public education systems into charter districts, systems with the following structure:.”(more)

D.C. Students Benefit from Mix of Charter and Traditional Schools

Education Next – Scott Pearson and John H. “Skip” McKoy

“Charter schools are revolutionizing public schooling in Washington, D.C. In just 18 years, charter schools have grown from an initial 5 to 112 schools today, managed by 61 nonprofit organizations. This school year, charters will serve nearly 38,000 students—44 percent of all public-school students in D.C. And these schools, which consistently outperform D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) overall and across all subgroups, offer students a tremendous variety of quality educational opportunities. As the executive director and the board chairman of the District of Columbia’s independent chartering body, we are often asked whether we favor a “New Orleans” future for D.C., where charter schools eventually serve virtually all public-school students. Our response may surprise some, but we do not. Rather, we see students and families in the District of Columbia better served with two thriving and successful sectors: charter and traditional public. Here’s why. When Congress passed charter school legislation for Washington, D.C., in 1995, our public schools were a national disgrace, characterized by decrepit buildings, a meddling school board, patronage-based employment, sky-high truancy, and some of the nation’s lowest graduation rates and test scores. Enrollment in DCPS had fallen by nearly half from the mid-sixties, from 150,000 to just over 75,000 students.”(more)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Why Chevron Is Helping Fund STEM Education

Time – Tim Bajarin

“Over the last year, I’ve become more interested in the Maker Movement and programs that focus on STEM education — science, technology, engineering and math. Like many people, I believe the U.S. education system needs to do more to get kids interested in math and science, as technology sits at the heart of new job creation and is impacting our lives in ways none of us could have imagined 50 years ago. I shared my thoughts in a TIME column last May about the Maker Faire, a very interesting program that has sought to bring technology closer to kids. The Maker Movement is quite exciting, and dedicated Maker Faires are popping up in many places around the world that emphasize how people can create all types of things from scratch and learn a great deal in the process. The movement has its roots in tech hobbyists circles, where people were using things like Raspberry Pi motherboards to create various tech gadgets. However, Maker Faires now include things like knitting, bee keeping, organic gardening and just about anything that involves making things.”(more)