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Children who speak two languages at an advantage

Hola Arkansas – Veronica Carter

“According to the U.S. Department of Education, a new research says kids who learn new languages will have better job prospects as adults. A new study of bilingual and monolingual toddlers could be reason for parents to share this story in two languages. Research in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology has shown that children learning two languages perform better at certain problem-solving tasks than do their monolingual peers. Cristina Crivello, a Ph.D. student at Concordia University in Montreal who led the study, said one and a half year old bilingual children have abilities that are beneficial for people at any age. “It’s these specific cognitive abilities, like selective attention and cognitive flexibility, where they have to focus on relevant information and ignore distracting information,” she said.”(more)

Study Says ‘Fat Report Cards’ Ineffective at Reducing Obesity

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“Schools in nine states are keeping track of the weight of their students and sending updates to their parents as a sort of “BMI report card,” but a recent study examining Arkansas, the first state to implement the idea, has found the practice to have little effect, especially on older teenagers. According to study author Kevin Gee, the letters sent home do make an attempt to cut back the increasing rate of obesity. However, he added that they were unlikely to have any effect on the adolescents they are meant to help.”(more)

Arkansas invests $65 mil. in ultra high-speed internet for schools

E-School News – Chad Hunter

“Fort Smith schools are the first to connect to Arkansas’ improved high-speed Internet system designed to offer speeds 40 times faster than the current statewide average. The $65 million initiative for improved broadband service in Arkansas schools kicked off at a small ceremony held Wednesday afternoon at the Fort Smith School District’s Rogers Center.”(more)

Arkansas Becomes 14th State to Adopt Next Generation Science Standards

Education Week – Liana Heitin

“With much support from educators, Arkansas has joined 13 states and the District of Columbia in adopting the Next Generation Science Standards. The state board voted unanimously June 11 to adopt the K-8 portion of the science standards with some Arkansas-specific additions and clarifications…Prior to the adoption, the education department conducted several surveys of teachers and administrators and reached out for public comments on the draft. “Every time, over 80 percent of the field was very accepting of the standards, the process, and using the Next Generation Science Standards for the Arkansas science standards,” said Michele Snyder, a science specialist at the Arkansas education department.”(more)

More state takeovers of public schools possible

USA Today – Greg Toppo

“The recent takeover of the Little Rock School District by the Arkansas State Board of Education has angered parents and surprised even seasoned school reform observers. The move dissolved the local school board — one ousted board member, Jim Ross, called it a “coup” — and parents took to social media to decry the action. Such a takeover is rare, but as schools nationwide begin to see the results of new math and reading tests based on tougher Common Core standards, they could find themselves the targets of similar moves. “I hear more state boards talking about it, even if they’re not doing it yet,” said Kristen Amundson,executive director of the National Association of State Boards of Education. As changes in federal education law hold schools to higher standards, she said, “states are of necessity having to try different approaches with this relatively small number of persistently low-performing schools.” Amundson, a former teacher and school board member in Fairfax County, Va., said a proposed reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind law — which orders states to assess academic achievement at specific grade levels — would give state governments more power over troubled school districts. That means more potential takeovers.”(more)

Hoops star stresses STEM education

Arkansas Online – Wayne Bryan

“The Basketball Hall of Famer was invited to Arkansas to be the keynote speaker for the Open Book Celebration, a fundraising event held to benefit the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts. The event was held the evening of the 25th at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock.”(more)