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Arts should be core to education, not an optional add-on

Commonwealth Magazine – Liz Byron

“When students only experience art through art integration — or worse, not at all — we deprive them of a subject that engages students in a uniquely creative and rigorous set of cognitive skills and emotional responses. Visual art class is the only dedicated space for directly teaching students how to paint, sculpt, draw, and, reciprocally, how to critique and respond to a work of art or the world around them. It is the only setting where students are consistently exposed to art-specific genres, history, philosophy, and acclaimed as well as regional artists and artistic movements.” (more)

Teacher’s Perspective: How My School’s Chinese Immersion Program Is Paving a Pathway to Global Citizenship for Inner-City Students

The 74 Million – Yingling Hsu

“Their educations often hamstrung by their zip codes, generations of urban kids in places like the Boston neighborhood where I teach graduate from public high schools having passed conventional subjects like math and English, but lacking an awareness and appreciation of other languages and societies that would surely enhance their chances of success. Many complete grades K-12 perhaps able to navigate a college campus or the job market, but with little education about the wider world, other than, perhaps, a few years of basic Spanish or French.” (more)

How to use engineering practices for more effective STEM learning

E-School News – PJ Boardman

“‘What if schools could offer a different approach to STEM education that provided students with truly immersive learning opportunities?” That question came to Ethan Berman, founder of i2 Learning, after the experience of his nine-year old daughter, who liked school but loved solving problems and making things with her own hands, especially, as she put it, “if it was something useful.” That was what inspired Berman to found Boston STEM Week, which just concluded its second successful year by replacing the usual curriculum for the more than 6,000 students and 300 teachers across 37 Boston middle schools. During this week, schools replace their usual curriculum with projects aimed at building lunar colonies, creating interactive monsters, designing digital games, and practicing surgical techniques.”(more)

Eye On Education: Harvard Study Aims To Strengthen Preschool Learning

CBS Boston – Paula Ebben

“When it comes to preschool, by now we know early learning can make a big difference but not all preschools are the same. Harvard researchers are conducting a first-of-its kind study that could change and strengthen the quality of early childhood education across the country. It is all thanks to the generosity of an Oscar Award-winning Hollywood film producer, the late Saul Zaentz.”(more)

Students See A New World With More Accurate Maps

KQED News Mind/Shift – Colin Dwyer

“Students throughout Boston are getting a radically different view of the world, one laminated 24-by-36-inch sheet of paper at a time. Beginning last Thursday, Boston Public Schools administrators have been sending social studies teachers in the second, seventh and 11th grades new maps for their classrooms — depictions that more accurately portray the sizes of Earth’s continents. When many people picture a map of the world, what they’re probably thinking of is a Mercator projection, a representation that despite its apparent distortions has been around more than 400 years. It’s that map that hangs in most classrooms throughout the U.S., including those in Boston.”(more)

Testing College Readiness

Education Next – Ira Nichols-Barrer, Kate Place, Erin Dillon and Brian P. Gill

“The state of Massachusetts introduced a system of standardized testing in its public schools three years before the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 mandated such practices for all 50 states. Although the tests have evolved over time, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) has been in place ever since. But after Massachusetts adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010, its education leaders faced a decision: whether to stick with MCAS, which it had already revised to align with the Common Core, or switch to a “next-generation” test that was specifically designed for the Common Core—and to assess students’ readiness for college. More than 40 other states have signed on to Common Core, and many face similar decisions about their student assessment systems.”(more)