Renascence School Education News - private school

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Closing the Math Gap for Boys

The New York Times – DAVID L. KIRP

“ON a recent afternoon, the banter of boisterous adolescents at Edwin G. Foreman High School, in a poor, racially and ethnically mixed Chicago neighborhood, echoed off the corridor walls. But Room 214 was as silent as a meditation retreat. Inside, 16 ninth- and 10th-grade African-American and Latino boys were working, two-on-one, with a tutor. They’re among 1,326 boys in 12 public schools in this city who are sweating over math for an hour every day. Kids like these fare worst on every measure of academic achievement, from test scores to graduation rates. On the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, the average reading and math scores of eighth-grade black boys are barely higher than those of fourth-grade white girls, and Latino boys score only marginally better. Dropping out is a near-certain ticket to poverty, and these youngsters quit or are pushed out at a dismaying rate. Only 57 percent of young black men and 62 percent of young Latino men graduate from high school in four years, compared with 79 percent of young white men.”(more)

Sleeping Near A Smartphone Can Disturb A Child’s Rest

NPR – Nancy Shute

“The last thing my 11-year-old does before she goes to sleep is put her iPod on the nightstand. And that could mean less sleep for her, researchers say. There’s plenty of evidence that children who have televisions in their rooms get less sleep. This is one of the first studies to look at whether having a small screen like an iPod or smartphone in the room also affects rest. The study, which was published Monday in Pediatrics, looked at 2,048 racially diverse fourth-graders and seventh-graders who were participating in a study on childhood obesity in Massachusetts. Lack of sleep is considered a risk factor for obesity, so the children were asked how long they slept and if they felt they needed more sleep.”(more)

Daniel Fried: More Canadians should learn a Chinese language

The Ottawa Citizen – Daniel Fried

“Is Chinese only for the Chinese? Many Canadians assume so: surveys show that only a minority could imagine classes in Mandarin (the standard dialect of Chinese for business and public uses) as deserving of a place in their local public school system. This is understandable: unlike French and English, Chinese has historically been spoken only by one specific ethnic group. But with the rise of China, and the corresponding rapid growth of Chinese language education around the world, it would be a mistake to continue to view this as the language of one ethnicity only: it is becoming a world language, and Canada must adapt. Strangely, attitudes toward Chinese language are sharply divided by political affiliation. As part of its annual survey of Albertans’ attitudes toward China, released last month, the China Institute of the University of Alberta found that 62 per cent of NDP supporters, and 48 per cent of Liberals, but only 35 per cent of Tories agreed with the statement, “The ability to speak Chinese will become more important to Albertans.” Such polarization could not come at a worse time. Almost unreported outside of China, the Chinese government has been moving swiftly to reduce the amount of emphasis given to English language education in its own schools. University departments of English are being closed, and English will be removed from the all-important college entrance exams by 2017; it seems certain that within a generation, there will be far fewer speakers of English in China than there are now. More and more, businesses and nations that wish to engage with China will need to do so in Chinese.”(more)

In politics and the classroom, setting expectations doesn’t come easy

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel – Alan J. Borsuk

“One at a time, Cudahy High School seniors sat down at a table, across from six adults, several of whom they had never met, to describe what they learned in a semester of English. “I should pass this semester because I’m a responsible student,” one student said. She handed the adults a loose leaf binder with a portfolio of her work, which she said meets or exceeds expectations. Asked to talk about one of 41 standards for learning, she chose standard 27, presenting information clearly in an essay. Another student described how he hadn’t been good at basic skills such as grammar and spelling, but aiming to meet the standards led him to work harder, and the portfolio helped him learn not to put things off until the last minute. I was one of the intimidating adults on the other side of the table. The experience gave me glimpses into the students and their school lives — they were serious, they worked reasonably hard, they wanted to do well, but, for most, reading and writing weren’t personal passions. I also got a glimpse into the changing world of determining what it means to do well in education.”(more)

Amid measles scare, some parents rethinking shunning vaccines

The Tri-City Herald – Jenna Chandler

“Dr. Bob Sears’ office in Capistrano Beach is known as a judgment-free zone for parents who are considering not vaccinating their children. But after the measles outbreak that started at Disney Resort, infecting 12 Orange County residents and more than 60 people in seven states, the alternative-medicine pediatrician said he is getting at least a dozen calls daily – including some from parents who are changing their minds about not immunizing their kids. Measles was once so rare that parents had the luxury of skipping the vaccine without risking disease, Sears said. “When an outbreak occurs, that sense of security goes away, and I think that some of these parents will naturally take this opportunity to get their child vaccinated,” he said.”(more)

Dallas ISD’s STEM Day makes learning scientific principles fun

The Dallas Morning News – Taylor Danser

“Rubber eyeballs flew into the air as kids scattered to pick them up. As quickly as they grabbed them, they raced to send them soaring again. The frenzy of fun had a serious purpose: teaching about potential and kinetic energy. Other scientific principles were being taught throughout Skyline High School on Saturday as students in grades pre-kindergarten to 12 filled its classrooms for Dallas ISD’s second annual STEM Day. Topics ranged from birds to Mars. But the purpose of the 50-minute sessions was to fascinate children with science, technology, engineering and math. It was the first STEM Day for brothers Reese and Kellen Wildhelm, students at Victor H. Hexter Elementary. Their mother, Jennifer Widhelm, came last year with their sister, Mikayla, who attends William B. Travis Academy/Vanguard for the Academically Talented and Gifted.”(more)

Good to see partnership of businesses, schools

Vegas INC – Glenn Christenson

“Wandering through the crowd at schools Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky’s State of the District address, I saw the business community becoming an active partner in addressing the needs of Southern Nevada’s K-12 education system. Skorkowsky made clear his appreciation of prominent business groups’ and individuals’ help in achievements made in the district’s Pledge of Achievement Program. A close working relationship between the business and education communities is crucial to prepare our children for success. This partnership has been a long time coming, and we are seeing benefits. Concepts that businesses support, such as return on investment and accountability, have become part of the dialogue, making it easier to communicate the district’s goals and strategies to the business community.”(more)

Financial Sense 201: Going Beyond the Classroom and Making Smart Financial Choices Now

The Huffington Post – Chris Mettler

“Tom Hanks said, “While I was (in college) I was exposed to this world that I didn’t know was possible.” College is definitely a time of discovery. We’re exposed to new ways of thinking and begin to form our own ideas about the world. Of course, it’s also a time for fun. College students are straddling the line between still being young and being faced with adult decisions. Straddling that line between teenager and adult can be difficult to manage for some students. College may be their first time away from home, which adds to the stress of managing a budget, paying bills and making decisions that will directly impact their future. For many, it is tempting to rack up debt now and worry about it later. College should be fun, but it’s also vital that students start thinking about their future and what life will be like after graduation.”(more)

Nation’s per-pupil K-12 funding fell for second consecutive year in 2012

The Washington Post – Emma Brown

“After more than a decade of increases in per-pupil funding for K-12 public schools, the nation’s per-pupil spending dropped in 2012 for the second year in a row, according to data released Thursday by the National Center for Education Statistics. Schools across the country spent an average of $10,667 per student in fiscal year 2012, a decline of 2.8 percent compared to the year before, adjusting for inflation. Thirty-seven states saw per-pupil expenditures decline at least 1 percent, and some states saw much larger slides. Per-pupil spending climbed steadily by at least 1 percent per year between 1996 and 2008, when the nation began to feel the effects of the recession. Spending flattened out between 2008 and 2010, and then in 2011 fell for the first time in 15 years.”(more)

Nicky Morgan announces ‘war on illiteracy and innumeracy’

BBC – Staff Writer

“All children in England will be expected to know up to their 12 times table when they leave primary school, the government has announced. Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said pupils aged 11 should also know correct punctuation, spelling and grammar. “Getting English and maths right has to be at the core of our education system,” she told the BBC. Labour said the “surest way” to raise standards was to improve the quality of teaching in the classroom.”(more)