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Science Scores on ‘Nation’s Report Card’ Rise in 4th and 8th Grade, Stay Stagnant in 12th

The 74 Million – Carolyn Phenicie

“Scores on national benchmark science tests rose for fourth- and eighth-graders from 2009 to 2015, while high school seniors’ scores stayed flat and science proficiency for all grades tested remained at basic levels for vast numbers of U.S. students. Achievement gaps on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often called the Nation’s Report Card, between white students and students of color narrowed in 4th and 8th grade but remained largely unchanged in 12th grade. There was no gap between boys’ and girls’ scores in 4th grade, but boys continued to score a few points higher than girls in 8th and 12th grade.”(more)

How one district built a better blended learning program

E-School News – Laura Devaney

“Blended learning is rapidly becoming a core part of schools’ educational approach, partly because the model suits so many educational needs–credit recovery, dual enrollment, and access to advanced courses not always offered in brick-and-mortar schools. To help connect educators with blended learning schools and districts, the Clayton Christensen Institute (CCI) curates the Blended Learning Universe, an online hub and directory offering resources about blended learning basics, research, and examples of different implementations.”(more)

Charter Schools Are Reinventing Local Control

Education Next – Chester E. Finn, Jr., Bruno V. Manno and Brandon L. Wright

“America’s devotion to local control of schools is dying, but it is also being reborn as a new faith in charter schools. These independently operated public schools—nearly 7,000 across the country, and counting—provide a much-needed option for almost three million youngsters in forty-two states and Washington, D.C. The prevailing arrangement in America’s 14,000 school systems starts with an elected board. The board appoints a superintendent, who manages more-or-less uniform public schools staffed by a unionized workforce of government employees. This setup may have functioned well for an agrarian and small-town society in which people spent their entire lives in one place, towns paid for their own schools, and those schools met most of the workforce needs of the local community.”(more)

Who’s to Blame for the Gender Gap in STEM? Start With Kindergarten Teachers

Fortune – Valentina Zarya

“The gender gap in STEM starts earlier—much earlier—than you think. According to new research, the disparity between boys’ and girls’ mathematical abilities actually begins in kindergarten. The study, which was published in AERA Open, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, focused on groups of children starting kindergarten and tracked them several years into their education. The researchers found that while pupils of both genders entered school with similar math abilities, girls started to fall within the first year of their schooling. This contrary to the commonly-held notion that the gap in STEM skills starts to appear in middle school.”(more)

1 in 4 U.S. teachers are chronically absent, missing more than 10 days of school

The Washington Post – Alejandra Matos

“More than 1 in 4 of the nation’s full-time teachers are considered chronically absent from school, according to federal data, missing the equivalent of more than two weeks of classes each academic year in what some districts say has become an educational crisis. The U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights estimated this summer that 27 percent of the nation’s teachers are out of school for more than 10 days of regular classes — some missing far more than 10 days — based on self-reported numbers from the nation’s school districts. But some school systems, especially those in poor, rural areas and in some major cities, saw chronic absenteeism among teachers rise above 75 percent in 2014, the last year for which data is available.”(more)

Sparking Curiosity In STEM, In And Outside The Classroom

The Huffington Post – Matthew Randazzo

“On a recent trip to St. Louis Public Schools, I had the opportunity to spend time with a group of students who were either rising seniors or matriculating college freshman. Many of these kids are students of color or the first in their family to attend college. One particular conversation with a young woman stands out. She shared the story of when and why she first decided to pursue a career in STEM. She told me that as an eighth grader, she wasn’t sure which path she hoped to pursue as an adult, until she attended an after-school program for girls interested in STEM, hosted by Washington University in St. Louis. It was that experience, she acknowledged, that encouraged her to opt for the more difficult AP classes in school and to take risks she might not have otherwise taken.”(more)