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Press Release: 50-State Comparison: K-3 Quality and Companion Report

Education Commission of the States – Staff Writer

“As pre-K and K-3 programs play a significant role in building a foundation for which a student’s future educational successes can be built upon, it is important that both areas provide a cohesive, high-quality educational experience. While the pre-K years are a critical time for early childhood development and have recently received much policy attention, children are at risk of losing the gains made in high-quality pre-K programs if the academic rigor and developmental practice does not continue during the K-3 years. Improving quality not just in pre-K, but also in the K-3 years can help to ensure that children meet key benchmarks and increase the likelihood of long-term student success. The new 50-State Comparison: K-3 Quality from Education Commission of the States explores key state-level policies that impact the quality of K-3 programs. The Companion Report for this 50-State Comparison highlights significant research findings in key K-3 policy areas.”(more)

Three ways to help end the disconnect between pre-k and early elementary education

The Hechinger Report – Alyssa Auck

“In the world of early learning policy, the disconnect between pre-K and K-3 policy is a popular topic of discussion. Birth to age 8 represents a critically important window of opportunity to develop a child’s full potential and to shape key academic, social, emotional and cognitive skills. A child’s experiences during these years can set them up for future success, or for failure, thereby exacerbating the achievement gap. Pre-K quality and accessibility have received much attention over the past 15 to 20 years and state and federal policymakers continue to allocate resources and prescribe policies geared toward ensuring high-quality pre-K experiences. While these efforts have provided a strong foundation for student success, it is important to simultaneously focus on improving the quality of the K-3 years. Without giving due attention to the quality of K-3, we are missing an opportunity to continue the positive momentum created by improved pre-K experiences.”(more)

The 100 things to do before leaving primary school

BBC – Staff Writer

“Falling asleep in a lesson or telling your teacher to “chill out” are among the 100 things primary-age children feel they should do before turning 11. As a million children wave goodbye to primary school, a Times Educational Supplement survey of 2,500 youngsters reveals their wish lists. The top 100 includes numerous pranks such as spinning on the teacher’s chair or being caught impersonating “Miss”. It also features life lessons such as failing so you can learn from mistakes. Helping younger pupils learn something and being kind to someone who needs a friend are also on the list produced from the survey of under-11s. And perhaps surprisingly, children saw the experience of losing or falling out with a friend as a key lesson for life learned in primary school.”(more)

Sparking Curiosity For Fractions With Tasks That Feel Real to Students

KQED News Mind/Shift – Katrina Schwartz

“Fractions come up all the time in everyday life, and yet, they are often a difficult concept for elementary school-aged children to grasp. One way to help kids understand fractions as concrete things is to give them real world examples. In this Teaching Channel video, third grade teacher Maria Franco teaches a lesson on equivalent fractions in which she tries to give more space for student thinking and discussion. Instead of asking all the questions, Franco says, “I’m going to see how you guys work by yourselves.” She’s circling the room, listening for understanding and interesting solving problem techniques, but rather than asking the questions, she’s listening to her students ask one questions to another to defend their problem solving. “You came up with you own idea. It doesn’t have to be the same as mine as long as we get the same answer,” Franco said.”(more)

In elementary education, ‘doing science’ rather than just memorizing it

PBS NewsHour – John Tulenko

“The battle over Common Core education standards is playing out across the country, but a new set of requirements for teaching science is creeping into curricula without the same fanfare. Some states are voluntarily adopting the practices, which emphasize more consistent science instruction as well as hands-on experimentation…”(more)

Elementary school teachers struggle with Common Core math standards

The Hechinger Report – Luba Ostashevsky

“Depth of understanding was hailed by its architects as a cornerstone of the Common Core, a set of educational guidelines for what students need to know in each grade in English and math that have been adopted in 43 states and the District of Columbia. The problem is that most elementary school teachers did not learn math that way, and many now struggle to teach to the new standards. An April 2016 study of a large urban school in Georgia reported the frustration of many elementary level teachers. Only two out of ten teachers there said they were very familiar with the standards and one out of four reported no training on how to teach to them. If the Common Core is to improve the math education of U.S. students as intended, experts agree that teachers who are meant to get students excited about math and become proficient in its basic concepts need more help and support. Yet the exact nature of that support and how to provide it are debated.”(more)