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7 Best Foreign Languages to Learn in 2016

Cheat Sheet – Lauren Weiler

“Whether you’re seeking employment in a new country or you’re looking for an adventure abroad, it’s in your best interest to learn at least one different language. The world we live in today doesn’t feel as large and distant as it once did thanks to technology. And if you’re looking to break into the very difficult job market today, you’ll have a major leg-up if you know a language other than your native one. Learning a foreign language can also have great effects on the brain, says The Washington Post. It can boost your cognitive abilities and make you a quicker, better thinker. Here are the top seven foreign languages that you should be learning in 2016.”(more)

Heavy backpacks can affect your child’s health

ABC 10 KXTV – Alexa Renee

“A backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of a child’s weight, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. This means, for an elementary school child weighing 50 to 60 pounds, their backpack should never reach more than about 12 pounds maximum. Ideally, it should be less. However, many children’s backpacks significantly exceed the recommended weight. The backpacks some children carry can weigh up to 50 pounds, according to Kamerman. For a smaller frame, that can be 50 percent of their body weight.”(more)

Zika in the Classroom? How Students in 9 Florida Schools Are Confronting a Public Health Emergency

The 74 Million – Kate Stringer

“Nine South Florida schools began the fall term this week on Zika alert, after more than a dozen cases of locally transmitted virus have been reported in the surrounding one-square-mile area. Crews from the Miami Dade County Public Schools have been eliminating standing water, where mosquitos breed, in Miami’s Wynwood and Midtown neighborhoods, according to the Miami Herald. Officials have also sent voice messages to parents advising them to dress their children in long-sleeve shirts and long pants, despite the summer heat, and to apply insect repellent before they leave home. The district will provide long pants and shirts for students who can’t afford them, the Herald reported. “The best preventive tool we have is aggressive awareness and communication,” Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said at a school board meeting Wednesday.”(more)

3 ways to make classrooms more interactive

E-School News – MIKE BRODERICK

“Educators who want to reach students who favor interactive communication know that integrating digital tools into their lesson plans can be an effective strategy, and many have incorporated technology tools into the classroom in one way or another. But to make a real difference, educators have to integrate technology in a meaningful way. It’s not sufficient to just use social media platforms as an alternate communication venue or post schedules on a class Facebook page.”(more)

One million U.S. students could be studying Mandarin by 2020

PBS News Hour – Corey Mitchell

“A multinational effort to boost the number of U.S. students studying abroad in China has expanded its focus to stateside Mandarin language learning. The push, led by the US-China Strong Foundation, aims to increase the number of American students studying the language to one million by 2020, a five-fold increase. The effort recognizes the growing importance of U.S.-China relations and aims to prepare a new generation of U.S. citizens to engage with China through commerce and culture. “We’re looking at this as a lifelong effort to ensure we have leaders who understand China and can help manage what we believe is the most important bilateral relationship in the world,” said Carola McGiffert, CEO of the Washington-based foundation. To reach that goal, the initiative aims to create a model Chinese language and culture curriculum that is flexible enough to allow local school systems to tailor it to their needs.”(more)

Ten-year Trends in Public Opinion From the EdNext Poll

Education Next – Paul E. Peterson, Michael B. Henderson, Martin R. West and Samuel Barrows

“In its 10th annual survey of American public opinion, conducted in May and June of 2016, Education Next finds that the demise of school reform has been greatly exaggerated. Public support remains as high as ever for federally mandated testing, charter schools, tax credits to support private school choice, merit pay for teachers, and teacher tenure reform. However, backing for the Common Core State Standards and school vouchers fell to new lows in 2016. As in previous polls, Democrats are more supportive of Common Core than Republicans are, and we find polarization along party lines on several other issues. Surprisingly, more Democrats than Republicans support vouchers targeted to low-income students, tax credits, and vouchers for all families (universal vouchers).”(more)