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Parents Can’t Wait For Traditional Schools To Fix Themselves. That’s Why We Choose Charters

The Huffington Post – Ana Beatriz Cholo

“Last year I joined the California Charter Schools Association. Our mission is simple: to make sure that more parents have the right to choose a high quality public school for their kids. Unfortunately, we spend a lot of time fighting political battles, just to protect parents’ right to demand better. There is so much rhetoric out there demonizing the concept of school choice and the families who rely on it. I don’t get too caught up in the rhetoric, probably because my personal experiences tell the real story of school choice: my mom lying to get me into a better school, my own desperate dash to find an affordable home in a strong school district, the struggling Chicago parents who prayed that their children would win the “lottery” and attend a great high school.”(more)

Summer Reading Tips To Prevent ‘Summer Brain Drain’

The Huffington Post – Stephanie Dua and Keith Meacham

“Summer’s here, and even though school is out, experts recommend that even the youngest children should practice their reading every day. According to the National Summer Learning Association, many children lose ground over the summer. The research shows that low-income students are at particular risk. While gaps in student achievement remain relatively constant during the school year between low and middle income students, those gaps widen significantly during the summer. Some children lose two-to-three months in reading. As moms, educators and the creators of Learn With Homer, the #1 Learn to Read program, we spend our days thinking about how to make literacy learning fun and effective for young children. Here we’d like to offer a few simple tips to keep kids learning even in these lazy days of summer:”(more)

Tinkering Spaces: How Equity Means More Than Access

KQED News Mind/Shift – Katrina Schwartz

“The Maker Movement has helped spur renewed interest in hands-on learning and the value of spaces where children can explore their own ideas, be creative, and tinker. Some schools have made makerspaces and FabLabs a priority, building making activities into the curriculum and encouraging kids through afterschool activities. In large part, this new excitement has come from a predominantly white, male sensibility and conversations about equity and tinkering tend to focus on questions of access to makerspaces and to tools.”(more)

CAP: High-Quality Universal Pre-K May Reduce Achievement Gap

Education News – Grace Smith

“The Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan policy organization that is aimed at improving Americans’ lives…says that providing early childhood education programs ensures that students will enter kindergarten with a solid academic foundation…The authors explain that the elements of “quality” in early learning are not uniformly agreed upon by educators. But they attempt to define it generally as a program that hires teachers with strong educational backgrounds in child development. They also have found that effective programs use research-based curricula that meet the needs of the whole child. Quality programs also employ teachers who engage children in well-planned, warm, and intellectually stimulating interactions. Additionally, class sizes are small, and the classroom has a variety of developmentally appropriate learning activities and materials.”(more)

Ed Department proposes to report accurate grad rates for low-income students

The Hechinger Report – Sarah Butrymowicz

“The federal government has proposed to start publishing accurate college graduation rates, by institution, for low-income college and university students who receive Pell Grants. The proposal, based on recommendations from a technical review panel, would change how graduation rates are reported for all students, and is intended to make these figures more accurate than the system being used now, which tracks only graduation rates for college students starting as freshmen who attend school full time. Advocates say this overlooks the increasing number of students who transfer from one campus to another, and of older, part-time, continuing, and other nontraditional students enrolling in higher education. And independent reviews, including by The Hechinger Report, have found that the resulting statistics are inaccurate.”(more)

Schools of Choice

Education Next – Martin R. West

“The study for which James S. Coleman is best known today makes no mention of private education. The 1966 “Equality of Educational Opportunity” (EEO) study—better known as the Coleman Report—focused exclusively on the distribution of resources and student achievement in America’s public schools. But the report’s ink was barely dry before Coleman injected the issue of school choice into the discussion. “The public educational system is a monopoly,” he wrote in 1967, offering choice only to “those who [can] afford to buy education outside the public schools” and thereby amplifying the influence of family background on student achievement. Later, he amended that observation, noting that the opportunity to choose one’s residence permits school choice within the public sector as well. But in reality, only the middle class and the affluent can fully exercise that choice, he pointed out.”(more)