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Social-Emotional Learning: States Collaborate to Craft Standards, Policies

Education Week – Evie Blad

“Eight states will work collaboratively to create and implement plans to encourage social-emotional learning in their schools, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning announced this month. The organization, which is also known as CASEL, will assist the states through consultation with its own staff and a panel of experts. The participating states are California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington. And an 11 additional states that originally applied to join the collaborative will have access to the materials it develops. Each participating state has a unique plan, and many of those plans include creating developmentally sensitive standards that show how social and emotional skills are demonstrated at each grade level, developing materials to infuse traditional classroom concepts with social-emotional learning concepts, building strategies for state-level support, and implementing professional-development plans for schools about the subject.”(more)

Testing College Readiness

Education Next – Ira Nichols-Barrer, Kate Place, Erin Dillon and Brian P. Gill

“The state of Massachusetts introduced a system of standardized testing in its public schools three years before the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 mandated such practices for all 50 states. Although the tests have evolved over time, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) has been in place ever since. But after Massachusetts adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010, its education leaders faced a decision: whether to stick with MCAS, which it had already revised to align with the Common Core, or switch to a “next-generation” test that was specifically designed for the Common Core—and to assess students’ readiness for college. More than 40 other states have signed on to Common Core, and many face similar decisions about their student assessment systems.”(more)

What the country can learn from Boston about bringing the arts back to public schools

The Hechinger Report – Marinell Rousmaniere

“After years of slicing and dicing arts budgets, some school districts across the country are introducing arts education back into the school day with broad-ranging, successful results. Cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and Boston have long recognized the intrinsic value of arts education for children to learn artistic skills and techniques while having the opportunity to express themselves. But it is the importance of improved readiness for success in college, career, and citizenship directly linked with arts education that has led cities like Boston to employ innovative partnerships to increase students’ access to arts. Research findings have made clear the persistence of strong connections between arts learning in earlier years and overall academic success and pro-social outcomes. A 2009 longitudinal study by UCLA’s James Catterall showed that arts-engaged low-income students are more likely than their non-arts-engaged peers to have attended and done well in college, obtained employment with a future, volunteered in their communities and participated in the political process by voting.”(more)

MIT partners with Johnson & Johnson to promote women’s STEM education

MIT News – Kimberly Haberlin

“MIT and Johnson & Johnson — a global leader in medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and consumer goods — have announced a new collaboration designed to increase the number of undergraduate women enrolling in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs and graduating with STEM degrees. This new effort will build on MIT’s ongoing work to expand the reach and quality of STEM education and attract more women to fields traditionally dominated by men. MIT is one of nine academic institutions that will be working with Johnson & Johnson in the coming months to develop effective recruitment, engagement, and retention strategies for women leaders in STEM. The other participating institutions are Caltech, Harvey Mudd College, Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica (ITA – Brazil), Rhode Island School of Design, Rutgers Honors College, Spelman College, the University of Tokyo, and the University of Limerick.”(more)

Number of Students Disciplined Dropped Twenty Percent This Year, Mass. State Data Says

Education World – Nicole Gorman

“New state laws that have set out to reduce long-term suspensions have resulted in a twenty percent decrease in the number of students disciplined statewide, says The Boston Globe. Massachusetts’ efforts echo efforts of states across the country that are seeking to turn to restorative justice as opposed to explosion and suspension disciplinary measures that interfere with a child’s ability to learn. “Although the rate of overall discipline has dropped, it remains uneven in some school-to-school comparisons. Black, Latino, and poor students continue to receive out-of-school suspensions at higher rates than their white classmates,” The Globe said.”(more)

Boston Scientific steps up its involvement in STEM education

The Boston business Journal – Don Seiffert

“The company recently formed its first-ever STEM Council to bring together various efforts to encourage learning among kids about science, technology, engineering and math. And in the past couple years, those efforts have resulted in millions of dollars donated and the benefit hundreds of kids, many of them around the company’s Marlborough headquarters. David Bee, vice president of development processes at Boston Scientific, says the company has long been involved in FIRST Robotics, an effort founded 26 years ago by inventor Dean Kamen to encourage STEM education in kids first through building with Legos, then later through building actual robots that compete against one another.”(more)