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Goal for education is closing achievement, skills gaps by 2050

The Daily Nonpareil – Scott Stewart

“Dan Kinney won a thumb wrestling match in front of a group of about 20 educators, nonprofit workers and community members Wednesday afternoon. The Heartland 2050 Education Committee held an organizational meeting at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, sitting near the midpoint of the eight county area of Nebraska and Iowa served by the regional initiative. Kinney, the committee’s chairman and the president of Iowa Western Community College, defeated Stuart Shell, an architect with RDG, in thumb wrestling to launch a discussion on collective impact. Other topics for the meeting included reviewing work so far and discussing next steps for the planning process. “How can we have conversations and collaborations and find ways that we can all work together and we can all win?” asked Karna Loewenstein, coordinator of Heartland 2050, an initiative of the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency. “We’re used to the different counties, the different cities, Nebraska vs. Iowa, competing. What we’re asking you to do at Heartland 2050 is let’s think of ourselves as a region.” MAPA has been working for years on plans for the metropolitan area – including Pottawattamie, Mills and Harrison counties in southwest Iowa – to accommodate a population growth of about 1.5 million people in the metro area by 2050. Last December, a vision document was created that outlined several goals, including one to provide all area residents with access to a high-quality education.”(more)

Play Hard, Live Free: Where Wild Play Still Rules

NPR – Eric Westervelt

“There are only a handful of these “wild playgrounds” in the country. They embrace the theory that free, unstructured play is vital for children and offer an antidote to the hurried lifestyles, digital distractions and overprotective parents that can leave children few opportunities to really cut loose. “It’s really central that kids are able to take their natural and intense play impulses and act on them,” says Stuart Brown, a psychologist and the founding director of the National Institute for Play. Children need an environment with “the opportunity to engage in open, free play where they’re allowed to self-organize,” he adds. “It’s really a central part of being human and developing into competent adulthood.” Brown says this kind of free-range fun is not just good; it’s essential. Wild play helps shape who we become, he says, and it should be embraced, not feared. Some educators advocate “dangerous play,” which they say helps kids become better problem solvers.”(more)

Parental involvement in education

The York News Times – Gov. Dave Heineman

“The belief that parents play a key role in student learning is something Sally brought to the schools and classrooms where she taught for more than 30 years. By developing innovative ways to reach out to parents, stronger relationships are developed by parents, teachers and administrators that can help students accomplish their goals.” (more)

Omaha schools look to eliminate GED program

News Times – Staff Reporter

“Omaha school board’s curriculum committee voted 5-1 on Monday to eliminate it as the district looks for ways to cuts costs. Board members say the public wants the district to focus on its K-12 mission.” (more)