Renascence School Education News - private school

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Music Makes You a Better Reader, Says Neuroscience

GOOD – Kayt Sukel

“It’s known as the “musician’s advantage.” For decades, educators, scientists, and researchers have observed that students who pick up musical instruments tend to excel in academics—taking the lead in measures of vocabulary, reading, and non-verbal reasoning and attention skills, just to name a few. But why musical training conferred such an advantage remained a bit of a mystery. Nina Kraus, director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University and research collaborator on the Harmony Project has spent her life surrounded by music. And, today, she is studying how musical training can harness the brain’s natural plasticity, or adaptiveness, to help students become better overall students and readers, even when they grow up in impoverished environments.”(more)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Common Core’s biggest pitfall

The Asbury Park Press – Kala Kachmar

“There is little evidence that the $186 million Common Core program will fix one of the toughest problems facing New Jersey’s classrooms: the education gap between rich and poor kids. After nearly two decades of standardized testing and countless curriculum changes, students from homes at or near the poverty line still perform, on average, 15 points lower than other students on the math portion of the 11th grade graduation test, the Asbury Park Press found in a review of test scores for nearly 400 high schools across the state. Now, with the new testing standards raising a ruckus among many parents, politicians and the governor, experts say the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers, or PARCC, test for most grades will not help close the education gap.”(more)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Teacher tells Congress: ‘We simply cannot ignore the stunning impact of income inequality and high child poverty’

The Washington Post – Valerie Strauss

“Congress is finally attempting to rewrite No Child Left Behind — a task it was supposed to accomplish in 2007 — even as Education Secretary Arne Duncan has predicted a 50-50 chance that the task will be completed. Hearings by legislators have started, and this past week Democrats in the House held a forum to hear testimony from educators and others about how the education law should be changed, saying that they were concerned that the Republican majority on the committee was pushing a “partisan” approach. A lot of the discussion has focused on whether or not students should be given standardized tests for the sake of “accountability” on an annual basis and how much weight those test scores should carry. But other issues are important as well, as one teacher Katrina Kickbush, a special education teacher at Wolfe Street Academy in Baltimore, explained in her testimony to the forum, which was headed by Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia, who is now the senior Democrat on the House education committee. Kickbush writes about what she sees as the central problems facing many children — a lack of health and other supports that influence their academic achievement — and she calls for the expansion of community schools that provide a range of services to students and their families.”(more)

Friday, January 30, 2015

School Choice: The Best Solution to Reducing Poverty

Education News – Robert Enlow

“…most students are assigned a school based solely on their address. If a child is born to a middle class family, that family often moves to a neighborhood with a good school. Affluent families also do the same, choosing the finest public or schools or private schools in their state. But for poor and working class families, families with one adult at home, or families where a parent is sick or can’t work, they are stuck with the school assigned to them, whether it works or not. There is a solution; a solution not only to poor quality education but also to the other issues of income inequality, wage disparity and civil unrest. And that solution is school choice…As long ago as 1955, Nobel economist Milton Friedman was concerned that K-12 education in America was failing in responsibility to help those less fortunate. The founder of the school choice concept said, “The education, or rather the uneducation, of black children from low income families is undoubtedly the greatest disaster area in public education and its most devastating failure. This is doubly tragic for it has always been the official ethic of public schooling that it was the poor and the oppressed who were its greatest beneficiaries.””(more)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Family Breakdown and Poverty

Education Next – Robert P. George and Yuval Levin

“As a general rule, assistant secretaries in the Labor Department do not produce lasting historical documents. The so-called Moynihan Report, produced by Assistant Secretary Daniel Patrick Moynihan in the winter of 1965 and published under the title “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” is surely the only exception to that rule. But it is quite an exception. The Moynihan Report gained notice and notoriety almost immediately. Its statistical analysis was cited, and its call to action was repeated, by President Lyndon Johnson within a few months of its publication—again, an uncommon fate for a Labor Department report. But its analysis was just as quickly resisted and disputed in the government and in the academy. Moynihan was accused of arguing that low-income black families were simply causing their own problems and of trying to undermine the civil rights movement. The social psychologist William Ryan actually coined the now-common phrase “blaming the victim” (which he used as a title for a 1971 book) specifically to describe the Moynihan Report. Of course, Moynihan did no such thing. To the extent that he attributed blame at all, it was to the long and ugly legacy of slavery and to the persistence of racism in American life. Both, he argued, had worked to undermine the standing of black men, and thereby their roles in their own families, and to deform the structure of family life in the black community.”(more)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Poor countries spend more on richer pupils

BBC News – Sean Coughlan

“The United Nations children’s charity says that almost half of education spending in low-income countries is focused on 10% of the population. It means that poorer children in poor countries get the least chances. Unicef is calling for a fairer distribution of education spending…It argues that investment in education must be more equitably shared, so that all types of pupils have access – including those who are most likely to miss out, such as poor, rural children, girls and ethnic minorities…The research shows that low-income, developing countries disproportionately favour the educational needs of their wealthier families.”(more)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Study: American Students Have High Levels Of Education, But Stressful Lives

The Huffington Post – Rebecca Klein

“While American students have high levels of educational achievement and decent test scores, they may also experience high levels of social stress and poverty. A new report out Tuesday…argues that more than just test scores should be taken into consideration when comparing countries’ education systems. In the report, researchers look at 24 indicators in six categories — student outcomes, school system outcomes, social stress, support for families, support for schools and economic inequity — in order to evaluate the educational success of nine countries. Study authors compare school systems in the G-7 nations, seven of the world’s largest economies — the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.K….Authors also include Finland and China “due to global interest in the educational performance of their students.”…Comparison results were bleak for the United States.”(more)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Concerns about parenting in poorer families ‘misplaced’

The Telegraph – Staff Writer

” Common perceptions that poorer mothers and fathers are likely to be less involved in their children’s lives are unfounded, according to research. A new study argues that less well-off parents are just as likely to help with homework, play games and read with their children as those from wealthier backgrounds. Researchers from Bristol University and Cardiff University analysed data on 1,665 UK households looking at how often mothers and fathers were involved with their children’s leisure activities and those that have been linked to success at school. The findings show that overall, more than half of parents said that during the previous week, they had read to their child and played games with them on at least four days. The proportions were similar for helping with homework, eating together and watching TV together.”(more)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Helping the Poor in Education: The Power of a Simple Nudge

The New York Times – SUSAN DYNARSKI

“There are enormous inequalities in education in the United States. A child born into a poor family has only a 9 percent chance of getting a college degree, but the odds are 54 percent for a child in a high-income family. These gaps open early, with poor children less prepared than their kindergarten classmates. How can we close these gaps? Contentious, ambitious reforms of the education system crowd the headlines: the Common Core, the elimination of teacher tenure, charter schools. The debate is heated and sometimes impolite (a recent book about education is called “The Teacher Wars”). Yet as these debates rage, researchers have been quietly finding small, effective ways to improve education. They have identified behavioral “nudges” that prod students and their families to take small steps that can make big differences in learning. These measures are cheap, so schools or nonprofits could use them immediately.”(more)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Majority of U.S. public school students poor enough for lunch help: report

Reuters – Staff Writer

“(Reuters) – The share of public school students who qualify for free or reduced lunch in the United States has grown to 51 percent, in an indication of growing poverty, according to a report released on Friday. The problem is most acute in Mississippi where 71 percent of students were in that category, according to the report from the Southern Education Foundation.”(more)