Renascence School Education News - private school

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Nobel Prize-winning economist: Preschool works, but poorest kids benefit most

The Seattle Times – Leah Todd

“A Nobel Prize-winning economist says investments in early learning pay off in the long haul, but that it’s a waste for governments to pay for preschool for kids whose families can already afford it. At a gathering of education writers in Chicago this week, University of Chicago economics professor James Heckman laid out the research — some of it his — that backs why educational programs for kids between birth and age 5 pay for themselves over a child’s life. Every dollar invested in strong programs for low-income children, Heckman said, returns between 7 percent to 10 percent each year through increased productivity and lower costs to society. Kids who go to excellent preschools generally make more money, he said, and are less likely to end up in jail, or be unemployed. (And a study of a group of men now nearing 40, which Heckman co-wrote, showed those who went to good preschools as children benefited medically too, with better cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure than men who didn’t go to preschool.) But Heckman doesn’t think governments should pay for every child to go to preschool.”(more)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Poorer children ‘have smaller brains’, researchers say

BBC – Staff Writer

“Children with richer parents have bigger brains than their poorer counterparts, new research suggests. Differences in regions of the brain that deal with language, reading, decision-making and memory were most marked, the study found. But the scientists from California also found that community help and teaching can remedy the disparities. The team concludes that factors such as better school lunches and motivated teachers can have a significant impact. In what is claimed to be the biggest study of its kind, scientists from the University of Southern California tested 1,099 typically developing people – male and female – aged between three and 20. They measured brain surface area by scans and conducted cognitive tests, and then compared the results with the income levels of the parents.”(more)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Poverty can change kids’ brain chemistry, but educators in Spokane learned how to counteract it

The Seattle Times – Claudia Rowe

“As research mounts underscoring how ineffective school suspensions are for correcting student misbehavior, a parallel truth bears repeating: Some kids are not easy to handle. Often, they do a lot more than curse teachers or talk back, as the new film “Paper Tigers” shows. In it, James Redford (son of Robert) profiles a high school in Walla Walla that was full of kids who’d been kicked out of other programs. They threw chairs. They did drugs. They appeared unreachable. But when school leaders began to understand the role of trauma in students’ behavior, things changed. Brain-changing trauma isn’t limited to living in a war-torn country or watching your family killed. It can come from something as common as poverty. Or divorce. And it has powerful, long-lasting effects. This came to light through research by Robert Anda in the early 1990s. A physician at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who was studying cirrhosis of the liver and lifestyle-related cancers, Anda discovered that the vast majority of sufferers — 83 percent — had experienced some form of childhood trauma. He created a catch-all term for them — “Adverse Childhood Experiences,” or ACES.”(more)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

NSF Fellow Pairs Art, Astronomy to Hook Girls on Science

Education Week – Sarah D. Sparks

“Aomawa Shields spends her life searching for overlooked potential—both in habitable planets throughout the universe and in young girls interested in studying them. Shields’ nonprofit, Rising Stargirls, works to get girls, particularly those from poor and minority backgrounds, interested in astronomy careers. She argues that efforts to interest students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics should incorporate more art, drama, and other “soft” subjects…In workshops such as a recent one at Irving STEAM Magnet Middle School in Los Angeles, Shields starts by asking students to draw what they think a scientist looks like, then leads a discussion about the different ways to conduct science and to be a scientist…They also work through exercises in which they must come up with a theory about a concept and use evidence to convince another student who disagrees. “It’s all about claiming your own views and also being open to other people’s ideas,” she said—building assertiveness that female scientists sometimes have difficulty expressing.”(more)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bright pupils more likely to fall behind if from poor background, study finds

The Guardian – Sally Weale

“Bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds are falling behind after their GCSEs and are almost half as likely to achieve three A-levels as their better-off peers, according to research published on Tuesday. Poorer youngsters’ life chances are further compromised as they are considerably less likely to study the sort of A-levels that will help them get into leading universities. The report by Oxford University’s department of education found that just 35% of disadvantaged students (distinguished by their being on free school meals) who were identified as highly able at the age of 11 – on grounds that they gained level 5 or above in their end-of-primary-school national tests – went on to get three A-levels compared with 60% of their wealthier counterparts.”(more)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Numbers Add Up To This: Less And Less Opportunity For Poor Kids

NPR – Marilyn Geewax

“In this country, all children are supposed to have a shot at success — a chance to jump “from rags to riches” in one generation. Even if riches remain out of reach, then the belief has been that every hard-working American should be able to go from poverty to the middle class. On Tuesday, a book and a separate study are being released — both turning up evidence that the one-generation leap is getting harder to accomplish in an economy so tied to education, technological know-how and networking. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam’s new book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, argues that the United States is losing its status as a land of opportunity for all. Here’s the central idea: In the American Dream, upward mobility is available to all, limited only by ability and effort, not class. But Putnam assembles data to show that an “opportunity gap” has emerged here, making an upward climb much tougher in the 21st century, compared with the mid-20th century.”(more)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

10 Awesome Book Charities That Help Kids All Over The World

The Huffington Post – Caroline Bologna

“A 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress test found that 65 percent of fourth graders read at a “below proficient” level. According to the nonprofit Reading Is Fundamental, one of the best ways to develop children’s literacy is to encourage kids to read at home. The problem? Two-thirds of children living in poverty in the U.S. have no books at home. In honor of National Reading Month, we’ve compiled a list of some charitable organizations that do amazing work to promote children’s literacy and bring books to kids all over the world. While this list certainly does not cover all of the countless nonprofits and individuals working to spread literacy and access to books for children, it is indicative of the inspiring number of organizations doing this important work.”(more)

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)