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Low-income children missing out on language learning both at home and at school

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“Children from poor neighborhoods are less likely to have complex language building opportunities both in home and at school, putting them at a disadvantage in their kindergarten year, finds a new study led by NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. The findings, published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, suggest that language learning should involve both families and teachers in order to overcome these early disadvantages and ensure learning opportunities for vulnerable students.”(more)

A Growth Mindset Could Buffer Kids From Negative Academic Effects of Poverty

KQED News Mind/Shift – Katrina Schwartz

“Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, along with other education researchers interested in growth mindset, have done numerous studies showing that when students believe their intelligence can grow and change with effort, they perform better on academic tests. These findings have sparked interest and debate about how to encourage a growth mindset in students both at home and at school. Now, a national study of tenth-graders in Chile found student mindsets are correlated to achievement on language and math tests. And students from low-income families were less likely to hold a growth mindset than their more affluent peers. However, if a low-income student did have a growth mindset, it worked as a buffer against the negative effects of poverty on achievement.”(more)

Early Education is a Disaster in U.S., Study Finds

The U.S. News and World Report – Lauren Camera

“Early childhood education in the U.S. is a disaster, and policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia do little to address the low wages and economic insecurity among teachers and the lack of affordable, high-quality services for children. Those are the findings at the heart of a new report released Thursday by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley – the first comprehensive state-by-state analysis of early education employment conditions and policies.”(more)

US Children Struggling with Health, Education, Report Says

Education News – Raymond Scott

“The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released a new report that details the overall state of children’s lives in US states.
“Kids Count: State Trends in Child Well-Being,” begins by acknowledging that the past few years have brought some positive news for families and children: economic growth, 13 million new jobs, increased rates of health insurance, rising graduation rates, and fewer teens abusing alcohol and drugs. In part, these improvements are the result of federal, state, and local policies that are helping generations of young people.
However, if these statistics are broken down, observers see a far less rosy picture. The overall unemployment rate is far above the national average for African Americans and Latinos, for workers without a college degree and for young adults. The child poverty rate remains high; college prices are rising; far too many families are struggling to provide a better life for their children. The next president, the report suggests, will have rare opportunities to forge bipartisan solutions that address poverty and increase opportunity for today’s parents and young people.”(more)

School Choice as an Antipoverty Strategy

Education Next – Matthew M. Chingos

“Every American family chooses where their child will attend school, whether they know it or not. Some, however, have more choice than others. Affluent families can choose to move to a neighborhood tied to a good school or pay private school tuition. But less affluent families’ choices are too often limited to the schools in the high-poverty neighborhoods where they can afford to live. School choice policies aim to break the link between where children live and where they go to school. They seek to interrupt the cycle of poverty by providing low-income children with access to high-quality educational options that will boost their chances of long-term success. Choice programs come in several flavors, including charter schools, which are publicly funded but independently operated; private school vouchers, which cover all or part of private school tuition; and open enrollment plans (sometimes called public school vouchers) that allow parents to send their child to any public school in the district. When done right, school choice programs can be powerful tools in the fight against poverty.”(more)

Building Children’s Brains

The New York Times – Nicholas Kristof

“First, a quiz: What’s the most common “vegetable” eaten by American toddlers? Answer: The French fry. The same study that unearthed that nutritional tragedy also found that on any given day, almost half of American toddlers drink soda or similar drinks, possibly putting the children on a trajectory toward obesity or diabetes. But for many kids, the problems start even earlier…If we want to get more kids in universities, we should invest in preschools. Actually, preschool may be a bit late. Brain research in the last dozen years underscores that the time of life that may shape adult outcomes the most is pregnancy through age 2 or 3…A wave of recent research in neuroscience explains why early childhood is so critical: That’s when the brain is developing most quickly.”(more)