Renascence School Education News - private school

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)

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)