Renascence School Education News - private school

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Should your toddler be learning Spanish? – Samantha Melamed

“Last Wednesday night, beneath colorful Mexican cut-paper banners and decorative sombreros, toddlers clambered past one another to grab maracas as children’s music performer Andres Salguero began a bilingual serenade, inviting his new amigos to sing along. It was the grand opening of Mi Casita, the first full-day, Spanish-language-immersion preschool and day-care center in Philadelphia…Foreign-language immersion in early childhood appears to be on the rise, said Marty Abbott, executive director of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Nationwide, the number of public-school immersion programs grew from three in 1971 to 448 by 2011…proactive parents are seeking ways to start educating kids younger than ever, spurring a small but growing number of foreign-language programs in this region starting at the preschool level and even earlier, in day care…”Parents see knowing other languages as important for the future of their children,” Abbott said. “They understand that the children are already living in a global environment and they want to make sure their child is prepared.””(more)

Friday, February 27, 2015

New Advocacy Group Pushes for Multilingualism in D.C. Schools

Ed Central – Conor Williams

“D.C.’s dynamism as a local community was on full display earlier this week at a panel event hosted by the DC Language Immersion Project. The discussion, titled “Economic and Workforce Development Impacts of Language Immersion,” was the second in a series of local events designed to build a groundswell of support for multilingualism in D.C.’s public schools…Joint National Committee for Languages and National Council for Languages and International Studies Executive Director Bill Rivers…cited recent data showing that 11 percent of American companies are actively looking for multilingual job candidates…domestic and global workforce demands are changing rapidly—most jobs being created now in the United States depend in some way on foreign trade.”(more)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bilingual children may have lower Alzheimer’s risk

South China Morning Post – Liz Heron

“Being raised bilingual is good for you. It can boost your language attainment, enhance overall academic performance and perhaps even protect you against Alzheimer’s disease in later life. That is the good news for Hong Kong from one of the world’s leading experts on the biological foundations of language learning. Cognitive neuroscientist Dr Laura-Ann Petitto shared the latest scientific findings on bilingualism – including her own discoveries – in a lecture to mark the launch of University of Hong Kong’s Science of Learning research centre. Trilingualism and full literacy in two languages is the goal for all students in Hong Kong’s public education system…Such kindergartens are absolutely going in the right direction, says Petitto…Early learning is crucial to success in learning two or more languages.”(more)

College? Career Tech? In Nashville, Teens Do Both

NPR – Emily Siner

“Schools don’t like to use the V-word anymore — “vocational,” as in “vocational education.” Administrators say the word is outdated, along with the idea of offering job-training courses only to students who are going straight into the workforce. Nashville, Tenn., is trying a new approach. The public school system there is encouraging every high school student, regardless of college plans, to take three career-training classes before they graduate.”(more)

‘Do Your Homework Arizona’ Site Helps Parents Help Kids

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“A new website is providing parents in Arizona with a new tool to use to help their elementary school children with their math and English homework. Created by Stand for Children Arizona, the site, Do Your Homework Arizona, was created in order to assist parents with understand the new College and Career Readiness standards in the state. The website focuses on math and English because those are the two new standards for the state…The more rigorous academic standards were adopted by the state in 2010 in order to better prepare students for future success. As public schools throughout the state align their teaching with these standards, parents are finding themselves confused by the new methods.”(more)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Practice of Restraining, Secluding Students Faces Growing Opposition

Education News – Grace Smith

“A state report released last week found that public schools are restraining or isolating children against their will at a surprising rate, and hundreds of students have been left with injuries and unmet educational needs. Children with emotional or intellectual disabilities in particular have been targeted, according to Annie Waldman of ProPublica. Over 90,000 instances of restraint and seclusion have been recorded in the past three years generating more than 1,300 injuries, with at least two dozen of them doing serious damage. One child was restrained more than 700 times during one school year.”(more)

Scott, Alexander Team Up to Advocate for School Choice

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“Two Republican senators from Tennessee and South Carolina are teaming up in an attempt to rewrite federal education law, including pushing for greater access to school choice. The recent draft of the K-12 education bill includes a provision that would use $14.5 billion in federal Title I money to offer 11 million low-income students $1,300 to enable them to choose the public school of their choice. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina would like to see even more included in the bill in coming drafts. Offering parents more choice in the school they choose to send their child to would be one of the most controversial parts of the attempted rewrite of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act, the latest version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.”(more)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Two NYC Schools Become First Public Schools in US to Go Vegetarian

Education News – Grace Smith

“Another elementary school in New York City has decided to go with a vegetarian menu for student lunches, and other schools nationwide are paying attention to the experiment. The first school to do so was a public elementary school in Flushing, Queens. Now, the Peck Slip School in lower Manhattan will be serving only plant-based foods in order to support their students’ health as well as for the environment. Natalia Lima of Ecorazzi says that these two schools are the only non-charter schools in the US to have made this switch to vegetarian. The Coalition for Healthy School Food (CHSF), a non-profit organization focused on getting whole foods into schools across New York City’s boroughs, was instrumental in the schools making the change…The CHSF group’s executive director Amie Hamlin noted that many schools are asking for menus to lower their students’ BMIs, promote better health, reduce the number of sick days, and to increase students’ concentration. After implementing vegetarian menus in January of 2013, the school was able to report improved test scores and longer attention spans by students within nine months.”(more)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

More state takeovers of public schools possible

USA Today – Greg Toppo

“The recent takeover of the Little Rock School District by the Arkansas State Board of Education has angered parents and surprised even seasoned school reform observers. The move dissolved the local school board — one ousted board member, Jim Ross, called it a “coup” — and parents took to social media to decry the action. Such a takeover is rare, but as schools nationwide begin to see the results of new math and reading tests based on tougher Common Core standards, they could find themselves the targets of similar moves. “I hear more state boards talking about it, even if they’re not doing it yet,” said Kristen Amundson,executive director of the National Association of State Boards of Education. As changes in federal education law hold schools to higher standards, she said, “states are of necessity having to try different approaches with this relatively small number of persistently low-performing schools.” Amundson, a former teacher and school board member in Fairfax County, Va., said a proposed reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind law — which orders states to assess academic achievement at specific grade levels — would give state governments more power over troubled school districts. That means more potential takeovers.”(more)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Nation’s per-pupil K-12 funding fell for second consecutive year in 2012

The Washington Post – Emma Brown

“After more than a decade of increases in per-pupil funding for K-12 public schools, the nation’s per-pupil spending dropped in 2012 for the second year in a row, according to data released Thursday by the National Center for Education Statistics…The downturn has come as federal stimulus funds dried up, shrinking the federal government’s aid to schools by more than 20 percent between 2011 and 2012. At the same time, many local governments saw their property tax base evaporate in the housing collapse and states wrestled with balancing recession-battered budgets…Cuts to education budgets have meant bigger class sizes and fewer programs in many schools; advocates argue that tight budgets have hobbled efforts to adjust to the new Common Core State Standards, expand access to pre-kindergarten and serve an increasingly needy student population.”(more)