Renascence School Education News - private school

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Early education narrows the achievement gap with younger starts and longer stays

Phys Org – Staff Writer

“New research from UNC’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) reveals high-quality early education is especially advantageous for children when they start younger and continue longer. Not only does more high-quality early education significantly boost the language skills of children from low-income families, children whose first language is not English benefit even more. “These findings show that more high-quality early education and care can narrow the achievement gap before children reach kindergarten,” said Noreen M. Yazejian, principal investigator of FPG’s Educare Learning Network Implementation Study. “Children from low-income families can improve their standing relative to their middle class peers.” Yazejian said previous research has shown language skills are most malleable for children before age 4, which in large part explains high-quality early education’s powerful effects. Her study examined children’s receptive language skills—the ability to hear and understand words—because these particular skills are an excellent predictor of later academic success.”(more)

Nine ways to use language skills to get a job and boost your career

The Guardian – Georgie Bradley

“If you want to be able to use a language within a specific field, it’s essential to combine subjects, as a straight language degree may not command a big enough premium on the job market. Adam Marshall, executive director, policy and external affairs, British Chamber of Commerce, London says: “Companies look at language as part of a wider skills base – very few recruit on this alone. Pure language degrees are often seen as less valuable by prospective employers than degrees that combine other core skills.'”(more)

Nestle expanding research on child health and nutrition

Food Business News – Chad Orzel

“The research effort is on at Nestle S.A. The Vevey-based company earlier this week said it will expand its research on child health and nutrition to 10 countries, including the United States, China and Mexico, by the end of 2016. The research consists of two ongoing studies being conducted by Nestle: the Kids Nutrition and Health Study (KNHS) and Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS). According to Nestle, the studies provide snapshots of eating patterns, nutrient intakes, child lifestyle and behavioral factors, and healthy weight indicators of children up to 12 years of age. “Nestle will rely on FITS and KNHS learnings to continually improve the nutritional profiles of our products that address unmet nutritional needs, as well as communications, programs and services to inform health care providers, parents and caregivers” said Timothy A. Morck, vice-president of scientific and regulatory affairs at Nestle USA.”(more)

Science Is Essentially Human; Or Why Better STEM Education Isn’t A Threat

Forbes – Chad Orzel

“In the short bio that serves as a tagline here, I promise to write not only about physics, but science and academia as well. Fareed Zakaria has conveniently provided me with a hook to do just that, with a much-shared Washington Post piece headlined “Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous.” (“STEM” of course is the trendy acronym for “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.”) Zakaria’s piece is promoting his new book In Defense of a Liberal Education, and working where I do, I see a lot of these. Zakaria’s particular “defense” isn’t especially good or bad, as such things go, just a little more well-connected than most. As is very common with such things, he engages in a bit of rhetorical jiu-jitsu, giving examples of politicians disparaging the idea of majoring in arts or anthropology then decrying “this dismissal of broad-based learning,” as if suggesting students major in “practical” subjects was equivalent to saying they should never take even a single class in “impractical” subjects. In fact, what’s being questioned by calls for more and better STEM education is not the idea of broad-based education, but a different kind of narrowness, in which most students who go on to work in business and public policy do everything they can to avoid science classes.”(more)

Social studies education facing ‘crisis’ as class time is slashed, departments closed

The Washington Post – Valerie Strauss

“It’s no secret that for years Social Studies (as well as the arts, science and physical education) have been given short shrift in many public schools around the country as academic emphasis has been placed on math and English Language Arts, the subjects for which there are high-stakes standardized tests. Now, Gorman Lee, president of the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies, is warning that social studies education is facing a “serious civic crisis.” The state council is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit educational organization that advocates for social studies education. It is an affiliate of the National Council for the Social Studies, which serves as an umbrella organization for elementary, secondary, and college teachers of history, civics, geography, economics, political science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and law-related education.”(more)

Four in 10 new teachers quit within a year

The Guardian – Sally Weale

“Almost four out of 10 teachers quit within a year of qualifying, with 11,000 leaving the profession before they have really begun their career and record numbers of those who remain giving up mid-career, according to analysis of government figures. The exodus of new recruits has almost tripled in six years, resulting in a crisis in teacher supply in a profession that has become “incompatible with normal life”, according to Mary Bousted, the general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. Denouncing the government’s record on schools, she said the education system was “being run on a wing and a prayer”, with teachers exhausted, stressed and burnt out in a profession that was being “monitored to within an inch of its life”. Addressing ATL’s annual conference in Liverpool, Bousted told delegates that before he entered office, former education secretary Michael Gove had told ATL’s 2010 conference that teachers should be highly valued and that he wanted to give the profession more freedom over how to teach.”(more)

Revolving Door Of Teachers Costs Schools Billions Every Year

NPR – Owen Phillips

“Every year, thousands of fresh-faced teachers are handed the keys to a new classroom, given a pat on the back and told, “Good luck!” Over the next five years, though, nearly half of those teachers will transfer to a new school or leave the profession altogether — only to be replaced with similarly fresh-faced teachers. We’ve been reporting this month on the pipeline into teaching — and hearing from teachers themselves about why they stay. Richard Ingersoll, who has studied the issue for years, says there’s a revolving door of teacher turnover that costs school districts upwards of $2.2 billion a year.”(more)

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)

Boot Camps for Charter Boards

Education Next – June Kronholz

“The 7:40 p.m. agenda item at a meeting of Washington, D.C.’s charter-school authorizer, the D.C. Public Charter School Board, was a “discussion” about a school for 700 low-income, African American girls. As authorizing-board members listened in stony silence, the school board’s new chair explained that a recent “self-assessment” revealed that staffers had been misusing school credit cards, teacher retention was miserable, the front office was staffed “like a Fortune 500 company,” and two-thirds of the previous year’s students hadn’t verified that they were D.C. residents and eligible to attend at D.C. taxpayer expense. Among the non-D.C. students: the enrollment manager’s daughter. Whose responsibility is it when a charter school gets into trouble—when its students aren’t learning or it misses its enrollment targets or money runs short or it closes? Everyone I asked gave the same answer. “I’d point right to the board,” said Mark Lerner, who sits on the board of Washington Latin charter school. “The failure of a charter is the failure of the board,” said Tom Keane, who directs strategic initiatives at AppleTree, an early-learning charter with six D.C. campuses. “Every closure ultimately can get traced back to the board not doing the job,” added Marci Cornell-Feist, a Massachusetts-based education consultant and entrepreneur.”(more)

The Complications of Educational Returns in Rural America

Education Next – Andy Smarick

“The latest paper from ROCI, our rural ed-reform task force, is a totally fascinating study of the economic “return on schooling,” how much do individuals in a given location benefit financially from higher educational attainment. Although it focuses on Idaho, its lessons are applicable everywhere. In “Economic Returns to Education in Idaho,” Paul A. Lewin and Willem J. Braak begin by calculating that, in the US, an additional year of education currently provides an average return of about 7.7 percent for full-time workers. Good news for sure, but things get more and more interesting the deeper you dig. Between 1929 and 1977, Idaho’s per capita income was near the national average. The recessions of the early 1980s and late 2000s briefly decreased the state’s income level, and the recoveries never returned the state to its original growth path. By 2014, Idaho’s per-capita income was one of the nation’s lowest. Is education the cause? Idaho ranks 46th in the nation in the percentage of high school students going on to college, and its graduation rate from four-year institutions of higher education is among the lowest in the nation.”(more)