Renascence School Education News - private school

Monday, April 20, 2015

Partisanship and Public Opinion on the Common Core

Education Next – Michael B. Henderson and Martin R. West

“Over the past year, the Common Core State Standards have risen from a topic of interest mainly to educators and school reformers to a top-tier issue in national politics. With likely Republican presidential candidates already staking out divergent positions, the standards and the federal government’s role in promoting them show strong signs of emerging as a key point of contention in the Republican primaries. How might this growing salience shape public opinion on the standards? A comparison of polls we’ve conducted nationally and in the state of Louisiana is instructive—and discouraging. Several states have endured political battles over the Common Core State Standards, but none has matched the drama and intensity of Louisiana’s. Like most states, Louisiana adopted Common Core in 2010 without fanfare or controversy. The state began introducing the standards the following year with an eye toward full implementation this school year. At the time, the standards had the full-throated support of Republican Governor Bobby Jindal. Since then, Governor Jindal has positioned himself against the Common Core and his former ally, State Superintendent John White. In last year’s legislative session, Governor Jindal pushed bills to pull Louisiana out of the Common Core. When those efforts failed, largely due to the state’s powerful business lobby, the governor issued an executive order to pull the state out of a consortium of states using a Common Core-aligned test. After Superintendent White balked, arguing the governor lacked the legal authority to withdraw the state, Jindalsued his own appointee. The fray has been marked with recriminations and personal attacks befitting the political traditions of the Pelican State. Although a state court recently dismissed his lawsuit, Governor Jindal has announced plans to go after Common Core again in this year’s session.”(more)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Capitalizing on children’s motivation to discover key in early education

The Grand Forks Herald – Pamela Knudson

“It may look like children are just playing—as they giggle, babble and analyze items that have caught their eye and sparked their curiosity. But they’re actually engrossed in the important work of building the foundation on which future learning depends, early childhood education specialists say. In the earliest years of a child’s life, the brain is buzzing with activity, rapidly constructing the framework for learning. It’s a critical time “because everything they’re experiencing is brand new,” said Dawnita Nilles, child-care licensor for Grand Forks County Social Services. “Any experience a child has is creating a chemical reaction in the brain,” said Judy Milavetz, early childhood educator. Both women are organizers of the Hands-on Learning Fair, set for Saturday at Purpur Arena in Grand Forks.”(more)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Science, math and art valued more than technology in education poll

The L.A. Times – Howard Blume

“Providing computers to public school students is important to California voters, but not as crucial as other factors affecting education, including a more intense focus on math, science and the arts, according to a new poll. In the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times survey, voters were given a list of options and asked to select the top two that would have the most positive impact on improving public education in California. Nearly half, 49%, picked “increasing funding for math, science and technology instruction,” according to the poll. Nearly a third said funding should be increased for subjects like art and music education. About one in four voters said that most important was raising salaries for teachers and improving books and materials for students. The fifth most popular choice, at 20%, was providing technology, such as tablets and laptops, to students.”(more)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Why 2015 is a big year for child nutrition

The Mother Nature Network – Tom Oder

“That’s because actions on state and federal levels in three areas will have a profound effect on what Deborah Kane, national director of the USDA Farm to School program, thinks could become one of the most important classrooms for every child in every school in America, the cafeteria. In February, bipartisan supporters in the House and Senate introduced the Farm to School Act of 2015 into Congress. The act seeks to build on the success of the USDA Farm to School Program in several key ways: by increasing annual mandatory grant funding from $5 million to $15 million and by expanding the program’s scope to include meals served during the summer when school is out and to children aged 0-5 in preschool settings. The act also includes an emphasis on serving traditional foods in tribal schools. Grants under the existing program have been distributed since 2011. In March, the USDA began conducting its second Farm to School Census. The census will provide updates on how many school districts purchase locally produced food for school meal programs and conduct Farm to School activities. Look for the results in October as part of Farm to School Month.”(more)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Front Row Education Is Changing The Way Math Is Taught In U.S. Elementary And Middle Schools

Forbes – Alexander Taub

“In 2013, Sidharth Kakkar and Alexandr Kurilin had the opportunity to watch children learning math in an inner-city Baltimore school. For a month, they attended to school every day and worked with students. At night, they programmed to make an application that could help the students learn. In September they launched their company, Front Row Education, with 3 teachers. Today there are over 80,000 teachers & 1.1 million students using Front Row across 19,000 US schools. Front Row develops a math program for students and teachers in Kindergarten through eighth grade classrooms. For students, Front Row personalizes practice and lets them work on math problems at their own pace. For example, in a third grade, students learn multiplication. But in every classroom, there are some students who are substantially ahead of their peers: they’re already great at multiplication, and are ready for exponents. On the other hand, there are students trail their peers: their previous teachers were weak and so they lacked a foundation for math. As a result, they still haven’t mastered basic addition. In fact, for most classrooms, 80% or more students fall into one of those two categories.”(more)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Many Urban Charters Are A Success, But There’s Still Work to Be Done

Students First – Aaron Guerrero

“When Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes released its study last week on urban charter schools, many school choice proponents had good reason to be ecstatic. The driving purpose of the study, which examined 41 urban charter school regions across nearly 22 states, was determining if urban charter schools were performing better or worse than traditional public schools (TPS) in their communities. In both the Twittersphere and more traditional media outlets, education reformers have trumpeted the study’s results as further vindication that quality charter schools can be thriving academic powerhouses and a viable alternative for parents eager to prevent their child from being trapped in a failing school. Indeed, the results were so strong that in some quarters there was even hope that charter opponents would reconsider their stance.”(more)

New Systems of Schools and Common Enrollment

Education Next – Andy Smarick

“I didn’t see common enrollment systems coming. When I started writing The Urban School System of the Future in 2009, I didn’t foresee the extent of the complications associated with parental choice in cities with expansive networks of accessible schools. At that point, the vast majority of city kids were still assigned to schools, and the conventional wisdom was that this would be the case for years to come. My, how things have changed. New Orleans is now a virtually all-charter system. Detroit and D.C. have about half of their kids in charters; in Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Kansas City, and Cleveland it’s more than 30 percent. This growth is great. Kids in urban charters learn more in math and reading, and the benefits are being realized most by disadvantaged students. It’s forcing city leaders to rethink the operations, oversight, and governance of public schools (see Camden, Memphis, and Detroit). But—as explained in a primer by CRPE—if cities simply add more choice schools in the absence of changes to the enrollment process, parents can struggle to find information on schools, be forced to fill out widely varying school applications, and then receive a staggered barrage of acceptance and rejection notices.”(more)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Innovation, Technology, and Rural Schools

Education Next – Andy Smarick

“According to Washington elites, rural schools’ greatest challenge is finding and keeping teachers. Ask the inside-the-beltway crowd for a solution, and, considering all the buzz over blended learning and innovation, they’ll probably shout, “technology!” One small problem: Rural superintendent don’t consider teacher recruitment and retention among their biggest challenges…and mixing rural schooling and technology is more complicated than you might think. Hmmm. Thank goodness for “Technology and Rural Education,” by Bryan C. Hassel and Stephanie Dean of Public Impact, the latest paper from Bellwether’s rural-education project, ROCI. The report begins as you might expect, arguing that technology holds great promise for rural schooling. “It can give students access to great teachers…enable them to tap into resources they would never find in a school’s media center…help them personalize their learning…open doors to forge networks with other students across the world.” But unlike many tech-focused reports, it also recognizes the special characteristics of rural schools, especially as they relate to educators.”(more)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Why should we fear teachers visiting their students’ homes?

The Washington Post – Jay Mathews

“Dave Levin thought he was going to be fired from his Houston school the day he picked up a huge, unruly sixth-grader and dropped him in his seat. He had touched a kid. That was a big no-no. He felt so bad that he went to the boy’s small wood-frame home after school — another thing he had been told never to do — and apologized to the boy’s mother. To his surprise, the woman seemed pleased by his visit. “Listen,” she said, “you’re the first teacher that ever came to the house. Do whatever you have to do to my son. He doesn’t listen to me. Do whatever you have to do.” Meeting the mother caused the boy to behave a bit better. Levin and his friend Mike Feinberg, another teacher, began to do home visits regularly, making them part of the KIPP charter school network they founded.”(more)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Full-day pre-K’s benefits backed by research, advocates say

The Dallas Morning News – EVA-MARIE AYALA

“As legislators work to revamp education for the youngest Texans, they keep coming back to one question: Does full-day prekindergarten really make much of a difference? Research suggests it does. Studies have consistently found measurable, as well as anecdotal, evidence that full-day programs have far more lasting effects on children than half-day programs, early childhood education advocates say. Alan Cohen, who oversees the Dallas school district’s pre-K, pointed legislators to a local study that looked at all districts in the county. It was abundantly clear that lack of kindergarten readiness created an achievement cap in the third grade, meaning that students who didn’t attend pre-K couldn’t score above a certain level, he said. That echoed findings from a University of Minnesota study released in November that showed children who had a seven-hour instructional day outperformed their peers academically, behaved better in class, had fewer absences and were healthier than their peers in a three-hour program.”(more)