Renascence School Education News - private school

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)

Monolingual Myopia

The Huffington Post – Clayton Lewis

“Debates are sizzling about the efficacy of American education in preparing students for the global economy. Graduates face escalating competition as millions of recent job entrants hit the market from expanding middle-class economies such as India, China and Brazil. Of all the competencies that have the potential to set young Americans apart as they seek jobs, languages are most often overlooked. Recent statistics at both the high school and university levels reveal startling and preoccupying inconsistencies between a globalizing career environment requiring proficiency in more than one language and American students’ curricular choices. One measure of declining interest in language is the Advanced Placement Program, where in 2014, students took a total of 197,208 examinations in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. While that number may seem large, it is less than 5 percent of the almost 4.2 million AP examinations taken that year. Remarkably, far more students — 259,789 — took the AP psychology exam. The most common AP language is Spanish, as one would expect. However, the increase in the number of examinations in Spanish Language from 2013 to 2014 was flat. Enrollment in Chinese Language grew dramatically when it was first introduced as an AP course in 2007. Annual increases as high as 32 percent have fallen to only 6 percent in 2014, when a total of 10,728 students took the AP Chinese exam.”(more)

Promoting school quality can be done on many fronts

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel – Alan j. Borsuk

“What a day I had on Wednesday. I talked with or listened to significant, interesting people who, I believe, each want to see things get better for children in Milwaukee, in Wisconsin and nationwide. But the differences in what they said! I felt like I was getting thrown from side to side in a roller coaster. How do I sort it all out? First there was Todd Ziebarth, one of the leading charter school advocates in the country. Specifically, he’s senior vice president for state advocacy and support for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and he’s involved in trying to get the Legislature to allow more independent charter schools in Wisconsin and to provide more money to those schools. Some of the best schools in Milwaukee are independent charters, Ziebarth said, and he’s right. Later Wednesday, I got a news release from a reputable research organization known as CREDO at Stanford University, which found that students in independent charter schools in Milwaukee were making more progress overall than students in Milwaukee Public Schools. Why aren’t there more green lights to create such schools? Ziebarth asked. Good question. Then, in the afternoon, I got a call encouraging me to take an interest in a statement signed by the leaders of more than 30 government and nongovernment bodies involved in Milwaukee’s complex education scene. A lot of them aren’t known for cooperating with one another, and this was an encouraging example of working together, initiated by the Milwaukee Succeeds campaign.”(more)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Getting Millennials Engaged in Civic Life

Education Week – Jean MacCormack

“With new sessions of Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court under way and a presidential election on the not-too-distant horizon, I am once again reminded of the shocking statistic that only 36 percent of Americans can name all three branches of the federal government. If we want this to change, we need to begin with our young people. And the path to getting our nation’s youths to become more fully educated and engaged citizens begins—but doesn’t end—in the classroom. With decreased investments in civics education, growing feelings of disillusionment, and frustration with an increasingly polarized political system, young people tune out politics—much like the public at large. The late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts believed that increasing knowledge and understanding of the nation’s government and civic history was a way to inspire America’s young people and tap into their full potential, and to build a less divided, more participatory and productive democracy for tomorrow.”(more)

We’re All Art Teachers

Education Next – Alicia Arman

““You can’t play music on a piece of paper.” Those were the first words a little boy I’ll call Michael said to me when he walked in the doors of summer theater camp. I was 18, just months away from starting my first year at Berkeley. I was ready to do my part in shaping the young artists of my hometown as a drama teacher (in training) at one of the myriad theater camps in the area. I’d done this before and knew what to expect: kids are kids, I thought, and these kids would be like all the others—bouncy, bubbly, full of life, and totally normal. I wasn’t expecting anyone to yell, “You can’t play music on a piece of paper.” I wasn’t expecting Michael.”(more)