Renascence School Education News - private school

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pick preschools based on education philosophy

The Shreveport Times – Meaghan Long

“A child’s preschool is a place full of alphabet songs and animal flash cards, but there’s more to choosing the right first school than shapes and colors. It’s one of the first tough decisions parents must make regarding their child’s intellectual and social development. And there are many factors parents must consider when making that decision. For many parents, costs are a primary concern. Michelle Brunson, director for Northwestern State University’s graduate program in early education, is a firm believer cost doesn’t always measure quality. “The most expensive school is not necessarily the best,” Brunson said. When it comes to early education, Brunson is adamant the primary concern should be the child’s social and emotional development. “A child must feel nurtured and accepted and form healthy bonds with caregivers,” she said. A school’s educational philosophy — the curriculum teachers and staff use — should also be a priority for parents. Parents need to find out if the school is following an established curriculum and, if so, which one.”(more)

Learning a Language Early On Is the Best Investment

PR News Wire – Staff Writer

“The best advice for the teen you know is plain and simple: Learning a foreign language is one of the best investments one can make, with short and long term benefits. We are bombarded with miracle solutions to learn a language “in 5 minutes.” However, some straightforward facts and truths about language learning must be acknowledged: – Start way before your college years. You must be dedicated in college to learn a language from scratch, let alone two. And even though studying abroad in college is great, it will never bring the same intensity and emotions compared to doing it between 14 and 17. Middle school and high school years are the best time to learn a foreign language.”(more)

Lessons for Learning and Life: 10 Messages Parents (and Teachers) Can Teach Kids

The Huffington Post – Mary Ryerse

“Reflecting upon enduring lessons learned during my formative years, a primary source was former professor and college tennis coach Steve Wilkinson. I am not alone. Thousands of former students, athletes, and campers have credited Steve’s clear, simple and profound teachings as being at the core of who they are today. Steve brought with him not only the credibility of a PhD., too many tennis titles to count, a published book, inductee to several Hall of Fames, and more – but also a ready smile, a caring heart, and the ability to connect seemingly simple lessons learned on the court to life off the court. This is much like the opportunity parents have each day to create an environment that transforms day-to-day activities into a training ground for life. Parents are in a unique position to help their children draw connections between what they are learning and doing (in school, activities, community service, family conversations, and more) with enduring life lessons. After Steve recently passed away after 6 years of living with cancer, his daughters (Stephanie Wilkinson and Deborah Wilkinson Sundal) and colleagues (Neal Hagberg and Tommy Valentini), articulated many of Steve’s lessons – and I’ve done my best to build upon them and draw connections between learning and life in practical ways.”(more)

The Skills You Really Need to Get a Job

The Huffington Post – Amy Rosen

“This week, I’m attending The Future of Work Conference being held in London sponsored by The WorldPost. One panel I am on is “Mind the Skills Gap.” Discussions about the skills gap have usually included questions such as “How serious is it?” and “What can we do about it?” and “How can we get our schools and employers to work better together?” But now more serious questions are being raised — questions about whether the skills gap exists at all. Less than a year ago, New York Times columnist and economic heavyweight Paul Krugman wrote that it does not. He called it a skills myth. And he said it again just last week. And while I’m hesitant to disagree with someone as well-versed and well placed as Krugman, there’s really little debate that we have a skills gap — or maybe, better said, an employment gap.”(more)

Behold The Humble Block! Tools Of The Trade

NPR – Eric Westervelt

“For this series, we’ve been thinking a lot about the iconic tools that some of us remember using — if only for a short time — in our early schooling. Things like the slide rule and protractor, Presidential Fitness Test and Bunsen burner. Today we explore the simple, powerful tool that is still alive and well in some early learning classrooms: the wooden block. You might call it the anti-app. Measurement. Balance. Math. Negotiation. Collaboration. And fun. The smooth maple pieces need no recharging, no downloading. “Let’s just put these blocks up,” says 4-year-old Jacques. “I think this will probably work. Be careful, Corrine.” “I know,” says Corinne, who is also 4.”(more)

Michelle Obama heads to Asia to promote girls’ education

Reuters – Susan Heavey

“First Lady Michelle Obama will travel to Japan and Cambodia this month as part of a U.S. global effort to support education for girls, the White House said on Tuesday. She will visit Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan from March 18 to March 20, and the Cambodian city of Siem Reap from March 21 to 22, it said in a statement. The initiative aims to reduce the number of girls – 62 million worldwide – who do not attend school in an effort to improve their financial stability, health and well-being, according to the administration. The effort, launched last summer through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will utilize the Peace Corps volunteer program to help expand access for schooling for girls, especially for teenagers. Senior Obama Adviser Valerie Jarrett on Tuesday said corps volunteers will recruit and train other local volunteers and push other community efforts in nearly a dozen countries.”(more)

Treat Teacher Education Like a Medical Residency

The New York Times – Jal Mehta

“Getting a well-trained teacher in every classroom is a generation-long project. It would require new approaches to training, higher entry standards and substantial opportunities for continued learning within the profession, including occasions for master teachers to mentor new ones. How could we achieve this transformation? A good first step would be to raise standards for teacher licensure and simultaneously radically revamp teacher training over the first three years. Teacher tenure, now generally acquired after three years, would not be automatic: It would be more equivalent to making partner at a law firm or getting tenure at a university. The required assessment for tenure would not be a paper and pencil test, but a demonstration of actual teaching skill.”(more)

Some districts ditch online exams for paper and pencil

E-School News – Diane Rado

“The affluent Highland Park-based Township High School District 113 near Chicago has all the modern technology, bandwidth, computers and technicians it needs to administer new online state exams this spring — but it opted to go with old-fashioned paper and pencil tests instead. Likewise, some of the state’s largest districts have switched to paper exams, fearing technology glitches could create headaches for students and teachers alike. Some officials believe such distractions could skew results on the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exams in reading and math. “Our concern was really that the results of this testing taken online wouldn’t necessarily give clear data on what students know and should be able to do,” said District 113 spokeswoman Jennifer Waldorf. With the main spring testing season just days away, hundreds of Illinois schools are eschewing the PARCC computer exams that include videos, drop-down menus, drag-and-drop exercises and other online functions, adding to the already-brewing controversy over state testing both here and across the country.”(more)

Solving Oregon’s chronic absenteeism problem: Would financial incentives motivate schools or punish students?

Oregon Live – Betsy Hammond

“Oregon lawmakers are hotly debating a bill that would gradually change state school funding to a formula based on the number of students who come to school rather than the number enrolled. Principal-turned-legislator Rep. Betty Komp, D-Woodburn, is pushing House Bill 2657, which would make that switch, starting by funding kindergarten based on kindergartners’ attendance in 2016-17. By 2020-21, all grade levels would be funded that way. But several members of the House Education Committee said Monday they will vote against the bill, which is exactly the position that the state teachers union and the Oregon School Boards Association urged them to take. Students who come from low-income homes are most likely to miss a lot of school, so schools in poor communities would be harmed, and family factors outside of schools’ control contribute to absenteeism, said Portland Democrat Lew Frederick and Salem Republican Jodi Hack. Schools need more money and more support, not a hammer hanging over them that they will lose funding if they don’t fix high rates of chronic absenteeism, they said.”(more)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Shout louder

The Economist – Staff Writer

“THE last time she was recruiting for her export-sales team, Sarah Grain hired a Lithuanian who speaks Russian, Polish and German. Her two previous hires for Eriez Magnetics, which makes industrial equipment in South Wales, were an Italian who also speaks French, and a Venezuelan who speaks Spanish and Portuguese. All of them speak fluent English. “There were no British applicants who had the requisite language skills,” she says. Ms Grain’s conclusion is not unusual for a British company. In 2012 a European Commission survey tested the foreign-language proficiency of 54,000 students aged 14 and 15, in 14 nations. Sweden came top, with 82% of pupils reaching an “independent” or “advanced independent” standard. The average for all 14 states was 42%. England came bottom, with just 9%. Part of the explanation is that many people’s second language is English, while many Britons continue to believe that, as native speakers of the lingua mundi, they do not need to bother with foreign languages. They may be right—in terms of communication. But it means that, not only are they missing out on much cultural interaction, they may also be harming their own job prospects.”(more)