The Weekly Connect 11/21/16

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

These are some of the things we’ve been reading about:

A new survey reveals just how much of their own money teachers use to fill gaps in educational equity; teachers tended to spend more in the poorest school districts. A New York University study finds that parents’ race and country of birth affect how teachers communicate with them.  And depression is becoming more common among U.S. teenagers.

In the good news column: preschool, when it’s done right, has lasting efforts; ACT Inc. will provide accommodations for the English Language Learners who take its college entrance exam; and mindfulness practice is making a difference in a West Baltimore school.

To read more, click on the following links.

Policy

Turnarounds Can Be Effective When Used With Other Strategies, Report Finds
Ed Week State Ed Watch Blog: The Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) published a report that shows different ways states have intervened in schools, mapping four turnaround approaches: state support for local turnarounds, state-authorized turnaround zones, school takeovers, and district takeovers. The Every Student Succeeds Act directs states to intervene in low-performing schools and districts but gives them a freer hand in choosing how to go about it. The report from CRPE has found that state involvement can be most effective when turnaround policies are “tailored” to a school or district’s particular circumstances.

Research

A Lesson for Preschools: When It’s Done Right, the Benefits Last
NPR Ed: Research published in the journal Child Development studied nearly 1 million North Carolina students who attended state-funded early childhood programs between 1995 and 2010, and followed them through fifth grade. They concluded that the benefits from these programs grew or held steady over those five years. And when the researchers broke the students down into subgroups by race and income they found that all of those groups showed gains that held over time.

New Survey Details How Teachers Use Their Own Money to Fill in Equity Gaps
Ed Week Teaching Now Blog: An overwhelming majority of educators agree that equity in education should be a national priority—but in the meantime, teachers report dipping into their own pockets to help fill in the gaps. Scholastic surveyed 4,721 public school educators over the summer for its nationally representative report. On average in the past year, teachers who were surveyed spent $530 of their own money on classroom items. Teachers in high-poverty schools spent nearly 40 percent more—an average of $672.  

How Discrimination Shapes Parent-Teacher Communication
The Atlantic: Relying on a sample of about 10,000 public high-school sophomores, their parents, and teachers from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, Hua-Yu Sebastian Cherng, a sociologist and an assistant professor of education at New York University’s Steinhardt school, found sharp contrasts in how math and English teachers communicate with parents from different racial, ethnic, and immigrant backgrounds. When teachers were questioned about their parent communications in three key areas—homework completion, disruptive behavior in class, and student accomplishments—a youngster’s race, ethnicity, and immigrant status appeared to be the deciding factors.

Around the Nation

ACT Offers First Accommodations for English-Language Learners
Ed Week High School & Beyond Blog: ACT Inc. announced that it will provide, for the first time, accommodations for English-learners who take its college-entrance exam. The options will become available in the fall of 2017. Students will have to apply for them through their school counselor’s office. The accommodations include more time on the test, use of an approved word-to-word bilingual glossary, testing in a non-distracting environment, and test instructions provided in the student’s native language.

Fewer US children lack access to health care
Fox News: As a growing number of U.S. children have gained health insurance over the past decade, fewer kids are missing out on things like physicals and dental exams, a recent study suggests. Researchers analyzed U.S. survey data collected on 178,000 children under age 18 from 2000 to 2014. Among all children, uninsured rates declined from 12.1 percent in 2000 to 5.3 percent in 2014, researchers report in Pediatrics.

Skipping breakfast and not enough sleep can make children overweight
Medical News Today: Mothers smoking in pregnancy, children skipping breakfast and not having a regular bedtime or sufficient sleep all appear to be important factors in predicting whether a child will become overweight or obese, according to new research published in the journal Pediatrics.

How mindfulness practices are changing an inner-city school
The Washington Post: The focus at Robert W. Coleman Elementary in West Baltimore is not on punishment but on mindfulness — a mantra of daily life at an unusual urban school that has moved away from detention and suspension to something educators hope is more effective. Here, students are referred to the Mindful Moment Room when they misstep or need calming. Research about the effect of mindfulness practices on children in school settings is still in its early stages, but there have been promising signs of social and emotional benefits, and a few studies have pointed to academic improvement.

Depression becoming more common among U.S. teens
Reuters: The number of U.S. adolescents and young adults with untreated depression may be on the rise, a recent study suggests. For youth ages 12 to 17, the prevalence of depression increased from 8.7 percent in 2005 to 11.3 percent in 2014, the study found. 

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