The Weekly Connect 12/19/16

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:

ESSA (the Every Student Succeeds Act) remains in the headlines as education officials try to determine the law’s impact on funding… Advocacy groups are calling on to states to make high-achieving, low-income students a priority under ESSA accountability.

In research news, one study finds that early intervention pays off for disadvantaged students; and another study looks at income-based differences in parenting.

Around the nation, hospitals and schools stand out as hubs for building healthy communities… While federal data reveals that 1.6 million students attend schools that have on-site law enforcement officers but no school counselors.

To read more, click on the following links.

Policy 

Memo: Improving student achievement by meeting children’s comprehensive needs
Brookings Chalkboard: The research and recommendations outlined here illuminate a pivotal opportunity to ensure effective, feasible, cost-efficient approaches to meeting the comprehensive needs of students. Evidence demonstrates that integrated approaches to student support, when implemented with adherence to principles of effective practice, can significantly narrow achievement gaps and improve dropout rates for the nation’s growing numbers of students living in low-income and disadvantaged circumstances.

Education funding under ESSA
Smart Brief: The one-year anniversary of the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is here. Like most major laws, the impact of ESSA on policy and practice, as well as on funding, is still being determined as regulations and guidance get sorted out, and Congress figures out how to provide funds for it. Title I funding, the largest federal investment in public education and designed to provide supplemental funding for low-income students, has remained largely flat for seven years. And for most federal K-12 education programs, funding has been largely stagnant, with small increases or decreases year-over-year. How might ESSA change this scenario?

Groups Urge Focus on High-Achieving, Low-Income Students under ESSA
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: Three prominent education advocacy organizations are urging states to make high-achieving, low-income students a priority by including student growth in their new accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Research

Educational Attainment Gains, Lingering Gaps, and Challenges Examined in Report
Ed Week High School & Beyond Blog: The United States is making progress in improving the pipeline from high school to college, but there is still significant work to do, a new report says. Challenges facing students today are threatening to impede the country’s progress in educational attainment, says the report from Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at John Hopkins University’s School of Education. 

After 50 Years, Head Start Struggles With Uneven Quality
NPR: For more than 50 years, Head Start has provided free early childhood education and other services to low-income families. But new national research shows great variation from state to state in how well the program work. “This is the first time anyone has looked at funding, services and quality state by state, says Steven Barnett, a professor at Rutgers University who directed the study. Among the key findings, Barnett says, is that “programs that offered more hours had lower quality.” Poor-quality programs, he explains, are simply trying to do too much with too little. 

Early Intervention Pays Off for Disadvantaged Children, Says New Study
Ed Week Early Years Blog: James J. Heckman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist whose research has yielded the often-quoted statistic that investment in high-quality preschool can yield a 7 to 10 percent “rate of return,” has released a new study showing an even greater rate of return for a program that worked with children from infancy to age 5. See related article: The Washington Post “A Nobel Prize winner says public preschool programs should start at birth.” 

Homeless Students with Disabilities, Language Needs Growing, New Data Show
Ed Week Inside School Research Blog: After years of deepening child poverty, new federal data show a sharp rise in the number of homeless students who also have disabilities or limited English proficiency. But growth in both the number and needs of America’s roughly 1.3 million homeless students means federal support for them is spread thin.

The American Obsession with Parenting
The Atlantic: A recent study published by the American Educational Research Association aimed to get a better sense of how income-based differences in parenting behaviors have evolved over time, drawing data from four nationally representative, longitudinal surveys conducted between 1988 and 2012. The research findings are promising in that they show lower-income parents are engaging in activities like reading and educational excursions more than ever before. But they also show that, for six of the eight behaviors studied, the disparities only grew. 

Around the Nation

Hospitals and schools as hubs for building healthy communities
Brookings Building Healthy Neighborhoods Blog: In “Hospitals and schools as hubs for building healthy communities,” Stuart Butler and Carmen Diaz feature two such institutions that can play a major role in helping to enhance health and long-term economic mobility in a community: hospitals and schools. They have enormous potential as hubs, but also face obstacles and challenges associated with such things as data sharing, budget and payment issues, and inflexible business plans. 

Schools with Police but No School Counselors: A Closer Look
Ed Week Rules for Engagement Blog: Among the findings from the most recent federal Civil Rights Data Collection that got the most attention: 1.6 million students attend public schools that have an on-site law enforcement officer but no school counselor. 

Mindfulness in Schools: When Meditation Replaces Detention
U.S. News & World Report: Say the fourth-grader was tussling with his on-again, off-again buddy on the playground – a taunt here, light shove there. At most schools, governed by a traditional disciplinary approach, the offender would land in the principal’s office, likely followed by a few days of detention: an hour after school, empty classroom, utter silence. At Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in Baltimore, kids are instead referred to the Mindful Moment Room, an oasis of colorful tapestries and beanbag chairs, oil diffusers and herbal tea, where they practice deep-breathing exercises, meditate and talk about what happened.

What comes before new-onset major depressive disorder in kids, teens?
Science Daily: A new article published in JAMA Psychiatry by Frances Rice and coauthors examined data from a study that began with 337 families where a parent (315 mothers and 22 fathers) had at least two episodes of MDD and among whom there was a biologically related child from 9 to 17 years of age living with them. Analyses suggest irritability and fear/anxiety were clinical antecedents associated with new-onset adolescent MDD. Family/genetic and social risk factors also influenced the risk for new-onset MDD, according to the results.

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