The Weekly Connect 1/9/17

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 news as educators figure out how to put the spirit of the law into practice.

Stress is driving many teachers out of their profession, and that turnover hurts schools’ efforts to educate children.

In 2016, researchers found evidence that the benefits of early education last over time – contradicting research that had found that these benefits fade.

And adults who were poor as children can experience significant psychological damage. “Why? In a word, stress.”

To read more, click on the following links.

Policy 

Tricky Balance in Shifting From ESSA Blueprint to K-12 Reality
Education Week: ESSA’s architects said the law struck a careful compromise. On the one side, it moved away from what they saw as the worst aspects of the No Child Left Behind Act including what many deemed an overemphasis on standardized tests and a too-heavy federal footprint. At the same time, it kept key safeguards for historically overlooked groups of students. But as the new law passes its first birthday, it’s an open question whether ESSA will be able to maintain that balance once it hits state education agencies, district central offices, and classrooms in full force in the 2017-18 school year. 

New Guidance Outlines Civil Rights Protections for Students with Disabilities
Ed Week On Special Education Blog: During the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights has taken an activist stance on civil rights enforcement, especially when it comes to students with disabilities. And as the clock winds down on this presidency, the Education Department is continuing its efforts though the release of three new guidance documents for schools. 

More Than 600 Head Start Programs to Lengthen Hours under New Funding
Ed Week Early Years Blog: The Office of Head Start announced that it will distribute $290 million to 665 Head Start and Early Head Start programs around the country that they can use to expand their full school day and year offerings.

A Call for Research, Training, and Standards for Early-Childhood STEM
Ed Week Curriculum Matters Blog: A new report calls for developing and promoting high-quality standards for STEM in early childhood that align with states’ standards for K-12 schools, improving the training of teachers by offering fellowships and reshaping their preparation programs, and making STEM offerings a requirement for preschool accreditation. It also calls for more research on early childhood and STEM and better resources to help teachers and parents.  

Native American Education: What Will It Take To Fix The ‘Epitome Of Broken’?
NPR Ed How Learning Happens Blog: In 2015, Arne Duncan, the secretary of education at the time, called the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education “the epitome of broken.” The federal school system has been around for more than 150 years, marred by a past of forcefully assimilating students, rock-bottom academic performance and a crumbling infrastructure. That’s why the Obama administration has been pouring resources into leading an effort with the bureau to change the way it serves the 50,000 students attending its schools nationwide.

Research

Teachers Are Stressed, and That Should Stress Us All
NPR Ed:new report supports that forty-six percent of teachers say they feel high daily stress. That’s on par with nurses and physicians. And roughly half of teachers agree with this statement: “The stress and disappointments involved in teaching at this school aren’t really worth it.” It’s a problem for all of us — not just these unhappy teachers. Here’s why: “Between 30 and 40 percent of teachers leave the profession in their first five years,” says Mark Greenberg, a professor of human development and psychology at Penn State. And that turnover, he says, costs schools — and taxpayers — billions of dollars a year, while research (like this and this) suggests teacher burnout hurts student achievement, too. 

We Learned A Lot in 2016 about How Preschool Can Help Kids
NPR Ed: One of the most controversial questions in education has been whether preschool — and specifically Head Start — helps kids succeed as they move through elementary school. Critics have long noted, and research has supported, that the benefits of Head Start fade in a few years. This year brought several new studies, however, that found that — when done right — Head Start and other programs can give low-income students lasting benefits. 

Study: Students with ADHD Not Helped by Common Test Accommodations
Ed Week On Special Education Blog: Offering students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder extended testing time or frequent breaks does not appear to help them perform better on a standardized test than other students with ADHD who do not get such accommodations, says a new study published in Learning Disabilities, a Multidisciplinary Journal. 

How does our discriminatory criminal justice system affect children?
Economic Policy Institute: On any school day, one in ten African American children has a parent behind bars; African American children are six times as likely as white children to have had an imprisoned parent. The discriminatory incarceration of African American parents, fathers especially, lowers their children’s performance. We can reasonably infer that our criminal justice system contributes to the black-white achievement gap in both cognitive and non-cognitive skills. 

Around the Nation

Nation’s Schools Get Middling Grade on Quality Counts Report Card
Education Week: As a new political and policy era dawns in Washington, the status of the nation’s schools remains stable, though still earning a grade of C from Quality Counts 2017, the 21st annual report card issued by the Education Week Research Center. The C corresponds to a score of 74.2, which is nearly identical to the 74.4 the nation posted in 2016, when it also received a C. The steadiness of national results, notwithstanding, a handful of states saw their scores increase or decline by a full point or more. See related article: Education Week “Quality Counts 2017: State Highlights Reports.” 

School Districts’ Hiring Practices Need an Upgrade, Report Says
Ed Week Teacher Beat Blog: School districts nationwide need a lesson in how to woo top talent, according to a new report that reveals how the field’s approach to hiring teachers lags way behind the modern practices of other professions. The report from the Center for American Progress, looked at 200 public school districts nationwide and where they go wrong. The findings are especially relevant now in light of the teacher shortages that many school districts are suffering.

Childhood poverty can rob adults of psychological health
Science Daily: A new study, conducted by following participants over a 15-year period, is the first to show that childhood poverty can cause significant psychological damage in adulthood. Impoverished children in the study had more antisocial conduct such as aggression and bullying, and increased feeling of helplessness, than kids from middle-income backgrounds, the study said. Poor kids also have more chronic physiological stress and more deficits in short-term spatial memory. 

Children of obese parents at risk of developmental delays, says study
CNN: Being overweight may impact not only your health but your future child’s development as well, a new study suggests. Children of obese parents may be at risk for developmental delays, says the study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Body image problems in teen girls tied to alcohol use
Reuters: High school girls who have issues with body image and weight are more likely to be drinkers than their peers, a U.S. study suggests. When teen girls had body image issues that drove them to try to change their weight, they were 29 percent more likely to have tried alcohol and 22 percent more likely to be heavy drinkers than young women without these body image problems, the study found.

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