The Weekly Connect 2/13/17

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:

Betsy DeVos is the new U.S. Secretary of Education… and John King, who just stepped down as education secretary, is going to lead the Education Trust, a national nonprofit that promotes high educational achievement for all students.

A strong, positive school climate can protect middle school students from the upheavals of adolescence and help them do better in math and reading.

Research shows that New York’s work with community schools is paying off.

More preschools are providing health education as the links between health and learning receive more attention.

To read more, click on the following links.

Policy

Betsy DeVos Confirmed as Education Secretary; Pence Breaks Tie
The New York Times: Betsy DeVos was confirmed by the Senate as the nation’s education secretary on Tuesday, but only with the help of a historic tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence after weeks of protests and two defections within her own party. See related articles: Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog “Senate Confirms Betsy DeVos as Ed. Secretary, Amid Unprecedented Pushback.” 

John B. King, Jr. to Lead the Education Trust
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: Former U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr., is taking the helm of The Education Trust, an organization in Washington that has spent decades advocating for poor and minority children. King will be only the second leader in Ed Trust’s history, taking over for Kati Haycock, the organization’s chief executive officer who founded Ed Trust in the 1990’s.

House Republicans Move to Scrap Rules on ESSA, Teacher Preparation
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: Republican lawmakers in Congress are moving to do away with regulations from the Obama administration regarding accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act and teacher preparation. If both sets of regulations are overturned, it could have far-reaching consequences. See related article: Ed Week State Ed Watch Blog “States’ ESSA Plans Now Entering the Legislative Phase.”

Research

NYC’s bold gamble: Spend big on impoverished students’ social and emotional needs to get academic gains
The Hechinger Report: Until recently, education reform has prioritized the growth of charter schools, enforcement of strict discipline and high-stakes testing. As those ideas have produced less progress than anticipated, community school advocates hope their model can take over the mantle of reform. The country has approximately 5,000 community schools, according to the National Center for Community Schools. The model is based on the idea that diagnosing the social and emotional needs of children and their families and then alleviating barriers such as hunger, mental health issues and poor eyesight will make academic success more attainable. Research has shown that the model can be successful.

One year of high-quality early education improves outcomes for low-income infants, toddlers
Science Daily: Children from low-income families are at substantial risk in terms of their social-emotional and academic skills at school entry, with fewer than half considered ready for school at age 5. A new study, published in the journal Child Development, has found that infants and toddlers from low-income families who attended a high-quality center-based early education program do better in language and social skills after only one year than children who do not attend the program. 

School Climate: For Middle Schoolers, Connection Can Drive Math and Reading
Ed Week Inside School Research Blog: The onset of adolescence can play havoc with students’ academic performance, as heightened social pressures, bullying and a changing sense of self-identity make it harder for kids to focus on a book report or math homework. Yet a strong, positive school climate may help counter that upheaval, suggests a new study of California middle school students. Researchers from the Regional Educational Lab West found that 7th graders’ math and reading scores rose and fell over time with their belief that their schools had a welcoming climate.

Why Kids Should Pay Attention to Their Mistakes
Live Science: Kids who think they can get smarter if they work hard are more likely to bounce back from their mistakes than those who think their level of intelligence is set in stone, a new study published in in the journal Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience finds. The study found that children with a growth mind-set were more likely to have a larger brain response after making a mistake, compared with children who had a fixed mind-set. This suggests that children with a growth mind-set were paying more attention to their mistakes, the researchers said. 

Around the Nation

America’s children most likely to live in poverty
News Medical: Out of all age groups, children are still most likely to live in poverty, according to new research from the National Center for Children in Poverty. Researchers found that in 2015, while 30 percent of adults have low incomes, more than 40 percent of all children live in low-income families, including 5.2 million infants and toddlers under 3. Despite significant gains in household income and reductions in the overall poverty rate in recent years, 43 percent (30.6 million) of America’s children are living in families barely able to afford their most basic needs.

Race gaps in SAT scores highlight inequality and hinder upward mobility
Brookings: The SAT provides a measure of academic inequality at the end of secondary schooling. Moreover, insofar as SAT scores predict student success in college, inequalities in the SAT score distribution reflect and reinforce racial inequalities across generations. 

Exploring the Future of K–12 Connectivity
Ed Tech Magazine: In just one year, E-Rate requests for high speed internet of one gigabit per second or faster have doubled. And a whopping 90 percent of applicants expect that their bandwidth needs will continue to increase over the next three years. These findings are from the “2016 E-Rate Trends Report” by the consulting group Funds for Learning. Education Week reports that more than 24,000 applicants sought $2.3 billion for data and internet service. Funds for Learning found that 72 percent of school districts say Wi-Fi is critical to fulfilling their mission and about 43 percent of districts have a network that is only one to three years old. 

Weight-management benchmarks not met in Latino kids: Study
UPI: Researchers from the Medical Research Institute in Minneapolis have found that weight-management care benchmarks are not being met in Latino children at primary-care visits. In one of the first studies of provider-patient communication of weight management and electronic medical records, results showed that referrals for nutrition/weight management and recommended laboratory testing benchmarks were not being met among overweight Latino children. The study was published in Global Pediatric Health. 

The Healthy-Lifestyle Curriculum
The Atlantic: As brain science has evolved and more attention has been paid to the link between health and education, more preschools across the country seem to be focusing on providing not only academic and social support, but health education, too. Educare, which operates a network of schools across the country, focuses on health and nutrition. Recently, Priscilla Chan, a philanthropist married to the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, helped launch a school for low-income children that is partnering with a health center to holistically educate children and their families. 

Study finds personality traits in children may be contagious
UPI: A study from Michigan State University has found that personality traits among children may be shaped by environment rather than just genes. Researchers studied two preschool classes for a whole school year and found that personality traits and social networks among 3- and 4-year-olds became similar over time. The study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, was the first of its kind to study personality traits in young children over time.

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