The Weekly Connect 2/27/17

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:

Questions persist about an ESSA (the Every Student Succeeds Act) spending provision that wasn’t finalized during the Obama administration.

Students who believe their schools are unfair may face long-term effects.

Head Start could function as a test site for innovations in early education.

Boston-area suburbs are seeing more poverty. Some towns have twice as many needy students as they did 10 years ago.

To read more, click on the following links.

Policy

Without Regulations for a Key ESSA Spending Rule, Here’s What Could Happen
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: As we reported last month the Obama administration decided not to finalize a rule for the supplemental-money requirement in the Every Student Succeeds Act before President Donald Trump took office. So where does this leave this spending provision?

Research

Teacher Satisfaction, Collaboration Are Keys to Student Achievement
Ed Week Teaching Now Blog: A new study, published in the American Journal of Education, looks at exactly how teacher satisfaction affects student achievement—and how being a part of a professional learning community can make a major difference. Authors found that students have higher reading achievement by 5th grade when they have teachers who enjoy teaching and think they are making a difference. The researchers did not find a significant relationship between students’ math achievement and their teachers’ job satisfaction. 

RTI May Fall Short in Flagging Certain Students
Education Week: As a method of organizing efforts to help students who are struggling academically, response to intervention (RTI) has seen widespread adoption. But as an improved method of identifying students with learning disabilities, RTI shows far less clear benefits, researchers are finding. 

When School Doesn’t Seem Fair, Students May Suffer Lasting Effects
Education Week: When students believe schools are unfair places, their loss of trust can lead to a lack of engagement that affects them for years. Researchers found black and white students had similar responses on a trust survey at the start of 6th grade, but a “trust gap” developed by the spring of 7th grade, when black students’ average school trust score dropped to its lowest.

Beyond ‘Hidden Figures’: Nurturing New Black and Latino Math Whizzes
The New York Times: The extreme racial homogeneity in the rarefied realm of young math wizards has drawn little attention in a nation where racial equality in the basic institutions of civic life remains elusive. But it has become an increasing source of consternation for some mathematicians, educators and business leaders, who see it directly linked to the striking underrepresentation of blacks and Latinos in high-paying, high-status jobs in finance, science and technology. As those occupations increasingly propel our society, they fear that enrichment programs for mathematically gifted children, have become a particularly potent means of reinforcing privilege.

Head Start Could Be Innovator for Early-Childhood Workforce, Ed. Group Says
Ed Week Early Years Blog: Head Start, the venerable 52-year-old federal preschool program for children from low-income families, could serve a role in improving the early-education workforce as a whole, says a new report from Bellwether Education Partners. The report offers several suggestions, including making teacher compensation a priority and including Head Start in overall state policies relating to early childhood.

Around the Nation

English Language Learners: How Your State Is Doing
NPR Ed Blog: About 1 out of every 10 public school students in the United States right now is learning to speak English. They’re called ELLs, for “English Language Learners.” There are nearly 5 million of them, and educating them — in English and all the other subjects and skills they’ll need — is one of the biggest challenges in U.S. public education today. As part of our reporting project, 5 Million Voices, we set out to gather up all the data and information we could find about who these students are and how they’re being taught. 

Supporting Teaching That Disrupts Inequity
Ed Week Learning Deeply Blog: Despite decades of “reform,” all students do not experience the same right to learn and black and brown students’ learning seems to matter less. What if we did something different in schools to equip teachers to bring deeper instruction to all students and address the equity gap between students of color and white students? Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School in Queens, NY, an EL Education school, offers a snapshot of deeper instruction that promotes students’ problem-solving, critical-thinking, communication, relevance, and collaboration.

As access to AP exams grows, more students are doing better
The Washington Post: The percentage of the country’s public high school students who scored three or higher on AP exams continues to grow, according to results by the College Board. Nationally, just under 22 percent of the class of 2016 achieved a three or better mark, up slightly from 2015 and nearly eight points up from 2006. Massachusetts led all states with 31 percent of its students scoring three or higher. See related article: Ed Week Curriculum Matters Blog “1 in 5 Public School Students in the Class of 2016 Passed an AP Exam.”

More families are struggling with poverty in Boston’s affluent suburbs
The Boston Globe: The number of low-income children in many affluent communities is rising at a much faster rate than it is statewide, in some cases doubling over the past decade. Wealthy communities such as Sudbury, Winchester, Hopkinton, Hingham, and Littleton have at least twice as many needy students in their schools as they did 10 years ago, according to an analysis of state data by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. Other moneyed areas with significant increases in their population of needy students include Wellesley, Duxbury, Lexington, Needham, Belmont, and Westwood. 

What Motivates Teens to Exercise?
Psych Central: Unless actively involved in sports, many students entering high school drop their activity levels to a minimum, setting the stage for sedentary-related adult diseases. In a new pilot study, researchers set out to investigate what types of energy levels and mindsets tend to prompt teens to exercise. The findings, published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, show that when it comes to exercise, teens are far too unique in their mindsets and motivations to use a one-size-fits-all intervention.

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