The Weekly Connect 3/27/17

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

The Supreme Court has expanded students’ special education rights. 

The Education Commission of the States looks at vouchers in all 50 states.

Brookings, a think tank, looks at the impact of the four-day school week. Its findings are inconclusive.

Children’s health and behavior problems can linger after they’ve endured abuse.

To read more, click on the following links.

Policy

Unanimous Supreme Court Expands Scope of Special Education Rights
Ed Week The School Law Blog: The U.S. Supreme Court issued a major decision expanding the scope of students’ special education rights, ruling unanimously that schools must do more than provide a “merely more than de minimis” education program to a student with a disability. 

How Could Trump’s Budget Use $1 Billion in Title I Aid to Boost School Choice?
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: Along with the various cuts to the U.S. Department of Education’s budget proposed by President Donald Trump, the other part of Trump’s fiscal 2018 spending plan getting a lot of attention is the $1 billion the president wants to add to Title I in order to encourage open enrollment in public schools. There are a lot of questions about how that, along with many other parts of Trump’s education budget blueprint, would work.

Voucher Programs Expanding in States, But with Narrow Requirements
Ed Week Charters & Choice Blog: The Education Commission of the States released its 50-State Comparison: Vouchers, detailing which states have voucher programs and the requirements for each. The commission, a non-partisan research group, focused solely on state-funded programs that allow students to use public dollars to go to private schools. The report leaves out other voucher-like programs, including education savings accounts, which are often lumped into such discussions. A total of 14 states, plus Washington D.C., have voucher programs that fit the commission’s criteria.

After-School Choice Matters Too
New America: One program the Trump Administration proposes to eliminate completely is the $1.1 billion 21st Century Community Learning Centers program (21st CCLC), which provides grants to communities for out-of-school-time programs serving students in high-poverty and low-performing schools. The program is the only federal funding source dedicated to out-of-school-time programs, and there are 21st CCLC sites in every state.

Research

What If Students Only Went to School Four Days a Week?
The Atlantic: Boundary County School District is one of the increasing number of rural districts adopting a four-day school-week model. Especially popular in the Mountain West region, 88 districts in Colorado, 43 in Idaho, 30 in Oregon, and nearly half of those in Montana are on the schedule, according to a new Brookings analysis. Educational outcomes from the four-day switch have proved inconclusive, and the cost-cutting hypothesis has largely been disproven, according to Paul Hill, a co-author of the Brookings piece.

Food insecurity has impact on school readiness, performance
UPI: Researchers from Georgetown University and the University of Virginia have found young children who experience food insecurity have difficulties in learning and performance in kindergarten. The study is published in the journal Child Development.

Do Healthy Lunches Improve Student Test Scores?
The Atlantic: In a recent paper, economists set out to determine whether healthier school lunches affect student achievement as measured by test scores. Findings support the idea that students at schools that contract with a healthier school-lunch vendor perform somewhat better on state tests—and this option appears highly cost-effective compared to policy interventions that typically are more expensive, like class-size reduction.

Around the Nation

Despite Inclusive Policies, Refugee Children Face Major Obstacles to Education
NEA Today: All refugees under the age of 18 are entitled to an education by international law, yet refugee children – especially those in urban areas around the world – are facing formidable obstacles in attending school and accessing other educational and support services. That’s the dire conclusion of the first-ever global study of urban refugee education by Teachers College, Columbia University.

Health and behavior problems can linger after child abuse
Reuters: Children who have suffered from abuse or neglect may have physical or behavioral health problems even after the mistreatment stops, new guidelines for pediatricians emphasize, according to the journal Pediatrics.

Study underscores benefit of smartphone use to track children’s health
Science Daily: A new, wide-ranging review of available research shows parents and caregivers can improve health outcomes for kids by using mobile-phone apps and text messaging. The research appears in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

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