The Weekly Connect 4/10/17

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:

Are kindergarteners ready for school? An assessment tool can help determine this, but these assessments should not be used to judge accountability.

Having one black teacher in an elementary school can improve outcomes for low-income black students.

Colorado schools are going to be judged in part by how many of their students are chronically absent.

Children in New York City are healthier since the start of Pre-K for All.

To read more, click on the following links. 

Policy

Which School Quality Factors Are States Including in Their ESSA Plans?
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: One of the parts of the Every Student Succeeds Act that excited educators the most was the chance to look beyond test scores in gauging school performance — to consider factors such as absenteeism, access to advanced coursework, and even grit. So what kinds of factors are states using? We looked at the handful of plans that states have submitted to the feds and shared with us. See related article: Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog “A Look at How Some States Want to Handle School Ratings in ESSA Plans.” 

Who could benefit from school choice? Mapping access to public and private schools
Brookings Institute: Concerns about potential inequities in the availability of different schools to different families, based in large part on geography, are plausible but have not been subject to systematic empirical analysis. In this report, we begin to fill this gap by using nationwide data on the locations of public and private elementary schools to calculate the percent of American families that could potentially gain access to new school options under different national school choice policies. 

Don’t Use Kindergarten Readiness Assessments for Accountability
New America: More than 40 states either have or are in the process of developing Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a tool to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have several benefits for teaching and learning, the results can also be used inappropriately, according to a recent Ounce of Prevention Fund report, “Uses and Misuses of Kindergarten Readiness Assessments. 

The Separate, Unequal Education of Students with Special Needs
Disability Scoop: Georgia’s Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS) a statewide system for children with “emotional and behavioral disorders, caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Justice, which launched an investigation that lasted several years, and resulted in a lawsuit in August 2016. According to that lawsuit, the GNETS system violates the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, both by segregating children with disabilities and by denying them access to an equal education. The Justice Department’s case is the first time that the agency has charged a statewide educational system with violating the ADA, Title II.

Research

One Black Teacher Can Improve Outcomes for Black Students
U.S. News & World Report: Having at least one black teacher in elementary school significantly increases the chances that low-income black students graduate high school and consider attending college – and, for poor black boys, it decreases the risk of dropping out by nearly 40%. The finding comes from the IZA Institute of Labor Economics. 

Here’s one secret to successful schools that costs nothing
Science Daily: A study published in the journal Teachers College Record suggests one factor that doesn’t need any cash to implement can play an important role in helping students succeed at even the most disadvantaged schools. That factor is what scientists call social capital: The network of relationships between school officials, teachers, parents and the community that builds trust and norms that promote academic achievement. Researchers found that schools with higher levels of social capital also had students who performed better on state-mandated math and reading tests.

Barriers to Success: Moving Toward a Deeper Understanding of Adversity’s Effects on Adolescents
America’s Promise Alliance: Ten percent of youth in the United States experience three or more adverse life experiences in adolescence. When these adversities – including economic hardship, domestic or neighborhood violence, and parental incarceration – add up, young people are substantially less likely to complete high school, go to college, and have a stable job. Examining three different data sets, researchers uncovered the amount and types of adversity that young people face and what practitioners can do to help young people overcome these barriers to success.

Around the Nation

Youth at Risk: The Neglected Education of Incarcerated Juveniles
New America: Given that the average length of stay for incarcerated youth is about 3 to 12 months, the lack of consistent education, accountability, and evaluation—particularly in private facilities—means that students are likely to fall even further behind in coursework. This sets them up for failure when trying to integrate back into the public school system; many incarcerated youth are more likely to end up back in jail or never graduate.

Colorado schools soon will be judged by a new measure: How many students are chronically absent
Chalkbeat: Chronic absences — when kids miss school 10 percent or more of the time — increases the likelihood kids won’t read well by the end of third grade, will be held back in later grades, and will drop out of high school. Colorado is one of more than a dozen states that will use chronic absenteeism as a measure of school and district quality in the education plans they’ll soon submit to the federal government. More specifically, Colorado will look at whether schools and districts are reducing chronic absenteeism among elementary- and middle-schoolers. At the high school level, the state will look at dropout rates.

CDC, SHAPE America Provide Schools Strategies for Successful Recess
Ed Week Time and Learning Blog: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and SHAPE America, the Society of Health and Physical Educators, have released two guidance documents entitled, “Strategies for Recess in Schools” and “Recess Planning in Schools: A Guide to Putting Strategies for Recess Into Practice.” Both recommend that students in elementary school have 20 minutes of daily recess, but sometimes schools struggle with figuring out how to fit that time into a packed schedule.

Children in New York City are healthier since the start of Pre-K for All, study finds
Chalkbeat: The launch of Pre-K for All led to improved health outcomes for low-income children. That’s according to researchers at New York University who analyzed Medicaid data for New York City children who were eligible to enroll in free pre-K versus those who just missed the cutoff because of their age. In a report released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, researchers found that the children eligible for pre-K were more likely than their peers to be diagnosed with asthma or vision problems after the rollout of Pre-K for All. They were also more likely to have received immunizations or be screened for infectious diseases, both of which are requirements for enrolling in the city’s program.

Brain responds differently to images of high-calorie foods in obese children, study finds
News Medical: A clinical trial at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and University of Washington found that the brain responded to images of high-calorie foods differently in obese children who had just eaten than in those whose weight was normal. Brain signals that should help tell us we are full after eating appear to be dulled in obese children.

Like what you see? Sign up to receive this in your inbox as soon as it is published.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s