The Weekly Connect 4/17/17

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:

New America has released a paper on how states can use the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to support early learning.

Research released by economists found that after low-income college students graduate, they earn wages that are similar to those of their higher-income peers.

Obese teens’ chances of having high blood pressure vary by race.

To read more, click on the following links. 

Policy

Some States Look Beyond Reading, Math in ESSA Accountability
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, students in Delaware will be held accountable for social studies and science. Massachusetts and Vermont are also incorporating science into their systems, and Illinois is hoping to add it down the line. The incorporation of these other subjects addresses one of the key criticisms of ESSA’s predecessor—the No Child Left Behind Act—which some educators said put too much stock in reading and math test scores. See related articles: Ed Week K-12 Politics Blog “What Are the Long-Term Academic Goals in States’ ESSA Plans?” and “Here’s How Some States’ ESSA Plans Address Testing Opt-Outs.”

 Unlocking ESSA’s Potential to Support Early Learning
New America: In December, 2015, Congress reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, replacing No Child Left Behind with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). A little more than one year later, states are readying to submit their plans for approval. This latest iteration of the law brings new attention to children’s earliest years. In a new paper, New America and the BUILD Initiative offer an introduction to ESSA and explore major provisions that have implications for our nation’s youngest learners. 

U.S. Department of Education Announces Key Hires
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has announced a slate of hires for key positions in the department. Many of these folks have been working in the Education Department since the beginning of the Trump administration, but now they will have more formal, official roles.

Research

Low-Income Students Succeed—When Given the Opportunity
New America: Given the chance, students from low-income families do just fine in selective colleges. That’s one of the most critical conclusions of a groundbreaking new study from economists Raj Chetty, John Friedman, and their colleagues. Among the paper’s many findings, the authors demonstrate that students from low- and high-income families had similar post-college earnings. Those from low-income families were just as likely to succeed after college as rich students who went to the same school. 

Breaking school language barriers
District Administration: Improving the educational outcomes of the nation’s 4.5 million English language learners (ELLs) is an urgent task. Less than 63% of ELLs graduate from high school in four years, a rate nearly 20 percentage points below the national average, federal data shows. Despite research showing that native-language instruction improves the achievement of English learners, such localized efforts seem more exception than rule. Across the country, even districts with substantial numbers of students who don’t yet know English seldom rely on native-language curricular materials. 

Teacher Prep Slow to Embrace Social-Emotional Learning
Education Week: As social-emotional learning gains traction in schools, many teachers are coming into their jobs unprepared to develop students’ skills in areas like self-awareness and navigating relationships, advocates say. As more states adopt standards for social-emotional learning and add related concepts into such areas as accountability and teacher evaluations, teacher-preparation programs will have greater incentive to incorporate the concept into a greater number of courses. See related article: Usable Knowledge “Schoolwide SEL to Prevent Bullying.”

Around the Nation

How Data Is Driving a Math Turnaround at Boston’s English High
WBUR: The English High School in Boston shocked the state with a dramatic jump in its math scores on the MCAS exam in 2015. The percentage of students scoring “advanced” more than doubled, while the percentage of those failing shrank by two-thirds. State officials withheld those scores for weeks for what the education commissioner called “anomalies” before certifying them as legitimate. 

After-School Program Teaches Students About Urban Farming, Nutrition
Ed Week Time and Learning Blog: Some middle school students in New York are learning about hydroponic farming thanks to an unusual after-school program. The Urban Assembly Unison School in Brooklyn is part of the ExpandED Schools network and began offering the program last year. It’s run by Teens for Food Justice, a nonprofit that works in Title I schools to train students to become urban farmers.

Obese teens’ odds of high blood pressure vary by race
Reuters: Obesity is a strong predictor of high blood pressure early in life, but a U.S study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests the connection may be stronger for Hispanic and white teens than for adolescents in other racial and ethnic groups.

Cross-cultural study strengthens link between media violence, aggressive behavior
Science Daily: New research offers compelling evidence that media violence affects aggressive behavior. The effect of media violence was significant even after controlling for several risk factors. The paper, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, confirms six decades of research showing the effect is the same, regardless of culture.

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