The Weekly Connect 6/5/17

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

Childhood obesity can cause lasting physical harm.

President Trump is considering moving oversight of student loans from the U.S. Department of Education to the Treasury department.

State preschool funding is now above pre-recession levels.

An estimated 1.3 million children don’t have stable housing, according to the federal Condition of Education report.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research

Free Play or Flashcards? New Study Nods to More Rigorous Preschools
The New York Times: A new national study suggests that preschools that do not mix enough substance into their curriculum may be doing their young charges a disservice. The study found that by the end of kindergarten, children who had attended one year of “academic-oriented preschool” outperformed peers who had attended less academic-focused preschools by, on average, the equivalent of two and a half months of learning in literacy and math.

Childhood Obesity Causes Lasting Damage to the Body
Science Daily: Obesity in childhood has long term health implications stretching into adulthood a new study published in the journal Obesity Reviews reveals. The study identified increased arterial damage and enhanced likelihood of pre-diabetes in participants who were obese in childhood. The damage heightens the likelihood of an individual suffering from a cardiovascular ailment, such as heart disease, in later life.

More Than a Third of Teenage Girls Experience Depression, New Study Says
The Washington Post: A new study published in the journal Translational Psychiatry found that depression in many children appears to start as early as age 11. By the time they hit age 17, the analysis found, 13.6% of boys and a staggering 36.1% of girls have been or are depressed. These numbers are significantly higher than previous estimates. 

Study Finds Classroom-Response ‘Clickers’ Can ‘Impede Conceptual Understanding’
EDSurge: Plenty of peer-reviewed research shows that classroom “clickers” improve student learning when it comes to delivering facts. But a new study published in the journal Computers & Education found that the devices can actually work against deeper learning of big-picture concepts.

Policy

Trump Administration Considers Moving Student Loans from Education Department to Treasury
The New York Times: The Trump administration is considering moving responsibility for overseeing more than $1 trillion in student debt from the Education Department to the Treasury Department, a switch that would radically change the system that helps 43 million students finance higher education. 

State Preschool Funding Now Above Pre-Recession Levels, Enrollment Climbing
Ed Week Early Years Blog: The 2015-16 school year saw a marked increase in state investment in preschool education, according to the most recent “State of Preschool” report developed by the National Institute for Early Education Research. Nationally, spending on state preschool was $7.4 billion for the 2015-16 school year an increase of $564 million over the previous school year. 

Personalized Learning Could Get a Boost with Increased Local Control
Education Dive: The idea of tailoring instruction to the needs and desires of individual students has become particularly popular in recent years in part because of new technology tools that help facilitate such individualized attention. Under ESSA, states have more freedom to innovate, even if the federal government still aims to hold them accountable. 

Around the Nation

Do Poor and Minority Schools Get Less Money from Districts?
Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity: A new analysis of school finance data from Stanford University researchers finds that on average, schools with high numbers of poor or minority students receive slightly more money per pupil, but that inequality in spending varies widely among school districts. In districts that are wealthier and have higher levels of income or racial segregation, poor and minority schools actually receive more resources relative to their peers. But in the most unequal districts, low-income and minority schools receive up to $500 less per pupil. 

Federal Data Give the Clearest Look Yet at America’s Homeless Students
Ed Week Inside School Research Blog: Some 1.3 million American students don’t have a safe, stable place to sleep at night, according to the latest federal Condition of Education report. The Condition of Education provides data on public and private school students, teachers, and schools, from trends in enrollment to achievement. This year it provided a detailed picture of K-12 public school students who were homeless—including students living on the street, in shelters, hotels, or doubled up with family or friends—in the 2014-15 school year. 

When Foster Kids Are Moved Around, Schooling Becomes an Afterthought
The Hechinger Report: As of September 2016, roughly 428,000 children were in foster care nationwide. By the time youth in foster care reach their junior year, more than a third will have switched schools at least five times. The consequences for young people are significant. With each move, students lose an estimated four to six months of academic progress.

Is Your Child Showing Grit? School Report Cards Rate Students’ Soft Skills
Education Week: Schools are increasingly rating students on a variety of social competencies and “learning skills” alongside their traditional grades in academic subjects. For example, in Montgomery County, Md., elementary school report cards indicate whether students are exhibiting traits like “intellectual risk-taking” and metacognition. Telling parents how their children are doing on those types of skills, educators say, helps include families in the work of cultivating the qualities that research links to academic success.

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