The Weekly Connect 6/19/17

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:

Learning to read makes “deep changes” in the brain even for those who come to reading late.

17 states have submitted ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) plans for fixing their struggling schools.

The 2017 Kids Count Data Book notes that as the economy has been recovering, children’s health and economic well-being have improved; but there haven’t been gains in education or in family and community climates.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research

Even for Late Learners, Starting to Read Changes the Brain Fast
Ed Week Inside School Research Blog: Learning to read makes deep changes in the brain quickly, even for those who come to reading late, according to a new study in the journal Science Advances. 

A Powerful Pairing: Pre-K Boosts Future Incomes and Reduces Risk of Jail, Especially When Schools Spend More
Chalkbeat: Why do some early childhood programs produce big benefits for students, while others don’t? The answer may be linked to what happens after kids leave the programs. That’s the conclusion of a new working paper by economists Kirabo Jackson of Northwestern and Rucker Johnson of Berkeley who found that students benefit from both well-funded schools and access to early childhood education, and that Head Start had greater long-run benefits for students whose K-12 schools were better resourced. 

Data Dive: Devices and Software Flooding into Classrooms
Education Week: A new analysis of the National Assessment of Educational Progress survey data highlights two trends: Students report using computers in school most often for activities that involve rote practice. And the percent of teachers who say they’ve received training on how to effectively use such technology has remained flat, with a persistent divide between high- and low-poverty schools. See related article: “Poor Students Face Digital Divide in How Teachers Learn to Use Tech.” 

4 Tools for Kids to Help Develop Compassion and Social Change
KQED News Mind/Shift: Research suggests that children younger than two exhibit greater happiness when giving rather than receiving. With that early foundation in place, teachers can incorporate compassion to create a culture where students are one step closer to making real, positive change in their communities. Check out these picks to start cultivating compassion and promoting social change in the classroom.

Policy

Here’s How 17 States Plan to Fix Struggling Schools
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: States and districts will now get to decide what to do about perennially struggling schools, and schools where certain groups of students, like English-language-learners, aren’t doing well. So now that states have all this newfound freedom, what are they doing with it? We looked at the school improvement portions of the 17 ESSA plans that have been submitted to the U.S. Department of Education for approval.

DeVos Says More Money Won’t Help Schools; Research Says Otherwise
NPR Ed: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made it clear, appearing before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, that she sees no connection between school funding and school performance. Spending more in troubled schools won’t automatically lead to better student outcomes. However, research suggests that when the dollars are spent wisely and consistently, they can have a profound effect in the classroom. 

Student Mobility Takes an Academic Toll. But Why?
Education Week: Researchers and advocacy groups are bracing for an avalanche of new data on mobility once the Every Student Succeeds Act goes into effect for the upcoming school year. The federal law requires schools to track and publicly report the academic performance of military, foster, and homeless students. This information could help answer long-standing questions — and also help schools do better at welcoming new students. Data could also bolster or dispute long-held theories about the effects of mobility and bring about more educational accountability for some of the nation’s most vulnerable students. 

Should Schools Test the ‘Career’ Half of ‘College and Career’?
Education Week: As states move to adopt college- and career-ready accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act, many educators and researchers argue that assessments will not be able to adequately measure the “career” part of that equation.

Around the Nation

Family Well-Being, Education Decline for U.S. Kids Despite Recovery from Great Recession
The 74: As the country climbed out of the Great Recession, the health and economic well-being of children gradually improved. What the economic recovery didn’t offer, however, were gains in education and in family and community climate. Those are the findings from the 2017 Kids Count Data Book, an annual analysis done by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that measures the well-being of American children across four domains: economic, education, health, and family and community. See related article: Ed Week Early Years Blog “Kids Count Report Finds Positive Gains on Child Well-Being, With Areas of Concern.” 

When the School Nurse Is on a Screen Instead of in an Office
Governing Magazine: Across the country, there is still a lot of unmet need for health services in public schools: More than half don’t have even a single full-time nurse. That’s one reason that school-based health centers have been a breeding ground for experimentation in the brave new world of telemedicine. But few in the school health community see telehealth as a fix-all for underserved areas, particularly when it comes to preventive care.

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