The Weekly Connect 6/26/17

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:

The City Connects blog looks at how City Connects works inside community schools to help them get the right services to the right children at the right time.

The Educational Equity Index measures which cities do the best job of educating low-income students.

Members of Congress have a plan to boost federal spending on special education.

New Jersey, Illinois, and Louisiana are using ESSA (the Every Student Succeeds Act) to help English-language-learners.

To read more, click on the following links.

City Connects

City Connects Inside Community Schools
City Connects Blog: Community schools and City Connects are philosophically aligned programs — both help students thrive by meeting their comprehensive needs. Their approaches are different but also complementary, and one of the places where they’re working well together is in nine New York City schools run by the Children’s Aid Society. Early research on the effects of City Connects in the Children’s Aid community schools shows promising results.

Research

New Study Reveals Cities Where Low-Income Students Are Doing Best
The Hechinger Report: When it comes to educating students from urban low-income families, according to a new study, one state leads the pack. Texas cities were top performers on a new measure designed to compare how well schools in the nation’s 300 largest cities are teaching their poorest students. The study’s authors surveyed a variety of test results from low-income students in those cities and used them to create a measurement called the Educational Equality Index that assigns a score to each school and each city based on how effectively it teaches low-income students. Overall, the study confirmed that low-income students are still performing well below national averages.

Mentors for New Teachers Found to Boost Student Achievement—by a Lot
Ed Week Teaching Now Blog: If new teachers are paired with high-quality, trained mentors and receive frequent feedback, their students may receive the equivalent of up to five months of additional learning, a new study conducted by SRI Education found. The study was an independent evaluation of the New Teacher Center’s induction program funded through the Investing in Innovation (i3) Validation grant. 

Starting School Young Can Put Child Wellbeing at Risk
Science Daily: A study published in the journal Child Care, Health and Development investigated more than 2,000 children across 80 primary schools and found that children who are younger than their peers when they start school are more likely to develop poorer mental health, as rated by parents and teachers.

Policy

Where’s the Money? Key Takeaways from New Census School Funding Data
Ed Week Inside School Research Blog: Nearly every state boosted spending for schools in 2015, according to new Census Bureau data released. But there remain big gaps in individual states’ investments, which could predict how well they will be able to weather changes in federal education funding under the Trump administration, as well as the new federal requirement that all schools report per-pupil spending to the public.

How Education-Funding Formulas Target Poor Kids
The Atlantic: In states where districts are more economically segregated, policymakers have an easier time targeting funding to the neediest students. Because poor children benefit more than their wealthier counterparts from increased per pupil funding, a correctly tuned targeting formula could be an important step toward closing the achievement gap. According to a new report released by the Urban Institute, the degree to which funding is targeted is inconsistent among states. See related article: Education Week “When a Community Loses Its Schools.”

Equity in Education: Key Questions to Consider
Education Commission of the States: This special report encourages increased intentionality of policy assessment and development through exploring equity-minded questions across four key state policy levers: teaching and leading, learning and transitioning, measuring and improving, and financing. 

Lawmakers Call for Full Funding Of IDEA
Disability Scoop: With a new legislative proposal, members of Congress are reviving a plan to boost federal spending on special education. Under a bill introduced this month in the U.S. House of Representatives that has bipartisan support, federal funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act would increase over the next 10 years to ultimately reach what is known as full funding. See related article: Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog “Full Funding for Special Education? Lawmakers Try for Fifth Straight Congress.”

Around the Nation

In Praise of New Jersey, Illinois, Louisiana — 3 States Smartly Using ESSA to Help English Learners
The 74 Million: Advocates for English learners (ELs) celebrated the 2015 passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act as a significant step forward for these students. The new law includes a number of big changes that give states room to rethink how they serve English learners. Now that a handful of states have submitted plans to the U.S. Department of Education, we can start to check the tape. It’s critical to also identify promising new EL policy innovations and areas where states are making good use of their newfound flexibility. Education leaders in New Jersey, Louisiana, and Illinois are doing just that.

A School That Provides the One Constant in Homeless Children’s Lives
NPR: The National Center for Homeless Education reported that 1.3 million students experienced homelessness during the 2014-15 school year, with a 3.5% increase in each of the three previous years. Unfortunately, a new study released by the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness points out that federal funding has remained flat over this time. Positive Tomorrows, a small, privately funded school in the heart of Oklahoma City, is designed to meet the needs of homeless children. The future of these students hinges on the one constant in their lives: the school, which addresses both education and basic needs. 

US Trails in Early Childhood Education Enrollment
U.S. News & World Report: States across the U.S. are taking more seriously the importance of early childhood education and ramping up their offerings, but compared to the rest of the world, the U.S. has a long way to go. While enrollment rates for children under age three hover just below 30 percent, the U.S. falls significantly behind when it comes to enrollment rates of 3- and 4-year-olds, according to a new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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