The Weekly Connect 7/17/17

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:

The lasting impact of programs that teach emotional intelligence.

Some poor schools have “STEM deserts,” fewer resources in science, technology, engineering, and math.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her team have to tackle the big job of implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Online camps can keep kids connected to STEM activities and mentors year-round.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research

Programs That Teach Emotional Intelligence in Schools Have Lasting Impact
Science Daily: Social and emotional learning programs for youth not only immediately improve mental health, social skills, and learning outcomes but also continue to benefit children years later, according to new research from the University of British Columbia, Loyola University Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and CASEL (the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning). See related article: Ed Week Rules for Engagement Blog “Social-Emotional Learning Has Long-Lasting Positive Effects on Students, Study Says.”

Personalized Learning: Modest Gains, Big Challenges, RAND Study Finds
Ed Week Digital Education Blog: New evidence suggests that customizing instruction for every student can generate modest gains in math and reading scores, according to a report released by the RAND Corporation. Despite the promising signs, though, the researchers behind the most comprehensive ongoing study to date of personalized learning describe their latest findings as a “cautionary tale” about a trend whose popularity far outpaces its evidence base. 

Holding Kids Back a Grade Doesn’t Necessarily Hold Them Back
NPR Ed Blog: Recently we covered research on starting kindergarten a little late that concluded that it’s usually better to enroll kids as soon as they’re old enough. Now comes a large study that says holding kids back at third grade when they don’t meet the academic standards will, by some measures, give them a boost in achievement. And it doesn’t affect their likelihood of finishing high school. 

‘STEM Deserts’ in the Poorest Schools: How Can We Fix Them?
Ed Week Curriculum Matters Blog: Students attending high-poverty schools tend to have fewer science materials and less access to the most rigorous STEM classes — such as calculus and physics — than students attending low-poverty schools, a new analysis from Change the Equation points out.

Policy

GOP House Members Seek to Cut Education Budget — But Not Nearly as Deeply as Trump Proposed
The Washington Post Education: House Republicans are seeking to cut the Education Department’s budget by $2.4 billion, or 3.5 percent — a substantial reduction, although far smaller than the $9.2 billion in cuts that President Trump proposed. 

Five Big Tasks for Betsy DeVos
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her political staff are spending the summer implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act, searching for regulations to cut. They are also looking at ways to downsize the department. Here’s a brief summary of what’s on the secretary’s plate.

 Can States Use Science Tests to Rate Schools Under ESSA?
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: There’s been a ton of confusion lately about whether and how states can incorporate science, social studies, and other subjects into their systems for rating schools under the Every Student Succeeds Act. The upshot is that, yes, states can indeed use science, social studies, the arts, and other subjects beyond reading and math for accountability. But there are some caveats when it comes to just how they do that.

Around the Nation

Drawing from the Margins: The Role of ECE for Our Youngest Homeless Students
New America: The number of homeless students in pre-K through 12th grade has increased 19 percent since the 2010-11 school year; just under 1.3 million homeless students were enrolled in public schools during the 2014-15 school year. A new report by the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness shares how some states are developing best practices for identifying and serving homeless children in early childhood education. 

How Accessible Is Gifted Education in Your State?
Ed Week Inside School Research Blog: Nationwide, less than 7 percent of U.S. students participate in gifted education programs, according to an analysis of the most recent 2014 federal civil rights data. In part, that’s because states and districts use different tests and criteria to identify students as gifted or talented. But it’s also because some states have a far greater percentage of schools that offer gifted education programs than do others. See related article: Education Week “Too Few ELL Students Land in Gifted Classes.”

How Online Camps Help Kids Stay Connected to STEM Skills and Mentors Year-Round
KQED Mind/Shift: California-based Connected Camps is part of a growing offering of online camps that fill a unique niche to complement their traditional pine-and-mortar counterparts. Accessible across the U.S. and around the world, the camp offers programs in engineering, architecture, coding, animation, game design, and storytelling. Each weeklong program connects kids with fellow campers and expert mentors.

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