The Weekly Connect 7/24/17

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

Due to a blog production issue, we’re re-sharing some news stories from last week.

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

Research suggests that very early exposure to English can help ELLs.

Within limits, The Every Student Succeeds Act does let states use science, social studies, the arts, and other subjects beyond reading and math for accountability.

How severe, ongoing stress affects children’s brains.

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: Education Week “Social-Emotional-Learning Researchers Seek Educator Input.”

Personalized Learning: Modest Gains, Big Challenges, RAND Study Finds
Ed Week Digital Education Blog: There’s new evidence to suggest 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 the research on starting kindergarten a little late that concluded that it’s usually better to go ahead and enroll kids as soon as they’re old enough. Now comes a big study to say something different: Holding kids back at third grade when they don’t meet the academic standards will give them a boost in achievement by some measures. And, it doesn’t affect their likelihood of finishing high school.

Very Early Exposure to English Can Help ELLs Flourish, Study Finds
Ed Week Learning the Language Blog: Consistently exposing English-learner students to the language before they begin their formal education could pave their path to bilingualism, according to new research from the University of Washington published in the academic journal Mind, Brain and Education. See related articles: The Atlantic “The Schools Transforming Immigrant Education” and Education Week “Thousands of English-Learners Fall Short on Test of Language Skills.”

How Severe, Ongoing Stress Can Affect a Child’s Brain
Associated Press: It’s no secret that growing up in tough circumstances can be hard on kids and lead to behavior and learning problems. But many researchers believe that ongoing stress during early childhood can smolder beneath the skin, harming kids’ brains and other body systems. And research suggests that can lead to some of the major causes of death and disease in adulthood, including heart attacks and diabetes. See related articles: New America “Early Childhood Trauma Requires a Team Effort” and Ed Week Teacher-Leader Voices Blog “Student Trauma Is Real. But Connection Can Heal.”

Policy

GOP House Members Seek to Cut Education Budget — But Not Nearly as Deeply as Trump Proposed
The Washington Post: 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 will be spending the summer implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act, looking 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 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 released 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.

‘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, fewer opportunities, and less access to the most rigorous mathematics classes, like calculus and physics, than students attending low-poverty schools, a new analysis from Change the Equation points out. See related article: KQED Mind/Shift “How Online Camps Help Kids Stay Connected to STEM Skills and Mentors Year-Round.”

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.”

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