The Weekly Connect 9/25/17

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

The importance of social and emotional learning is in the news again.

Most states are still using the Common Core.

A federal program helps expand high-speed internet access for the nation’s schools.

Teachers are quitting, creating a growing teacher shortage.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research

The Evidence Base for How We Learn: Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Academic Development
The Aspen Institute: This brief draws from brain science, medicine, economics, psychology, and education research to describe why it is essential to address the social, emotional, and cognitive dimensions of learning; how these dimensions shape students’ academic and life outcomes; and how these competencies can be taught throughout childhood, adolescence, and beyond. The evidence in this brief moves the nation beyond the debate about whether schools should attend to students’ social and emotional development, to how schools can integrate social, emotional, and academic development into their daily work.

New System of Support Contributes to Student Success
EdSource: The multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) is a framework of new and existing strategies used to identify students who need assistance, initiate a response plan, track progress and make improvements over time. According to a published case study of the Tigard-Tualatin School District in Oregon, the principles of MTSS have led to a steep drop in office referrals for discipline, along with an increase in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards in grades 3 through 11. Officials also saw the achievement gap between Latinos and other student groups on state assessments narrow significantly over five years.

Research Shows Spanish Speakers Take Longer to Learn English. Why?
NPR Ed Blog: A recent study out of Philadelphia tracked kindergartners who were learning English and found that four years later there were major discrepancies between which groups of students had mastered the language. Students whose home language was Spanish were considerably less likely to reach proficiency than any other subgroup. And, on the extreme end, Spanish speakers were almost half as likely as Chinese speakers to cross the proficiency threshold.

Responding to Disruptive Students
Edutopia: Paying negative attention to students is a common, unconscious habit of defense when a familiar environment feels unsafe or unmanageable to an educator. Teachers may pay negative attention when they feel frustrate by disruptive students. But difficult students don’t benefit from being punished. Instead, teachers can map behaviors in the classroom. This enables teachers to “view” themselves during class, track their emotional and physical data, and evaluate their own behavior, including outbreaks of negative attention. The map will help teachers understand the context, form, and time frame in which negative attention might emerge, because they can see when and where they feel insecure or unsafe.

Policy

Common Core Used Widely, Despite Continuing Debate
Associated Press: Most of the states that first endorsed the Common Core academic standards are still using them in some form, despite continued debate over whether they are improving student performance in reading and math. Of the states that opted in after the standards were introduced in 2010 — 45 plus the District of Columbia — only eight have moved to repeal the standards, largely due to political pressure from those who saw Common Core as infringing on local control. Twenty-one other states have made or are making revisions to the guidelines. See related article Education Week “Most of the U.S. Still Uses Common Core, Despite Blowback.”

ESSA Plans: Takeaways from the First Batch of Approvals
Education Week: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her team have been approving state plans for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act at a fast and furious pace: They’ve announced approvals for 13 states and the District of Columbia over the past few weeks. And dozens of new applications were expected to pour into the agency this week.

Federal E-Rate Program Dramatically Expands High-Speed Internet Access for Schools
U.S. News & World Report: In 2013, only 4 million students had access to internet service that was fast enough to allow for digital learning in the classroom. Now, four years later, that number has catapulted to 39.2 million, thanks to the modernization of the federal E-Rate program and to a broad bipartisan coalition of federal and state lawmakers and policymakers dedicated to the cause.

Around the Nation

Child Poverty Rate Dips but Remains Disproportionately High in U.S.
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show while the child poverty rate has declined slightly, children represent an outsized share of all those living in distressed economic circumstances. The Census Bureau reported that the child poverty rate declined from 19.7% in 2015 to 18% in 2016. However, although children under 18 made up 23% of the population, they made up 33% of those living in poverty in the 2016 numbers, the advocacy group First Focus noted. In 2016, 30.8% of black children and 26.6% of Hispanic children lived in poverty.

U.S. Spends Less as Other Nations Invest More in Education
U.S. News & World Report: U.S. spending on elementary and high school education declined 3% from 2010 to 2014 even as its economy prospered and its student population grew slightly by 1%, boiling down to a 4% decrease in spending per student. That’s according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s annual report of education indicators. Over this same 2010 to 2014 period, education spending, on average, rose 5% per student across the 35 countries in the OECD.

Teachers Are Quitting Because They’re Dissatisfied. That’s a Crisis, Scholars Say
Ed Week Teaching Now Blog: States and districts must find ways to keep teachers in the profession—or they’re staring down the barrel of a growing teacher shortage, researchers and policymakers said at a panel discussion hosted by the Learning Policy Institute, a California-based think tank, which released a new analysis. About 8% of teachers leave the teaching profession each year, and another 8% move to a different school, making the overall turnover rate about 16%.

How to Have a Successful IEP Meeting
Usable Knowledge: For families whose child has a documented disability, the start of a new school year brings a new meeting with teachers and school officials to talk about the child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). These meetings can be nerve-wracking for families, who may be worried that their dreams for their child will go unheard, or that they’ll be criticized for behavioral problems. By keeping these concerns in mind, teachers can use IEP meetings to strengthen school-family partnerships, rather than strain them. This article features strategies that teachers can use to help families be equitable partners in IEP meetings.

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