The Weekly Connect 11/6/17

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:

When it comes to kindergarten-readiness, poor children are still struggling to catch up to their wealthier peers.

Depression among young teenagers is on the rise. 

Senate Democrats have a plan to cut childhood poverty nearly in half. 

Wifi school buses create broadband Internet access for students who don’t have it at home.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

New Research Finds it Hasn’t Gotten Easier for Poor Kids to Catch Up
The Hechinger Report:new report by the Economic Policy Institute found that the kindergarten-readiness gap between low-income and high-income students has not closed in a generation, even though parents are more involved than ever in their children’s education and state-funded pre-K, nutrition programs, and prenatal care are more accessible now than in the late 1990s. Researchers found that large gaps for both reading and math performance between kindergarteners of high and low socioeconomic status were nearly the same in 1998 and 2010 even though there are more anti-poverty programs than ever before. 

Learning How Bullying Happens in Order to Prevent it
NPR Ed Blog: One in four students report being bullied, but not all say they are bullied the same way. That’s what one new survey found after posing questions to more than 180,000 students across 412 schools between 2012 and 2017. The data looked at fifth- through 12th-graders in 37 states and found that of the students who said they were bullied, 73% said they were verbally abused, 53% reported being socially bullied, 28% said they were physically abused, and 23% reported being harassed online. 

Most Teachers Say Classroom Tech Helps Students, but Teachers Need More Training
The Journal: Nearly four in five teachers say they haven’t received the training they need to effectively use the technology they’re asked to use in the classroom, according to a new report from SAM Labs. At the same time, 82% of survey respondents said they believe students who use technology in the classroom are better prepared for their future careers. 

Early Childhood Adversities Linked to Health Problems in Tweens, Teens
Science Daily: Adverse experiences in childhood have been associated with physical and mental health problems later in life. But new research published in JAMA Pediatrics has shown that multiple adverse experiences in early childhood are linked to depression and physical health problems in kids as young as 9 to 15. Further, the researchers have identified a potential pathway in the brain to explain how such stressful experiences influence poor health in kids. 

Depression is on the Rise in the US, Especially Among Young Teens
Science Daily: Depression is on the rise in the United States, according to researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. From 2005 to 2015, depression rose significantly among Americans age 12 and older with the most rapid increases seen in young people. The findings appear in the journal Psychological Medicine.

Policy

Researchers Push Congress for Better Data Sharing in Education Partnerships
Ed Week Inside School Research Blog: While the Every Student Succeeds Act specifically encourages states and districts to use research-backed approaches to improve schools—and to evaluate the interventions they already use—researchers argue that states and districts do not have the capacity to keep up with the research demands on their own; states need more flexibility and support to work with outside research groups. These researchers have submitted a letter to lawmakers calling for the next iteration of federal privacy law.

Senate Democrats Have a Plan That Would Cut Child Poverty Nearly in Half
Vox: The US is one of the only developed countries in the world without a child allowance. A new proposal by Democratic Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) would change that. The American Family Act of 2017 would dramatically expand the child tax credit — which currently offers up to $1,000 a year for families with significant earnings but little or nothing for many poor people. The updated credit would pay $3,000 per year per child ages 6 to 18 or $3,600 per year per child ages 0 to 5. Arguably the most important effect of the plan would be to cut child poverty in the US almost in half.

Around the Nation

More Than 1 Million K-12 Students Are Homeless. What One District Is Doing About It
Ed Week District Dossier Blog: With more than 1 million students classified as homeless across the country, districts are taking a harder look at what they can do to help those students be successful in school and graduate. Educators in Dallas’ independent school district decided they needed to try something new, especially in the most extreme cases of students living in cars, parks, or abandoned buildings. The district is teaming up with After8toEducate, a local nonprofit, to turn one of its unused elementary schools into a 35-bed shelter and a 24-hour drop-in center that would provide homeless students with wraparound services, such as mental health counseling, primary medical care, and tutoring. 

New York City Schools Continue to Give Out Fewer Suspensions, Though Racial Disparities Persist
Chalkbeat: Student suspensions in New York City schools continued to fall last year, but racial disparities remain. The total number of suspensions dropped to 35,234 in the 2016-2017 school year, a 6.4% decrease from 2015-2016, according to figures released by the education department. Arrests in schools were down 8% and summonses declined by 11% during the same time frame. While most student groups received fewer suspensions last year, black students and those with disabilities continued to be suspended at disproportionately high rates. See related article: Education Week “A District That Ditched In-School Suspensions.”

The Crisis Facing America’s Preschool Teachers
The Atlantic: The early education field is in a difficult period of transition. Grounded in solid evidence that early learning can help reduce educational achievement gaps among children and generate a host of other lasting positive effects, the field is still struggling to distinguish itself from traditional childcare. As governments invest, they also need to ensure that public dollars are flowing to high-quality programs—which means to centers staffed by qualified teachers. Increasing the credential requirements for early educators, however, is raising a host of equity concerns as longtime workers face the prospect of losing their job if they are unable to complete college. See related article: Center for American Progress “The Cost of Inaction on Universal Preschool.” 

Wifi-Equipped School Buses Help Students Get Online
CNN: While some US schools provide their students with laptops or iPads, almost 5 million American households with school-aged children lack broadband in the home. Low-income homes with children are four times more likely to lack broadband as middle or high income families. WiFi school buses are one new approach to help students without access to fast broadband at home get connected. The school buses are equipped with routers and students use a public network to connect to the internet. This allows children who have long commutes, finish homework assignments on their journey.

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