The Weekly Connect 11/13/17

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:

Principals like social-emotional learning, but schools are struggling to implement the practice.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is shrinking the Department of Education.

Low income families struggle to cover child care costs.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

Principals Like Social-Emotional Learning. Here’s Why Schools Struggle with It
Ed Week Rules for Engagement Blog: School leaders see students’ social and emotional development as an important factor in school success but, in a nationally representative survey of principals, just 35% of respondents said their school was fully implementing a plan for incorporating social-emotional learning into policies and classroom work. Principals reported several barriers to putting social-emotional learning strategies into place, including a lack of time, inadequate teacher training, and a need for further evidence of its link to academic success. 

A Neighborhood’s Quality Influences Children’s Behaviors Through Teens, Study Suggests
Phys.org: The quality of the neighborhood where a child grows up has a significant impact on the number of problem behaviors they display during their elementary and teenage years, a study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine suggests. These findings can help inform national, state, and local housing policy as well as community investment decisions. 

Is a Good Teacher One Who Makes Kids Happy or One Who Raises Test Scores?
Ed Week Teaching Now Blog: On average, teachers who are good at raising test scores are worse at making students happy and engaged in school, a new study finds. The study looked at data from 4th and 5th grade teachers in four school districts from three states over three school years. The findings suggest that teachers do have substantive impacts on students’ attitudes and behavior, particularly students’ happiness in class. For example, teachers who are skilled at improving students’ math achievement may do so in ways that make students less happy in class. 

Removing Digital Devices from Children’s Bedrooms Improves Sleep Quality
UPI: Researchers at Penn State have found that removing digital devices and electronic media from a child’s bedroom can improve sleep quality and quantity. Results from the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, are based on an analysis of previous studies that shows use of digital devices before bed can cause disrupted and insufficient sleep in children.

Policy

Inside Betsy Devos’s Efforts to Shrink the Education Department
The Washington Post: The department’s workforce has shrunk under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has said she wants to decrease the federal government’s role in education, particularly in investigations and divil rights enforcement in schools. The department has shed about 350 workers since December — nearly 8 percent of its staff. With buyouts offered to 255 employees in recent days, DeVos hopes to show even more staff the door. 

Why It’s Time for Mayors to Take the Lead to Improve Public Schools
The Washington Post Answer Sheet: Whether cities have new administrations coming in, or incumbents remaining at their post for another term, now is the time to take a closer look at the role mayors play in education reform, and in jump-starting a stalled movement. In Salem, Mass., for example, every K-8 student has an individualized plan that maps the needs and resources it will take to succeed. This new local approach draws on the community-centered efforts of organizations such as StriveTogether, Communities in Schools, the Promise Neighborhoods and Say Yes to Education. This “collective impact” work is often led by mayors, their children’s cabinets, school leaders, various community organizations, and branches of local and regional government who unite to build cradle-to-career pathways that connect children to the services and opportunities they need to succeed in college and in their careers.

Around the Nation

The Hidden Mental Health Crisis in America’s Schools: Millions of Kids Not Receiving Services They Need
The 74 Million: Millions of American students suffer from mental health problems, and only a fraction are receiving necessary treatment, warns a brief from the American Institutes for Research. The report recommends that schools develop “multilevel, evidence-based interventions” to reverse the tide of young adults — particularly those living in poverty — who are struggling with depression, anxiety, and a host of other ailments. See related article: The New York Times “Thousands of City Children Not Getting Special Education Help.” 

New Data Reveal 250 Preschoolers Are Suspended or Expelled Every Day
Center for American Progress: The Center for American Progress analyzed new data from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health and found that an estimated 50,000 preschoolers were suspended at least once. Another 17,000 or so preschoolers are estimated to have been expelled. This is the first nationally representative survey of preschool discipline that includes private preschools as well as public schools — which means that, across all types of settings, the average school day sees roughly 250 instances of preschoolers being suspended or expelled. 

Many Low-Income Families Struggle to Cover Child Care Costs, Study Finds
Ed Week Early Years Blog: Researchers with the National Women’s Law Center looked at how all 50 states and the District of Columbia administered child care assistance programs funded by the federal government and found that child care is out of reach for many low-income families in the United States. 

Boys & Girls Club the Latest to Roll Out Computer Science Program
Ed Week Digital Education Blog: The Boys & Girls Clubs of America is the latest youth group to roll out an organization-wide computer science initiative, joining the ranks of community institutions like the Girl Scouts and 4-H. A computer science curriculum debuted this month and will cover coding, computational thinking, game design and app development. The program was developed in partnership with Microsoft, a long-time Boys & Girls Club supporter.

Schools Provide Community Coverage
District Administration: At four elementary schools in Idaho’s Boise School District, families in need can go to specially designated community rooms to pick up food, clothing and other necessities. The assistance offered goes even further: The community coordinator who staffs each room can help families register for food stamps, unemployment, low-cost housing and other social services, says Lisa Roberts, one of the district’s area directors. Boise’s community schools, and others like them across the country, bring outreach and social services into neighborhood schools.

Baby’s Got Mail: Free Books Boost Early Literacy
NPR Ed: Books From Birth is a D.C. Public Library program that mails a book a month, every month, to enrolled children from birth to age 5. That means a child could end up with a library of 60 books by the time they turn 5. All children in the district are eligible. The D.C. program was launched in February 2016, and nearly 27,000 children are currently enrolled, which is 57% of all eligible children.

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