The Weekly Connect 12/26/17

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:

Teachers are coping with education reform.

How the new federal tax law will impact education.

New York State requires mental health instruction for all grades.

Success at high-poverty schools.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

Educating ‘The Whole Child’ Isn’t Just Jargon. Here’s How It’s Done.
The Washington Post: It’s no secret that many people involved in education are looking for ways that schools can better help children develop as people and productive citizens in the American democratic experiment. The Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development has been exploring ways to accomplish this for about a year. In this post, Karen Pittman, a member of the commission, explains how two schools in Tacoma, Wash., are working with community partners to blend social and emotional learning with academic lessons.

Survey Shows Educators Struggle with Impact of Immigration
Education Week: Forty-four percent of educators surveyed by the Education Week Research Center said they saw the impact of immigration on schools as “mixed,” while another 38 percent said it was a “good thing.” Only 8 percent saw it as a “bad thing.” See related article: Education Week “Educators Conflicted on LGBT Issues, Survey Shows.” 

How Much Do Teachers Spend on Classroom Supplies?
NPR Ed: Each year, teachers dip into their own pockets to buy things like notebooks, tissues, and pencils for their students. This inevitability is even enshrined in the tax code, which gives educators a $250 deduction for their trouble. Republicans decided to preserve that deduction. So we thought we would ask teachers how much of their own money they spend each year. The answer: more than $250. Many teachers told us they spend as much as a $1,000 a year. 

Majority of Teachers Say Reforms Have Been ‘Too Much’
Education Week: The majority of teachers say they’ve faced major changes—related to what and how they teach, as well as how they’re evaluated—over the last couple of years in their schools and districts, according to a recent survey by the Education Week Research Center. And while there’s agreement that the upheaval has been a bit much, teachers have tended to stay positive about the reforms they’re experiencing. 

Aggression in Childhood: Rooted in Genetics, Influenced by The Environment
Science Daily: According to a new psychosocial study, reactive and proactive types of aggressive behavior in 6-year-old children share most of the same genetic factors. However, their evolution over time seems to be influenced by various environmental factors, suggesting the need to develop different intervention methods.

Policy

Four Things for Educators to Know About the Tax Bill Congress Just Passed
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: Congress just passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a major overhaul for the federal tax code. It took a second House vote to finally get it done, and the holdup was related to education. What does it mean for schools? Here’s a short list. See related article: Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog “Will the Tax Bill Benefit Private Schools at the Expense of Poor Students in Public Education?.” 

Here’s How Career Readiness Figures into State ESSA Plans
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: The Every Student Succeeds Act gave states a chance to put a much bigger focus on career readiness when it comes to rating schools, fixing those that are low-performers, spending federal funds, and setting goals. So did states take advantage of the flexibility? They did—to a point, according to a new analysis from Advance CTE, which advocates for workforce education. Nearly every state had some sort of strategy to grow career readiness in their plans. The biggest lever was accountability plans. 

Education Department Seeks Rollback of Special Education Racial-Disparity Rule
Ed Week On Special Education Blog: The U.S. Department of Education is proposing a two-year delay of a rule that would require states to take a stricter approach to identifying whether their districts have wide racial or ethnic disparities in special education.

Around the Nation

New York State Requires Mental Health Education
District Administration: Most states have laws mandating health education in primary and secondary schools, but New York will be the first to emphasize mental health instruction for all grades. The move follows legislation signed into law in 2016 and slated to take effect in July 2018, in time for the new school year. See related article: District Administration “ESSA drives new approaches to K12 physical education.” 

Yes, There Are High-Poverty Public Schools That Operate at A High Level. Here’s How They Succeed.
The Washington Post Answer Sheet: The drive in modern school reform to severely disrupt traditional public education is underpinned by the notion that educators in traditional public schools in high-poverty areas don’t know what they are doing. No doubt, some of them don’t, but many do, and in this post, author Karin Chenoweth talks about educators who are successful — even if policymakers aren’t interested in finding out how they do it.

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“Thank you for your dedication to educating the whole child. Look for the next Weekly Connect in 2018. Happy new year!”

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