The Weekly Connect 4/2/18

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:

The benefits of using LGBTQ-inclusive curricula.

President Trump signs a spending bill that boosts the country’s investment in education.

A charter school offers a longer day to help English language learners.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

How Life Outside of a School Affects Student Performance in School
Brookings: This report presents findings from a unique partnership between the University of Michigan and state officials that allowed researchers to match the universe of child maltreatment records in Michigan with educational data on all public school children in the state. The findings: roughly 18% of third-grade students have been subject to at least one formal investigation for child maltreatment. In some schools, more than 50% of third graders have experienced an investigation for maltreatment. These estimates indicate that child abuse and neglect cannot simply be treated like a secondary issue, but must be a central concern of school personnel.

Food for Thought: Students’ Test Scores Rise a Few Weeks After Families Get Food Stamps
Chalkbeat: Families receiving food stamps get their benefits once a month. A few weeks later, kids’ test scores tick up. The pattern, revealed by a new study of thousands of North Carolina families published in the American Educational Research Journal, suggests that the additional access to healthy food helps students do better in school. It’s the latest study to quantify how out-of-school factors affect academic performance, and it’s an example of why some districts are embracing “community schools” that try to provide health and other benefits for students and families. 

Elementary School Teachers Sometimes Follow a Class of Students from Year to Year. New Research Suggests That’s a Good Idea.
Chalkbeat: When Kim Van Duzer, an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn, had a chance to follow her students from third to fourth grade the next school year, she jumped at the opportunity. “It was such a positive experience,” she said. “One of the big advantages is starting in September hitting the ground running — you already know the kids and the things they did the previous year and the things they need to work on.” Now, a new study seems to confirm Van Duzer’s experience. Students improve more on tests in their second year with the same teacher, it finds, and the benefits are largest for students of color. 

Can Money Help Attract More Diverse Teachers? Only Sometimes, Analysis Finds
Ed Week Teacher Beat Blog: What works—and what doesn’t work—to attract nonwhite candidates into the teaching profession? School district leaders and state education chiefs have been trying to figure this out for years now, especially because research shows that having a teacher from similar demographic backgrounds has social and academic benefits for students, most of whom are nonwhite. A new analysis from the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution found that when it comes to financial incentives, only certain ones make a difference in recruiting more diverse teachers to the profession. See related article: U.S. News & World Report “States to Prioritize Hiring Teachers of Color.” 

Pre-K, Plus a Little Extra, Can Help Close Math Gaps for Children in Poverty
Ed Week Inside School Research Blog: The benefits of even high-quality preschool programs tend to fade over time, but extracurricular programs in early grades may help boost the good effects of early education after students start school, according to a new longitudinal study by the research firm MDRC. 

LGBTQ Curriculum Can Turn Schools into Kinder — and Safer — Spaces
Education Dive: Research shows that bringing LGBTQ curriculum into schools is a move that can help all students — not just those who identify as such. When LGBTQ-inclusive content is taught on site, students are less likely to hear negative comments, less likely to miss school, and less likely to not graduate from high school, according to GLSEN, which focuses on educational resources for K-12 schools.

Policy

President Trump Signs Spending Bill That Includes Billions More for Education
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: President Donald Trump signed into law spending legislation that provides a significant funding increase for the U.S. Department of Education, including more money for educator development, after-school programs, and special education, among other programs. In addition, funding for Title I, the biggest pot of federal money for public schools, which is earmarked for disadvantaged students, is rising by $300 million from fiscal 2017 enacted spending, up to $15.8 billion. See related articles: The 74 Million “Congress Uses New Funding Bill to Reassert Itself in ESSA Implementation, Nudging Use of Evidence for Struggling School Interventions” and Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog “More Than School Safety: What the Huge Hike for ESSA’s Block Grant Means.”

Top 10 Early Childhood Ideas for States in 2018
Center for American Progress: According to a recent poll from the First Five Years Fund, 82% of Republicans, 85% of Independents, and 97% of Democrats support “making quality early education for children from birth through age five, including child care, more affordable for working families.” States have a critical role to play in expanding access to high-quality early childhood programs. With voters prioritizing investments in young children and with 36 upcoming gubernatorial races, now is the time for bold proposals. This report provides 10 progressive policy ideas that states can explore to help give all children the best start in life.

Around the Nation

After the Bell: DC Charter Schools Extend the Day to Improve English Learners’ Skills
Education Dive: In a classroom at Center City Public Charter School’s Petworth campus, in Washington, D.C., Alicia Passante, the charter network’s English-as-a-second-language program manager, confers with two 2nd graders on how a news story about a 15-year-old advocate for African girls’ education relates to Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It’s an international document that Passante says even some high school students would have trouble interpreting, but in this “ESL After the Bell” program the document is a primary tool for linking academic standards to students’ understanding of their own cultural heritage and the struggles that many parents go through to make sure their children receive a good education.

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