The Weekly Connect 5/21/18

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:

Teachers want help finding evidence-based practices for addressing students’ behavioral challenges.

Young children’s self-control is influenced by their knowledge of how their peers are acting.

States need more data on preschool-age Dual Language Learners. 

As the population of students grows, the number of school librarians is falling.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

Teachers of Students with Behavior Problems Want Help Finding Evidence-Based Tools
Ed Week On Special Education Blog: Teachers who say they have students with “behavior regulation challenges” are always on the lookout for programs they can use to support their students. According to a new survey, teachers learn about these programs through their own research about a third of the time. But these teachers, who educate children with disabilities such as autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also don’t like having to find evidence-based practices on their own. They would prefer to learn about these programs through formal professional development programs.

This Program Is Proven to Help Moms and Babies—So Why Aren’t We Investing in It More?
The Hechinger Report: Every week, up to 75 home visitors from several home visiting programs fan out across Florida’s Hillsborough County, which includes the city of Tampa. The home visitors bring books, toys, and reading materials about child development. They provide tips on how to deal with tantrums, and they help parents navigate their own mental health needs, safe sleep habits for their babies, and immunizations. These simple interactions can have stunning results. Among families that participate in the county’s home visiting programs, child abuse and neglect rates are so low they are nearly nonexistent. In addition, nearly all children are up-to-date with immunizations, repeat pregnancy rates are lower, and a high percentage of mothers have tried breastfeeding. 

The Average Teacher Spends $479 a Year on Classroom Supplies, National Data Show
Education Week: In the 2014-15 school year, 94% of public school teachers spent their own money on classroom supplies without reimbursement, according to an analysis of federal data. On average, these teachers spent $479, according to the 2015-16 National Teacher and Principal Survey, a nationally representative sample survey of teachers and principals in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The new data show that the amount teachers spend on school supplies can vary widely. Forty-four percent of teachers spent $250 or less, while 36% spent between $251 and $500, 13% spent between $501 and $1,000, and 7% spent more than $1,000. 

Young Children’s Self-Control Influenced by Peers
Education Dive: Self-control, one of several skills that falls under the category known as executive function, is shaped in early-childhood and influenced by what children think their friends are doing, according to a recent study from researchers at University of Colorado Boulder. Published in the journal Psychological Science, the study showed that when preschoolers were told that members of their “in group” decided to wait for two marshmallows instead of getting one right away, they were twice as likely to wait for two themselves.

Principals Report More Influence Over School Budgets Than Curriculum Choice in National Survey
Ed Week Marketplace K-12 Blog: Sixty percent of public school principals say they have a major influence over their school budgets, while only 40% said they have that same amount of influence on establishing curriculum, according to a national study released by the federal government. Principals in suburban schools were the most likely to say that they have a major influence on school budgets (66%) but they were least likely to report that level of influence on curriculum choices (33%). 

Why Kids and Teens May Face Far More Anxiety These Days
The Washington Post: Anxiety, not depression, is the leading mental health issue among American youths, and clinicians and research both suggest it is rising. Based on data collected from the National Survey of Children’s Health for ages 6 to 17, researchers found a 20% increase in diagnoses of anxiety between 2007 and 2012. The rate of depression over that same time period ticked up 0.2%. See related article: U.S. News & World Report “LGBTQ Teens Feel Unsafe and Unwelcome, Despite Growing Support for Rights.” 

Hospitals See Growing Numbers of Kids and Teens at Risk for Suicide
NPR Public Health: The number of kids who struggle with thoughts of suicide or who attempt to kill themselves is rising. New research, published in Pediatrics, finds children ages 5 to 17 visited children’s hospitals for suicidal thoughts or attempts about twice as often in 2015 as in 2008. The study found kids of all ages are affected though increases were greatest for older adolescents. See related articles: NPR Ed “As ’13 Reasons Why’ Returns, Schools Try to Help Students Who Are Thinking of Suicide and The Columbus Dispatch “Americans Want More Mental-Health Services For Children, Survey Shows.” 

How Nutrition Affects Teens’ Mental Health
U.S. News & World Report: What we eat and how we eat it are closely associated with our emotions and mental health. A growing body of research is revealing not only the power of particular nutrients to increase well-being, but also the multifaceted ways in which our attitude and choices regarding food impact our state of mind. That’s why it’s so important for teen mental health providers and treatment programs to incorporate specific nutrition plans into their approach to sustainable healing – not only for adolescents with eating disorders, but also for those who are addressing depression, anxiety, trauma and other conditions.

Policy

Congressional Black Caucus Bill Backs Wraparound Services, Computer Science
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: New legislation from the Congressional Black Caucus backs the Obama-era Promise Neighborhoods program that supports wraparound services to support student achievement and well-being, as well as increased access to computer science programs. The Jobs and Justice Act, introduced by the CBC as an omnibus bill, also supports the creation of environmental justice programs at the U.S. Department of Education and two years of tuition-free community college, among other education initiatives. 

Want to Make American Classrooms More Equitable? Congress Can Start by Doubling Title I Funding for Low-Income Schools
The 74 Million: In spite of its great wealth, the United States has the shameful distinction of being one of only a small handful of countries that spends less on the education of poor students than it does on affluent ones. This inequity results from funding decisions by 50 state legislatures and 13,000 school boards. And since the Great Recession, state and local education funding has decreased or remained flat. To maximize the impact of new revenues, the new funds should flow through two of the four formulas that comprise Title I: Targeted Grants and Education Finance Incentive Grants. Together, they would dramatically increase school funding in the most impoverished districts in the country and incentivize states to make their own school finance systems more equitable. 

Dual Language Learner Data Gaps: Takeaways for State Policy Leaders
New America Blog: Across a variety of domains, states need better data to more equitably serve dual language learners (DLLs) in early care and education (ECE). When leaders cannot access high-quality, complete information about these children, they will struggle to make policy decisions and investments in ECE in strategic, effective ways. To foster better insights in supporting policy-making for young DLLs, most states need to improve their policies for data collection in three key areas: DLL enrollment, ECE program quality for DLLs, and DLL’s kindergarten readiness.

Around the Nation

Partnership for Equity: Learning from Oakland’s Full Service Community Schools
Ed Week Opinion Blog: Community schools are gaining increased attention nationwide as a promising reform strategy, but there are relatively few empirical studies of comprehensive community school implementation and outcomes. Fortunately, research efforts are growing thanks to the Oakland Unified School District. Oakland launched its community schools approach in 2011 to address inequitable outcomes for students. In 2014, Oakland started working with Stanford University’s Gardner Center to conduct research on the implementation and early outcomes of the community schools approach. The results show how community schools can integrate webs of supports and partnerships into the academic life and mission of the city’s schools. See related article: Education Dive “Building Bridges Between Institutions and Poverty in Their Communities.”

Schools See Steep Drop in Librarians, New Analysis Finds
Education Week: American schools—particularly those serving black and Latino students—have seen a precipitous drop in their school librarians since the Great Recession. The nation’s public school districts have lost some 20% of their librarians and media specialists: In 2000, there were 54,000 librarians, but only 44,000 in 2015, according to an analysis of federal data conducted by the Education Week Research Center. Many districts lost librarians even as student populations grew by 7% nationwide. For example, over the past decade in Denver public schools, student enrollment increased by 24%, but the number of librarians decreased by 56%.

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