The Weekly Connect 10/1/18

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:

Providing mentors for new teachers helps boost their students’ math scores. 

A bill in Congress would address the shortage of teachers who work with English language learners

In San Antonio, Tex., school Superintendent Pedro Martinez is conducting a radical school integration experiment.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

Want to Boost Test Scores and Increase Grad Rates? One Strategy: Look Outside Schools and Help Low-Income Families
Chalkbeat: Chalkbeat identified more than 20 studies published in the past decade that examine how increasing family income or benefits, like food stamps and health insurance, affect children’s outcomes in school in the U.S. This research does not simply restate the well-known fact that less affluent children do worse in schools than more affluent ones; the studies try to pin down the effect of providing additional resources to families in poverty. Over and over, they find that more money or benefits helps kids in school. 

When New Teachers Get Mentoring, Student Math Scores Can Go Up, Study Shows
Ed Week Teaching Now Blog: When new teachers get ongoing support from mentors, they’re better able to engage students and use assessment in instruction, and their students score higher on math assessments, according to a new study conducted by SRI Education. The study is an independent analysis of the New Teacher Center’s mentorship program, funded through a 2016 federal Investing in Innovation grant. 

Here Are 3 Good-News Statistics on Children’s Well-Being
Ed Week Inside School Research Blog: U.S. children are becoming less likely to live in extreme poverty or to be imprisoned, according to the latest annual report of federal data on child health and well-being. This report – 2018 America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being – collects data from 23 federal agencies that work with children and families, and it gives insight into risks and supports for children in and out of the school day.

Suspending Elementary School Students Linked to Future Behavioral Problems
The Journal: Suspension in the elementary school years can lead to more suspensions in middle and high school, according to a study conducted by Louisiana State University researchers. However, the earliest suspensions can have a lasting effect on a child’s development since time out of the classroom means less time spent on early learning experiences.

Policy

What’s in Store for States on Federal ESSA Oversight
Education Week: With the 2018-19 school year in full swing, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has finished approving nearly every state’s plan to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act. But in some ways, the federal government’s work on ESSA is just beginning. The federal K-12 law’s hallmark may be state and local control, however it is still the responsibility of the Education Department to oversee the more than $21 billion in federal funding pumped out to states and districts under ESSA. That will often take the form of monitoring: federal officials taking a deep look at state and local implementation of the law. See related articles: Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog “Betsy DeVos Greenlights Florida’s ESSA Plan. Now All 50 States Have Been Approved” and “Many State ESSA Plans Minimize Performance of Vulnerable Students, Report Finds.” 

Can Schools Use Federal Funds to Arm Teachers?
NPR Ed: This question came up again and again during an at-times heated hearing of the Senate’s education committee: Does the law allow schools to use federal money to arm teachers? The federal money in question comes from Title IV of the big, K-12 federal education law known as The Every Student Succeeds Act. It’s a billion-dollar pot intended for what the law calls “student support and academic enrichment.“ One big caveat: This debate is still largely hypothetical. It’s not clear many states have any interest in using Title IV dollars to arm teachers, especially if the hearing’s panelists are any indication. See related article: Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog “Guns and Disadvantaged Students Take Center Stage at Senate ESSA Hearing.” 

ELL Teachers Are in Short Supply. Some Lawmakers Want to Fix That
Ed Week Learning the Language Blog: A group of Democrats in the U.S. Senate has introduced their version of a bill designed to address the national shortage of teachers who work with English-language learners. The Reaching English Learners Act would create a grant program under Title II of the Higher Education Act — the part of the law that regulates teacher preparation — to pave the way for colleges and school districts to develop curricula for aspiring ELL teachers. Lawmakers in both chambers want the grants to help develop educators who can recognize and address the social-emotional needs of English-learners, identify and teach English-learner students with disabilities, and promote family and community engagement in ELL programs. 

2018 State of Early Childhood Data Systems
The Early Childhood Data Collaborative: In April 2018, 50 states responded to an Early Childhood Data Collaborative survey to assess states’ capacity to link child-, family-, program-, and workforce-level data across ECE programs. Linking child-, family-, and program-level data means having the ability to follow individual children, programs, and staff across programs and over time. National findings and recommendations from the 2018 Early Childhood Data Systems Survey are available in a final report.

Around the Nation

Mass. Will Require New Assistance to 230 Struggling Schools
Boston Globe: School systems across the state will be required to provide targeted assistance to more than 230 schools where performance fell short on the latest round of MCAS scores or other measures, under a new state accountability system. The schools represent 14% of all those statewide. They include 41 in Boston — making up almost half of the 102 city schools that received ratings under the new system — and will likely add to the challenges facing interim Superintendent Laura Perille, who has been grappling with chronically late school buses and the fate of the system’s aging school buildings. 

78207: America’s Most Radical School Integration Experiment
The 74 Million: School Superintendent Pedro Martinez launched one of America’s most innovative and data-informed school integration experiments. He started with a novel approach that yielded eye-popping information: Using family income data, he created a map showing the depth of poverty on each city block and in every school in the San Antonio Independent School District — a color-coded street guide composed of granular details unheard of in education. And then he started integrating schools, not by race, but by income, factoring in a spectrum of additional elements such as parents’ education levels and homelessness. Only a few years into the experiment, the effort has reshaped the educational landscape and redefined the aspirations of its students and educators. Student learning has accelerated — in both the new, marquee programs and existing schools.

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