The Weekly Connect 10/15/18

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:

Are students getting too much homework — or too little?

All 50 states as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., have turned in their plans for ESSA (the Every Student Succeeds Act).

San Antonio is integrating its schools by income.

Social/emotional learning in Chicago.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

What’s the Right Amount of Homework? Many Students Get Too Little, Brief Argues
Ed Week Teaching Now Blog: Arguments against homework are well-documented, with some parents, teachers, and researchers saying these assignments put unnecessary stress on students and may not actually be helping them learn. But a new article in Education Next argues that many American students don’t have too much homework—they have too little. 

Specialized Teacher Training Yields More Success for Kids With ASD
Disability Scoop: A new study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology looking at elementary schools in districts across the country finds that providing teachers with just a little bit of extra knowledge about how to work with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder can yield significant results. The study found that in cases where teachers received specialized training, their students who were on the spectrum were initiating more, participating more, having more back-and-forth conversations, and responding to their teachers and peers more frequently.

Policy

Betsy DeVos Has Approved Every ESSA Plan. Read What’s in Them
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: It’s finally happened. Roughly 34 months after President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law, all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have gotten the seal of approval for their ESSA plans from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Florida ended up being the caboose—DeVos approved the Sunshine State’s ESSA plan late last month. So what’s in the plans and how will they impact schools and students? Read more about it here. See related article: Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog “Betsy DeVos Releases ESSA Guide for Parents.” 

Most States Failing to Meet English-Learner Academic Targets, Report Finds
Ed Week Learning the Language Blog: A new U.S. Department of Education report found that just five states met their goals for helping English-language learners make progress in learning the language and reaching academic targets in mathematics and reading during the 2013-14 school year, the most recent year for which data was submitted. 

When the Data’s No Good
U.S. News & World Report: It’s been a rough year for education data – one in which the accuracy of federal databases has been challenged and one when uncovered discrepancies have called major policy decisions into questions. In the face of these challenges, districts and schools will be asked to collect, report, and use more data than ever before. Getting data right is essential. Discrepancies can have serious ramifications for researchers who rely on federal databases to study any number of things, as well as for policymakers and practitioners who use such information to make decisions for their communities. Moreover, data is often used to determine how billions of dollars in education funding is distributed to states and school districts, making accuracy even more imperative.

More Than 300,000 Children Have ‘Vanished’ From Schools After Local Police Formed Partnerships With ICE
The 74 Million: As the Trump administration continues its crackdown on undocumented immigrants, school officials across the country report that the heightened enforcement has caused widespread turbulence. A new study is putting hard numbers on the school effects of one controversial immigration enforcement tactic: partnerships between federal immigration agents and local police. In counties that adopted enforcement partnerships, Hispanic student enrollment dropped by an average of nearly 10% within two years of the partnerships being adopted, according to the report.

Around the Nation

Integrating Schools by Income, Not Race: Why Cities Are Embracing ‘an Idea Whose Time Has Come’
The 74 Million: The 74 concludes its multi-part examination of San Antonio’s ambitious, class-based approach to integration. Spearheaded by Superintendent Pedro Martinez, the program identifies students using reams of family data — on income, parents’ educational attainment, homelessness, etc. — and directs them to a slate of new and coveted “schools of choice” designed to attract more affluent pupils from around the city. The experiment is drawing national attention. Cities like Cambridge, Mass., are eyeing socioeconomic diversity as the future of school integration.

Three Ways to Help Students Who Switch Schools Midyear
The Hechinger Report Op/Ed: Students who change schools during the academic year are more likely to fall behind in school and experience a loss in their sense of confidence and belonging. While there are various reasons why students change schools, many do so for involuntary reasons, like housing instability or homelessness. At East Baton Rouge Parish Schools in Louisiana, educators have been wrestling with how to better serve the significant number of students who fall into this category. For the past year and a half, they have started to dive deeply into the data, learning from principals and staff what’s working and trying out promising interventions in more schools. This effort has produced lessons that might be helpful to other districts that also have high numbers of transient students.

‘We’re here to develop the whole child’: Social and emotional intelligence are key for students of color
Chicago Tribune: Reading, writing, and arithmetic may still dominate class time, but skills like empathy, altruism, and kindness are getting more attention. They’re also vital for students’ success, academically and beyond — especially students of color, who face unique challenges outside the classroom. The Illinois State Board of Education added SEL skills to its student learning standards in 2003 and organizations like dropout-prevention nonprofit Communities In Schools of Chicago are doing their part to make sure SEL remains at the forefront of education. See related article: EdSurge “Educating the Whole Child? Consider How Their Brains Work.” 

Colorado’s Safe2Tell Program Sees Youth Suicide Reports Increase Dramatically, Echoing National Trend
The Denver Post: The number of suicide-related reports coming into Safe2Tell has increased ninefold in six years, with suicide surpassing bullying as the leading reason students contact the program. During the 2011-12 school year, the program received 307 reports related to suicide. By the 2017-18 school year, the number had increased to 2,786 reports related to suicide threats, according to Safe2Tell data. See related article: The Week “These High School Students Are Tackling Kentucky’s Mental Health Crisis.”

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