The Weekly Connect 11/26/18

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:

Difficulties in kindergarten may predict later academic struggles.

How state leaders can change their ESSA plans.

Segregated schools persist in many U.S. cities.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

Kindergarten Difficulties May Predict Academic Achievement Across Primary Grades
Science Daily: Identifying factors that predict academic difficulties during elementary school should help inform efforts to help children who may be at risk. However, new Penn State research, published in the Early Childhood Research Quarterly, suggests that children’s executive function in kindergarten may be a particularly important risk factor for such difficulties. 

K12 Attendance in Action
District Administration: For the first time, the law requires states to report chronic-absenteeism rates, and more than two-thirds of the states use those rates as indicators of school success in federally mandated accountability plans. District leaders should confront chronic absenteeism because it can derail students’ educational progress, making it less likely they’ll learn to read, pass classes or graduate, researchers and advocates say. Across the country, districts tackle attendance problems with an array of strategies—some as simple and inexpensive as mailing informational letters to parents, and others as complex and costly as offering counseling, mentoring, and support services. 

Most Parents Are Not Involved Enough in Their Child’s Reading Education, Survey Says
Fortune.com: Seven in ten teachers believe parents are not involved enough in their child’s education, according to a new survey, conducted by Age of Learning, an education technology and resource company. The online survey was completed by over 1,000 parents (with children ages two to 12) and 1,000 teachers (in preschool to 6th-grade classrooms) to get a better understanding of children’s reading in the U.S. The results provide a dim outlook on young American readers. 

The Future of Learning? Well, It’s Personal
NPR: John Pane, an education researcher at the RAND Corporation, is among a wave of education watchers getting excited by the idea that technology may finally offer a solution to the historic constraints of one-instructor-to-many-students teaching. It’s called personalized learning: What if each student had something like a private tutor, and more power over what and how they learned?

Policy

Trump Ed. Dept. Outlines Process for States Seeking to Change Their ESSA Plans
Ed Week Education K-12 Blog: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her team have outlined a process for state officials who want to change their Every Student Succeeds Act plan. State chiefs who want to make changes must first consult with their governors and give the education community an opportunity to comment. Officials then need to send DeVos a cover letter describing what they want to do differently, a redlined version of the plan that reflects the proposed changes, and an explanation of how they reached out to the public to get feedback on the revision. 

Is ‘Proficient’ Insufficient? A New Wrinkle in the Debate Over NAEP Achievement Levels
Ed Week Curriculum Matters Blog: Members of the panel that sets policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress—better known as the Nation’s Report Card—approved small but significant changes to the test’s description of what constitutes “advanced,” “proficient,” and “basic” performance. From now on, they’ll be preceded by the word NAEP, as in “NAEP advanced”, “NAEP proficient,” and “NAEP basic,” and references to performance in a grade will be stricken and replaced with performance on the NAEP assessment.

Around the Nation

In Most U.S. Cities, Neighborhoods Have Grown More Integrated. Their Schools Haven’t.
Chalkbeat: Between 1990 and 2015, Seattle’s neighborhoods saw a notable decline in racial segregation. It would make sense, then, to think that the city’s public schools had also become more integrated. Not so. In fact, they were headed in the opposite direction. In 1990, only 3% of schools were intensely segregated—that is, at least 90% of students were nonwhite—but by 2015, that number had spiked to 17%. New research looking at America’s 100 largest cities shows that the diverging trends in Seattle—neighborhoods growing more diverse, as their schools grow more segregated—is not an anomaly.

One School District’s Simple Solution to the Homework Gap? Local Businesses
EdSurge Community: Students who are able to access digital learning at school, but not at home, are in what is known as the “homework gap,” which affects an estimated 12 million students in the U.S. Susie Meade, the superintendent of Winterset Community Schools in Iowa, decided that the gap was unacceptable. As she began thinking about ways to help students get home Internet access, Meade recalled hearing about a district that had tapped local businesses to allow students to come in after school hours and use their Wi-Fi for free.

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