The Weekly Connect 12/10/18

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:

Building trauma-sensitive classrooms.

A new grant program looks at the usefulness of school safety programs.

The country faces a shortage of special education teachers.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

Out-of-School Enrichment Is Critical to Student Success. We Must Close the Access Gap for Black and Latino Kids
The 74 Million: People talk a lot about the achievement gap, but they don’t usually talk about the access gap. If they do, they mean access to high-quality schools. But schools aren’t the only thing that students need access to in order to reach their goals. Access to enrichment matters, too. A new analysis by researchers from the University of Washington eScience Institute, in partnership with CRPE and ReSchool Colorado, shows a recurring trend: students who are black or Hispanic, and those who come from households with lower incomes or less-educated parents, tend to have less access to out-of-school opportunities that might boost their learning. 

How to Build a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom Where All Learners Feel Safe
Mind/Shift: In the United States, 34 million children have had at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE). Children living in poverty are more likely to have multiple ACEs, compounding the effects of economic insecurity. In addition, the current opioid epidemic is devastating families and overwhelming the foster care system, and many school populations include refugee children who have fled dangerous conditions. Many classrooms in America are touched by such trauma, however there is some hopeful news. “We know enough about the science to know that teachers can make a huge difference,” said Patricia Jennings, associate professor at the University of Virginia. “The school environment is one of the places where students who are exposed to real challenges at home can find safety and stability.” 

When Doctors Say ‘Read,’ New Parents Listen
The Hechinger Report: “Our theory and our strategy proved to be true,” said Patti Miller, the CEO of Too Small to Fail – a campaign aimed at teaching low-income parents to talk, read, and sing with their children even more than they already are. “We’re so excited about this research because we know the pediatrician, as a trusted messenger, can really make a difference. We’re excited to take this and scale it to hospitals across the country.”

Policy

Federal Funding Under Betsy DeVos: Which States Are Winners and Losers?
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: Federal education funding for K-12 is rising compared to where it was two years ago—but there are disparities in terms of which states are reaping the most benefits. And federal aid to disadvantaged students is actually on course to decline in several states over the first two years of the Trump administration. Those are two main takeaways from the most recent stats put out by the U.S. Department of Education about changes in funding over the last two years. 

$25 Million in Grants to Gauge Usefulness of School Safety Efforts
The Journal: A new grant program is seeking U.S. schools that would receive access to programs that address school safety. The “Safer Schools in America Impact Grant” will make a total of $25 million worth of in-kind safety solutions from 16 companies available to recipients over three years. Those systems will be deployed at no cost to the schools, and, in return, the schools will need to make data available for the purposes of research.

Bezos’ Investment in Pre-K Reflects Education as Favored Cause for Rich
Education Week: From Jeff Bezos’ free preschools to Andrew Carnegie’s public libraries, education stands out as a favorite cause among America’s wealthiest people. And as the rich get richer, and apparently more generous, this legacy of so-called investment philanthropy has shaped government priorities and driven policy changes. But with such high-profile giving fueled by both capitalism and poverty, critics have thrust that dichotomy into the spotlight, challenging how the system that allowed these philanthropists to amass their fortunes ultimately contributes to the social problems they’re trying to address. Bezos announced this fall he’s dedicating half of his new $2 billion Bezos Day One Fund toward creating free preschools in low-income communities nationwide.

Around the Nation

School-Based Counselors Help Kids Cope with Fallout from Drug Addiction
NPR Shots Blog: In October, Congress authorized $50 million a year for the next five years to fund mental health services to help school districts treat students who have experienced trauma due to the opioid epidemic. An increasing number of school districts across the country are starting not only to screen and treat at-risk kids for opioid addiction, the schools are also creating access to mental health counseling for students whose families and communities are consumed by opioid abuse. 

Shortage of Special Educators Adds to Classroom Pressures
Education Week: The number of special education teachers nationally has dropped by more than 17% over the past decade, a worrisome trend in a career path that has seen chronic shortages for years. An analysis of federal data by the Education Week Research Center shows that while the number of special education teachers was dropping, the number of students with disabilities ages 6 to 21 declined by only about 1% over the same time period. As a whole, the number of teachers in all fields has gone up slightly over the past decade, as has overall enrollment. 

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