To Keep Poor Students in School, Provide Social Services – NYTimes.com

ARLINGTON, Va. — FOR the 16 million American children living below the federal poverty line, the start of a new school year should be reason to celebrate. Summer is no vacation when your parents are working multiple jobs or looking for one. Many kids are left to fend for themselves in neighborhoods full of gangs, drugs and despair. Given the hardships at home, poor kids might be expected to have the best attendance records, if only for the promise of a hot meal and an orderly classroom.

via To Keep Poor Students in School, Provide Social Services – NYTimes.com.

Informal education: What students are learning outside the classroom | The Hechinger Report

Parents, teachers, and education writers, myself included, think a lot about what our students are taught in school, the debate over the Common Core being just the latest example. But we think very little about what they’re taught in the blue glow of their screens. In fact, we likely assume they’re not learning much at all from their video games and their social networks and their celebrity news websites. Patricia Greenfield, a developmental psychologist at UCLA and a longtime observer of the relationship between children and technology, begs to differ. There is the formal education that young people receive in school, she maintains, and the “informal education” they receive through their devices.

via Informal education: What students are learning outside the classroom | The Hechinger Report.

The Privatizing Agenda of Survey-producing Education Next

Originally posted on @ THE CHALK FACE:

In August 2014, Education Next released the results of its annual education poll.

In a post on August 20, 2014, I wrote briefly on the EdNext survey findings specific to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  I plan to examine the entire survey more closely in a future post. However, in this post, I will examine the folks behind the survey:

I call them the EdNextians.

They are the privatization slant behind the EdNext post.

Education Next is a journal that promotes “choice,” and what that means is the privatization of public education, including the defunding of traditional public schools in the form of vouchers and charters. This defunding is accomplished via the grading of schools, and the grading of schools depends upon placing standardized testing as front and center in determining educational “value.” Many of the EdNextians also promotes CCSS, which have also been fused with high-stakes testing…

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The business of: Equipment leasing and rental | District Administration Magazine

As the economy continues its slow crawl out of the recession, school districts that had put off capital purchases are now replacing outdated equipment and buying new technology.However, administrators are still considering large-scale acquisitions with caution, says Michael Lockwood, president of TEQlease Education Finance, a company that helps schools and other industries finance equipment leases.A particular concern for district leaders is technology. Desktops, laptops and tablets change so rapidly that staying current can be challenging and somewhat cost-prohibitive, especially if the technology is widely used throughout schools, says Mike Rangos, vice president of contracts for E&I Cooperative Services, a member-owned, nonprofit co-op that helps educators connect with suppliers.

via The business of: Equipment leasing and rental | District Administration Magazine.

How Kids Are Learning to Code While Playing Minecraft | MindShift

Teachers are already capitalizing on their students’ fascination with the computer game Minecraft to teach everything from math to history. Now, a new add-on teaches kids to code their own modifications to the game. In his Wired article, Klint Finley explains how the creators of the add-on called LearnToMod hope their tool could be a gateway for students to discover a love of computer programming.

via How Kids Are Learning to Code While Playing Minecraft | MindShift.

The Challenges and Realities of Inquiry-Based Learning | MindShift

Teachers in a rural southeast Michigan high school were recently discussing the odd behavior of the senior class. It seems the 12th graders were acting more civilly toward the junior class in the hallways. The prom was also quieter and more well-mannered than in previous years. More perplexing, prom was over, it was mid-May, and the seniors were still engaged in learning.The teachers’ explanation: Project-based learning.Here’s the back story. All seniors at this school spend one half of their day hard at work on interdisciplinary projects, in an expansive new space designed to encourage relationships, collaboration, self-management, deeper inquiry, and an easy interface between students and teachers. A year in this environment matured the seniors beyond the usual. Acting out was no longer required.

via The Challenges and Realities of Inquiry-Based Learning | MindShift.

What’s in Store Today: A Snapshot of Kids’ Language and Literacy Apps, Part 1 | EdCentral

Apps for social communication, learning, and play are a prominent part of nearly every family’s life today. Are they having a similar impact on how families and educators help their children learn to read? And if so, what kinds of apps are they using?As part of Seeding Reading: Investing in Children’s Literacy in a Digital Age, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and New America are analyzing the app marketplace to answer these questions. In 2012, we conducted a baseline scan See Pioneering Literacy In the Digital Wild West. In this post and more to come, we provide a sneak peek at our updated scan.

via What’s in Store Today: A Snapshot of Kids’ Language and Literacy Apps, Part 1 | EdCentral.

Back To Schools White People Cannot See

Public education, in particular, is now one of those “majority-minority” arenas. As numerous recent reports have recently conveyed, this new school year will be the first in which white students are no longer a majority in public schools.Of course, this seismic demographic change didn’t happen overnight. For years, schools have been becoming more and more populated by higher percentages of non-white children, with many districts having been mostly non-white.But given this understanding of the way white privilege distorts perceptions of reality, it’s not a leap of logic to suggest that political and policy leaders have a distorted understanding of the conditions in schools populated by children who look nothing like them. And it’s not unfair in the least to wonder if these leaders are incapable of really seeing the schools they purport to render policy direction for.

via Back To Schools White People Cannot See.

Informal education: What students are learning outside the classroom | The Hechinger Report

Greenfield, whose thoughtful writings and pioneering research span the pre-Internet era to the present day, has always been alert to the benefits of engagement with technology. Thirty years ago, amid a general panic that Pac-Man was rotting children’s brains, Greenfield was one of the first to suggest that video games could foster the development of complex skills like spatial visualization and inductive reasoning. More recently, she has explored the way the Web is shaping young people’s thinking, often in positive ways. And so, in the face of striking numbers like the ones that started off this article, her concern is not that the minds of American youth are becoming vacuous. It is, rather, that their minds are becoming lopsided: too schooled in one type of media, and not well enough acquainted with others.

via Informal education: What students are learning outside the classroom | The Hechinger Report.

Dismantling Public Accountability & Transparency in the Name of Accountability & Transparency?

Originally posted on School Finance 101:

This post comes about as a follow up to a previous post where I critiqued the rationale of the Students First policy agenda.  It should be noted that the Students First policy agenda is anything but unique. Like DFER, SFER, ALEC or any policy advocacy organization, the SF policy agenda is little more than an aggregation of largely non-original, template policy prescriptions.

Now, I’m not one who goes all in for the lingo of “corporate reform” or one who perceives “privatization” or “market” mechanisms to be inherently evil and contrary to the public good. However, I am someone who believes we should consider carefully the multitude of tradeoffs involved in shifting between publicness and privateness in the governance and provision of schooling.

What I have found most intriguing over time is that the central messaging of these reformy template policy prescriptions is that they will necessarily improve accountability and transparency…

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