Reposted from the Harvard Kennedy School:
When Robert Putnam was a teenager, somebody put up the money for him to play football on the high school team. And somebody put up the money for his spikes and helmet. Somebody also put up the money for years of music lessons and for an instrument so he could play in band. That somebody was the community of Port Clinton, Ohio, where Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, grew up in the 1950s. That small community on the shore of Lake Erie about halfway between Toledo and Cleveland, came together to do all that because it believed that it was right to support young Robert Putnam, just as it was right to give to every other kid in town the same opportunity to succeed. There was plenty wrong with a place like Port Clinton in the 1950s, including racism and chauvinism, Putnam readily concedes, but to a surprising degree, all the members of his high school graduating class were, in the eyes of that community, “our kids.”
Today, in Port Clinton, a lot of kids can’t play football or band because they can’t afford the hundreds of dollars needed to pay for the equipment. The lives of the bottom third, often simply characterized by personal and societal neglect, are unimaginable, in fact unknown, to those succeeding in today’s America.
“Over the course of the last four decades, our sense of ‘we’ has shriveled,” Putnam says. “Now when people talk about “our kids” they talk about their own biological kids, they don’t think about all kids. This leads to a situation that’s bad for the economy and bad for democracy. But it’s also just not right. We have an obligation to care for other people’s kids too, not just our own.”
Did you know that over 50% of parents felt that their children know more about the internet than they do? That can put parents in a precarious position. Just like putting restrictions on TV, chores, bedtimes, parents should be in control of what our child is and isn’t seeing on the internet. From checking parental controls to keeping up with the latest tech, this infographic from TeenSafe is a great place to start in helping parents become more actively engaged with their children online.
Reposted from the Wall Street Journal:
Amid the current concern over vaccinations, there are notable differences state-to-state in the percentage of children who have had their MMR (for measles, mumps and rubella) shot. Nationwide, 91.9 % of 19- to 35-month-olds have had their MMR shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s National Immunization Survey. That’s actually up from 2000, when 90.5% had been immunized, but it is down from 2006, when the figure was 92.3%.
The numbers in the states show much more movement, however. Some have seen the vaccination numbers climb and others have seen them fall. Among various differences that would affect vaccination rates, states also have different rules about requiring vaccinations, with some offering more leeway for concerned parents to opt out.
The new concerns about vaccination rates come amid a rising number of measles cases. Last year, there were more than 640 measles cases, the largest number recorded since measles was documented as being eliminated in 2000. And there were a further 102 cases in January 2015, tied to an outbreak at Disneyland in California. These maps show some sharp movements, particularly in Ohio, Missouri, West Virginia, Connecticut and Virginia. All have seen declines of five points or more among the vaccinated using these CDC data.
Reposted from education post:
This year, the combined number of Latino, African-American, Asian and Native American students in public K-12 schools surpassed whites. Yet The Atlantic published a distressing piece on the increasing re-segregation of our schools. It cannot be overstated what a step backwards this is for our nation. How can we learn to know, understand and love one another if we have no contact with each other? How can we be friends when we have no opportunities to forge friendships?
Our future is one that will become majority minority. That gives me hope for a society that can blend and celebrate difference – particularly as interracial relationships and children flourish. However, if we choose as a nation to grow more divided while our population grows more diverse, I fear for our future.
Therefore, I am going to keep talking and writing. I’m going to keep working towards more diverse and equitable schools. I’m going to accept that because I am white, there are limitations to what I can bring to the conversation on race, but that it doesn’t mean my voice has no value. Moreover, it certainly doesn’t mean I have no responsibility.
Dyslexia is a very common condition, and it can massively hinder people from reaching their learning potential. To help shed light on the matter, Andy Halliday of the eBuyer Blog offers this infographic on the how dyslexia affects different people, and how you can accommodate dyslexics in the classroom.
View the original post here.
Reposted from 24/7 Wall Street:
In 1995, a National Academy of Sciences panel made recommendations for how an alternative poverty measure could be developed. Since then, the Census Bureau has worked in partnership with the Bureau of Labor Statistics to further these recommendations. The result was the supplemental poverty measure, which produces state level poverty rates that differ considerably from the official poverty measures. Compared to Mississippi’s official poverty rate of 20.7% between 2011 and 2013, the supplemental poverty rate was more than five percentage points lower during that time. In California, the supplemental poverty rate was 7.4 percentage points higher and, at 23.4%, the highest in the nation. Based on recently released data from the Census Bureau, these are the states where poverty is worse than you think.
Kathleen Short, economist at the Census Bureau and author of its report on the supplemental poverty measure, explained, “The important feature of that measure is that it includes a lot of the non-cash benefits that we have in the United States to help families with low incomes.” Short added that this is useful for policymakers because it allows them “to get a better idea of how effective our safety net is for helping people.” One of the primary differences between the supplemental poverty measure and the official one is housing costs. The supplemental measure is adjusted to reflect local housing costs, whereas the official poverty measure is not. According to Short, this is one of the major factors that can push up poverty rates in many states under the supplemental measure.
In fact, of the 10 states with the highest increases in poverty under the supplemental poverty measure, eight also had among the 10 highest costs of living. Further, in seven of these states, the relative cost of renting an apartment was also among the 10 highest nationally. The two states with the largest increases in poverty under the supplemental measure — California and Hawaii — were also the top two states in terms of the cost of renting a home.
Reposted from Dropout Nation:
My mom was proud of her profession. She spent endless nights and weekends writing comments on stacks of student papers. Over the following decades, however, she became frustrated. She became a union rep, and pushed to have the union make student achievement its primary goal. She was shocked to find that her fellow union reps seemed to only care about job protection and salaries. Later, when she worked with other senior teachers to push for pro-student scheduling changes, she was surprised at how much resistance she found among some of her colleagues.
After listening to my mom’s stories about teaching, I briefly spent time working in high school classrooms with legendary teachers Tommie Lindsey of James Logan and Cathy Berman of El Cerrito. Perhaps my proudest moment as a professional was when Tommie told me, “It’s obvious that great teaching is in your blood.” But after hearing my mom’s frustrations, I chose not to enter the profession myself. Today, my daughter wants to be a teacher. By the time she enters the workforce, I believe that teaching will be much more welcoming to her voice.
My mom retired early, exhausted. Like so many of my friends and family in teaching, she remains concerned about ineffective teachers. Over the course of my life, I have tried to understand why so many teachers felt these frustrations. I have gotten to know my own public school teachers. I became a volunteer teacher in public high schools during and after college. In grad school, I focused on education law and policy. I served school systems as a pro-bono consultant, and periodically left the private sector to work in education policy. I entrusted my own child to a public school. I have learned four things…
In the last 300 years western society has evolved from an agricultural base to an industrial base to a now evolving digital base. Education is still trying to catch up as we continue to aim for that most laudable of aspirations, the conviction that all children can learn and be successful. If we agree on that core value and strip away all of the clamor that is being created by special interests, the single question we need to answer is this: how do we transform our public education system to reach that place where all children learn and grow to become thriving, productive citizens?
Strip away the societal issues, labor relations, and economic concerns; they will always exist. The single focus that can answer this question is our own humanity; meeting the needs of our children regardless of who is their teacher or where their school is located. If children’s needs are met, they can thrive and learn and grow. Children need to be rested, nourished, healthy, safe, secure, loved, supported, challenged and engaged to be successful. We know this from our own experience. When children have these needs met, they flourish. The amount of money spent, the amount of data collected, the amount of technology used are all distractions if these basic requirements are not met for achieving human potential.
Given this single powerful truth for taking education to the next level, what are our concrete next steps? Renegotiating teacher contracts? Changing funding formulas? Year-round schooling? National standards? Business models?
Listen closely to who is speaking and what they are saying; there is a distinct difference between being a stakeholder and being a special interest. The one thing special interests have succeeded in doing is cranking up the noise level.
There’s a smug Steven Wright observation: ” Why is it that when you’re driving and looking for an address, you turn down the volume on the radio?” The humor lies in the fact that it hits close to home….there is some truth in the question. You turn down the radio to rid yourself of distractions while focusing where you need to be. It’s time to turn down the noise so we can focus on our destination: all children successfully learning and growing and thriving.
Reposted from Psychology Today:
Anyone who has spent substantial time with children knows that they are often mean to each other. Debra Pepler at York University and her colleagues, video recorded the playground behavior of children in 1st through 6th grade whose teachers had identified them as either especially aggressive or especially nonaggressive. On average, the aggressive children did some form of mean behavior about every two minutes. But those carefully selected nonaggressive children averaged a mean behavior every three minutes!
We adults haven’t managed world peace or even perfect marriages, so it’s unrealistic to think that our children will always be perfectly kind to each other. And yet, kindness is a worthy goal. As parents, we can help our children cope with the meanness that they will inevitably encounter. And, even more important, we can try to guide them toward more caring responses to their peers. Even kids who consider themselves best friends sometimes reject each other cruelly. Impulsivity, immature problem-solving skills, difficulty managing feelings, limited perspective-taking ability, following the crowd, or just experimenting with social power are all factors that could lead kids to do mean things.
Researchers have a very specific definition of bullying: Bullying involves deliberate, aggressive acts targeting a particular individual repeatedly, over time, (although some researchers also count a single severe aggressive act), AND it involves a power difference between the bully and the target. In other words the bully is bigger, stronger, tougher, or more socially powerful than the person being bullied, which makes it difficult or impossible for targets of bullying to defend or protect themselves.
Reposted from Inquisitr:
Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, may have had an instinctive flair for technology but he was a low tech parent who firmly believed in restricting his children’s access to electronic devices. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home,” said Jobs way back in 2010, expressing growing concerns about his children’s gadget use.
In a New York Times article published this week, journalist Nick Bilton recalls how he once put it to Jobs that his kids must love the iPod, but to his surprise Jobs replied, “They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home.” Jobs was undoubtedly a genius but he didn’t get that way through staring at screens and playing Angry Birds until the early hours or constantly updating his Facebook account.
Walter Isaacson, the author of Steve Jobs, spent a lot of time at the Apple co-founder’s home and confirmed that face-to-face family interaction always came before screentime for Jobs. “Every evening Steve made a point of having dinner at the big long table in their kitchen, discussing books and history and a variety of things. No one ever pulled out an iPad or computer. The kids did not seem addicted at all to devices.” So the next time the advertising department at Apple, Samsung, or any other major technological corporation attempt to sublimely convince you that life is somehow lacking without their latest little device, remember that the man who started it all, believed somewhat differently.