Community College Transfer Students: Underenrolled, Overachieving

SELECTIVE COLLEGES AND universities tend to overlook students seeking to transfer from community college, despite those students graduating at higher rates than other students, a new report shows.

Notably, nearly half – 49 percent – of all students enrolled in four-year colleges and universities begin at a two-year schools. But the report finds that selective schools are less likely to enroll community college students than other institutions. In fact, when it comes to the 100 most selective colleges, 14 percent of students transfer in, but only 5 percent have transferred from a community college.

Community college students who transfer to selective colleges and universities, the study found, have equal to or higher graduation rates as students who enrolled directly from high school or those who transferred from other four-year schools. They also graduate in a reasonable amount of time, earning their degrees within two and a half years, on average.

Full story at US News

Los Angeles Teacher Strike Could Be Days Away

Teachers in Los Angeles, the nation’s second largest school district, are preparing to go on strike. The district last saw a teacher strike nearly 30 years ago.

If no deal is reached, more than 30,000 members of United Teachers Los Angeles wouldn’t go to work, affecting roughly 480,000 public school students.

The union has been holding out, primarily, for the district to reduce class sizes and hire more nurses, librarians and counselors, all of whom the union also represents. District leaders have resisted, saying they don’t have the money to pay for the level of changes the union wants.

Full story at npr.org

Why Millions Of Kids Can’t Read, And What Better Teaching Can Do About It

Jack Silva didn’t know anything about how children learn to read. What he did know is that a lot of students in his district were struggling.

Silva is the chief academic officer for Bethlehem, Pa., public schools. In 2015, only 56 percent of third-graders were scoring proficient on the state reading test. That year, he set out to do something about that.

“It was really looking yourself in the mirror and saying, ‘Which 4 in 10 students don’t deserve to learn to read?’ ” he recalls.

Bethlehem is not an outlier. Across the country, millions of kids are struggling. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, 32 percent of fourth-graders and 24 percent of eighth-graders aren’t reading at a basic level. Fewer than 40 percent are proficient or advanced.

Full story at npr.org

Federal Commission on School Safety Releases Comprehensive Resource Guide for Keeping Students, Teachers Safe at School

WASHINGTON—After months of research, visiting successful programs around the nation, and receiving testimony from experts and concerned citizens, today the Federal Commission on School Safety (Commission) released a 177-page report detailing 93 best practices and policy recommendations for improving safety at schools across the country.

Utilizing the information gathered, the Commission report offers a holistic approach to improving school safety, ranging from supporting the social and emotional well-being of students to enhancing physical building security. Acknowledging there can be no one-size-fits-all solution to this complex problem, the final report serves as a resource guide for families, educators, law enforcement officers, health professionals, and elected leaders to use as they consider the best ways to prevent, mitigate, and recover from acts of violence in schools. The recommendations are based on efforts that are already working in states and local communities.

“Each of us has an important role to play in keeping our students safe while at school,” said Chair of the Federal Commission on School Safety and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “Through the Commission’s work, it has become even clearer there is no single policy that will make our schools safer. What will work for schools in Montana will be different than what will work for schools in Manhattan. With that in mind, this report provides a wide-ranging menu of best practices and resources that all state, community, and school leaders should consider while developing school safety plans and procedures that will work for their students and teachers.”

Full story at ed.gov

Suspensions Are Down In U.S. Schools But Large Racial Gaps Remain

Students in U.S. schools were less likely to be suspended in 2016 than they were in 2012. But the progress is incremental, and large gaps — by race and by special education status — remain.

This data comes from an analysis of federal data for NPR in partnership with the nonprofit organization Child Trends. And it comes as the Trump administration is preparing the final report from a school safety commission that is expected to back away from or rescind Obama-era guidance intended to reduce racial disparities in school discipline.

The commission, led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is expected to release its final report in the coming days.

Full story at npr.org

How To Make Sure Your Math Anxiety Doesn’t Make Your Kids Hate Math

A spike in blood pressure. A racing heart rate. Sweaty palms.

For many adults, this is what they feel when faced with difficult math.

But for kids, math anxiety isn’t just a feeling, it can affect their ability to do well in school. This fear tends to creep up on students when performance matters the most, like during exams or while speaking in class.

One reason for a kid’s math anxiety? How their parents feel about the subject.

“A parent might say, ‘oh I’m not a math person, it’s okay if you’re not good at math either,’ ” Sian Beilock, cognitive scientist and President of Barnard College, says. “It can send a signal to kids about whether they can succeed.”

Full story at npr.org

Teaching Kids How to Say ‘No’ Before College Lessens Risk of Sexual Assault In College

STUDENTS WHO RECEIVED sex education before college that included training in refusing unwanted sex were half as likely to be assaulted in college, a new study finds.

In contrast, students who received abstinence-only sex education before college were not shown to have significantly reduced experiences of campus sexual assault – though they also did not show an increased risk.

Those were some of the top-line findings from researchers at Columbia University who examined data from a survey of 2,500 students aged 18 to 29 that was conducted online between March and May 2016 as a part of the Sexual Health Initiative to Foster Transformation, a project housed in Columbia’s School of Public Health.

“This study has important implications for policy and further research,” the researchers said. “In the broadest sense, our findings point to the underexplored opportunities for pre-college sexual assault prevention.”

Full story at US News

When Weather and School Segregation Collide

WHEN A MAJOR WINTER storm ripped across the South over the weekend, dumping nearly a foot of snow in parts of North Carolina and prompting some school systems to cancel classes Monday, it sparked a public debate about school segregation.

“Long thread about our countywide school system and inclement weather,” Wake County schools posted to Twitter Sunday afternoon. “Grab a mug of hot chocolate and listen in.”

What came next was a long explanation-cum-history lesson about Wake County schools’ integration efforts: “Most importantly, there is a very, very, very important reason why our school system is countywide,” Wake County schools posted to Twitter. “It’s the foundation of our success as a community. It is the reason our community has prospered. It’s why our taxes are low. It’s what attracted many of you to move here. It is why all of our schools are good schools.”

The thread was a response to someone on Twitter who, in reacting to a Wake County science teacher’s tweet about the possibility of school being canceled Monday, argued there should be two separate school systems in Wake County because the weather impacts parts of the county differently.

Full story at US News

White House Outlines Five-Year STEM Push

THE WHITE HOUSE announced Monday evening a five-year strategic plan for science, technology, engineering and math education, setting forth what it calls a “North Star” that “charts a course for the Nation’s success.”

“It represents an urgent call to action for a nationwide collaboration with learners, families, educators, communities, and employers,” the White House plan reads.

The administration’s goal is threefold: for every American to master basic STEM concepts, like computational thinking, in order to respond to technological change; to increase access to STEM among historically underserved students; and to encourage students to pursue STEM careers.

Full story at US News

Teachers Turn Lessons Into Instagram-Worthy Photos

When she’s trying decide which art supplies to buy for her class, Tennessee art teacher Cassie Stephens hops on Instagram. She’ll post the question on her Instagram story, and within minutes, other art teachers will send her ideas and videos.

Teachers like Stephens have formed something of a community on the app. Using hashtags like #teachersofinstagram, teacher Instagrammers post photos of meticulously crafted classroom decorations, lessons and even their daily outfits (Stephens posted a picture of her pencil-shaped scarf).

“Instagram is just a way for me to constantly take a peek into another art teacher’s room,” Stephens says.

She has about 76,000 followers, which is not uncommon for some of the more popular teacher Instagram accounts.

Full story at npr.org