Number of Homeschoolers Growing Nationwide

As the dissatisfaction among parents with the U.S. education system grows, so too does the number of homeschoolers in America. Since 1999, the number of children who are being homeschooled has increased by 75%. Although currently the percentage of homeschooled children is only 4% of all school children nationwide, the number of primary school kids whose parents choose to forgo traditional education is growing seven times faster than the number of kids enrolling in K-12 every year.

Despite the growth of homeschooling of late, concerns about the quality of education offered to the kids by their parents persist. But the consistently high placement of homeschooled kids on standardized assessment exams, one of the most celebrated benefits of homeschooling, should be able to put those fears to rest. Homeschooling statistics show that those who are independently educated typically score between the 65th and 89th percentile on such exams, while those attending traditional schools average on the 50th percentile. Furthermore, the achievement gaps, long plaguing school systems around the country, aren’t present in the homeschooling environment. There’s no difference in achievement between sexes, income levels, or race/ethnicity.

Full story on growing homeschooling at educationnews.org

FACT SHEET: Reducing Recidivism for Justice-Involved Youth

The U.S. Department of Education announced today the release of new guides and resources to help justice-involved youth transition back to traditional school settings. The resources include a guide written for incarcerated youth; a newly updated transition toolkit and resource guide for practitioners in juvenile justice facilities; a document detailing education programs in juvenile justice facilities from the most recent Civil Rights Data Collection; and a website that provides technical assistance to support youth with disabilities with transitioning out of juvenile justice facilities.

“It is in the interest of every community to help incarcerated youth who are exiting the juvenile justice system build the skills they need to succeed in college and careers and to become productive citizens,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “Unfortunately, many barriers can prevent justice-involved youth from making a successful transition back to school. We want to use every tool we have to help eliminate barriers for all students and ensure all young people can reach their full potential.”

Full story of reducing recidivism for justice involved youth at ed.gov

Obama Administration Names 9 Communities Chosen As Finalists for Pilot to Improve the Outcomes of Disconnected Youth

The Obama Administration announced today that nine communities will receive flexibility and start-up grants of up to $700,000 to implement innovative programs to improve outcomes for disconnected youth.

The Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth (P3) is a collaboration of six federal agencies—the U.S. Departments of Education, Labor, Health and Human Services and Justice, along with the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Institute of Museum and Library Services—to respond jointly to common challenges that communities face.

“The great thing about the performance partnership pilots is that they give states, cities, towns and native communities the flexibility to pool funding for programs and services that can improve outcomes for youth who aren’t in school, working, or in education and training,” said Shaun Donovan, Director of the Office of Management and Budget. “This will help change lives for 10,000 young people, particularly boys and girls of color who can succeed if given the opportunity.”

Full story of communities chosen for improving outcomes of disconnected youth at ed.gov

Bringing the Promise of Healthy School Meals to More Children This Fall

The Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act of 2010 enabled the U.S Department of Agriculture to make historic changes to the meals served in our nation’s schools. Breakfasts, lunches, and snacks sold during the school day are now more nutritious than ever, with less fat and sodium and more whole-grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and low-fat dairy. For many kids, the meals they get at school may be the only nutritious meals they receive that day—and when children receive proper nourishment, they are not only healthier, but they also have better school attendance and perform better academically. It’s not enough, though, to make the meals healthier—we must ensure that children have access to those healthier foods.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act authorized a program, known as the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), that can help schools achieve their educational goals by ensuring that children in low-income communities have access to healthy meals at school so they are ready to learn. In this program, schools agree to offer breakfast and lunch for free to all students, and cover any costs that exceed the reimbursements from USDA. Designed to ease the burden of administering a high volume of applications for free and reduced price meals, CEP is a powerful tool to both increase child nutrition and reduce paperwork at the district, school, and household levels, which saves staff time and resources for cash-strapped school districts.

Full story on the Healthy Hungry-Free Kids Act at ed.gov

Hawaii Zones of School Innovation Committed to Improvement

Bem is a ninth-grade student who lives with his parents, cousins and grandparents, migrants from the Marshall Islands, in a sparsely populated area of the island of Hawaii, 25 miles away from Kau High School. There are many obstacles Bem faces on a daily basis to receive an education. Just getting to school regularly is a challenge, as it is for many other students in this largely rural part of the State.

But, lately, Bem has been attending school more regularly and has become more engaged in his school work. He even says he wants to get involved in student government. “He’s been coming to school every day, he’s more serious about his studies and he knows that learning is going to take hard work,” said Kau High and Pahala Elementary Principal Sharon Beck.

Full story of Hawaii school innovation at ed.gov

Obama administration presses forward on early education

President Barack Obama has found a way to cater to his obsession with pre-K programs while the rest of his education agenda stalls: Skip Congress and spend the money anyway.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in discretionary funding for early learning are funneling into states although Congress hasn’t seriously considered paying for President Barack Obama’s universal preschool proposal. Race to the Top early learning awards and Affordable Care Act money are helping states carry out their pre-K and early childcare plans. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is traveling the country to deliver what amounts to an early childhood stump speech, and the administration just hired a new leader for its Office of Early Learning.

Congress likely won’t fund Obama’s $75 billion universal pre-K plan in the near future. Doubling the federal tobacco tax and new spending prove unpopular, even absurd options for some members of Congress. Coupled with dwindling hopes of coming to a fiscal consensus before September 30, the administration can likely expect no help on funding any time soon.

House Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) has said that “throwing more money into the nation’s education system is not the right answer to the challenges facing our classrooms.”

Full story of Obama’s administration pressing forward on early education at Politico

Education Overhaul Faces a Test of Partisanship

Education Tests PartisanshipOn the day that President George W. Bush signed No Child Left Behind into law in early 2002, he flew to a high school in Hamilton, Ohio, the home district of Representative John A. Boehner, a leading Republican supporter of the bill. Later that afternoon, the president appeared in Boston and praised the bill’s Democratic sponsor in the Senate, Edward M. Kennedy.

Nearly a dozen years later, that bipartisanship spirit in federal education policy has evaporated.

The House of Representatives on Friday passed a bill aimed at greatly narrowing the federal role in public education that was expanded under No Child Left Behind. No Democrat voted for the bill, called the Student Success Act, and the Obama administration has threatened to veto it. During the floor debate last week in the House, Representative George Miller of California, the main Democratic supporter of the Bush-era law, labeled the bill the “Letting Students Down Act.”

The acrimony partly reflects the sharp partisanship in Washington these days. But well beyond the Beltway, the debate about education has become far more polarized in the past decade. Strange partnerships have emerged on both sides, as anxiety has grown over the lackluster performance of American students compared with children in other countries.

Full story of education partisanship at The New York Times

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/

Film focuses on family’s struggle with attachment disorder (VIDEO)

Struggle With Reactive Attachment DisorderKellie Boutin is all too familiar with the icy stares of strangers when her grandchildren fly into a rage.

People say she is a terrible grandparent.

That her grandkids are spoiled brats.

That she is mean.

Or worse: that her grandkids are evil.

They’re not evil. They’re broken, said Boutin of Hastings. Damaged in infancy by unknown and unspeakable traumas inflicted by uncaring and incapable mothers and fathers.

They have reactive attachment disorder — RAD — the most severe condition on a spectrum of attachment disorders, said Jane Ryan, Grand Island author, therapist and founder of The Ryan Institute for Family Health Programs.

As the name implies, children with RAD are unable to form normal, loving relationships with others. While some are withdrawn and almost antisocial, more often children and adults with RAD are charming, manipulative, cold, calculating, adorable and volatile.

Full story of reactive attachment disorder at the Journal Star

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/

Bullying and Body Image: How Bullying Leads to Eating Disorders

Bullying Leads to Eating DisordersBullying can have long-lasting results on the bullied, and in some cases, may lead to eating disorders, according to UK Charity Beat. A recent study of 600 people in the UK during Anti-Bullying Week by Beat found that at least 90 percent of respondents admit to being bullied at some time in their lives, and more than 75 percent of individuals suffering from an eating disorder admit bullying is a significant cause of their disorder.

The researchers at Beat have found the link between bullying and eating disorders is rapidly increasing, with numbers up 67 percent since the same study was conducted two years ago. Just as concerning is the fact that more than 40 percent of respondents in the 2012 study said they were younger than 10 when they began to be bullied.

Full story of bullying and eating disorders at Huffington Post

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/

Artificial Pancreas: The Way of the Future for Treating Type 1 Diabetes

Future Treatment for Type 1 DiabetesIRCM researchers, led by endocrinologist Dr. Rémi Rabasa-Lhoret, were the first to conduct a trial comparing a dual-hormone artificial pancreas with conventional diabetes treatment using an insulin pump and showed improved glucose levels and lower risks of hypoglycemia. Their results, published January 28 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), can have a great impact on the treatment of type 1 diabetes by accelerating the development of the external artificial pancreas.

The artificial pancreas is an automated system that simulates the normal pancreas by continuously adapting insulin delivery based on changes in glucose levels. The dual-hormone artificial pancreas tested at the IRCM controls glucose levels by automatically delivering insulin and glucagon, if necessary, based on continuous glucose monitor (CGM) readings and guided by an advanced algorithm.

"We found that the artificial pancreas improved glucose control by 15 per cent and significantly reduced the risk of hypoglycemia as compared with conventional insulin pump therapy," explains engineer Ahmad Haidar, first author of the study and doctoral student in Dr. Rabasa-Lhoret’s research unit at the IRCM and at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at McGill University. "The artificial pancreas also resulted in an 8-fold reduction of the overall risk of hypoglycemia, and a 20-fold reduction of the risk of nocturnal hypoglycemia."

Full story of future treatment for type 1 diabetes at Science Daily

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/