IN THE LAND OF parenting there are two camps: those who think educational videos can be good for their kids and those who think they’re a mind-numbing wasteland.
I tended to side with the latter when my daughter was in her preschool years because I was convinced that books and active play were superior. But we’ve all been exhausted at 6 a.m. and streamed videos from YouTube. Let’s just assume that my daughter watched more videos in her early childhood than I care to admit. Over time, I convinced myself that the videos I chose were better than most of the crap out there.
A team of four education researchers, led by Susan B. Neuman at New York University, conducted an in-depth study published in April 2018 of 100 of the most popular videos that claim to be “educational” and stream over Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now and Google Play. They include “Sesame Street,” “Blue’s Clues,” “Martha Speaks” and “Dora the Explorer,” all highly regarded programs that frequently turn up on recommended lists. The researchers found that the majority of the videos taught specific vocabulary – more educational content than critics might assume. They also found that 4-year-olds were actually paying attention and learning new words.
As the bell rings students file into class at Maxence Van der Meersch middle school. This morning the kids have a visitor – investigative journalist Thomas Huchon.
Without telling them the topic of his visit, Huchon says he’s going to show them a mini-documentary.
The video tells how the CIA spread the AIDS virus in Cuba, and says that was the real reason behind the decades-long U.S. embargo. It was only lifted, the narrator says, so American and French pharmaceutical companies could cash in on an AIDS vaccine developed by Cuban doctors.
A free day at the aquarium! For Marcey Morse, a mother of two, it sounded pretty good.
It was the fall of 2016, and Morse had received an email offering tickets, along with a warning about her children’s education.
At that time, Morse’s two kids were enrolled in an online, or “virtual,” school called the Georgia Cyber Academy, run by a company called K12 Inc. About 275,000 students around the country attend these online public charter schools, run by for-profit companies, at taxpayers’ expense.
Graduate students around the country walked out of their classes, office hours, and research labs to protest the House Republican tax plan Wednesday.
“This plan is going to be disastrous for higher ed,” said Jack Nicoludis, a Harvard graduate student in chemistry, who helped organize a protest on the campus. He said the bill would more than double his taxes.
In exchange for teaching courses or teaming up with professors on research projects, universities don’t charge many Ph.D. students tuition, and give them modest stipends. The House bill would end the tax break students get on the value of their tuition waivers.
Here’s a puzzle: If U.S. students do so badly on international tests, especially in math, how can it be that the U.S. economy is so strong? An educated workforce is supposedly a big predictor of a country’s income and annual growth. Yet the performance of American 15-year-olds on the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, has always been lackluster. Since 2012, U.S. math scores have slumped down into the bottom half. Meanwhile, the U.S. remains the top economy in the world this year with over $19 trillion of goods and services produced. No other country even comes close.
A group of behavioral economists wondered if U.S. students are actually not as incompetent as their scores would suggest, but simply lazy when they’re taking the PISA exam. To test this, they created a PISA-like exam of just 25 questions and asked 447 sophomores at two different high schools to take it. Seconds before the test started, they surprised half the students at each school with an envelope of 25 $1 bills. The researchers told those students they would take away one dollar for each incorrect or unanswered question.
Right now, high school seniors across the country are trying hard not to think about what is — or isn’t — coming in the mail.
They’re anxiously awaiting acceptance letters (or the opposite) from their top-choice colleges and universities. But this story isn’t about them. It’s about a big group of seniors who could get into great schools but don’t apply: high-achieving students from low-income families who live outside of America’s big cities.
These students often wind up in community college or mediocre four-year schools. It’s a phenomenon known in education circles as “undermatching.”
The U.S. Department of Education has released a new guide for educators on ways to identify and help prevent child trafficking in schools. Human Trafficking in America’s Schools is a free guide for school staff that includes information about risk factors, recruitment, and how to identify trafficking; what to do if you suspect trafficking, including sample school protocols and policies; and other resources and potential partnership opportunities. The Department also has partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and President Lincoln’s Cottage, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to sponsor a youth campaign focused on raising awareness about and preventing human trafficking..
“It’s hard to imagine that such heinous crimes continue to exist today, right here in America,” Deborah S. Delisle, assistant secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, said. “Human trafficking robs young people of a life that is filled with hope. The Department stands with its other federal and non-profit partners, such as President Lincoln’s Cottage, in helping these young people return to safe, supportive homes and schools.”
What does it mean to be a “Future Ready” school district?
More than 160 teachers, parents, students, and business and district leaders from across Tennessee recently gathered at the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools’ Martin Center to discuss the answer to this question and talk about the upcoming Future Ready District Pledge.
The Pledge establishes a framework for districts to achieve the goals laid out by the White House ConnectED Initiative. Some of these goals include: upgrading high-speed Internet connectivity, providing access to educational devices and digital content, and preparing teachers to use technology effectively to improve student learning and their own professional development.
The U.S. Department of Education awarded more than $14.7 million to 40 school districts in 20 states across the country to establish or expand counseling programs. Grantees will use funds to support counseling programs in elementary and secondary schools. Specifically, the new awards will aid schools in hiring qualified mental-health professionals with the goal of expanding the range, availability, quantity and quality of counseling services. Parents of participating students will have input in the design and implementation of counseling services supported by these grants.
“School-based counseling programs are a wonderful resource for students whose families may not be able to take advantage of outside services or programs,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “These grants will allow school districts to hire more professionals and provide additional services to those students who are struggling with mental-health and emotional issues, and their families.”
The move from middle school to high school is exciting for some students, but can be incredibly difficult for others. Some students require intensive support to stay on the path to graduation, and that support can take many different forms.
That was the sentiment expressed by Secretary Arne Duncan during a recent session ofStudent Voices, where young people from across the country gather and chat with senior ED staff about what it’s like to be a student in America today.
Darius was one of the 10 students who attended and, for him, this transition was almost insurmountable. His mother suffered a severe stroke and went into a deep coma during his freshman year of high school, forcing him and his siblings to move to the far south side of Chicago. On top of coping with the emotional and physical strain of his mother’s condition, because he was forced to move, he had to wake up at 4 a.m. to get to school every day, and he often stayed late for basketball practice, which took a toll on his academics. He explained, “tiredness grew over me and teachers berated me for not paying attention in class. I didn’t want to let my mother down, and as I felt alone in this situation, basketball was my stress reliever.” His coach noticed that Darius needed more support, so he offered to give him rides to school and eventually invited him to live with him. After a few months with his coach he moved in with a friend and this experience altered the course of his life.