The Hope Factor

The Hope Factor

From the article:

Hope — defined as the combination of ideas, energy and excitement for goals — is a strong motivator, according to Gallup, the research and analytics firm. It affects attendance, engagement and achievement — in school as well as in life.

Sadly, much of the present education reform is deficit- and test-driven. This relentless focus may cause learners to develop a “fixed mindset” rather than the “growth mindset” so necessary to learn from mistakes and develop the confidence, perseverance and self-control required for deep and sustained thinking.

More than just a “soft science,” hope has an authentic biology. The “hopeful” brain emits more endorphins, enkephalins, oxytocins, serotonin and norepinephrine. The fewer of these our brain produces, the less we are able to feel hopeful, according to medical researchers such as Jerome Groopman of Harvard University. These also are the endogenous chemicals that communicate information throughout the brain and body. The hopeful brain strengthens processing and transmission of thoughts and binds them to our memories, intensifying learning.


Social Class and the College Choice of High School Valedictorians

Social Class and the College Choice of High School Valedictorians

From the article:

Sociologist Alexandria Walton Radford was interested in the college choices of ambitious and high-performing high school students from different class backgrounds. Using a data set with about 900 high school valedictorians, she asked whether students applied to highly selective colleges, if they got in, and whether they matriculated.

She found a stark class difference on all these variables, especially between high socioeconomic status (SES) students and everyone else. Over three-quarters of high SES valedictorians (79%) applied to at least one highly selective college. In contrast, only 59% of middle SES and 50% of low SES valedictorians did the same. Admission and matriculation rates followed suit.

School Safety Requires More Than Punishment

School Safety Requires More Than Punishment

From the article:

Right now, about 1 in 5 children and adolescents ages 9 to 17 in the United States has a diagnosable mental-health disorder that impairs his or her life and, in any given year, 4 out of 5 young people with such disorders fail to receive the treatment they need.

For example, upon referral from the juvenile-justice system, Don was enrolled in multidimensional treatment foster care, or MTFC, which has been deemed a model program by the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (an organization affiliated with the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder).

MTFC is used as an alternative to putting youths in a group home or juvenile facility. It provides foster parents specially trained on how to positively guide children’s behavior, as well as ongoing supervision by a program case manager and frequent contact with teachers, work supervisors, and other adults in the child’s life. Originally developed by the Oregon Social Learning Center for young people in the juvenile-justice system, it has been shown to reduce arrestsRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader and it returns nearly $5 in benefitsRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader for every dollar spent on it.

Survey Says: Education is the Key to Strong Communitites

Survey Says: Education is the Key to Strong Communitites

Mostly focuses on schools in DC but interesting article about people rating their communities on a four point scale. Interesting to think about the fact it refers to local schools (whereas we have many charter schools, mainly not neighborhood based, trying to accomplish the same purpose). 

From the article: 

These results are particularly important because DC residents ranked child safety and strong local schools as the two most important assets for a successful community. It’s encouraging, that despite lingering economic uncertainty, Americans are focusing on education as a pathway to building a stronger community.

D.C. residents are also concerned that inequality is having damaging effects on the community. Four in five (80 percent) local respondents said there is an “Education Achievement Gap” in D.C. based on family income, status or wealth, and 83 percent say that gap is having a negative impact on young people’s chances of succeeding.

Diversity at Issue as States Weigh Teacher Entry

Diversity at Issue as States Weigh Teacher Entry

From the article: 

On the whole, “this is a very difficult issue with significant trade-offs,” said Douglas N. Harris, an associate professor of economics at Tulane University, in New Orleans, who has studied the links between teachers’ preservice characteristics and their classroom performance. “Ratcheting up the bar will reduce the supply of minority teachers because of the general achievement gap that still leaves minorities with lower academic achievement—which is the problem we are trying to solve.”

Just 17 percent of teachers are nonwhite, compared to about 40 percent of K-12 students, according to federal data.

“In the 1980s and 1990s, teacher diversity was being talked about from a cultural, ‘social justice’ perspective, but not with any real agenda for educative impact,” Mr. Eubanks said. “Now, it has the potential to help close the academic achievement gap, [but] it’s a piece that isn’t really being connected.”

“We need the best teachers in the classroom, irrespective of race,” said M. Christopher Brown, the president of the historically black institution. “I don’t think anyone would accept a lower-quality doctor during their heart transplant, based on an equity issue. The reality is that, as the bar rises, you have to meet it.”

School Integration: Ruby Bridges in Context

School Integration: Ruby Bridges in Context

During his time in New Orleans, Tavis caught up with New Orleans native Ruby Bridges, who, in 1960, was the first African American child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South.

Bridges’ story—captured in Norman Rockwell’s 1964 painting “The Problem We All Live With“—is bigger than New Orleans and bigger than the South.

Hers is the story of school integration for Blacks. And, while the landmark case for school desegregation is the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling, Bridges’ story—and the story of all Black students seeking an education in all-white schools—begins in the 19th century, when Blacks weren’t yet free.

(To see a video of Tavis’ reflections on Bridges, click here.)