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Ramping Up Schools’ Preventative Approach Handcuffing a kindergartner for a tantrum, which happened in Georgia, is teaching the ABCs of aggression. It promotes a "might is right" logic, rather than using the child's tantrum as a tool for how to effectively teach disruptive children how to acquire necessary skills so that they are ready to learn.
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Be a Behavior Detective About 10 percent of the school population—or 9–13 million children—struggle with mental health problems. In a typical classroom of 20, chances are good that one or two students are dealing with serious psychosocial stressors relating to poverty, domestic violence, abuse and neglect, or a psychiatric disorder. There is also growing evidence that the number of children suffering the effects of trauma and those with autism-related social deficits is also on the rise.
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Promoting District-Led Turnaround Near the end of January this year, Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced his intentions to target the next wave of Race to the Top funds to districts rather than states. Although he stated he was not ready for concrete details, he asserted that the next $550 million would flow to districts, allowing them to decide how to target funds.
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More Youth, More Ready: A Broader Approach to College Access and Success At a recent fundraiser for a community-based college access program, the sense of opportunity was palpable. Speaking about their experiences, students and parents made clear the incredible impact the program had had on their lives, and program leaders described impressive plans for expanding students' reach.
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Measuring Effective Teaching with a Team of Superheroes As the parent of a six-year-old, I'm often reminded that a team of superheroes should not share the same superpower. Rather than have three Supermen, it's much better to have one guy who is super strong, one who can run really fast, and one who can do something totally unexpected--like turn themselves invisible.
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Value-Added Measures: The Public’s “Right to Know”? I love newspapers. I really do. I subscribe to both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. But their recent decisions to publish teacher names along with their "value-added" ratings shows the newspapers at their very worst--focusing on what sells papers rather than the public good. In the process, they may single-handedly bring down what could be one of the more positive developments in K-12 education in recent decades.
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Slow, Erratic, and Underwhelming—Progress in Narrowing Achievement Gaps For more than a decade, states, districts, schools, and teachers have devoted enormous energy to closing achievement gaps between rich and poor students and between students from different racial and ethnic groups. But how much progress has been made in narrowing these gaps?
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Can Brief Interventions Help Reduce Achievement Gaps? Earlier last school year, while writing a book with a group of colleagues reflecting on our work on shrinking achievement gaps in Arlington, Virginia, I read a 2011 article in Science by Stanford University researchers Gregory M. Walton and Geoffrey L. Cohen. They reported on an experiment in which, after a brief social-psychological intervention with college freshmen, the African American achievement gap with white students as measured by GPA after three years in college was cut by more than half. In addition, the African American students reported improved health and reduced doctor visits after the same three-year period.
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The Power of Pivotal Moments How do minority students who are first in their family to attend college manage to make their way to higher education despite what seems like overwhelming odds? Most Americans believe that low-income minority students who excel in school do so because they are smarter, more motivated, and willing to work harder. Stories abound in mainstream media outlets about minority working-class students who are able to "beat the odds" to become highly successful students.
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Ordinary Teenagers, Extraordinary Results: Apprentices at Work In a small office lined with desks and computer stations, a dozen teenagers pored over paperwork and deliberated decisions, one young man zipping from table to table in a wheelchair. The young people, 15 to 18 years old, were reading, discussing, and evaluating job applications.
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