Friday, August 7, 2015

Study of brain scans shows impact of poverty on academic achievement | EdSource

Study of brain scans shows impact of poverty on academic achievement | EdSource:

Study of brain scans shows impact of poverty on academic achievement


Less gray matter in key areas of the brain could account for as much as 20 percent of the achievement gap between children living in poverty and those who are not, according to a new study.
The results of brain scans of 389 typically developing children, ages 4 to 22, showed that children whose family income was below the federal poverty line were the most adversely affected. They had less gray matter, which processes information in the brain. Brains of “near-poor” children in families whose income was 1.5 times the poverty threshold also showed significant structural differences from the brains of children in higher-income families, though those differences were not as extreme. In 2015, a family of four with an income below $24,250 is considered living in poverty.
The study did not determine why living in poverty impedes the natural maturation of the brain, said lead author Nicole L. Hair, a Robert Wood Johnson scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Although some research has pointed to caregiver interactions and stress in low-income families as reasons for the achievement gap, Hair said more research needs to be done about which poverty-related factors have the biggest impact on brain development.
“The brain continues to develop and continues to change structurally into our 20’s,” said researcher Nicole L. Hair.  “With intervention, it may be possible to alter this link between poverty and academic achievement.”
The results “don’t imply that low-income children’s ability is predetermined or a permanent disadvantage,” Hair said. “The brain continues to develop and continues to change structurally into our 20’s. With intervention, it may be possible to alter this link between poverty and academic achievement.”
Hair noted that there were no significant adverse effects on children in families whose income was between 1.5 times and two times the poverty threshold. And, in an earlier study by Hair, she found that children’s brains look similar when they are born. “Clear differences begin to emerge once they are 3 or 4,” she said.
Her research reinforces the efforts of California to improve the quality of daycare centers and provide more funding for childcare providers. Some school districts, as part of their efforts to close the achievement gap, have also decided to invest in children starting at birth.
The children and adolescents in the study were screened for a variety of factors that could affect brain development, such as low birth weight, exposure to lead, a risky pregnancy or a family history of psychiatric problems. Children in those categories were not included in the study. In addition, the educational attainment of the families in the study was similar, regardless of their economic situation. The study, Association of Child Poverty, Brain Development, and Academic Achievement, was published on July 20 in JAMA Pediatrics, a publication of the American Medical Association.
The researchers found that poverty affected the structure in three parts of the brain that have an impact on academic achievement:
  • The frontal lobe, which controls attention, inhibition and emotions, and affects complex learning;
  • The temporal lobe, which is important in memory and language comprehension, such as learning the alphabet, identifying words and attaching meaning to words; and
  • The hippocampus, which processes spatial and contextual information and has been tied to long-term memory functioning.
The volumes of gray matter overall were 3 to 4 percentage points below the developmental norm for children whose family’s income was at the poverty line or 1.5 times above. A larger gap of 7 to 10 percentage points was observed for children below the poverty line.
On average, children from low-income households scored 4 to 8 points lower on two standardized tests. The Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI) scores include a verbal IQ that measures word knowledge, verbal reasoning, concept formation, visual information Study of brain scans shows impact of poverty on academic achievement | EdSource:

Those State-level Common Core “Reviews”: Useful for Fashioning “Public Support” | deutsch29

Those State-level Common Core “Reviews”: Useful for Fashioning “Public Support” | deutsch29:

Those State-level Common Core “Reviews”: Useful for Fashioning “Public Support”






The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Louisiana and elsewhere are now “under review.”
This seems that the new in-thing to do in CCSS states. According to Politico’sMorning Education on July 31, 2015, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Idaho, New Jersey, and Kentucky are all conducting (or preparing to conduct) a CCSS “review.”
Politico notes that halfway through the CCSS review in Mississippi, “more than 90 percent of commenters have said they approve of the standards.”
Politico did not mention that the CCSS-supporting Mississippi state superintendent, Carey Wright, dropped this fear-bomb on the Mississippi public in May 2015:
Mississippi totally ditching Common Core standards this late in the game “would set us back monumentally,” Wright said, and bring the very federal intervention in state education that Common Core opponents fear. Wright said the state runs the risk of losing its federal No Child Left Behind waiver if it doesn’t have approved standards, and this would bring dire sanctions including “significant federal involvement.” She said at least 74 schools in 51 districts would face reorganization, state takeover or other actions immediately. Throwing out Common Core standards, she said, “would place the state’s education system in turmoil.”
Throw out CCSS in Mississippi, and bogeyman US secretary of education Arne Duncan will take over Mississippi schools as a condition of waivers associated with defunct No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
Gotta keep CCSS or the feds will come after us.
Nice.
Skip to July 2015, when both House and Senate passed versions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to put to rest NCLB– and its federal-strong-arming “waivers”– with both House and Senate versions explicitly declaring federal mandating of CCSS as prohibited. In September 2015, House and Senate will come together in a conference committee to craft one ESEA reauth out of the two Those State-level Common Core “Reviews”: Useful for Fashioning “Public Support” | deutsch29:

“Talking Crap” Focus on Teacher Bathroom Breaks Misses the Point on Problems Impacting Teachers | gadflyonthewallblog

“Talking Crap” Focus on Teacher Bathroom Breaks Misses the Point on Problems Impacting Teachers | gadflyonthewallblog:

“Talking Crap” Focus on Teacher Bathroom Breaks Misses the Point on Problems Impacting Teachers



stressed-teacher


By Yohuru Williams and Steven Singer
Nearly 18 years ago in his 1997 State of the Union address, President Bill Clinton urged Americans to prioritize education. He suggested beginning with building respect for the teaching profession. To “have the best schools,” he observed, “we must have the best teachers.” He continued, “most of us in this chamber would not be here tonight without the help of those teachers.”
Despite Clinton’s eloquence, respect for the teaching profession steadily declined due primarily to a narrative of failure constructed by the proponents of corporate education reform. They consistently blame the power of teachers’ unions andteacher tenure for society’s woes. They use both as a justification to construct amulti-billion dollar industry to standardize and privatize our public schools.
For the most part, the mainstream media has been reluctant to challenge this narrative and point to the real obstacles that exist for teachers. Such is the case with a recent article in The Atlantic by Alia Wong entitled “Using the Restroom – a Privilege If You’re a Teacher” that completely misses the point of a recent surveyhighlighting some of the substantive issues facing the nation’s teachers.
Tens of thousands of professionals responded to the 2015 survey. The survey was conducted collaboratively by two groups: the Badass Teachers Association, a grassroots network of more than 55,000 educators, parents and students and theAmerican Federation of Teachers, the nation’s second largest teachers union. The survey yielded shocking results that powerfully illustrate the collateral damage of the “test and punish” environment engulfing public education. This includes such serious allegations regarding workplace conditions that it prompted a meeting between the authors and the U.S. Department of Education. A team of educators working with both BATS and the AFT launched the 80 plus question survey in April. Some 91,000 public school teachers responded and 31,000 completed the survey. The unprecedented response revealed that there are indeed major problems with our current education policy and its impact on education practitioners.
Perhaps, the most startling revelation involved the numbers of teachers and administrators who committed suicide due to bullying and abuses stemming from “Talking Crap” Focus on Teacher Bathroom Breaks Misses the Point on Problems Impacting Teachers | gadflyonthewallblog:

Rightwing Groups Sponsor GOP Debate in New Hampshire | Diane Ravitch's blog

Rightwing Groups Sponsor GOP Debate in New Hampshire | Diane Ravitch's blog:

Rightwing Groups Sponsor GOP Debate in New Hampshire 






This is something new. Two rightwing, pro-voucher advocacy groups aresponsoring a debate on August 19 among Republican hopefuls in Londonderry, Néw Hampshire.
In the past, presidential debates have been sponsored by the League of Women Voters or national television channels. This debate, however, is sponsored by two organizations–Campbell Brown’s “The 74″ and Betsy DeVos’s American Federation for Children–that promote charters and vouchers and oppose teachers unions and tenure.
This would be like holding a debate sponsored by the National Rifle Association, the tobacco industry, or advocates for abortion.
The audience will hear plenty about “our failing schools” but they are not likely to hear that test scores on NAEP are at their highest point ever, as are graduation rates. Or that dropout rates are the lowest ever. Prepare to hear the sponsors rattle on about how terrible our schools are, how lazy and greedy our teacher are, and why we need to privatize our schools. Don’t expect to hear anything about the nation’s high child poverty rate or a blunt admission that poverty is tightly correlated with poor academic performance.Rightwing Groups Sponsor GOP Debate in New Hampshire | Diane Ravitch's blog:

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 8/7/15

SPECIAL NITE CAP 

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