In and , researchers at Stanford tested more than 7, K and college students on media literacy and found that, although they spend lots of time online, students were not as proficient in media literacy as the researchers expected or hoped. One of the researchers, Joel Breakstone, told The 74 that increased concern about fake news is part of the reason for the rising interest in media literacy. Students seem to be lacking the skills they need to navigate the vast amount of information online, but many adults need help, too. A study by the Pew Research Center found that younger people were better able to distinguish facts from opinion statements than older people.
A separate study in found that people over 65 were far more likely to share fake news on Facebook than younger age groups.
School Law for K-12 Educators: Concepts and Cases / Edition 1
Lisa Cutter, a Democrat elected to the Colorado state legislature in November, was on vacation in Mexico late last year thinking through what her legislative priorities would be. Cutter, who previously worked as a public relations consultant, said she has always valued the media. Cutter has introduced a bill that would create an advisory council similar to the one in Washington. It met some resistance in the education committee, of which Cutter is a member, over who would be on the committee. Cutter wanted the council to include teachers and librarians who are members of professional organizations, which might include teachers unions, but Republican members said having union members on the council could create a conflict of interest.
Cutter tweaked the language of the bill to address this concern, and the bill advanced out of the committee and is now being considered by the appropriations committee. Cutter hopes this will eventually lead lawmakers to add media literacy to state education standards, which provide guidance for school districts. Similar laws have been passed previously in Rhode Island and Connecticut, and lawmakers are considering comparable measures in seven other states.
Parent-organizing in Austin helped establish a program to get more low-income and minority middle school students into rigorous science and math programs, enabling them to successfully compete for slots in the prestigious LBJ High School Science Academy.
Major Issues in Education: 20 Hot Topics (From Grade School to College)
From the — to the — academic year, the number of Kalamazoo Public School students taking Advanced Placement AP courses more than doubled, with low-income and African American students experiencing the largest absolute gains in participation and Hispanic students experiencing the largest percentage gains. Black and low-income students roughly quadrupled their participation in such courses; black students and low-income students took AP classes during the — academic year, up from 63 and 53 respectively in — Miller-Adams Over the same period, the number of Hispanic students taking AP courses increased by a magnitude of 10—from just 8 to And in Vancouver, which also made socioeconomic diversity of students in advanced courses a priority, enrollment in AP courses rose by 67 percent overall from — to —, and nearly three times as fast, by almost percent, among low-income students.
By , with the benefit of a community schools strategy, the school was serving more than 1, students and had a graduation rate of 85 percent.
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At the same time, the cohort dropout rate fell from 6. And in Kalamazoo, incentives to finish high school have proven to be powerful tools for disadvantaged students when combined with mentoring, tutoring, and after-school options. Moreover, African American girls in Kalamazoo graduate at higher rates than their peers across the state, and 85 percent of those graduates go to college. Initiatives that have had time to mature have made particularly large gains.
Hispanic, low-income, and African American students in Montgomery County Public Schools are much more likely than their counterparts across the state to graduate from high school— And from to , a period when the share of students in poverty and the share of minority students rose in the district, overall graduation rates rose 2. There were much larger gains for Hispanic and black students, whose graduation rates rose respectively by 4.
In Vancouver, the four-year graduation rate rose from 64 percent in to almost 80 percent in , and the five-year rate rose from 69 percent in to over 80 percent in The comprehensive, whole-child, whole-community approaches in the featured school districts have built strong school—community partnerships. Two indicators of the strength of the partnerships are the levels of parent and community engagement. In Joplin, more adults are now serving as mentors and tutors than five years ago. The support also helps more families connect with stable housing, substantially reducing the number of times that some vulnerable families move.
In —, up to Austin families benefited from help with legal, employment, health, and housing issues at the family resource center, which also provides classes for parents, including English language learning classes. And Montgomery County Public Schools social workers who specialize in early childhood education make an average of home visits, 1, phone contacts, and direct contacts with parents at school or conferences each month. In some cases, engagement enhances school leadership. And over 2, Kentucky parents have undergone training at the Berea Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership since its creation in Many of these parents have gone on to join school boards, serve on school councils, and engage in day-to-day educational advocacy.
Aided by federal School Improvement Grant funds, City Connects has operated in Springfield since , expanding from six to 13 schools in its first four years there. And in both Vancouver and Austin, district leaders have led advocacy efforts to bring community schools to other communities in the region and to support the introduction of state-level legislation to enhance the work.
Bright Futures began in Joplin, Missouri, in but is now a national organization. Bright Futures USA has 50 affiliates in eight states, many of which—such as Pea Ridge—are just two or three years old. The newest affiliate, in Fairbanks, Alaska, has just been made official. In Virginia, Dave Sovine, superintendent of a second-year affiliate, Frederick County Public Schools, is reaching out to several of his counterparts across the region to create the first regional Bright Futures initiative Gizriel If established, this would allow for the kind of cross-district collaboration identified by Bright Futures founder C.
As this report demonstrates, very large social-class-based gaps in academic performance exist and have persisted across the two most recently studied cohorts of students starting kindergarten. The estimated gap between children in the top fifth and the bottom fifth of the SES distribution is over a standard deviation in both reading and math in unadjusted performance gaps are 1. Another important finding from our study is that gaps were not, on average, sensitive to the set of changes that may have occurred between and gaps across both types of skills are virtually unchanged compared with the prior generation of students—those who entered school in The only cognitive gap that changed substantially was in reading skills, which increased by about a tenth of a standard deviation.
The gaps by SES in mathematics, in approaches to learning as reported by parents, and in self-control as reported by teachers did not change significantly. And relative gaps in approaches to learning as reported by teachers and in self-control as reported by parents shrank between and , by about a tenth of a standard deviation. This means that there is a substantial set of SES-related factors that are not captured by the traditional covariates used in this study but that are important to understanding how and why gaps develop.
Moreover, the capacity for these other factors—child and family characteristics, early education investments, and expectations—to narrow gaps has decreased over time. This suggests that, while such activities as parental time spent with children and center-based pre-K programs cushion the negative consequences of growing up in a low-social-class context, they can do only so much, and that the overall toxicity of lacking resources and supports is increasingly hard to compensate for.
The resistance of gaps to these controls should thus be a matter of real concern for researchers and policymakers. These troubling trends point to critical implications for policy and for our society: clearly, we are failing to provide the foundational experiences and opportunities that all children need to succeed in school and thrive in life.
The failure to narrow gaps between and suggests, too, that investments in pre-K programs and other early education and economic supports were insufficient to counter rising rates of poverty and its increasing concentration in neighborhoods where black and Hispanic children tend to live and learn. But there is also good news. The case study review in the previous section of this report explores district-level strategies to address these gaps, strategies that are being implemented in diverse communities across the country.
The communities studied all employ comprehensive educational approaches that align enriching school strategies with a range of supports for children and their families. Their implementation is often guided by holistic data and, to the extent possible, this report provides a summary, as well, of student outcomes, using both traditional academic measures and a broad range of other measures.
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Parents were more likely in than in to read regularly to their children; to sing to them; to play games with them; and to enroll them in center-based pre-K programs. Key principles that span across the case studies include very early interventions and supports, parental engagement and education, pre-K, kindergarten transitions, whole-child approaches to curricula, and wraparound supports that are sustained through the K—12 years. However, despite the abundance of child development information available to researchers and parents—about the serious impacts of child poverty, about what works to counter those effects, about the importance of the first years of life for children, and about the value of education—our data indicate insufficient policy response at all levels of government.
Pre-K programs have expanded incrementally and unevenly, with both access and quality still wildly disparate across states and overall availability severely insufficient. There is a dearth of home visiting programs and of quality child care Bivens et al. Child poverty has increased see Proctor, Semega, and Kollar for recent trends in child poverty rates. And while a growing number of districts have embraced Broader, Bolder approaches, that number is failing to keep up with high and growing need.
In sum, it is actually positive, and somewhat impressive, that gaps by and large did not grow in the face of steadily increasing income inequality, compounded by the worst economic crisis in many decades EPI , ; Saez But it is disappointing and troubling that new policy investments made in the previous decade were insufficient to make even a dent in these stubborn gaps. We cannot ensure real opportunities for all our children unless we tackle the severe inequities underlying our findings. And while momentum to enact comprehensive and sustained strategies to close gaps is growing, such strategies are not being implemented nearly as quickly as children need them to be.
These data on large, stubborn gaps across both traditional cognitive and noncognitive skills should guide the design of education policies at the federal, state, and local levels; the combined resources and support of government at all three levels are needed if we are to tackle these inequalities effectively. Looking at these case studies, policymakers can ask: What are the key strategies these communities employed, what main components characterize these strategies, and how did these communities effectively implement the strategies?
The latter set of questions is particularly pertinent to issues of scalability, financing, and sustainability, all of which have posed significant challenges for the districts studied and others like them. Policymakers can further ask: What other sources or examples might we learn from?
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Bright Futures affiliates now exist in 50 districts across eight states—and the program continues to grow—offering another set of communities to look to. Also, new opportunities under the Every Student Succeeds Act ESSA —from funding to expand and align early childhood education programs to broader and more supports-based educator- and school-accountability systems—provide another avenue for exploration and educational improvement.
This is already the focus of states and districts across the country—as well as of education policy nonprofits and associations—and is a focus that has the potential to inspire viable larger-scale models Cook-Harvey et al. We must take action, in particular, in those areas of policy related to early education in which we have seen little or no progress over the past decade. Quality preschool, among the most-agreed-upon strategies to avert and narrow early gaps, continues to be much talked about but far too little invested in and far too infrequently and shoddily implemented.
The advantages of preschool have been known for decades, and significant progress has been made in preschool enrollment over that time; however, preschool enrollment stagnated soon after Barnett et al. Altogether, this report adds to the strong evidentiary base that identifies strategies to reduce the education consequences of economic inequality. It also sheds light on the need to conduct further research on the channels that drive or cushion changes in readiness.
A close follow-up of these trends in the near future and of the measures adopted to really tackle inequities will not only determine what type of society we will be, but will also say a lot about what type of society we actually are. Her areas of research include analysis of the production of education, returns to education, program evaluation, international comparative education, human development, and cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analysis in education.
She holds a Ph. We appreciate the feedback we received from our discussant Richard Todd and from the audience. The authors gratefully acknowledge Rob Grunewald and Milagros Nores for their insightful comments and advice on earlier drafts of the paper. Special gratitude is expressed to Sean Reardon, for his advice and thorough guidance on the sensitivity analyses affecting the measurement of the cognitive skills and their implications for our study, and for sharing useful materials to help test our results. We thank Ben Zipperer and Yilin Pan for their advice on issues associated with multiple imputation of missing data.
We are also grateful to Lora Engdahl and Krista Faries for editing this report, and to Margaret Poydock for her work preparing the tables and figures and formatting the report. Finally, we appreciate the assistance of communications staff at the Economic Policy Institute who helped to disseminate the study, especially Dan Crawford, Kayla Blado, and Elizabeth Rose.
NW, Suite , Washington, D. Email: egarcia epi. Notes: SES refers to socioeconomic status. The gap in equals the gap in plus the change in the gap from to For example, the gap in approaches to learning as reported by teachers in is 0. For statistical significance of these numbers, see Tables 3 and 4, Model 1.
Note: SES refers to socioeconomic status. For statistical significance of these numbers, see Tables 3 and 4, Model 4. Notes: The gaps are the baseline unadjusted standard deviation scores for high-SES children relative to low-SES children where high-SES children have mothers in the top quintile of the education distribution and low-SES children have mothers in bottom quintile of the education distribution. For statistical significance of these numbers, see Table 7, Model 1. For statistical significance of these numbers, see Table 8, Model 1. For statistical significance of these numbers, see Table 9, Model 1.
Note: Using the full sample.
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The number of observations is rounded to the nearest multiple of Notes: Models 1 and 2 use the full sample; Models 3 and 4 use the complete cases sample. Robust standard errors are in parentheses.