Monthly Archives: January 2012
|January 31, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Education, Evaluation, Policy||
The latest findings from an ongoing study of the effectiveness of charter schools on student achievement indicate some are having a positive impact on student graduation rate and college enrollment.
The report Charter-School Management Organizations: Diverse Strategies and Diverse Student Impacts, conducted by Mathematica and the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) -University of Washington looked at the effect of charter school management organizations (CMOs) on test scores, graduation and post-secondary education planning. While the data indicate a positive impact on high school graduation statistics (for schools with that data), the overall impact on student academic achievement by school varied considerably.
The study also examined characteristics of CMO schools in relation to positive educational impacts, finding:
- high levels of teacher coaching were associated with positive impacts on academic achievement;
- performance-based teacher pay structure was not statistically associated with student achievement; and
- class size was not statistically associated with student achievement.
Previous reports from National Study of Charter Management Organization (CMO) Effectiveness are available online (as is this newest report) via the Mathematica website.
|January 29, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Health, Policy, Research|
In difficult times, conventional wisdom assures us that we will endure and perhaps even improve– becoming wiser, or more spiritual, or more grounded – from the hardships faced. The adage, that which does not kill us will make us stronger, is almost considered fact, and indeed there is some empiric evidence behind that phrase. However, are some traumas simply too much to bear, having a long-term, even lasting, impact upon survivors and their families?
A study of Hurricane Katrina survivors, specifically low-income mothers, found that they continued to experience mental health problems several years post-hurricane. Four years after the natural disaster one-third of the sample were still suffering from post-traumatic stress symptoms and 30 percent experiencing psychological distress, both above pre-storm levels. The researchers found that experiencing stressors such as lack of edible food or clean water, home damage and injury due to Hurricane Katrina corresponded with risk of long term post-traumatic stress.
Although the authors warn that the study is not generalizable to the larger population, this data provides valuable insight into the true duration of the human impact of a natural disaster the magnitude of Hurricane Katrina.
|January 25, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Health, Research||
Understanding the trend in obesity among youth may require more consideration than blaming fast food, “lazy” parents and video games. It may require a more honest examination of the nature of the trade-offs that schools, child care centers and parents have to make to balance the issues of safety, learning and physical activity. We know that students are not getting adequate exercise during their physical education hours and that recess itself is a topic of debate, now a study indicates that preschoolers in daycare settings are not getting adequate amounts of physical playtime – for some surprising reasons.
The article, Societal Values and Policies May Curtail Preschool Children’s Physical Activity in Child Care Centers published in the February journal of Pediatrics found that young children in daycare did not typically get recommended levels of physical activity during their time at the center because of,
- a fear of child injury – including related parental complaints, parental pressure to reduce running and climbing play opportunities and concerns with licensing codes;
- a priority on classroom learning over non-cognitive playtime, due in part to the perceived pressure of early education standards; and
- a lack of financial resources for playground equipment or adequate space for active play.
The paper, available free online for download, includes a sample of responses from the study focus groups that paint a clearer picture as to some major, but hidden, reasons why the kids are sitting more and running less.
Societal Values and Policies May Curtail Preschool Children’s Physical Activity
in Child Care Centers. Kristen A. Copeland, Susan N. Sherman, Cassandra A. Kendeigh, Heidi J. Kalkwarf and Brian E. Saelens Pediatrics; originally published online January 4, 2012; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-2102