Archive | August, 2013

Council of Chief State School Officers attempts to define English-learner

31 Aug

According to the Institute of Education Sciences, many children are learning English. In Fast Facts, they report:
English language learners

Do you have information on children who speak a language other than English at home?
The number of school-age children (children ages 5–17) who spoke a language other than English at home rose from 4.7 to 11.2 million between 1980 and 2009, or from 10 to 21 percent of the population in this age range. From 2006 to 2009, this percentage remained between 20 and 21 percent. After increasing from 4 to 7 percent between 1980 and 2000, the percentage of school-age children who spoke a language other than English at home and spoke English with difficulty decreased to 5 percent in 2009.
Among school-age children who spoke a non-English language at home, the percentage who spoke English with difficulty generally decreased between 1980 and 2009. For example, 41 percent of these children spoke English with difficulty in 1980, compared with 36 percent in 2000, some 25 percent in 2006, and 24 percent in 2009. School enrollment patterns have also changed over time for these children: the enrollment rate increased from 90 to 93 percent between 1980 and 2009.
In 2009, the percentage of school-age children who spoke a language other than English at home and spoke English with difficulty varied by demographic characteristics, including race/ethnicity, citizenship status, poverty status, and age. Sixteen percent each of Hispanics and Asians spoke a non-English language at home and spoke English with difficulty, compared with 6 percent of Pacific Islanders, 3 percent of American Indians/Alaska Natives, and 1 percent each of Whites, Blacks, and children of two or more races.
Concerning differences by age, the percentage of 5- to 9-year-olds who spoke a non-English language at home and spoke English with difficulty (7 percent) was greater than the percentages of 10- to 13-year-olds and 14- to-17-year-olds who did so (4 percent each). These patterns by age held across most demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2012). The Condition of Education 2011 (NCES 2011-045), Indicator 6.
Related Tables and Figures: (Listed by Release Date)
• 2012, Digest of Education Statistics 2011, Table 134. Average reading scale scores of 4th- and 8th-graders in public schools and percentage scoring at or above selected reading achievement levels, by English language learner (ELL) status and state: 2011
• 2009, Number and percentage of all schools that had any students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or who were limited-English proficient (LEP) and percentage of students with an IEP or who were LEP, by school type and selected school characteristics: 2007–08
Other Resources: (Listed by Release Date)
• 2010, Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS): This survey includes three longitudinal studies that examine child development, school readiness, and early school experiences.
• 2010, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP): This site provides access to publications and data on the reading, mathematics, science, writing, U.S. history, civics, geography, and arts achievement of U.S. 4th-,8th-, and 12th-grade students.
• 2010, National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES): This site provides access to publications and data on learning at all ages, from early childhood to school age through adulthood.
• 2010, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS): This site offers extensive data on American public and private elementary and secondary schools.

There are many reasons that children should learn English.

5 minute English lists reasons that children should learn English in Why Learn English: 10 Reasons to Learn English:

1. English is the most commonly used language among foreign language speakers. Throughout the world, when people with different languages come together they commonly use English to communicate.

2. Why learn English when it is so difficult? Well, knowing English will make you bilingual and more employable in every country in the world.

3. Despite China, the United States is still a leader in technical innovation and economic development. English is used in the United States and in each of these fields.

4. English is commonly spoken throughout much of the world due to Great Britian’s expansion during the colonial age. People in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, parts of Africa, India, and many smaller island nations speak English. English is the commonly adopted second language in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. Speaking English opens these countries and cultures up to you.

5. Another reason why English is so important is that it is the language of science. To excel in science you need to know English.

6. English is based on an alphabet and, compared to Chinese, it can be learned fairly quickly.

7. English is also the language of the Film Industry and English means you no longer have to rely on subtitles.

8. In the United States, speaking English immediately opens up opportunities regardless of your ethnicity, color, or background.

9. Learn English and you can then teach your children English — or if they are already learning, you can now communicate with them in English.

10. English speakers in the United States earn more money than non-English speakers. Learning English will open your job prospects and increase your standard of living.

Schools must define English-learner in order to educate these children.

Lesli A. Maxwell reported in the Education Week article, New Guide To Help States Commonly Define English-Learners:

With a just-released set of recommendations from the Council of Chief State School Officers to help guide them, most states are now set to embark on an effort to bring much more uniformity to identifying who English-learners are and when those students are no longer in need of language instruction. The goal is to move all states to a more consistent playing field over the next two years.
Doing so would upend current practice, which for decades has had states and local school districts using very different approaches to identifying ELLs and reclassifying them as fluent. It would also lead, experts say, to much more comparability among states and districts for how well they are serving this growing population of students.
“If we can move states toward more coherence around English-learners, that is only going to improve services for these students,” said Robert Linquanti, a senior research associate at WestEd, a San Francisco-based research organization, and a co-author of the CCSSO policy recommendations.
The U.S. Department of Education is an important driver of the states’ effort to move toward a more consistent approach to identifying and reclassifying English-learners.
States belonging to the consortia that are designing shared assessments for the Common Core State Standards—as well as the two groups developing new English-language-proficiency tests—agreed, as a condition of receiving federal grant money for those endeavors, to work together to establish more uniform definitions of ELLs.
The hope is that even states not participating in any of the assessment groups will be part of the effort, especially Texas, where more than 800,000 English-learners attend public schools….


Toward a “Common Definition of English Learner”: Guidance for States and State Assessment Consortia in Defining and Addressing Policy and Technical Issues and Options
Publication date August 2013
publication pdf Toward a “Common Definition of English Learner”: Guidance for States and State Assessment Consortia in Defining and Addressing Policy and Technical Issues and Options


States participating in the four federally-funded assessment consortia are required to establish a “common definition of English Learner.” This includes the two Race to the Top academic assessment consortia and the two Enhanced Assessment Grant English language proficiency (ELP) assessment consortia. This paper provides guidance that consortium member states can use to move toward establishing a common English learner definition in ways that are theoretically-sound, evidence-based, pragmatic, and sensitive to the many policy, technical, and legal issues.
Specifically, the paper briefly outlines central issues, and discusses policy and technical options, for defining English learners using a four-stage framework of key criteria and processes to:
• Identify a student as a potential English learner;
• Classify (confirm/disconfirm) a student as an English learner;
• Establish an “English-language proficient” performance standard on the state/consortium ELP test against which to assess ELs’ English-language proficiency; and
• Reclassify a student to former-EL status through the use of multiple exit criteria.

Here is the conclusion and summary of recommendations:


The complex policy and technical issues involved in developing a common EL definition are going to require a well-defined roadmap of processes and decisions for all consortia members to enact over time. Given the different permutation of states involved in the four consortia, this work is best engaged via close coordination and frequent communication within and across consortia. All phases and criteria — including initial identification, classification, and reclassification — will need to be addressed, using all consortia assessments.
It is prudent to approach the issue of creating a common definition of an English learner as a multi-staged, multiyear, deliberative process. As assessments come on line, teachers begin to teach to the Common Core State Standards, and educational systems align to the expectations of college- and career-readiness, a refined understanding of English language proficiency will emerge. States and the consortia to which they belong should plan now for this process. To that end, a forthcoming paper under the sponsorship of CCSSO’s English Language Learner (ELL) Assessment Advisory Committee will offer further guidance on issues and opportunities described above, and discuss how states and consortia might proceed toward a common definition of English Learner.

Summary of Recommendations

1. Consortia states should adopt a common, standardized, and validated Home Language Survey, which can be used to identify potential ELs.
2. States within a given consortium (ELP or academic) should have consistent initial EL classification tools and procedures, or, in the case of states in overlapping (ELP and academic) consortia, demonstrate that their tools and procedures lead to comparable initial EL classification results.
3. States within and across consortia should clearly establish what “English proficient” means on all ELP assessments used. In doing so, they should carefully consider how differing composite score domain weights affect claims about comparability of the “English proficient” performance standard across ELP measures.
4. Consortia states should identify a theoretically sound, empirically informed performance standard or performance range on any commonly shared ELP assessment. In doing so, they should examine the relationship of both ELP and academic content assessment results.
5. Consortia states should move toward comparable, standardized and validated reclassification criteria, in addition to ELP assessment results, that schools and districts might use in EL reclassification decisions.
6. Consortia states, the US Department of Education, and federal and state policymakers should recognize that establishing a common definition of English learner will require a multi-staged, multiyear, deliberative process.

It is important to educate ALL children.

The Global Partnership for Education lists reasons why education is important in The Value of Education:

The Value of Education
Investing in education is the single most effective means of reducing poverty.
Girls and boys who learn to read, write and count will provide a better future for their families and countries. With improved education, so many other areas are positively affected. In short, education has the power to make the world a better place.
Education is more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. It is one of the most important investments a country can make in its people and its future and is critical to reducing poverty and inequality:
• Education gives people critical skills and tools to help them better provide for themselves and their children
• Education helps people work better and can create opportunities for sustainable and viable economic growth now and into the future
• Education helps fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases, reduces mother and child mortality and helps improve health
• Education encourages transparency, good governance, stability and helps fight against graft and corruption.
The impact of investment in education is profound: education results in raising income, improving health, promoting gender equality, mitigating climate change, and reducing poverty.
Here is a breakdown of the impact of education on people’s lives:
• Income and Growth
• Health
• Gender Equality
• Other
Education is the key to unlocking a country’s potential for economic growth:
• If all students in low income countries left school with basic reading skills 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty. This is equal to a 12% cut in global poverty. (EFA GMR, UNESCO, p. 8)
• One extra year of schooling increases an individual’s earnings by up to 10%. (EFA GMR, UNESCO, p.7)
• Wages, agricultural income and productivity – all critical for reducing poverty – are higher where women involved in agriculture receive a better education. (EFA GMR, UNESCO p. 4)
• Each additional year of schooling raises average annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth by 0.37%. (EFA GMR, UNESCO, p.6)
• An increase of one standard deviation in student scores on international assessments of literacy and mathematics is associated with a 2% increase in annual GDP per capita growth. (World Bank, p.32)

ALL children have a right to a good basic education.

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The 08/31/13 Joy Jar

31 Aug

Every person has a mission. Each of us was placed here for a reason. As we go through the Labor Day weekend, we are reminded that while work is important, it is not necessarily your mission. One’s work may further their mission, but work alone cannot be the mission. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is finding one’s mission in life.

Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t.
Richard Bach

Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.
Viktor E. Frankl

When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it.
W. Clement Stone

Perhaps the mission of those who love mankind is to make people laugh at the truth, to make truth laugh, because the only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from insane passion for the truth.
Umberto Eco

Perhaps the mission of those who love mankind is to make people laugh at the truth, to make truth laugh, because the only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from insane passion for the truth.
Umberto Eco

Make your life a mission – not an intermission.
Arnold H. Glasow

The 08/30/13 Joy Jar

30 Aug

This is the beginning of the Labor Day weekend and it gives moi a chance to reflect on the meaning of work. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is work that sustains life and provides meaning.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.
Vince Lombardi

It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man.
Benjamin Franklin

It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man.
Benjamin Franklin

I think the person who takes a job in order to live – that is to say, for the money – has turned himself into a slave.
Joseph Campbell

Nothing will work unless you do.
Maya Angelou

The 08/29/13 Joy Jar

30 Aug

Interstate 5 divides Seattle. It is showing its age. There are actual ruts and chucks of pavement missing as one goes from Northgate through the University District and on the city center. Moi is guessing that many of those who drive Interstate 5 on a regular basis long for a good road. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ are good roads.

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.

The road to perdition has ever been accompanied by lip service to an ideal.
Albert Einstein

A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.
Henry Ward Beecher

I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.
Stephen Hawking

If you come to a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

The middle of the road is where the white line is – and that’s the worst place to drive.
Robert Frost

What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying that they don’t like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road, don’t expect freedom to survive very long.
Thomas Sowell

You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it.
Oprah Winfrey

We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.
C. S. Lewis

The 08/28/13 Joy Jar

29 Aug

One of the most recited prayers is the very perfect Lord’s Prayer. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is the Lord’s Prayer.
Dennis Fuqua posts these thoughts at his site:

About the Lord’s Prayer
Here are some quotes from others who have found the power of the Lord’s Prayer in their lives.According to Augustine, “whatever else we say when we pray, if we pray as we should, we are only saying what is already contained in the Lord’s Prayer” (Letter 121, 12).

Thomas Aquinas explains why the Lord’s Prayer must be “…the most perfect prayer that we can say…” “Now in the Lord’s Prayer what we are asking for from God is everything that we may lawfully ambition. It is, therefore, not only a cataloger of petitions but also, and especially, a corrective for our affections….”

Martin Luther said “A Christian has prayed abundantly who has rightly prayed the Lord’s Prayer.” He called it the “…model prayer of Christianity.” Other prayer should be suspected which do not have or comprise the content and meaning of this prayer.

To this day I suckle at the Lord’s Prayer like a child, and as an old man eat and drink from it and never get my fill. It is the very best prayer… It is surely evident that a master composed it and taught it. Everybody tortures and abuses it; few people take comfort and joy in its proper use.

Elmer Towns – The Lord’s Prayer includes everything you need to ask when you talk to God. It is a model prayer that teaches us how to pray.

David Yongi Cho – Like within fruit, the Lord’s Prayer contains every requirement for which a Christian may pray each day.

J. I. Packer – This prayer is a pattern for all Christian praying. Jesus is teaching that prayer will be acceptable when, and only when, the attitudes, thoughts, and desires expressed fir the pattern, That is to say: every prayer of ours should be a praying of the Lord’s Prayer in some shape or form. We never get beyond this prayer; not only is it the Lord’s first lesson in praying, it is all the other lessons too.

Some school lunch programs opting out of school lunch program

29 Aug

Moi wrote in School lunches: The political hot potato:
There are some very good reasons why meals are provided at schools. Education Bug has a history of the school lunch program

President Harry S. Truman began the national school lunch program in 1946 as a measure of national security. He did so after reading a study that revealed many young men had been rejected from the World War II draft due to medical conditions caused by childhood malnutrition. Since that time more than 180 million lunches have been served to American children who attend either a public school or a non-profit private school.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (Agriculture Department) has a School Lunch Program Fact Sheet

According to the fact sheet, more than 30 million children are fed by the program. Physicians for Responsible Medicine criticize the content of school lunch programs

In Healthy School Lunches the physicians group says:

Menus in most school lunch programs are too high in saturated fat and cholesterol and too low in fiber- and nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (see PCRM’s 2008 School Lunch Report Card). Major changes are needed to encourage the health of the nation’s youth and to reverse the growing trends of obesity, early-onset diabetes, and hypertension, among other chronic diseases, in children and teens.

A 2003 General Accounting Office (GAO) reached the same conclusion. See, School Lunch Program: Efforts Needed to Improve Nutrition and Encourage and Healthy Eating

Several news outlets are reporting that some schools are opting out of the school lunch program. See, Michelle Obama-touted federal healthy lunch program leaves bad taste in some school districts’ mouths Some School Districts Quit Healthier Lunch Program

The Food Action Research Center summarizes the Highlights: Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. Here is a portion of the summary:

Highlights: Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010
Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2010
What’s in the bill:
The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act takes several steps forward to ensure that low-income children can participate in child nutrition programs and receive the meals they need, including:
• Expanding the Afterschool Meal Program to all 50 states;
• Supporting improvements to direct certification for school meals and other strategies to reduce red tape in helping children obtain school meals;
• Allowing state WIC agencies the option to certify children for up to one year;
• Mandating WIC electronic benefit transfer (EBT) implementation nationwide by October 1, 2020;
• Improving area eligibility rules so more family child care homes can use the CACFP program;
• Enhancing the nutritional quality of food served in school-based and preschool settings; and
• Making “competitive foods” offered or sold in schools more nutritious.
Out-of-School Time Provisions
• Expands the Afterschool Meal Program (through the Child and Adult Care Food Program) to all states. The program currently is available in only 13 states (Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia.
• Requires school food authorities to coordinate with Summer Food sponsors on developing and distributing Summer Food outreach materials.
• Eliminates the requirement that private nonprofit Summer Food sponsors serve no more than 25 sites with no more 300 children at any of the sites unless the sponsor receives a waiver.
• Extends the California year-round Summer Food pilot until 2015 (the length of the reauthorization).
• Authorizes $20 million dollars for Summer Food Support grants for sponsors to establish and maintain programs
School Nutrition Program Provisions
Download the in-depth School Nutrition Program Provisions summary (pdf).
Supports new paperless options for universal meal service.
• Creates a new option that will allow schools in high-poverty areas to offer free meals to all students without collecting paper applications, which will expand access to more children and reduce administrative burdens on schools. The reimbursement levels will be based on the level of direct certification in each school building.
• Establishes a demonstration project to use census data to determine eligibility rates in school districts with high concentrations of low-income children.
• Establishes a three-year demonstration project in up to three school districts to use community survey data to establish eligibility rates in schools instead of paper applications.
Improves direct certification.
• Eliminates the “letter method,” which requires families to return a letter to the school to establish eligibility.
• Establishes a demonstration project to test and implement the use of Medicaid for direct certification.
• Sets performance benchmarks for direct certification and provides incentive bonuses to states that show improvement.
• Makes foster children automatically eligible for free meals, eliminating the need to complete paper applications for school meal benefits.
Enhances school nutrition quality.
• Adds a six cent performance-based increase in the federal reimbursement rate for school lunches (six cents per meal) for schools that meet forthcoming updated nutrition standards for breakfast and lunch.
• Gives the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to establish national nutrition standards for all foods sold on the school campus throughout the school day.
• Directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop model product specifications for USDA commodity foods used in school meals.
• Provides $5 million annually in mandatory funding for farm-to-school programs starting October 1, 2012.
• Strengthens Local School Wellness Policies by updating the requirements of the policies, and requiring opportunities for public input, transparency, and an implementation plan.
• Allows only lower-fat milk options to be served, as recommended in the Dietary Guidelines.
• Ensures that water is available free of charge during the meal service.
Authorizes grants for expansion of School Breakfast Programs
• Subject to available appropriations, grants could be used to establish or expand school breakfast programs, with priority going to schools with 75 percent free and reduced-price eligible students.
Includes new school food financing provisions.
• Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to provide guidance on allowable charges to school food service accounts to prevent inappropriate school expenses that are not related to the school meal programs from draining school meal resources.
• Requires a review of local policies on meal charges and the provision of alternate meals (i.e. cold cheese sandwich) to children who are without funds to purchase a meal.
Requires school districts to gradually increase their “paid” lunch charges until the revenue per lunch matches the federal free reimbursement level. This is a significant change in public policy which likely will result in decreased participation, especially among children whose household income is between 186 and 250 percent of poverty. If these families and higher-income families stop participating in the program it will create the perception that the program is only for “poor” children, causing more children to drop out. Decreases in student participation could cause schools to stop participating in the school meal programs all together. Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Provisions
Download the in-depth CACFP summary (pdf).
Promotes good nutrition, health and wellness in child care.
• Revises the nutrition standards for meals, snacks and beverages served through CACFP to make them consistent with the most recent U.S. Dietary Guidelines.
• Provides education and encouragement to participating child care centers and homes to provide children with healthy meals and snacks and daily opportunities for physical activity, and to limit screen time.
• Increases USDA training, technical assistance and educational materials available to child care providers, helping them to serve healthier food.
• Authorizes ongoing research on nutrition, health and wellness practices, as well as the barriers and facilitators to CACFP participation, in child care settings.
• Requires interagency coordination focused on strengthening the role of child care licensing in supporting good nutrition, health and wellness and maximizing the value of CACFP.
• Provides $10 million in funding to USDA for training, technical assistance and materials development.
Expands eligibility, reduces paperwork and simplifies program requirements.
• Expands eligibility by allowing the use of high school and middle school free and reduced-priced school lunch participation levels to determine Tier 1 area eligibility for family child care homes.
• Eliminates the block claim requirement completely.
• Allows providers to facilitate the return of participating children’s family income forms.
• Allows permanent operating agreements and renewable applications.
• Continues the USDA working group to reduce paperwork and improve program administration and requires USDA to report the results to Congress.
• Establishes a simplified method of determining sponsor monthly administrative funding by requiring only the number of homes multiplied by the administrative reimbursement rates calculation to determine the sponsors’ administrative reimbursements.
• Permits sponsoring organizations to carry over a maximum of 10 percent of administrative funds into the following fiscal year, which will allow sponsors more flexibility to use their funds effectively from one fiscal year to the next.
• Allows state WIC agencies to permit local WIC agencies to share WIC nutrition education materials with CACFP institutions at no cost if a written materials sharing agreement exists between the relevant agencies.
Enhances audit funds and provides protections for states and institutions.
• Allows USDA to increase the state audit funds made available to any state agency from 1.5 percent to up to a total of two percent if the state agency demonstrates that it can effectively use the funds to improve program management.
• Requires the federal-state agreement to make clear the expectation that the federal funds provided to operate the Child Nutrition Programs be fully utilized for that purpose and that such funds should be excluded from state budget restrictions or limitations, including hiring freezes, work furloughs and travel restrictions….

Of course, there are pros and cons of any legislation.

Bonnie Taub-Dix MA, RD, CDN, summarizes the issues in Hungry Vs. Healthy: The School Lunch Controversy :

The background: The new regulations released in August, which were championed by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her “Let’s Move” campaign to fight childhood obesity, trimmed down the carbs and gave them a little color by emphasizing whole grains instead of white flour. Fruits and veggies were placed in a leading role supported by a cast of protein foods like chicken, lean meat, cheese, and so on. The calories of school lunch meals have not changed appreciably, with previous guidelines for children in grades 7 through 12 weighing in at 825 calories and the newest regs ranging from 750 to 850 calories for the same age group. What has changed significantly, however, is what’s being served.
As hard as it might be to believe, one in three American children is overweight or obese and at risk for diabetes, meaning that so many children are overfed, yet undernourished. Previous school meal standards were developed 15 years ago and didn’t meet nutritional guidelines recently established by independent health and nutrition experts. Under the watch of the Institute of Medicine and passed in December, 2010, by a bi-partisan majority in Congress, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, was enacted to provide nutritious meals to all children across America.
The Gripe: Not everyone is happy about these healthy school-lunch makeovers, as evidenced by the YouTube video. Some hungry students and teachers are claiming that they aren’t being served the calories they need—and that to compensate, they’re resorting to junk food to fill up. (Ironically, that’s a recipe for hunger: Unlike nutritious food, junk is only temporarily satisfying.) Adding more calories doesn’t mean adding more nutritional value. For some, overeating could lead to feeling listless and weak.
There are, however, kids who need more food than is being served, particularly those who participate in sports and after-school programs. For these kids, schools can structure after-school snack and supper programs. Individual students and/or sports teams can also supplement with healthy snacks brought from home. Schools also have the option to give students who need additional calories seconds of low-fat milk, fruit, and vegetables, but those are not the foods kids are requesting. Instead, they are seeking the preferred choices served in the past, which may have less to do with calories than familiarity.
The Problem: When you really weigh the difference between the calories of the old school lunch tray and the new, the bigger problem may be about giving kids the food they like, even though some of those foods, especially those that are fried and laden with unhealthy ingredients, may not like them back. Herein lies the disconnect: Our children need help in getting to a healthier place, and although science has paved the way, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to make sense of the science—especially when it comes to serving kids the foods they not only need, but they actually like.
And perhaps the problem goes way beyond school walls. Although the cafeteria can be a classroom through the introduction of healthier options, parents need to step up to the plate at home, too. The most important part a parent can play is that of role model. Setting up a salad bar at home and adding veggies to pizza are just some of the ways parents can bring home a healthier message.
The compromise: School lunch provides approximately one-third of the calories an average child needs for the day, but children who are active and fast-growing may require more than others. Although kids should have an adequate number of calories to support health and growth, it’s important to focus on the right types of calories, not just the number of calories required. In other words, we need to look at quality and quantity. It’s also unrealistic and perhaps unhealthy for kids to attempt to meet the demands of their school day, both physically and intellectually, all in one meal. Eating a balanced breakfast and including energizing snacks is key in maintaining energy levels.
Parents may need to send the right snacks with their children instead of sugary treats, which could zap their energy instead of providing it….

The challenge is getting kids to eat the food mandated by the rules and for school districts to find “kid tasty” foods which are affordable. A Child’s health is too important to be the subject of tawdry political wrangling and high pressure tactics from big money interests. Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©


USDA changes school lunch requirements

USDA backpedals on healthy school-lunch rules

National School Lunch Program Fact Sheet


School dinner programs: Trying to reduce the number of hungry children

School lunches: The political hot potato

The government that money buys: School lunch cave in by Congress

Do kids get enough time to eat lunch?

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:


Dr. Wilda Reviews ©

Dr. Wilda ©

Fordham Foundation study: Parents favor school choice

28 Aug

School choice is just as important for poor students as it for their more privileged peers.
Joseph P. Viteritti wrote in the 1996 Brookings article, Stacking the Deck for the Poor: The New Politics of School Choice:

A new model of school choice has begun to emerge in state legislatures and in Congress. One might call it the “equal opportunity model.” Its goal is to give children who could not otherwise afford it the chance to attend a high-quality private or parochial school. The first such plans were enacted in Wisconsin and Ohio, but others have received serious consideration elsewhere. All provide public assistance to students on the basis of economic need. There is no skimming here, for the target population is students who are most underserved by public education, the lowest achievers. Nor do these initiatives portend an end to public education, for only a small portion of the population can meet the means-tested criteria for eligibility.
The Problem: Separate and Unequal
Defenders of the present government monopoly can conjure up whatever images they may of a future shaped by greater choice in education. But the system they propose in its stead offers little hope for many children who come from minority and poor families. Notwithstanding the promise enunciated by the Supreme Court in the Brown decision 42 years ago, the condition of public education in the United States still can aptly be described in two words: separate and unequal. David Armor gives an account in his recent book, Forced Justice: despite the best efforts of civil rights advocates and the federal courts over the past four decades, most black children today attend de facto racially segregated public schools, the condition improving minimally since 1968. Moreover, a substantial body of empirical research and a flood of litigation in the state courts (in nearly two-thirds of the states) shows wide disparities in per-pupil spending between poor and middle-class districts. No resolution to either situation appears in sight. Public schooling, for all its virtues, just hasn’t been very kind to some children. The same system that helped assimilate generations of European immigrants is not working very well today for the most disadvantaged members of society.
Yes, there has been some notable progress in American education. De jure segregation has been all but eliminated. Ambitious compensatory programs have been spun out of Washington and the state capitals. After a precipitous 15-year decline in national test scores that began in 1964, student achievement is beginning to show signs of gradual improvement. But these victories tell only part of the story. Our system of public education betrays a persistent gap in student performance defined by race. In 1995, black students trailed white students on SAT verbal scores by 92 points. The disparity in mathematics was 110 points. The data on Hispanic students is only slightly less discouraging. If we are serious about education reform in America, then the first order of business is to meet the needs of those students whom the existing system has failed the most. We must move aggressively to close the learning gap between the haves and the have-nots.

Most parents want a quality education for their child.

Moi wrote in School choice: Given a choice, parents vote with their feet:
Most parents want the best for their children and will make many sacrifices to give their children a good life. In the movie Waiting for Superman, a remarkable group of parents was trying to overcome the odds stacked against their children in failing public schools. David Miller Sadker, PhD, Karen R. Zittleman, PhD in Teachers, Schools, and Society list the characteristics of a strong school. Strong schools must be found in all areas. At present, that is not true. It is particularly important where student populations face challenges. Strong principals, effective teachers and parental involvement are key to strong schools. Charmaine Loever describes What Makes A Principal Effective? It really doesn’t matter the income level or the color of the parent, most want the best for their child.

Karla Scoon Reid reported on the Fordham Foundation study about education choice in the article, Parents Favor ‘Niche’ Schools, Fordham Institute Market Study Finds:

A new study released today by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute found that parents have educational preferences that fall into what it calls “niche” markets ranging from vocational education to multiculturalism.
For “What Parents Want: Education Preferences And Trade-Offs,” the Fordham Institute hired Harris Interactive, a market-research firm, to examine which characteristics parents value in a school. The online survey of 2,007 parents of public and private school students in kindergarten through 12th grade was conducted in August 2012.
The study found that most parents surveyed agree on the non-negotiable attributes of a school, including a high-quality core curriculum that emphasizes science, technology, engineering, and math along with instruction that supports the development of critical-thinking and good writing skills.
While those attributes are on most parents’ shortlist of education must-haves, Fordham’s researchers also found that parents want more.

Here is the press release from Fordham:

What Parents Want: Education Preferences and Trade-offs
By Dara Zeehandelaar, Ph.D. , Amber M. Winkler, Ph.D. / August 27, 2013
Foreword by Chester E. Finn, Jr. , Michael J. Petrilli
Filed under: Charters & Choice , Curriculum & Instruction , Digital Learning , Standards, Testing, & Accountability , Talented Tenth , Teachers
This groundbreaking study finds that nearly all parents seek schools with a solid core curriculum in reading and math, an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, and the development in students of good study habits, strong critical thinking skills, and excellent verbal and written communication skills. But some parents also prefer specializations and emphases that are only possible in a system of school choice.
• Pragmatists (36 percent of K–12 parents) assign high value to schools that, “offer vocational classes or job-related programs.” Compared to the total parent population, Pragmatists have lower household incomes, are less likely themselves to have graduated from college, and are more likely to be parents of boys.
• Jeffersonians (24 percent) prefer a school that “emphasizes instruction in citizenship, democracy, and leadership,” although they are no more likely than other parents to be active in their communities or schools.
• Test-Score Hawks (23 percent) look for a school that “has high test scores.” Such parents are more likely to have academically gifted children who put more effort into school. They are also more likely to set high expectations for their children, push them to excel, and expect them to earn graduate degrees. Test-Score Hawks are also more apt to report that their child has changed schools because, as parents, they were dissatisfied with the school or its teachers.
• Multiculturalists (22 percent) laud the student goal: “learns how to work with people from diverse backgrounds.” They are more likely to be African American, to self-identify as liberal, and to live in an urban area.
• Expressionists (15 percent) want a school that “emphasizes arts and music instruction.” They are more likely to be parents of girls and to identify as liberal; they are less likely to be Christian. (In fact, they are three times more likely to self-identify as atheists.)
• Strivers (12 percent) assign importance to their child being “accepted at a top-tier college.” Strivers are far more likely to be African American and Hispanic. They are also more apt to be Catholic. But they do not differ from the total population in terms of their own educational attainment.
What Parents Want: Education Preferences and Trade-Offs uses market-research techniques to determine what school characteristics and student goals are most important to parents.
What type of parent are you? Take our quiz below to find out!

Perhaps, the best testimonial about this school comes from an editorial which describes the emotions of one parent. The NY Daily News editorial, My Baby Is Learning describes a protest against charter schools:

Those words were spoken by a mother who had brought her child for the first day of classes at Harlem Success Academy 2 Charter School – and faced loud protesters with her youngster.
The demonstrators were part of a movement that portrays charter schools as an elitist threat to public education. They are not. They are publicly funded schools that admit neighborhood kids by lottery. Their students far outperform children in traditional public schools.
Charters have proliferated in Harlem, and thousands of parents have children on waiting lists – a trend that has driven activists, including state Sen. Bill Perkins, into shamefully charging that charters are creating a separate and “unequal” system.
But parents, the vast majority of them minorities, know better. Like the woman who confronted the protesters, they’re flocking to charters as a way out of failing local schools. And the bottom line for them is crystal-clear: Their babies are learning.

The only way to overcome the great class divide is to give all children a first class education. AP reports in the article, More Students Leaving Failing Schools which was printed in the Seattle Times that given the choice, many parents choose to take their kids out of failing schools. Well, duh.

The next great civil rights struggle will be education equity for low-income and poor children. ALL options for educating children must be on the table.

A charter school for young entrepreneurs shows the diversity of charters

Poor people and school choice: The Cristo Rey work/school model

University of Arkansas study finds Milwaukee voucher students go to college at higher rate

School Choice

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The 08/27/13 Joy Jar

27 Aug

The City of Seattle has a ‘pea-patch’ program which provides spaces for urban gardeners. The ‘pea-patches’ are plots of land scattered throughout the city where urban gardeners can work their magic. These plots show the personalities of the communities and the gardeners. They add character and community to an urban area. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is the urban gardeners.

“At the heart of gardening there is a belief in the miraculous.”
Mirabel Osler

“Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.”
Rachel Carson

“Gardens, scholars say, are the first sign of commitment to a community. When people plant corn they are saying, let’s stay here. And by their connection to the land, they are connected to one another.”
Anne Raver

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
Nelson Henderson

“You don’t have a garden just for yourself. You have it to share.”
Augusta Carter

“You ask how many friends I have? Water and stone, bamboo and pine.
The moon rising over the eastern hill is a joyful comrade.
Besides these five companions, what other pleasure should I ask? ”
Yon Sun-do (1587-1671), Korean Poet, Sigo

“Out of gardens grow fleeting flowers but lasting friendships.”
-Beverly Rose Hopper

“A garden is a public service and having one a public duty. It is a man’s contribution to the community.”
Richardson Wright, Truly Rural, 1922

“That which is not good for the beehive cannot be good for the bees.”
Marcus Aurelius

“If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain.
If you want ten years of prosperity, grow trees.
If you want one hundred years of prosperity, grow people.”
Chinese Proverb

“The best things that can come out of the garden are gifts for other people.”
Jamie Jobb

Rand study: Education programs lower prison recidivism

27 Aug

Moi has posted about the “school-to-prison” pipeline in The ‘school-to-prison pipeline’: Moi wrote about the “school-to-prison pipeline” in Inappropriate discipline: The first step on the road to education failure:
Joan Gausted of the University of Oregon has an excellent article in Eric Digest 78, School Discipline:

School discipline has two main goals: (1) ensure the safety of staff and students, and (2) create an environment conducive to learning. Serious student misconduct involving violent or criminal behavior defeats these goals and often makes headlines in the process. However, the commonest discipline problems involve noncriminal student behavior (Moles 1989).

The issue for schools is how to maintain order, yet deal with noncriminal student behavior and keep children in school.

Alan Schwartz has a provocative article in the New York Times about a longitudinal study of discipline conducted in Texas. In School Discipline Study Raises Fresh Questions Schwartz reports:

Raising new questions about the effectiveness of school discipline, a report scheduled for release on Tuesday found that 31 percent of Texas students were suspended off campus or expelled at least once during their years in middle and high school — at an average of almost four times apiece.

Donna St. George has written a Washington Post article which elaborates on the Texas study.

In the article, Study shows wide varieties in discipline methods among very similar schools, St. George reports:

The report, released Tuesday, challenges a common misperception that the only way schools can manage behavior is through suspension, said Michael D. Thompson, a co-author of the report, done by the Council of State Governments Justice Center and Texas A&M University’s Public Policy Research Institute. “The bottom line is that schools can get different outcomes with very similar student bodies,” he said. “School administrators and school superintendents and teachers can have a dramatic impact….”
The results showed that suspension or expulsion greatly increased a student’s risk of being held back a grade, dropping out or landing in the juvenile justice system. Such ideas have been probed in other research, but not with such a large population and across a lengthy period, experts said.

Family First Aid has a good discussion about the types of behavior problems that result in suspension or expulsion. Dore Francis has a guide, which lists what parents should do if their child is suspended. The guide gives detailed instructions to these steps and other steps. Francis also lists what questions to ask after meeting with school officials.

Sarah D. Sparks reported in the Education Week article, Education Lowers Prison Recidivism, Study Finds:

Finally, some good news in the so-called school-to-prison pipeline: It goes both ways.A new study by the RAND Corp., a Washington-based policy research group, finds that inmates who participate in prison education programs are more likely to find a job and less likely to return to prison after being released.

Here is the press release from Rand:

August 22, 2013
Prison inmates who receive general education and vocational training are significantly less likely to return to prison after release and are more likely to find employment than peers who do not receive such opportunities, according to a new RAND Corporation report.
The findings, from the largest-ever meta-analysis of correctional educational studies, suggest that prison education programs are cost effective, with a $1 investment in prison education reducing incarceration costs by $4 to $5 during the first three years post-release.
“We found strong evidence that correctional education plays a role in reducing recidivism,” said Lois Davis, the project’s lead researcher and a senior policy researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “Our findings are clear that providing inmates education programs and vocational training helps keep them from returning to prison and improves their future job prospects.”
Researchers found that inmates who participate in correctional education programs have a 43 percent lower odds of returning to prison than those who do not. The estimate is based on studies that carefully account for motivation and other differences between correctional education recipients and non-recipients.
Employment after release was 13 percent higher among prisoners who participated in either academic or vocational education programs than those who did not. Those who participated in vocational training were 28 percent more likely to be employed after release from prison than who did not receive such training.
The findings also suggest that prison education programs are cost effective. The direct costs of providing education are estimated to be from $1,400 to $1,744 per inmate, with re-incarceration costs being $8,700 to $9,700 less for each inmate who received correctional education as compared to those who did not.
While the results consistently demonstrated the benefits of prison education programs, researchers say there is not yet enough evidence to determine which educational programs performed the best.
“Our findings suggest that we no longer need to debate whether correctional education works,” Davis said. “But we do need more research to tease out which parts of these programs work best.”
The study, which was supported by the U.S. departments of Justice and Education, should be of interest to corrections officials and state lawmakers as they cope with operating prisons during difficult budget times.
There long has been debate about the role prison-based education programs can play in preparing inmates to return to society and keeping them from returning to prison. Recidivism remains high nationally, with four in 10 inmates returning to prison within three years of release. While most states offer some type of correctional education, surveys find no more than half of inmates receive any instruction.
In general, people in U.S. prisons have less education than the general population. In 2004, 36 percent of individuals in state prisons had less than a high school diploma, compared to 19 percent of the general U.S. population older than 16.
In addition, ex-offenders frequently often lack vocational skills and a steady history of employment. Researchers say the dynamics of prison entry and re-entry to society make it hard for ex-offenders to find work and build an employment history.
RAND researchers conducted a comprehensive review of the scientific literature of research on correctional education and performed a meta-analysis to synthesize the findings from multiple studies about the effectiveness of correctional education programs. A meta-analysis is a comprehensive way of synthesizing findings from multiple studies to develop scientific consensus about the efficacy of a program or an intervention.
The analysis was limited to studies published about education programs in the United States that included an academic or vocational curriculum with a structured instructional component. The analysis focused on recidivism, but also examined whether education improved labor force participation and gains in academic achievement test scores. The study did not assess life skills programs.
Programs that offered instruction toward a high school diploma or general education development (GED) certificate were the most common approach. Studies that included adult basic education, high school diploma/GED, postsecondary education and vocational training all showed reductions in recidivism.
Because of overlaps in curriculum and a lack of detail about the duration of instruction, researchers could not determine what types of programs worked best.
Researchers also examined the relationship between computer-assisted instruction and academic performance, which is important in prisons because the technology allows self-paced learning that can be delivered at a lower cost than traditional instruction.
The study found some evidence that computer-assisted instruction further improved math and reading achievement among inmates, but the findings were not strong enough to reach a final conclusion.
“As corrections officials struggle to cope during a period of constrained government spending, prison education is an approach that may help save money in even the short term,” Davis said.
Funding for the study was provided by the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance. Other authors of the study are Robert Bozick, Jennifer Steele, Jessica Saunders and Jeremy Miles.
The project was conducted within the RAND Safety and Justice Program, which conducts public policy research on corrections, policing, public safety and occupational safety.


Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education: A Meta-Analysis of Programs That Provide Education to Incarcerated Adults — 2013
A Meta-Analysis of Programs That Provide Education to Incarcerated Adults
• by
• Lois M. Davis,
• Robert Bozick,
• Jennifer L. Steele,
• Jessica Saunders,
• Jeremy N. V. Miles
• Save to My RAND
• Citation

• Abstract

After conducting a comprehensive literature search, the authors undertook a meta-analysis to examine the association between correctional education and reductions in recidivism, improvements in employment after release from prison, and learning in math and in reading. Their findings support the premise that receiving correctional education while incarcerated reduces an individual’s risk of recidivating. They also found that those receiving correctional education had improved odds of obtaining employment after release. The authors also examined the benefits of computer-assisted learning
Key Findings
Correctional Education Improves Inmates’ Outcomes after Release
• Correctional education improves inmates’ chances of not returning to prison.
• Inmates who participate in correctional education programs had a 43 percent lower odds of recidivating than those who did not. This translates to a reduction in the risk of recidivating of 13 percentage points.
• It may improve their chances of obtaining employment after release. The odds of obtaining employment post-release among inmates who participated in correctional education was 13 percent higher than the odds for those who did not participate in correctional education.
• Inmates exposed to computer-assisted instruction learned slightly more in reading and substantially more in math in the same amount of instructional time.
• Providing correctional education can be cost-effective when it comes to reducing recidivism.
• Further studies should be undertaken to identify the characteristics of effective programs in terms of curriculum, dosage, and quality.
• Future studies should incorporate stronger research designs.
• Funding grants would be useful in helping further the field, by enabling correctional educators to partner with researchers and evaluators to evaluate their programs.
• A study registry of correctional education evaluations would help develop the evidence base in the field, to inform policy and programmatic decisionmaking.
In Who says Black children can’t learn? Some schools get it, moi said:
People want an education for a variety of reasons. Some have a love of learning. Others want to attend a good college or vocational school. Still others, see an education as a ticket to a good job. Increasingly for schools, the goal is to prepare kids with the skills to attend and succeed at college. In order to give children the skills to succeed, schools need teachers who are effective at educating their population of kids. There are many themes in the attempt to answer the question, what will prepare kids for what comes after high school. What will prepare kids for what comes after high school is a good basic education. The schools that provide a good basic education are relentless about the basics.


Education Law Center

Discipline In Schools: What Works and What Doesn’t?


A strategy to reduce school suspensions: ‘School Wide Positive Behavior Support’

Single-sex classrooms should be allowed in public schools

Boys of color: Resources from the Boys Initiative

U.S. Education Dept. Civil Rights Office releases report on racial disparity in school retention

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The 08/26/13 Joy Jar

26 Aug

Walking around one just has to notice all the dirt. Things grow out of dirt and sometimes dirt is just there to let us know that it is there. There is a whole cleaning industry build around the idea that thirt must be removed. Still, without dirt, no food. No food, no moi or you. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is dirt.

People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.

I sometimes think that the price of liberty is not so much eternal vigilance as eternal dirt.
George Orwell

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
Margaret Atwood

A book reads the better which is our own, and has been so long known to us, that we know the topography of its blots, and dog’s ears, and can trace the dirt in it to having read it at tea with buttered muffins.
Charles Lamb

This magnificent butterfly finds a little heap of dirt and sits still on it; but man will never on his heap of mud keep still.
Joseph Conrad

I’ve always believed that if you don’t stay moving, they will throw dirt on you.
Paul Anka

“The way I see it, the difference between farmers and suburbanites is the difference in the way we feel about dirt. To them, the earth is something to be respected and preserved, but dirt gets no respect. A farmer likes dirt. Suburbanites like to get rid of it. Dirt is the working layer of earth, and dealing with dirt is as much a part of farm life as dealing with manure. Neither is user-friendly but both are necessary.”
E.L. Konigsburg, The View from Saturday

If you see a whole thing – it seems that it’s always beautiful. Planets, lives… But up close a world’s all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life’s a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern.
Ursula K. Le Guin