Tuesday Open Thread

Great op-ed from the NY Times on how basic (and fairly inexpensive) things can make the difference for low-income kids of all ages.   When people ask me, "What would you do?" these are the kinds of things shown to work that I support.

- While they were graduate students at Harvard, two young professors designed and tested a program to help students stick to their college plans. Benjamin L. Castleman, now at the University of Virginia, and Lindsay C. Page, at the University of Pittsburgh, set up a system of automatic, personalized text messages that reminded high school students about their college deadlines. The texts included links to required forms and live counselors.

-The same researchers also tested a texting program to keep students from dropping out of college. The problem is important because the graduation rate of low-income college students is dismally low; two-thirds leave without a degree. Community college students received texts reminding them to complete their re-enrollment forms, particularly aid applications. 

- Two researchers at Stanford University, Eric P. Bettinger and Rachel Baker, analyzed an innovative counseling program in which a professional academic coach calls at-risk students to talk about time management and study skills.

- Susanna Loeb and Benjamin N. York, both also at Stanford, developed a literacy program for preschool children in San Francisco. They sent parents texts describing simple activities that develop literacy skills, such as pointing out words that rhyme or start with the same sound. The parents receiving the texts spent more time with their children on these activities and their children were more likely to know the alphabet and the sounds of letters. It cost just a few dollars per family.

Why aren’t schools, districts and states rushing to set up these measures? Maybe because the programs have no natural constituency. They are not labor- or capital-intensive, so they don’t create lots of jobs or lucrative contracts. They don’t create a big, expensive initiative that a politician can point to in a stump speech. They just do their job, effectively and cheaply.

What's on your mind?


Eric B said…
The Seattle Times had a really nasty article yesterday (dead tree, sorry, don't have a link) on teacher quality. They basically said that a national review showed that teachers in general were crap at teaching kids, but generally pretty good at emotional supports.

It appeared from the article that they were pretty much exclusively talking about preschool teachers, and not K-12, although the rating organization does have some additional work on K-12. The article was very carefully written to imply that these ratings went all the way through PreK-12 while using only examples from preschool. A casual reader would probably miss that it didn't apply to the entire school system.
Daniel's Son said…
I read the same article as Eric B. It should be noted that the article talked about CLASS evaluation and SPS piloted this evaluation system within their prek classrooms. The same evaluation process will be used for the city's prek program.
Anonymous said…
Why not do a post about PSESD?

Most people don't know about this additional $50 million dollars per year extra layer of administration.

mirmac1 said…
What a load of horse doo doo:


Waiting-in-Vain? said…
Has anyone heard anything about when the results of the 2014-2015 round of Highly Capable/Advanced Placement testing results will be released? Our child was tested in December and we still don't have an eligibility result. We'd like to be able to talk about the future before it passes us by...
dan dempsey said…
A few thoughts on Congressional inquiry into No Child Left Behind.

A great read:

Blinders on the education policy horse

By Richard Phelps
Maje said…
@Waiting-in-Vain - It seems like it's now routine to get the results after Open Enrollment ends. We went through it last year and I think we didn't get the official results until after we'd gotten the letter from enrollment with the changes processed. Since we were staying at the same school, just enrolling in Spectrum, it didn't really end up impacting my kid much at all. Though if you're trying to decide between Lincoln or a Spectrum school, it's a tough process. You should check out discussapp.blogspot.com if you haven't already. There are a lot of people in your situation talking about it over there.
Anonymous said…
This may be of interest to some readers of this blog:


David Edelman
Anonymous said…
Nathan Hale has had a couple of meetings discussing all standardized tests. There have also been discussions on the origins of the SAT and its eugenics background. I believe that a lot of parents will be opting out their 11th graders from the tests in April.

dan dempsey said…
NY Times:
Are Learning Styles a Symptom of Education's Ills

Some of the reader comments are terrific.
Ebenezer said…
Not a K-12 issue, but strange, sad, and sickening things going on at U.S Department of Education regarding student loans and Corinthian Colleges.

Anonymous said…
Is it time to raise the 1% property tax cap? Food for thought.


-Downtown Dad

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