Education Week - October 28, 2015 - (Page 22)
Poverty Continues to Harm Students
After Early Ed. Intervention Ends
To the Editor:
Your recent article "Study Casts Fresh Doubts on
Durability of Pre-K Gains" (Oct. 7, 2015) on a new study
of Tennessee prekindergarten results raises many of the
same issues that have plagued Head Start.
By 3rd grade, gains made in either Head Start or the
Tennessee pre-K program have disappeared. The only
thing that hasn't disappeared for the students who
participated in these programs is the handicap created by
living in poverty.
To think that simply catching students up before they
get to kindergarten solves the "gaps" issue forever is
nonsensical. Poverty plagues students throughout their
schooling. Unless supports are provided, as long as the
poverty exists, these students will continually fall behind
Rhode Island Association of School Principals
The '#62MillionGirls' Push Is Relevant
Here In the United States, Too
To the Editor:
I was inspired to respond to your article "Michelle
Obama to Tap U.S. Students in Equity Campaign for Girls"
(Aug. 26, 2015). I have been following first lady Michelle
Obama's work, and earlier this month she announced
a global campaign for girls' education that is called
I believe that it is important to create awareness about
girls' education, but not only in developing countries.
Attention also needs to be paid to developed countries,
including here in the United States, in Canada, and in the
I am fortunate to have experienced the power of helping
a student during my teacher training last year. The
student, whom I'll call Jasmine, was a 9th grader in my
classes. I could tell from my interactions with her that
she was intelligent and had the potential to achieve high
grades, but her motivation was low. She explained that
the reason behind her lack of motivation was that after
graduating high school she would get married and not be
expected to get a job. She further explained that she could
have a stable life without wasting time, energy, and money
on her education.
My job as a teacher is not only to deliver my lessons, but
also to tap into student motivation. Doing so is often about
changing his or her frame of reference. Jasmine's reference
was the cultural expectations of family and the precedent
her older sisters had set. My conversations with Jasmine
were a way to build trust and help her recognize a new
Toward the end of the school year, Jasmine changed her
course selections to prepare for attending university, and
she had a new aspiration to become a social worker.
This anecdote shows that the impediments to girls'
education are not only prevalent in developing countries,
but can also be an issue in a developed country such as the
But for me, this is not just about policy or economics. This
is deeply personal, because I come to this issue not just as
a future policymaker in education, but also as someone
who was initially denied an education because I was a
young female. It is deeply disheartening to know millions
of girls worldwide are dealing with the same, if not worse,
circumstances. But what is most inspiring to me is that we
as a nation are taking the time to create awareness about
Education Week takes no editorial positions, but publishes
opinion essays and letters from outside contributors in its
Commentary section. For information about submitting an
essay or letter for review, visit www.edweek.org/go/guidelines.
| READERS REACT ON EDWEEK.ORG |
Inspiring Students to Read
To read the full Commentary and readers' reactions, please visit:
We are not allowed to let students enjoy
reading. They must produce a product to
prove they have read ... and you wonder
why older kids hate reading. A CHILD'S VOICE
We spend way too much time on
teaching strategies and technique and
no time letting [students] practice
what we learned.
It seems like classroom activities such as
reading are so controlled. No wonder kids
like computerized games. They are more
interactive than what the districts allow.
In the higher grades, we need to
allow greater freedom to read books
of interest to the student, not those
of interest to the teachers. Fiction
is torture to many students on the
autism spectrum. And me.
I didn't dissuade [students] from
reading books below their levels,
but reminded them that they should
focus the majority of their reading on
books at their level, or just one above.
22 | EDUCATION WEEK | October 28, 2015 | www.edweek.org/go/commentary
Veteran educator Barbara Wheatley's Oct. 7, 2015, Commentary "Reading
by Choice" prompted a number of thought-provoking comments. In her
essay, Wheatley asks parents and educators to encourage students to select
their own books, maintaining that allowing children to do so, even if the
books are judged to be "too difficult" for them, can improve children's
reading skills and further their love of reading. She encourages adults to
read aloud to children, give books as gifts, and read independently
themselves to set a good example.
In response, commenters agreed that students should be encouraged to
select books they are excited about. Some suggested that a classroom needs
a broad selection of books to motivate unenthusiastic readers, while others
argued that classroom reading instruction can make or break a reader.
One way to best help students is to
collaborate so librarians can guide
children to the appropriate sections
of their library to make finding a
'just right' book much easier for the
students and less frustrating for the
About 25 percent of my kiddos try to
choose books that are way too low. ...
I'm not sure why they do this-maybe
they think it's funny, or maybe they
just don't really like to read. ARADEBA1
-COMPILED BY MARGARET YAP
Do Military Recruiters
Belong in Schools?
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21
cruits, the American Public Health Association passed a resolution
urging schools to more closely regulate military-recruiter access.
While it is unlikely that he was familiar with the scholarly literature, several years ago a New Haven 5th grader summed up this
view in an interview with Junior Scholastic magazine: "If people
are not allowed to drink alcohol until the age of 21," he said, "they
should not be able to make a decision that could cost them their
lives until at least that age." The military holds a different view.
For the military, access to high schools is all-important because,
in the words of its own officer corps, youths represent their "target
market" and high schools "the primary source of Army applicants."
School access is essential to military recruiters precisely because
that's where young people can be found five days a week. In fact,
the Army's recruiter handbook notes that among key community
institutions-churches, civic organizations, businesses-schools
have the most significant "impact on recruiting."
Given the way military recruiters rely on unfettered access to
public schools and students, it would be unreasonable to expect
them to voluntarily scale back their activities. But educators, parents, and activists have an important role to play in pushing for
reform. Our research, supported by other scholars and community
organizations, indicates that common sense is needed to protect
youths from military recruiters and restore a sense of balance to
the career choices being promoted to students.
If recruiters are to remain in schools, we suggest public school
districts across the United States adopt the following policies:
* Districts should require military recruiters to remain in one
part of the school only. In too many instances, they are allowed to
roam the hallways in search of students, or often sit with students
eating alone in the cafeteria. We think most school officials would
balk if a recruiter from another organization expected such access.
Military recruiters should be held to that same standard.
* Districts should limit recruitment visits to one per branch of
the military per year. As shown in Connecticut, weekly visits by
recruiters to individual schools are common. Students in public
settings should not be overexposed to information about just one
potential career path.
* Restricting recruiter visits to schools is important, but to make
this policy effective, "visits" should be broadly defined to include
any activity by a military recruiter in which student contact is
made. This would include not only traditional table set-ups, but
also activities like classroom presentations by military personnel.
* Districts should require recruiters to fully disclose the health
risks of military service. Among the more than 800 Texas high
school students who told researchers Adam McGlynn and Jessica Lavariega-Monforti that they had had contact with military
recruiters, 86 percent said they were never told about the possible
risks of military service. At the least, recruiters should be required
to tell students that if they join the military, they may end up in
* To ensure these rules are followed, a designated military monitor should be present at all times when recruiters interact with
students. Such a policy has been successfully implemented in the
Seattle public schools, where the Parent Teacher and Student Association, or PTSA, assigns a parent to monitor the military during
school visits by recruiters.
Efforts to regulate the presence of recruiters invariably produce
strong opposition. The military and veterans' groups claim that
such sensible reforms are "anti-military" and undermine the
ability to recruit new service members. But advocates, parents, and teachers who wish to protect students should not be
intimidated. This is not about being for, or against, the military.
It is about ensuring that high schools do not become de facto
recruiting stations, and that all young people have equal access
to educational opportunities. n
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 28, 2015
Education Week - October 28, 2015
Study Paints Chaotic View of Testing
In L.A., Tensions Rise Over Teacher Investigations
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: ‘Ephemeral’ Apps Put School Leaders in Tricky Spots
Unequal Access to Advanced Classes Targeted
Fighting Subtle Bias
News in Brief
Oak Foundation Aiding Those With ‘Learning Differences’
Long-Term Study to Track Adolescent Brain Development
Blogs of the Week
In Minneapolis, a Targeted Effort To Bolster Black Boys
School-Parent Linkages Chip Away at Cultural Barriers
Fate of Programs Complicates Path To ESEA Compromise
Some School Choice Backers Tepid On Title I Portability Proposal
State Chiefs Look to Montana For Ways to Meet the Needs Of Native American Students
Signs Point to Increase in High School Graduation Rates
Blogs of the Week
SETH KERSHNER & SCOTT HARDING: Do Military Recruiters Belong in Schools?
JEREMY A. STERN: On the AP U.S. History Framework
Unearthing the Humanity Beneath Stereotypes
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
JOHN HATTIE: The Effective Use of Testing: What the Research Says
Education Week - October 28, 2015