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Kids and Politics in the Year of Disruption

Can self-interest align with group interests to create a better world for kids? This was one of the larger questions that guided a recent discussion, Kids and Politics in the Year of Disruption, held at the University of Pennsylvania Law School on February 1.

Co-sponsored by Child’s World America and the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice, and Research, the event brought together local Philadelphia researchers, educators, health professionals, and community members interested in promoting children’s well-being under the Trump administration. Read more

“My Voice”

This article is part 1 of 3 in the column Youth Voices

Wagner Middle School

There are many different ways writing gives me a voice. For example in writing I can say what I feel and I can say it how I want, some stuff I say in my writing I cant speak it. Meaning I cant like say it, I don’t know why but writing just lets me show my feelings better than I can speak it. Lot of people might say if you can write it you can speak it but that’s not always true. Read more

“Where I’ve Been, Where I’m going”

This article is part 2 of 3 in the column Youth Voices

Wagner Middle School

As a teen I have faced many difficulties with finding the right friends and decisionmaking. I remember when I first entered middle school I was always hyper active and never really followed directions. My grades were ok but I knew I could do better but I never really cared. In my 6th grade year my mother passed away and from then on I promised myself that I would get good grades because I knew she would be proud. It’s not always easy to get good grades and get along with my peers. So to avoid problems I always tried and get along and talk to people I knew I could get along with also I keep a journal to express my feelings. Read more

Court Appointed Special Advocates Help Foster Kids Fight Education Inequality

On January 27, 2017, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Philadelphia gathered attorneys, child welfare professionals, and volunteers at Berger & Montague P.C. for a talk about the educational challenges vulnerable children in foster care face—and why there is cause for hope.

CASA Philadelphia trains and supports community volunteers to become sworn officers of the court to advocate for the safety, stability, health, and well-being of abused and neglected children in the foster care system. School stability is one such right that may get lost in the shuffle of more pressing concerns. Children who are removed from a parent or moved around in the foster care system may be transferred from a familiar school to one in which they have no connection and where their needs fail to be met. Read more

Education, the 2016 Election, and the Future

This article is part 4 of 13 in the column Marci A. Hamilton

There is a deep connection between education and a successful, well-run representative democracy. Voters need significant education to be able to judge the people to whom they delegate the power to make governing decisions and to assess how their governing system is operating. Without adequate education generally and specifically about representative democracy, the system itself is at risk. Read more

Fluency in Dyslexic Brain: Practice Makes Progress

This article is part 1 of 10 in the column Simple Words

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As with all new skills, learning to read is a process that requires practice.  First, a person learns to read a word accurately. With practice, he becomes fluent, adding more expression and achieving better comprehension. But when dyslexia is added to the mix, practice is not just required, it is critical.

The difference is in how the brain works. A nondyslexic reader activates the front and back parts of the left-brain when reading—the side associated with language processing and reading—helping him associate words and sounds quickly and efficiently. Read more

Republicans Press Repeal of Gun-Free School Zones Act

This article is part 6 of 15 in the column Kid's Capital Watch

A handful of Republicans have signed on to a bill that would repeal portions of the 1990 Gun-Free Schools Zones Act, saying the federally imposed ban on carrying firearms within a certain distance of school campuses is “ineffective” and nonsensical.

The bill, H.R. 34, called the Safe Students Act, was introduced by Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie earlier this month. It’s a near carbon copy of the bill that Ron Paul, ex-congressman from Texas, tried to pass several years ago.

“Gun-free school zones are ineffective,” Massie said. “They make people less safe by inviting criminals into target-rich, no-risk environments. Gun-free zones prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves, and create vulnerable populations that are targeted by criminals.” Read more

Calls Grow to End Corporal Punishments of Students

This article is part 4 of 15 in the column Kid's Capital Watch

Education Secretary John B. King Jr., in a recent letter, called on schools across the nation to abolish corporal punishment of students—a decades-old disciplinary practice that has flown largely under the radar despite being lawful in more than a dozen states.

“I write to you,” he said in a written appeal to governors and state education officials, “to call your attention to a practice in some schools—the use of corporal punishment—which is harmful, ineffective and often disproportionately applied to students of color and students with disabilities, and which states have the power to change. If you have not already, I urge you to eliminate this practice from your schools and instead promote supportive, effective disciplinary measures.” Read more

Best Defense Against Dyslexia: Early Detection

This article is part 2 of 10 in the column Simple Words

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When a child has dyslexia, the child’s brain has difficulty matching sounds with letters, so reading and writing also become difficult. In addition, the skills needed to learn these basics—accurate and/or fluent word recognition and good spelling and decoding abilities—don’t come naturally.

The most effective antidote? Early diagnosis and intervention. Dyslexia can be diagnosed as early as age 3, especially if it runs in the family and there is an awareness of the symptoms. Ideally, it would be caught by kindergarten or first grade, before the gap widens between the dyslexic student and the student’s peers. Read more

The Sesame Street Approach: Not Universally Educational

With a history that includes “trying to bridge the education gap” and an approach to learning that engages the child while encouraging parental participation, Sesame Street is often perceived as the quintessential preschool television show in the United States. Dr. Jensen examines the initial reaction to Sesame Street that occurred in Denmark, a country that has held children and children’s television in high regard. —Cyndi Maurer, PhD (editor)


 

Last year I was a visiting lecturer at a couple of American universities where I participated in discussions regarding children’s media. In my guest lectures, I posed a question that often took students aback: “Can you think of a reason that Sesame Street might be considered inappropriate for children?” To my U.S. students, Sesame Street represented the epitome of an appropriate program for children: produced by a nonprofit organization; broadcast on PBS; loved by children, adults, and educators; and, on top of it all, devoted to promoting diversity and teaching children things that are highly valued in the school system. Read more

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