As little ones gather up their school supplies and head off to school this September, what are the attitudes about school that they bring along with their backpacks? In meeting kids during research, I have heard plenty of young ones say that they only like two things about school: gym and recess. It’s disarming for a college professor to consider this; we don’t have either gym or recess in college. Read more
Providing children with a high-quality and equitable education is often treated as a problem for parents, teachers, and administrators rather than a joy. Quaker schools, in sharp contrast, energetically approach the puzzle of how to educate children with diverse gifts and from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds.
Quakers, who believed people should be free to worship on their own terms, came to America in 1682 to escape religious persecution in Europe. In 1689, the Religious Society of Friends founded the first Quaker school, Philadelphia’s William Penn Charter School, which continues to operate today. Read more
Families of students with special needs won an important legal battle when the Supreme Court sided with the parents of an autistic boy who argued that their school district had failed to provide their son a “free and appropriate education.”
The family sued the Douglas County School District for private school tuition after their son, known as “Drew,” made better progress in a private school than he had in a district public school. His parents said Drew hadn’t been learning adequately because the public school’s individualized education program (IEP) was not ambitious enough. Read more
Pamela Guest is the founder and chief editor of IEP Magazine. “IEP” stands for “Individualized Education Program/Plan.” The IEP is the document developed for each public school child who needs special education. Pamela’s mission is to bring attention to inequities, advocate for change where it is needed, and help parents with the information and knowledge they need to effectively advocate for their children in the public school system.
More importantly, Pamela is the parent of a dyslexic child and struggled throughout her son’s education. She had to learn the ins and outs of the system on her own with little to no support. As my path crossed hers on our journey to help others facing the steep dyslexia hike, our common goals brought us together. Education is her passion and this is my interview with her. Read more
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
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 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
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
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
Mr. Trump (I believe he deserves the respect of “Mr.” because he is the president-elect) was successful in tapping the fear, anger, and frustration of an America that is hurting economically. Job prospects generally improved under President Obama, but the benefits did not reach many of those who supported the winning candidate. Certainly, their wages have not risen in recent memory, and the hope that their children would achieve a better life than they did was lost along the way and has never returned. Worse, the “establishment” didn’t seem to care about or even recognize the depths of their discontent.
In 2001 I was hired to lead a large regional foodbank. That year I became aware of a shift in economic conditions that was like a silent tide raising around our ankles. More of the folks seeking help at food cupboards were not unemployed, and they lived in communities where hunger had never been a problem. As conditions continued to deteriorate, few national alarms bells went off, up until the economic crash in the fall of 2007. Massive layoffs then sent the unemployment rate soaring and lengthened the lines of people trying to get food assistance. Read more