Parenting and Learning Issues

Each child learns differently. Here we offer resources on learning styles and the classroom models that support them, expert advice on how to improve learning, and tips on parental involvement.
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The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were developed by a cadre of experts from the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, Achieve, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and other stakeholders, including K-12 science teachers and government officials from 26 states. The standards establish benchmarks that gauge student learning at each grade level from kindergarten through the twelfth grade in the areas of life science, physical science, earth and space science, and engineering, technology, and applications of science. The standards direct student learning along three dimensions:

  • Practices: Students master investigative behaviors that are key to scientific exploration and theory development about the natural world. These include, but are not limited to, the steps of the Scientific Method and their associated practices.
  • Crosscutting Concepts: Students learn concepts that are applicable to all disciplines of science, using common ideas such as patterns, cause and effect, stability, and change. Using this framework provides an organizational structure in which children can relate knowledge from one scientific field to another.
  • Core Ideas: Seminal concepts within science focus the curriculum on ideas that have broad applicability, provide key tools for understanding ideas and solving problems, relate to social or personal concerns, and are learnable over the course of multiple grades at increasingly deep levels of rigor.

These new-generation standards emphasize the importance of science in daily life, but also seek to prepare students for a rapidly evolving workforce that relies heavily on a deeper understanding of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). STEM-related...
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The American public school system has shown a steady rise in the number of enrolled students since the beginning of this century. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 47.7 million students attended public schools in 2001, a number that increased to 49.5 million by 2011. By 2023 the public school population is projected to be over 52 million students.

 
Not only is the overall student population growing, it’s ethnic makeup is shifting as well. As shown in the graph at right, as the number of white public school students has decreased, the number of minority students has rapidly increased, especially students who identify as Hispanic. In fact, by 2023, white students will comprise just 45 percent of public school students nationwide, while Hispanic students will represent 30 percent.
 
Educational Disparities Follow Racial and Ethnic Lines
 
As the student population in the United States continues to become more and more diverse, it becomes evident that students of color are often shortchanged because schools are inadequately prepared to educate children of various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Particularly in the West and the South, where population growth has been explosive, public schools are struggling to provide services to children who have little or no English speaking abilities. Furthermore, since poverty disproportionately impacts children of color, districts additionally struggle to finance free and reduced lunch programs, before and after school academic support, additional classroom personnel and other services necessary to bring these kids up to grade-level performance.
 
Not...
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The teen suicide rate in the United States has tripled since the 1960s. Suicide is currently the third leading cause of death among adolescents, and the second leading cause of death among college students. Although suicide is highly preventable, with clearly identifiable warning signs, it continues to occur in many communities across the nation. In fact, in February and March 2014, ten New York City public school children took their own lives.
 
The Numbers
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year, approximately 4,600 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 take their own lives. The vast majority of suicides are carried out via firearm or suffocation. However, it isn’t just deaths by suicide that are part of the issue. Nearly one-fourth of American high school students report thinking seriously about suicide, 13 percent report having a plan, and 8 percent report having actually attempted suicide in the last 12 months. That translates to well over 150,000 emergency room visits by children who have injured themselves as part of an attempt at taking their own life.
 
It is well documented that boys are much more likely to die as a result of suicide. However, girls are much more likely to attempt taking their own life. In addition to these gender differences, ethnic and cultural differences also exist. Among minority groups, Alaskan Native and Native American groups experience the highest rates of suicide. Hispanics are also at greater risk of suicide than are black and white youth.
 
Further...
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Like it or not, the SATs are a critical opportunity for students to prove themselves to college admissions committees across the country.

If you want to be at the top of your game, you need to develop an effective strategy to prepare. We spoke with some of the top experts in college admissions to find out more about the best ways to prepare for the SATs.

1. Start Reading

If you have a lot of time to prepare, the first step is get reading. Richard Bernstein, Executive Director of Huntington Learning Center (Cherry Hill, NJ and Turnersville, NJ), says this is crucial. “If you have a year to prepare, read, read, and read some more.” 

2. Create a Balanced Study Regimen

Build a study pattern that will get you ready for the test. Students can effectively study in group, one-on-one sessions, or by themselves. No matter what you do however, make sure you don’t overload and always keep a reasonable study/life balance.

Setting goals is only useful if they are realistic. The best way to be productive during crunch time is to “schedule play activities first into your calendar, then your work.” Piers Steel, a professor at the University of Calgary, says in a NerdScholar study piece. “It makes sure there is a payoff for being productive.”

A student who elects to devote an inordinate amount of time to studying for the SAT may run the risk of overloading and not retaining information. Colin Gruenwald,...
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As students begin to face the realization that their days of sleeping in are nearly over, school districts continue to debate the benefits of later start times for older students. With plenty of research to back up the idea that teens sleep on a different cycle than many schools allow, districts must once again consider the theory that later start times could mean higher student performance. Would later start times really impact how well high school students learn?
 
Research Supports Later Start Times
 
As back-to-school logistics are put into place, research on the benefits of later start times come back into play. There is plenty to choose from in that category – most showing teens that head to class later tend to perform better overall. Unfortunately, coordination of school schedules doesn’t always support allowing teens the later start.
 
According to a recent report at Times-Union, 40 percent of high schools in the United States start prior to 8:00 a.m. A small minority, 15 percent, start after 8:30 a.m. That minority is often the result of coordination of bus schedules, which tends to favor younger students for the later start times.
 
Logistics aside, research certainly seems to favor allowing older students to hit the books later. Students in the teen years require just as much sleep as younger children, according to the National Sleep Foundation. That amount can range from 8 ½ to 9 ¼ hours of sleep every night. Decades of studies support this theory, including a Stanford study in...
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Recent Public School Articles
States Fight to Teach “Ignorant” Science to Students
States Fight to Teach “Ignorant” Science to Students
Wyoming recently became the first state to reject the Next Generation Science Standards because of concern regarding lessons that teach human-caused climate change. Several other states have also taken measures to reject the standards, which has some education officials concerned about the quality of instruction students in those states will receive.
School-to-Prison Pipeline Persists Despite Local, State and National Efforts
Inadequate funding and resources for schools, harsh zero-tolerance discipline policies, police presence in public schools, and de facto segregation continue to create school environments in which poor and minority students have little chance of succeeding. The result is a continuation of the school-to-prison pipeline that has been commonplace in the American education system for decades, despite federal, state and local efforts to curb the problem.
Why You Need to Research School Districts When Buying a Home
Whether you have children or not, researching school districts is a crucial step when buying a new home.
Parenting and Learning Issues

Improving Learning

A comprehensive look at the latest trends, expert advice and recent studies into improving student learning. Explore the latest studies into links between student performance, sleep and music. See why schools are opting for later start times and year round schedules.

Parental Involvement from K-12

Learn how direct involvement in your child’s education can impact school performance. Get expert advice on how to get involved, learn why and when you need to talk to a teacher and ways to make changes on campus.

Bullying

An overview of bullying in schools, laws to protect students, and the impact on education. This section provides great tips on protecting your child from being bullied or becoming a bully. Learn about the latest anti-bullying laws and see how cyber-bullying effects your child’s school performance.

Types of Learning

What type of learner is your child? Be in the know about different types of learning and which classrooms are best suited for each type. What is project-based learning? Cooperative Learning? Would your child benefit from a blended learning experience? Explore these teaching techniques and learn how they could improve your child’s performance.

Kindergarten and Elementary Issues

Weigh the pros and cons of preschool, full day kindergarten and other issues affecting our youngest learners. Learn what can be done to help your child prepare to enter school, boost confidence, and encourage reading at the grade school level.

High School Issues

Learn more about issues specific to high school students. Get an overview of high school graduation rates, college readiness, career choice and social issues impacting teenagers in public schools.