The following resources focus on the educational climate and betterment of those serving the K–12 educational community.

Listen to the following Federal Flash focuses on what is likely to change—and what won’t change—under President-elect Donald Trump when it comes to education policy, and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in particular.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Resource Page – As states continue to design their individual ESSA plans and move closer to the implementation stage, Education Commission of the States created an ESSA resource page.

CA State Board Approves Science Framework, First in Nation  The State Board of Education on Thursday approved a new science framework that makes California the first state in the nation to produce a framework based on the Next Generation Science Standards for K-12 grades. (EdSource, Nov. 3)

Can Informing Parents Help High School Students Show Up for School?  This report evaluates an intervention program in New York City high schools designed to improve students’ attendance. The intervention used text messaging to send parents daily absence updates and weekly attendance summaries; students were randomly assigned to have their guardians receive messages. The study did not find that the text messages had a statistically significant or meaningful effect on student attendance. Both the text-message and control groups had second-semester attendance rates of about 86%. The estimated effect was small in practical terms (less than one percentage point, or about half a day of additional attendance, on average) and in terms of statistical significance. The study had sufficient sample size to draw a conclusion about the true effect of the intervention.  (Source: MDRC)

Number of Home-Schooled Students Has Doubled Since 1999, New Data Shows  Approximately 1.8 million U.S. children were home-schooled in 2012, more than double the number that were home-schooled in 1999, when the federal government began gathering data on national home-schooling trends, according to estimates released Tuesday. (Washington Post, Nov. 1)

ESSA, Equity and Exploring Specific Student Populations  The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) seeks to ensure that all youth receive an equitable education and creates new opportunities for states to develop policies supporting educational attainment of specific youth populations that face educational disparities. To assist state education leaders in the policymaking process, Education Commission of the States released five reports focused on a few of these student populations.

See how three districts are leading the way with SEL  A growing number of school districts are incorporating “social and emotional learning”—or SEL—into classroom instruction. Research has shown that SEL programs help students understand and manage their emotions, set and achieve positive goals, make responsible decisions and feel and show empathy for others. In our new publication, Social and Emotional Learning: Why Students Need It. What Districts Are Doing About It, Education First explores six key SEL implementation questions by digging deep in three districts: Anchorage School District (AK), Bridgeport Public Schools (CT) and Sacramento City Unified School District (CA). The brief includes new insights, recommendations and glimpses into the ground-level challenges that will resonate with teachers, administrators, policymakers and funders.

NY – How One School Is Curbing Violence by Focusing on Feelings  The de Blasio administration has been emphasizing the need to change schools’ climates, allocating $47 million for initiatives focusing on social emotional development, counseling and “restorative” practices. The hope is that focusing on positive behavior reinforcement rather than punitive discipline will cut down on violence and suspensions while boosting academic performance. (DNAinfo, Nov. 4)

Career Pathways Can Engage Students and Set Them up for Success  Employers say today’s graduates are not applying for jobs with the skills they need to be successful in a range of industries. And while thousands of high schools are working to expose students to career opportunities early and help them develop the soft skills they’ll need in the workplace, a recent report calls on philanthropists to join the effort. (Education Dive, Nov. 4)

The Content, Predictive Power, and Potential Bias in Five Widely Used Teacher Observation Instruments  This study seeks to inform decisions about the selection and use of teacher observation instruments. It compares five widely used observation instruments on the practices they measure, their relationship to student learning, and whether they are affected by the characteristics of students in a teacher’s classroom. Eight of ten dimensions of instructional practice are common across all five examined teacher observation instruments. All seven of the dimensions of instructional practice with quantitative data are modestly but significantly related to teachers’ value-added scores (a score assessing student gains relative to prior year testing scores). The classroom management dimension is most consistently and strongly related to teachers’ value-added scores across instruments, subjects, and grades. The characteristics of students in the classroom affect teacher observation results for some instruments, more often in English language arts classes than in math classes.  (Mid-Atlantic Regional Educational Laboratory at ICF International)

It’s Dangerous to Deny the Existence of Implicit Bias  In an educational environment, the real-life consequences of implicit bias for students of color are abundant. Research has shown that some teachers hold students of color to lower academic expectations, which have a tendency to become a self-fulfilling prophecy for many students. Lisette Paretlow draws on such research to respond to writer Kay Hymowitz’ claim that implicit bias has no real-life consequences.  (Fordham Institute – October 24)

Personalized, Blended Learning Could See a Surge Because of ESSA  While No Child Left Behind did not limit schools’ use of personalized or blended learning, the Every Student Succeeds Act explicitly supports the alternative education models through guidance as well as funding. Because ESSA relaxes how states must measure student achievement, there is a new level of flexibility when it comes to education policy, and state and local organizations are releasing a rash of white papers to help states create new plans that are due for approval by the federal government this spring. (Education Dive – October 25)

50-State Comparison: Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems  This new 50-State Comparison: Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems from Education Commission of the States provides a national comparison of how all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., approach policies related to SLDS.

What Diverse Schools Do Differently: New Report Outlines 10 Promising Approaches  With a rezoning debate barely settled in Brooklyn—and another still raging on the Upper West Side—New York City has been forced to reckon with the fact that many of its schools are deeply segregated. But it’s worth remembering that there are success stories in our midst, schools that have taken deliberate steps to enroll a diversity of students, creating “Integrated Schools in a Segregated City.” (Chalkbeat, Oct. 26)

College Is the Goal. Will These Three Teenagers Get There?  Nearly all high school students want to go to college these days, studies show, but many never make it. Of those who do, many fail to earn their degrees. (New York Times, Oct. 25)

New $5M Project Will Study Impact of Common Core  A new $4.9 million project will examine how stakeholders from the government and other sectors are responding to the Common Core State Standards, and how those responses are impacting classroom instruction and social disparities in academic achievement in school districts across the nation. Funding for the first phase of the five-year Common Core analysis was awarded researchers from the University of Michigan, Brown University and Stanford University from the Spencer Foundation and the William T. Grant Foundation.  (eSchool News – October 26)

H.S. Classes Offer Bypass to Remedial Courses  Fed up with long rosters of college freshmen who can’t handle college-level courses, states are increasingly turning to 12th grade transition classes to build academic muscle to help students skip the remedial courses that can diminish their chances of earning a degree. (Education Week, Oct. 25)