Schools are beginning to focus on the nuances of education realizing that beyond academics kids have emotional growth and curiosity in their own interests that if nurtured make them stronger individuals than solely focusing on traditional academics. Character based education considers self-control, curiosity and grit as factors that can be nurtured and help kids do well in school and develop their personalities. An Australian psychology professor, Arthur E. Poropat’s research shows that conscientiousness and openness or creativity and curiosity are more important to student success than intelligence. Read more on his research here.
Common core as implemented in schools serves to restructure and ideally help close the achievement gap faced by black, Latino, low-income students and English language learners. Students are working more collaboratively in ways that prepare them for college and trade schools and ultimately careers, where they will be required to work collaboratively. A California school teacher witnessed an exchange in her class. An English language learning student answered a math problem correctly, but when asked to explain it he couldn’t. He had the answer right, but for the wrong reason. After the teacher asked him to confer with his peer group and discuss why and how to arrive at the right answer, he was able to explain how to resolve the problem. Working in this way prepares students for life long learning and establishes peer connections. Both of these things are needed to be successful later in life while preparing to enter a career. Read more on common core advocacy here.
The author of a recent Chicago Tribune Article brings up some pertinent concerns about modern schooling. Namely the issue around inactivity for kids who are bursting with energy. Jennifer L.W. Fink is a freelance writer and creator of BuildingBoys.net. She sees schools as limiting in certain rigid restrictions. As the mother of a son who she deems Little House on the Prarire material, an active child willing to help and get firewood, she feels schools break boys spirits’ by limiting their natural inclination to be active. This is a valid concern and is similar to conversations about school start and end times based on kids natural biorhythms and optimal sleep times. Read more on Jennifer’s concerns here.
A study from 2013 finds that the cognitive function of young students improves from the nutritional benefits provided by eating breakfast. Those who ate breakfast scored higher on standardized tests and had higher IQ scores later in life. Eating breakfast is particularly important for poor kids because they are more likely to eat meals with low nutritional value or fewer meals.
A report from the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools shows that charter school enrollment in the United States has increased by 14% from last year, meaning there are 2.9 million children currently in charter school attendance alone. The states that have the largest number of charter schools that opened in the 2014-15 school year are California, Florida and Texas. Today almost 6% of children are attending charter schools. In the next few years the percentage is expected to rise to 10%.