by Sherry Posnick-Goodwin
Recess, in many schools, may soon be a thing of the past. Since the 1970s, Science Daily reports, schoolchildren have lost nearly 50 percent of their unstructured outdoor playtime. Thirty-nine percent of first-graders today get 20 minutes of recess each day — or less. By contrast, children in Japan get 10 minutes of play each hour. Prolonged confinement in classrooms diminishes children’s concentration and leads to squirming and restlessness. And boys appear to be more seriously affected by recess deprivation than girls. “Parents should be aware,” warn two university researchers, “that classroom organization may be responsible for their sons’ inattention and fidgeting and that breaks may be a better remedy than Ritalin.”
Black Californians have the lowest college graduation rate among all ethnic groups and are less educated than their parents, according to the Campaign for College Opportunity, a group calling on state lawmakers to help African Americans. Among the findings of a new study: 32 percent of black Californians who attended college dropped out, more than any other group. Black students are underrepresented in the University of California and California State University systems and are overrepresented at expensive, for-profit colleges. The group called on state lawmakers to create a statewide plan to set specific goals for improving college-going success for African American students.
More and more college admissions officers “Google” an applicant (29 percent) or visit an applicant’s Facebook or other social networking page to learn more about them (31 percent). The percentages are at their highest levels yet, according to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2013 survey of college admissions officers. When Kaplan first began tracking this issue in 2008, barely 10 percent of admissions officers reported checking a Facebook page. Despite the growth in online checking, however, there’s been a dip — to 30 percent in 2013 from 35 percent in Kaplan’s 2012 survey — in the number of admissions officers reporting that they’re finding something that negatively impacted an applicant’s admissions chances. In a separate survey of college-bound students, more than three-quarters said they would not be concerned if an admissions officer Googled them.
Wealthy parents are more likely to make cookies for bake sales, volunteer in classrooms and be involved in their children’s schools than lower-income mothers and fathers, reports EdSource. And 39 percent of parents with incomes greater than $100,000 said they were very involved in their children’s schools, compared to 24 percent of parents making less than $30,000. Two-thirds of parents said time and work schedules were obstacles in participating at their children’s school.
Tips to increase parent involvement:
Communicate with parents using a variety of methods ranging from phone calls to email, fliers or meeting face-to-face.
Host events and activities that bring parents into the school, such as Family Literacy Night, spaghetti dinners or other events that make parents feel welcome and wanted, being flexible to allow for working schedules.
Let parents know you consider them to be “partners” in their child’s education. Numerous studies show that children are more likely to succeed when parents and teachers work together.
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