National School Choice Week: January 23 to 29, 2011
1/25/2011 11:44:42 AM
Sunday, January 23 kicked off National School Choice Week, a movement to gain support for educational options such as charter schools, universal vouchers and tuition tax credits. Speaker of the House John Boehner lent his support to National School Choice Week, as have a number of policy organizations.
President Barack Obama’s proposal for revising No Child Left Behind, which is up for reauthorization this year, includes plans to start or expand high-performing public charter schools, to provide options for children in low-performing public schools, and to support magnet schools. According to the Alliance for School Choice, approximately 5 percent of American children are currently participating in school choice programs. In all, 12 states, including Ohio, have targeted private school choice programs, which provide families with tuition vouchers or tax credits for supporting organizations that grant children scholarships to the school of their parents’ choice.
Affiliated with National School Choice Week is School Choice Ohio. In addition to providing a resource for parents regarding school choice, School Choice Ohio helps parents get access to the Educational Choice Scholarship Program, for children attending consistently underperforming schools, the Autism Scholarship Program, and the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program. During the 2009-2010 school year, more than 17,000 children participated in Ohio school choice programs.
Visit the National School Choice Week’s website to learn more about school choice and events going on in your community.
Click here to download the Alliance for School Choice’s School Choice Yearbook for 2009-2010.
To learn more about the plan to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind, visit the U. S. Department of Education’s website on the reauthorization.
Tags: Education, School
Cleveland Schools Selected to Pilot New Common Core Standards
1/21/2011 10:28:20 AM
This August, Cleveland Metropolitan School Districts will be one of six test sites for the new national standards for math and English. The district, chosen as a pilot site for the Council of the Great City Schools and the American Federation of Teachers, received a $500,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop the pilot program.
Forty states, including Ohio, have adopted the Common Core State Standards, which will go into effect in 2014. The standards were developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices in an attempt to establish a shared set of educational standards nation-wide.
The Common Core for English includes essential literature for all students, research as a key part of writing education and a "staircase" approach to reading education to prepare children for college level reading by the time they graduate. For math, the Common Core provides specific standards for each grade level, including algebra in grade 8 and a new emphasis on mathematical modeling.
Click here to read a Cleveland.com blog post about Cleveland school’s participation and events related to the pilot program.
Tags: Children, Education, School
Reductions in the Recommended Level of Fluoride in Drinking Water
1/11/2011 2:42:08 PM
Reductions in the Recommended Level of Fluoride in Drinking Water
On January 7, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the first reduction in the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water in 50 years, lowering the recommended level to 0.7 parts per million. This decision is prompted in part by recent data noting an increase in the level of fluorosis, a form of enamel damage and tooth discoloration due to too much fluoride. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that in 2004, 41 percent of children ages 12 to 15 have some level of fluorosis.
Many attribute the rise in fluorosis to increasing use of multiple products containing fluoride, such as toothpaste and fluoride-containing mouthwash. The addition of fluoride in drinking water has been controversial since its inception, in 1962 when the decision was described as a step toward Communism. Few countries outside of the US add fluoride to drinking water.
Several articles about the new recommendations stress the importance of giving children under 6 no more than a pea sized amount of toothpaste and make sure they spit it out after brushing. Toothpaste with fluoride is not recommended for children under 2.
Schubert Center faculty associate James Lalumandier, DDS, MPH teaches at the School of Dental Medicine. He works with the Health Smiles Sealant program to provide sealants and oral health care to children in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. In October 2010, he gave a talk as part of the Schubert Center’s Conversations on Children in Research, Policy and Practice on how the program has increased sealant rates to 80% of all third graders in the district.
To read Cleveland.com’s article on the new recommendation, click here.
Tags: Children, Health
The Importance of Imaginative Play
1/10/2011 9:44:46 AM
Published on January 5, 2011, a recent New York Times article draws attention to the importance of imaginative play in child development. As children become increasingly scheduled with extracurricular activities and schools reduce time for play in order to prepare for tests, finding time for creative play often falls on busy parents. American children ages 8 to 18 spend 7 hours and 38 minutes a day looking at television, computer and video game screens, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Additionally, only one in five children live within walking distance of a playground or park, contributing to the rise in childhood obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The article also describes the important skills, such as impulse control, problem solving and teamwork, learned through classic games such as Simon Says and building forts. Parents can encourage creative play by providing more unstructured time and limiting screen time. The article notes the value of spaces set aside for play and the mess that comes with it, as well as toys that inspire creative play such as blocks and dress-up supplies.
Schubert Center faculty associate Sandra Russ studies the role of pretend play in child development and in child psychotherapy. “It is important to educate parents about the importance of children’s play – especially pretend play,” says Dr. Russ, “Parents should enjoy their child’s play and provide time and space for play. Children are not ‘wasting time’ when they play.”
In New York City, a recent event, called the Ultimate Block Party and supported by the National Science Foundation, attracted 50,000 people to Central Park with games such as I Spy, puzzles and sidewalk chalk. Dr. Roberta Golinkoff and Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, founders of the event, are now working to create similar events in other cities and to make the New York event an annual gathering.
Organizations such as KaBOOM! and Creative Play Plus encourage creative play. KaBOOM! helps parents identify local areas to play and provides tools for parents and community members to fundraise and build playscapes in their area. Creative Play Plus, written by several Cleveland area child educators and sponsored by Step2, provides information about the benefits of creative play and provides ideas for caregivers for inspiring creative play in children.
To read the article, visit NYTimes.com
To learn more about creative play and get ideas for engaging children in imaginative play visit Creative Play Plus.
To learn more about finding and creating accessible and safe play areas in your neighborhood visit KaBOOM!’s website.
Tags: Children, Development, Early Childhood, Family, Neighborhoods, Play, School
The Impact of Daycare on Children's Health
1/4/2011 11:46:57 AM
Many parents are apprehensive about placing their child in daycare for fear that exposure to large numbers of other children will negatively impact their child’s health. Indeed, research has repeatedly shown that children who attend daycare, and particularly large group daycare facilities, experience more frequent infections than children who remain at home.
However, a recent study from the University of Montreal provides new insight that may put parents’ minds at ease. The results of this study, published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, suggest that although children who attend large daycare centers do experience more infections while in daycare, it may be keep them healthier later in life. Researchers tracked children’s health for eight years and compared the health of the children who did and did not attend daycare both in the period when they were attending daycare and through their first years of school. They found that children who attended large daycare facilities actually experienced fewer infections when they entered school when compared to children who had not attended daycare. These data suggest that experiencing infections in the first few years of life may provide a protective effect, strengthening a children’s immune systems and making them more resilient to infections upon entering school.
To access the original study from the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, click here.
Dr. Lolita McDavid, Schubert Center Faculty Associate and a pediatrician at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, was recently featured on News Channel 5 WEWS in Cleveland. Dr. McDavid explains the results of the study and gives advice for parents on keeping their children healthy.
To watch the video of Dr. McDavid discussing the study, click here.
Tags: Children, Health, School