As teacher shortages loom, one district grows future educators in high school

Something remarkable is happening at Nora Forester Elementary School in San Antonio, Texas, in teacher Patrice Bravo’s STEM lab — a wonderland of technicolor gears, tools and laboratory doo-dads, all overseen by STEM’s playful patron saint: Albert Einstein, poking out his tongue from a poster on the back wall.
“If the wind is going against your hand, what’s your hand going to do?” Bravo asks, blowing dramatically against her open, upright hand. Today’s lesson: aerodynamics.
“The wind is strong! It makes your hand go ‘Whoa!,’ like this.” Her hand quivers like a sail. “But! If your hand is like this,” she asks, pointing it into the wind, “like an airplane wing?”
The second-graders giggle and chirp their predictions.
Bravo asks student Christopher Olivarez to help by being the wind, and together they perform a playful duet between wind and wing, student and teacher.
This is the remarkable part. While Christopher is a student, he is taller than the other second-graders, his voice deep..

After yet another school shooting, here’s how some Tennessee teachers are mobilizing for safer schools

Brandy Smith is grateful her students are among the youngest on campus.
Too young to question why she has them stand up against the wall, out of sight of the classroom door, on drill days. Too young to ask why they do active shooter drills at all.
Smith is a pre-K teacher for Metro Nashville Public Schools. It can be an extra burden to teach such young students, though. They are often left out of school safety conversations – and young children can’t advocate on their own.
In the weeks since a shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville left three adults and three 9-year-olds dead, Smith said she’s had many “ups and downs.”
“It’s a lot of emotions,” Smith said. “I’ve gone from scared and terrified, to kinda just really pissed off. So mad that I could kinda just punch anybody.”
Smith said she is “a lover, not a fighter” though. So as Tennessee lawmakers have debated – and largely failed – passing gun control legislation in the wake of The Covenant School shooting, Smith h..

Relax: Your adult child is probably fine

Before Laurence Steinberg started writing his latest book, he poked around on Google to examine the literature on parents of adult children. What he found surprised him. Most books were about estrangement, what most would consider a semi-permanent rupture between parent and child. As for the everyday fears that plague many mothers and fathers of adult children — over their kids’ apparently unhurried educations, leisurely careers, and foot-dragging with romantic partners — there was little to nothing. The Temple University professor of psychology and neuroscience who has studied young adults for decades decided that anxious parents would benefit from a closer look at the mysterious young adults in their midst. “You and Your Adult Child: How to Grow Together in Challenging Times,” published in April, is a comforting reality check that many of us need.
“Delayed adulthood is a sociological phenomenon, not a psychological one; it’s a reflection of structural changes in the economy, the lab..

What happens when teachers run the school

This story about teacher-powered schools was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Sign up for the Hechinger newsletter.
BOSTON — Taryn Snyder’s third graders were leaning over their desks, scratching out short essays on what they’d done over the weekend. It was the first lesson in a school week that would take her kids through memoir writing, an introduction to division and research on Indigenous history, each activity carefully curated by Snyder.
But teaching wasn’t the only thing on Snyder’s plate. The next day, she’d meet with other teachers and a counselor to discuss their students’ academic progress and wellbeing. She would also lead an upcoming meeting on the school’s finances, including how to spend federal pandemic relief dollars. And she was running for the school’s governing board.
The Boston Teachers Union Pilot School, where Snyder has worked since 2012, is a “teacher-powered” scho..

What the latest reading study that’s getting a lot of buzz says – and where its evidence falls short

In early April 2023, I started getting emails and messages urging me to take a look at a fresh reading study in Colorado. The study, a working paper that has not yet been peer-reviewed, came to two dramatic conclusions. The first was that elementary school students who attended “Core Knowledge” schools – which teach young children a broad core curriculum in many subjects – were better readers. Their reading scores in third through sixth grades indicate that these children were not only above average at deciphering the words on the page but were better at understanding and analyzing what they were reading. Even more surprising was the finding that the reading gains were so large for low-income students that they would eliminate the achievement gap between rich and poor children.
The nine authors, most of whom hail from the University of Virginia, issued a press release trumpeting it as the first long-term study of a knowledge-rich curriculum and the first to show outsized gains on sta..

How student school board members are driving climate action

“Idaho really is the state where we can solve climate change,” Shiva Rajbhandari tells me over bagels and lox at Russ & Daughters Cafe in New York City. “It’s got sun and it’s got wind and these beautiful natural spaces. And it’s a very resilient ecosystem.”
Rajbhandari, who beat an incumbent to win a seat on Boise’s school board last year, sounds like any other boosterish local elected official — except he’s an 18-year-old high school senior in the same district he governs. And he’s part of a growing number of student school board members across the country, many of whom are putting climate action at the top of their agendas.
Shiva Rajbhandari, a high school senior, beat an incumbent to win a seat on Boise’s school board last year. (Courtesy of Shiva Rajbhandari)Currently, Rajbhandari is one of approximately 500 student school board members in 42 states serving almost 20 million students. That’s according to a new organization, the National Student Board Member Association. Its fou..

Want to teach quality personal finance classes? Follow the 4 Cs

Preferential access to concert ticket presales and exclusive entrances at popular venues are just two of the ways credit card companies try to entice young people to sign up for their first credit card. Drawn in by benefits such as cash advances, many are not aware of looming consequences like high annual fees or steep interest rates on debt.
A 2022 survey by U.S. News & World Report found that almost half of college students have credit card debt with nearly a quarter of respondents with debts over $2,000. One way to get kids to swipe their cards more responsibly and make better financial decisions overall is financial education. Students from states with high school financial education requirements were 21% less likely to carry a balance on a credit card during college, according to a 2018 economic analysis. Personal finance classes are on the rise with more states making these classes mandatory for graduation. Since 2019, the number of states that guarantee a personal finance cour..

No-limits federal borrowing for graduate school pushed prices up for all

In a 1987 opinion piece in The New York Times, William Bennett, former President Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of Education, explained how he thought federal policy was partly to blame for rising college tuition. Under the headline “Our Greedy Colleges,” Bennett wrote that “increases in financial aid in recent years have enabled colleges and universities blithely to raise their tuitions, confident that Federal loan subsidies would help cushion the increase … Federal student aid policies do not cause college price inflation, but there is little doubt that they help make it possible.” In other words, Bennett argued, when colleges are aware that students have easy access to cheap loans to pay their bills, they’re more likely to hike prices.
This theory became known as the “Bennett Hypothesis.” Since then, as Uncle Sam created and expanded direct student lending programs, the Bennett Hypothesis has been hotly debated. Now, a team of economists has found evidence that subsidized loans have bee..

What parenting research really says about timeouts and how to use them

A version of this story was originally published by Parenting Translator. Sign up for the newsletter and follow Parenting Translator on Instagram. This post was edited for length.
As a new parent, the gentle parenting movement was very appealing to me. Although my training as a psychologist and researcher did not focus on gentle parenting (since this approach as a whole has not yet been researched), I read books and blogs about gentle parenting and wholeheartedly endorsed the underlying concepts of being empathetic and responsive to our children’s needs and prioritizing the parent-child relationship. Like many parents, I wanted above all else to raise kind and compassionate children, and I hoped that the gentle parenting approach would help me achieve that goal. However, I was surprised to learn that some of the specifics of gentle parenting ran counter to my training as a psychologist. One particularly controversial difference is that gentle parenting tends to oppose timeout — a prac..

Why Nashville student activists aren’t willing to wait a generation for gun control

This opinion column about the Tennessee expulsion was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Sign up for Hechinger’s weekly newsletters.
Activism has been part of Safiyah Suara’s young life since her politician mother hauled her along to demonstrations in a baby carrier. That’s why she’ll be spending this week protesting guns and the expulsion from the Tennessee House of two Democratic lawmakers by their Republican colleagues.
She’s hoping more young Tennesseans will join her.
“The most important thing is to keep speaking out, and to show the legislature and the rest of the world that we won’t stop fighting,” said Safiyah, an 18-year-old senior at Hume-Fogg, a magnet high school just four a few blocks from the state capitol.
Some 7,000 students who walked out of school in Nashville on April 3 did exactly that, after three children and three adults were killed by an assailant armed with semi-a..