NELMS NEWS Node 2014

An annotated list of current events & issues related to the middle level
(updated 4/16/14)

Be sure to check back each week for a new article of interest.
This week's featured article is:

The Dangers Of Defaulting On Student Loans

One of the most daunting parts of that maze is deciding whether to take on massive student loans to pay for college. Americans reportedly owe $1 trillion in student loans. But looking down the road, what happens when somebody can't pay or won't pay? To find out, I spoke earlier with Sandy Baum. She's a senior fellow at the Urban Institute. And I started by asking her how big this problem really is.

NPR 4/14/14

Obama Announces Grants to Schools to Integrate Work Experiences

President Obama traveled to a high school in the Washington suburbs on Monday to announce the winners of $107 million in grants intended to update curriculums to better integrate work experiences and real-world learning opportunities.

“We want to invest in your future,” Mr. Obama told students at Bladensburg High School in Maryland, one of the winners. “Your potential for success is so high as long as you stay focused,” he added. “As long as you’re clear about your goals, you’re going to succeed.”

NY Times 4/7/14

Technology is no substitute for a well-trained teacher

While technology may be useful to monitor students with special needs, it cannot replace the effectiveness of a skilled educator in the classroom.

With the reauthorization of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act in 2004 (IDEIA 2004), Congress introduced the Response to Intervention and Instruction (RtII) framework as a way to address the diversity of students and learning issues in U.S. schools.

eSchool News 3/27/14

Q&A: A Crash Course On Common Core

Confused about the Common Core State Standards? Join the club. That's not to say the new benchmarks in reading and math are good or bad, working smoothly or kicking up sparks as the wheels come off. It is simply an acknowledgement that, when the vast majority of U.S. states adopt a single set of educational standards all at roughly the same time, a little confusion is inevitable.

Below is a handy FAQ about Common Core. We'll continue answering your questions in the coming months. You can post them in the comments section, or on Twitter and Facebook using #commonq.

npr 3/18/14

The truth about ADHD: Over-diagnosis linked to cause championed by Michelle Rhee

There has been a lot of public agonizing lately about the steep rise in diagnoses of ADHD over the last two decades. There is growing, and justifiable, worry that a lot of kids are being put on stimulant medications who don't need them.

What there hasn't been is a plausible theory about what's driving this explosion of diagnoses — 40 percent over the last decade and more than 50 percent over 25 years. The CDC now estimates that 12 percent of school age kids, and as many as 20 percent of teenage boys have been diagnosed with ADHD.

Salon 3/1/14

Common Core Curriculum Now Has Critics on the Left

The Common Core has been applauded by education leaders and promoted by the Obama administration as a way to replace a hodgepodge of state standards with one set of rigorous learning goals. Though 45 states and the District of Columbia have signed on to them since 2010, resistance came quickly, mostly from right-leaning states, where some leaders and political action groups have protested what they see as a federal takeover of local classrooms.

NY Times 2/16/14

Most Teens Aren't Active Enough, And It's Not Always Their Fault

Sure, you think, my kid's on a football team. That takes care of his exercise needs, right? Probably not. "There are these bursts of activity," says , a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego. "But if you think about it, one hour of playing football out on the field means that the vast majority of that time is spent standing around waiting for the next play." And that's a problem, federal health officials say, because children need at least every day.

NPR 2/3/14

Are E-Books Killing Reading For Fun?

…Americans are reading differently than they used to - more e-books, more audiobooks and more young people choosing not to read. Joining me now to talk about America's reading habits are Kathryn Zickuhr. She's a research associate at the Pew Research Center's Internet Project. And Elissa Malespina, school librarian at South Orange Middle School in New Jersey. Welcome to both of you..

NPR 1/23/14

In Age of School Shootings, Lockdown Is the New Fire Drill

For students across the country, lockdowns have become a fixture of the school day, the duck-and-cover drills for a generation growing up in the shadow of Columbine High School in Colorado and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Kindergartners learn to hide quietly behind bookshelves. Teachers warn high school students that the glow of their cellphones could make them targets. And parents get regular text messages from school officials alerting them to lockdowns.

NY Times 1/16/14


Critics Say Schools' Common Core Standards Rollout Is Rushed

A growing number of educators and parents say they're worried about the tests being developed and tied to new, more rigorous standards in reading and math. The test results will be used to gauge students' progress and also evaluate teachers, rate schools and rank states.

NPR 1/2/14


School Testing Systems Should Be Examined In 2014

Our series on the future continues with a discussion about education. Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep talks to Linda Darling-Hammond, a former adviser to President Obama, who is dismayed to see his administration build on the high-stakes testing requirements introduced by the Bush administration.

NPR 12/26/13