October 2013 Reports

Common Core progress www.cep-dc.org
Most states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards have already begun teaching to the rigorous new math and English language arts standards, but face challenges in their implementation. Two reports from the Center on Education Policy, “Year 3 of Implementing the Common Core State Standards: An Overview of States’ Progress and Challenges” and “Year 3 of Implementing the Common Core State Standards: Professional Development for Teachers and Principals,” find that each of the 40 states surveyed is providing Common Core professional development for teachers, and 39 are providing necessary professional development for their principals. State education agencies, however, report that they are struggling to secure enough state staffing and resources to implement Common Core and make sure all teachers receive necessary training.

Double-dosing algebra http://educationnext.org
A report from Education Next, “A Double Dose of Algebra,” analyzes the effectiveness of Chicago Public Schools’ “double-dose” algebra policy. This policy requires students who score below the national median on their eighth-grade math test to take two periods of algebra in ninth grade. While an earlier analysis found the policy did not improve ninth-grade algebra failure rates, this one finds that over the long run, the policy has had positive and substantial impacts on high school graduation rates, college entrance exam scores, and college enrollment rates, particularly for those students who had below-average reading skills. The intervention focuses on written expression of mathematical concepts.

Early education a top priority http://growamericastronger.org
A poll of American voters conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research and published by the First Five Years Fund reports that 86 percent of respondents believe that ensuring children get a good start in life is an important national priority, second in importance only to increasing jobs and economic growth (92 percent). Seventy percent of those polled supported a federal plan for better early education that would cost $10 billion per year for 10 years, with 50 percent saying they strongly supported such a plan.

Fewer obese preschoolers www.cdc.gov
Obesity rates among lower-income preschoolers have declined slightly from 2008-11 in 19 states and U.S. territories, with obesity rates among preschoolers in Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, South Dakota, and the U.S. Virgin Islands declining by at least 1 percent. A publication from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Progress on Childhood Obesity,” also reports that obesity rates increased slightly in three states over the same period. About one in eight preschoolers is obese in the U.S.

Location, location, location www.equality-of-opportunity.org
A study from Harvard University’s Equality of Opportunity Project finds that,when it comes to climbing the income ladder, just as in real estate, everything comes down to location. The study, “In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters,” found that climbing the income ladder is harder for middle-class and poor children in the Southeast and the industrial Midwest, and that it is hardest in Atlanta, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Memphis, and Raleigh. It is easier to accomplish in the Northeast, the Great Plains, and the West, and easiest in Boston, New York City, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and most of California and Minnesota. Affluent children tended to become affluent themselves almost anywhere they lived. Upward mobility is always easiest in areas that have more civic engagement, better elementary schools and high schools, more two-parent households, and in metropolitan areas where poor families are more likely to live in mixed-income neighborhoods, the study says.

Sugar may be toxic www.nature.com
Female mice fed a diet with just 25 percent extra sugar died at twice the normal rate, according to a recent study. Male mice on the same diet had 25 percent fewer offspring than those in the study’s control group. Curiously, even as the sugar-enhanced diet wreaked havoc on their lives, the mice did not become any fatter. The sugar-enhanced diet experienced by the mice is equivalent in human terms to an additional 500 calories on a daily diet of 2,000 calories, or about three cans of soda a day. The study, “Human-relevant Levels of Added Sugar Consumption Increase Female Mortality and Lower Male Fitness in Mice,” was published in Nature Communications.

Reported abuse drops during recession https://static.squarespace.com
A study from Harvard University, “Unreported Victims of an Economic Downturn,” finds that the states most affected by the recent recession paradoxically saw the biggest decreases in reported cases of child abuse and neglect, and that while incidents of child maltreatment rose 10 percent during this period, reportage of these incidents fell 12.7 percent. The study says that slashed budgets led to reductions in the efficiency and effectiveness of the agencies that usually deliver and receive reports of child maltreatment. The report’s author cautions that, without more funding, underreporting of child maltreatment will continue. 

Compiled by Margaret Suslick, ASBJ’s Editorial Assistant.