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News in Brief

News in Brief

Let teens sleep in
A new study by scholars at three leading research universities examined the impact of early start times for students and found that students could improve their learning and experience fewer health problems if schools accommodated their unique circadian rhythms. Modifying start times to provide young people with nine hours of sleep is less expensive than other kinds of interventions currently in use (source:, 9/9/15).
Countries fail to achieve UN’s education goals
Fifty-two percent of countries offer universal primary education, according to a recent UNESCO report. But that number falls short of goals established by the UN in 2000. “There are still 58 million children out of school globally and around 100 million who do not complete primary education,” according to UNESCO’s director-general (source: International Business Times, 4/10/15).
US Education Dept. taps ed-tech leader for Open Education position
The Department of Education has appointed Andrew Marcinek as the country’s first open educational resources adviser. The former educator and school district education-technology leader will help K-12 schools and colleges use open education resources. “The use of openly-licensed resources not only allows states and districts to adapt and modify materials to meet student needs, but also frees up funding to support the transition to digital learning,” stated Culatta, in a statement explaining Marcinek’s hiring (source: Education Week, 9/15/15).
Raising Competent Kids
Two new books warn of the dangers of overparenting: How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims and The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey. “Kids are anxious, afraid and risk-averse because parents are more focused on keeping their children safe, content and happy in the moment than on parenting for competence,” states Lahey. “Some schools have an explicit policy against parents doing kids’ homework and in favor of kids raising issues and concerns themselves rather than relying on their parents to do so,” adds Lythcott-Haims. “These schools are part of the solution” (source:, 8/28/15).
Female students in Arab countries are pursuing majors in STEM
A growing number of female students in Arab nations are studying science, technology, engineering, and math. Data from UNESCO show that females make up 60 percent of university engineering students in the Gulf region. In January, the Meera Kaul Foundation held the first women-only hackathon in Dubai, held at the Canadian University of Dubai as part of the Women in STEM 2015 Conference and Awards (source: U.S. News & World Report, 3/4/15).
Government website offers info on colleges
President Obama abandoned his 2013 plan to rank the nation’s colleges and universities, which was bitterly opposed by presidents at many of those institutions. Rather than call attention to those leaving students with hefty debts and low salaries after graduation, the White House has introduced a website that provides information about graduation rates, annual costs, and average salaries without explicitly rating or shaming schools (source: The New York Times, 9/12/15).
Data show demographic shift in U.S. schools
The 2013–14 school year was the last in which white students would make up the majority of K–12 students in U.S. public schools. Data show that, as of this fall, black, Latino, Asian and Native American students together, for the first time, will be the majority (source: National Journal, 7/1/14).
Teacher diversity benefits all students
More than 80 percent of teachers in the US are white, a trend that may not change in the near future. Survey data from students taking the ACT reveal 72 percent of white students are considering teaching careers, compared with 56 percent of the remaining test-takers. The importance of recruiting more teachers of color for students of color is well-reported, but experts insist that teacher diversity can benefit all students by helping to disrupt one-sided portrayals of the world and challenge long-held beliefs (The Atlantic online, 8/6/15).
Year-round schedules are on the rise
Year-round academic calendars are gaining traction in the US, as 26 percent more public schools adopted a “balanced calendar” between 2007 and 2012, leading to improved attendance rates and reduced summer-learning loss (District Administration, 9/15).

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