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10/07/2014

In The News
Volkswagen brings vocational education to Tennessee
Volkswagen is modeling Germany’s emphasis on vocational education by recruiting teens to apprentice in its academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee. High school students in the “mechatronics” program work at the carmaker’s plant for three years, finishing with an associate’s degree, a job offer, and the qualifications needed to work at a plant in Germany (source: NPR, 8/17/14).

US interest in South Korea-style education
US Education Secretary Arne Duncan has suggested that his country might take lessons from the educational successes of South Korea, however educators Young Whan Choi and Kathy Schultz insist that students are pushing back against the high-stakes testing environment that shapes much of that country’s educational system (source: The Washington Post, 8/6/14).

High-speed Internet for 1,000 New Zealand schools
In New Zealand, more than 700 schools have connected to a high-speed Internet network, with plans to connect a total of 1,000 this year. Those having Internet access in place confirm the system has allowed for more collaboration and streaming of resources that otherwise would have been inaccessible (source: Fairfax NZ News, 8/7/14).

Teachers from China to teach England’s teachers
Sixty teachers from high-performing schools in Shanghai were hired by England to improve academic achievement and promote Chinese-style teaching in the country. Test scores among England’s students—particularly in math—largely prompted this initiative. Under the new program, the country’s teachers will receive on-the-job training and students will attend high-level master-classes (source: The Telegraph, 3/12/14).

Poll: Obesity perceived as No. 1 health concern for children
Fifty-five percent of adults questioned in the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health felt that obesity was the leading health concern for children. Bullying and gun-related injuries also made the top-10 list of problems (source: www.MLive.com Michigan, 8/13/14).

Utah could allow students to bypass classes they have mastered
Legislation being considered by state lawmakers in Utah would allow school districts and charter schools to establish paths other than testing to determine if students are competent in a particular course. Under the bill, students who prove they are competent could be allowed to skip those classes or accelerate their pace (source: The Salt Lake Tribune, 3/5/14).

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).

Can “grit” be taught in the classroom?
Some American schools are attempting to teach “grit,” defined as persistence, determination, and resilience, according to NPR. Research by Angela Duckworth, the psychology professor from the University of Pennsylvania who coined the term, seems to indicate that these skills can be effectively taught. “This quality of being able to sustain your passions, and also work really hard at them, over really disappointingly long periods of time, that’s grit,” she said (source: NPR, 3/17/14). ?
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Survey: Most students prefer paper-pencil SATs
Only 1 in 10 U.S. students would prefer to take the SAT online, according to a survey by Kaplan Test Prep. The majority who were surveyed state they like the traditional method, using paper and pencils. Daniel Clayton, 18, a senior at Uniondale High School on Long Island, NY, described taking tests via computer as “tedious” (source: USA Today, 3/27/14).

Schools increase focus on character education
Support for including character education in schools appears to be growing, a trend that many believe could improve student achievement. “If kids come to schools where they feel valued, safe, and feel teachers have their best interests at heart... they commit themselves,” says Marvin Berkowitz, a professor of character education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (source: Education Week, 2/27/14).




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