Character & Citizenship
As they progress through school, students are getting better at believing they can master challenging subjects, but they are getting worse at managing their behavior and empathizing with others.
Those are highlights of a recent study of nearly 400,000 California students in some of the state’s largest school districts, which have collaborated over the past several years to teach and measure a common set of social-emotional learning skills.
It’s not your imagination, or mere nostalgia for the good ol’ days: Today’s children and teens have more mental-health problems than earlier generations.
The reason is a mix of social, environmental and even dietary factors, but the problem is growing, said experts speaking Wednesday to the Columbus Metropolitan Club.
Education journalists from across the nation gathered here this week with a focus on diversity in their profession, recent activism by teachers, and the scourge of school violence, among other topics.
The Education Writers Association’s top award for education reporting went to John Woodrow Cox of The Washington Post for a compelling three-part series on children and gun violence, which was published last June.
In education, initiatives tend to roll down from above. A district buys a new curriculum, or gets funding for a new program, and principals receive their marching orders, which they in turn hand down to teachers below.
The Ins and Outs of ‘Restorative Justice’ in Schools
What is it? Does it work as an alternative to traditional student discipline?
When students misbehave at school, traditional approaches to discipline say you should punish them to deter future offenses.
But a growing movement toward “restorative” approaches to discipline focuses more on repairing the damage rather than suspending or expelling students.
Though details vary from school to school, so-called “restorative justice” programs instead encourage students to reflect on their transgressions and their root causes, talk about them – usually with the victims of the behavior – and try to make amends.
Schools in New Orleans are looking for alternatives to suspension. At some schools, that alternative is called restorative practices — students and teachers sit down together, talk it out, and come up with a plan to prevent future conflicts. Cornelius Dukes runs restorative practices at Abramson Sci Academy.
Getting heartfelt, personally revealing comments from teenage boys is difficult enough for parents. So reporters Kavitha Cardoza and Cory Turner had to take a few creative risks to get good audio for their National Public Radio series on an all-boys public high school in Washington D.C. last year.
Building character is an everyday event, woven into the fabric of how school is done on every level, educators and students told journalists during a conference in New Orleans on educating for character and citizenship.
A key goal is creating a community of trust among students and faculty, said educators at several schools that put character development at the center. During the panel discussion, they used words like “love” and “team” to describe their schools, emphasizing the mutual respect that they work to cultivate between students and teachers.
Student Voices Take Spotlight in Walkout Coverage
The #Enough movement pushes for stricter gun control measures, more funding for mental health
On Wednesday, students across the country joined forces to call for stricter gun control laws, better mental health services in public schools, and to draw attention to concerns about violence in their own communities.
Push for Media Literacy Takes on Urgency Amid Rise of ‘Fake News’
Some states act to spark schools' focus on teaching subject
The advent of “fake news” was the worst-best thing to happen to media literacy in schools.
That’s according to Sherri Hope Culver, the director of the Center for Media and Information Literacy at Temple University.
In years past, it was tough work convincing legislators and reporters the importance of paying attention to the issue of teaching children how to analyze and evaluate media, Culver said during a recent Education Writers Association seminar in New Orleans.They’d ask what made the issue timely.
A few weeks ago, we loaded up the truck and attended a two-day seminar on character education. The event took place in New Orleans, so of course one of the people I met and talked to is doing their work in New York City.
Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll introduce you to The Urban Assembly.
It’s an education topic that prompts more questions than answers, and it’s expected to spur debate for years to come.
Character education: What is it? What does it look like? Can it be measured?
Experts in education and journalists gathered in New Orleans last month quickly agreed there are numerous terms, definitions, philosophies and methods to explain character education.
One day last fall, teachers sauntered past a wall in W.A. Pattillo Middle School in Tarboro, N.C., as if they were studying works of art. Really, they were looking at the names of all 265 of their students, each written neatly on an index card.
They contemplated which students they had meaningful relationships with, and placed dots next to those students’ names.
With their bodies submerged in the shallow bayou and their heads bobbing just above the water, Sunny Dawn Summers and her class of high school students talked through the process of harvesting, shucking, and selling oysters.
Just miles from restaurants in New Orleans’ famed French Quarter, the students pondered the costs of labor, boat maintenance, and shipping that get an oyster from the muddy bayou floor to the dinner plate.
Here’s something to think about when you hear people question whether student protests are appropriate: We seem to have forgotten as a nation why we created public schools.
No one is confused about why we have public fire departments or libraries: We all understand their mission for the public good. But the mission and importance of public schools? Not so much.
Dozens of journalists gathered in New Orleans this month to explore a dimension of education that often gets short shrift both in schools and in news coverage: developing students’ character and preparing them for active citizenship.
Reporters heard not only from educators, experts, and fellow journalists, but also students from New Orleans and beyond. Issues on tap included the moral education of young people, social and emotional learning, media literacy, and the rapid rise of ”restorative justice” as an alternative to traditional disciplinary practice.
Recently there has been talk about returning citizenship and character education to public schools across the country. This has caused some controversy as you might expect. But according to at least one national educator, it really shouldn’t.
Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, a discussion about character education.
The intensive focus in many public schools on basic academics has sparked concerns that the U.S. education system is neglecting a fundamental responsibility: to foster in young people the character traits and social-emotional skills needed to be successful students and engaged citizens. Empathy, collaboration, and self-efficacy, for instance, are essential in a democratic society. They also are important for success in a fast-changing job market.
‘Raising Kings’: A Portrait of an Urban High School for Young Men of Color
Education Week-NPR series features social-emotional learning and restorative justice at new D.C. campus
Can schools ever fully fill the gaps in students’ life experiences that often keep them from succeeding in school? Two reporters, Education Week’s Kavitha Cardoza and Cory Turner of NPR, spent hundreds of hours at Ron Brown College Prep, a new boys-only public high school in Washington, D.C. that primarily serves students of color.
Given the opportunity to go beyond a singular focus on test scores to measure schools’ success, will states begin holding schools accountable for teaching skills like perseverance, empathy, and self-control? As Education Week’s Evie Blad reports, the answer appears to be “no,” at least for now.