The LD Source
Mar. 14, 2013

Are grading trends hurting socially awkward kids?
The Atlantic
Children have long been graded not just for academics, but also for elements of "character" — particularly behavior and emotional maturity. However, in the last few decades, socially eccentric children have seen their awkwardness or aloofness factored into their grades in math, language arts and social studies. Ironically, this trend has coincided with a rise in diagnoses of autistic spectrum disorders. For children on the autism spectrum, new social studies curricula pose a particular challenge. Once restricted to readings, worksheets and essays on history, government and politics, the subject increasingly requires students to reflect on their connections within their local communities.More

Childhood asthma, BPA exposure linked in new study
Environmental Health News
Kids exposed to a commonplace chemical early in life are more likely to have asthma, according to a study published today. The study, which tested 568 children and their mothers in New York City, is the first to link early childhood exposure to bisphenol A with asthma. A Columbia University research team reported that children with higher levels of BPA at ages 3, 5 and 7 had increased odds of developing the respiratory disease between the ages of 5 and 12.More

Closer personal relationships could help teens overcome learning disabilities
Science Daily
In addition to struggling in school, many learning disabled children are known to face social and emotional challenges including depression, anxiety and isolation. Often beginning early in childhood, they become more pronounced during adolescence, an emotionally turbulent time. For these youngsters, more positive relationships with the significant adults in their lives — including parents and teachers — can improve learning and "socioemotional" experiences, says Dr. Michal Al-Yagon of Tel Aviv University's Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education. More

Details trickling out on latest NCLB waiver bids
Education Week
With the addition of three longtime holdouts to the list of states seeking flexibility under the No Child Left Behind Act, nearly every state has sought to design its own accountability system to replace the outdated federal law. But the waiver applications submitted by Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming are by no means a sure thing. Neither Pennsylvania nor Wyoming had released its submitted application to the public, despite a federal requirement that states collaborate with stakeholders on their new proposed accountability systems.More

Nurturing the next Van Gogh? Start with small steps
MindShift
If it's true that fostering creativity in learning is not just a nice notion, but an imperative, then educators must find a way to integrate it into a system that has not made this intangible, un-testable attribute a priority. More and more, teachers are becoming alerted to the idea that nurturing creative minds is necessary to raise a generation of innovators. Knowing that it's important is one thing, but integrating creativity into curriculum is harder than it sounds.More

How hearing skills could be key to treating dyslexia
The Globe and Mail
Reading may seem like a visual skill, but according to new research on dyslexia, children who excel at reading tend to be all ears. Their brains process the sounds of speech in a more consistent way than those who struggle to read, scientists at Northwestern University in Chicago have found.More

Rational decisions and heartbreak on school closings
The New York Times
When it comes to school closings, the arguments may make sense on paper, but the reality is much messier. At University City High in Philadelphia, staff members and students were trying to absorb the decision by a state commission to close the school along with 22 others in the city. At an often-heated and sometimes tearful hearing, 19 protesters, including Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, were arrested, school district officials said they needed to shut down schools to close a gaping budget hole.More

Student writes book on struggles with dyslexia
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Though she is just 9 years old, Lillian Harris is about to become a published author. While coming out with a book before leaving elementary school is an accomplishment, Lillian's book is even more exceptional because writing is one of her biggest challenges. Lillian, a third-grader at Niedringhaus Elementary in Granite City, Ill., has dyslexia, a reading disability that makes it hard for her to spell words correctly and put together sentences. When Lillian sits down to write or read, "some of the words end up all over the place, some go up in the corner," she said, pointing to a page in her book "Dogs for Dyslexia."More

Sequester harms education and our economy
ED.gov Blog (commentary)
There has been a noisy debate in Washington over whether sequestration's harm is real and at what point our public schools will feel the pain, but for educators outside of Washington, D.C., that's a settled question. They're not wasting time debating it, because some had already eliminated jobs and cut programs in anticipation of Congress's dysfunction. Right now they are focused on figuring out how to deal with an even worse situation next school year.More

Schools close doors to voters for safety
USA Today
Local election officials are moving polling places out of schools as the shootings in Newtown, Conn., have intensified concern about opening school doors on Election Day. In New York, Rockland County officials will relocate polls this year away from 10 schools at the request of the local school district in Clarkstown and Nyack. "In the wake of what happened in Connecticut, it's definitely taken on more urgency," says Kristen Stavisky, a county election commissioner. "Voters in these schools will have to move. They won't be going to the polling sites that they've been going to — for some of them, since they were eligible and registered to vote."More

Closer personal relationships could help teens overcome learning disabilities
Science Daily
In addition to struggling in school, many learning disabled children are known to face social and emotional challenges including depression, anxiety, and isolation. Often beginning early in childhood, they become more pronounced during adolescence, an emotionally turbulent time. More

High fat diets maybe linked to ADHD and learning problems
Medical News Today
Diets that are high in fat are possibly linked to childhood brain-based conditions, such as memory-dependent learning disabilities and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, researchers from the University of Illinois College of Medicine reported in Psychoneuroendocrinology.More

Researchers find a biological marker for dyslexia in kids
TIME
Detecting the reading disorder as early as possible may help more children to overcome reading and learning problems. About 1 in 10 people suffer from dyslexia, the reading disability that does not impair thinking processes or overall intelligence, but hampers the ability to process written language, often making it difficult to rhyme, determine the meaning of a sentence and recognize words.More

Advocacy group to monitor reform efforts in public schools
The New York Times
Diane Ravitch, the historian and former assistant education secretary who has become an outspoken critic of those who favor high-stakes testing, tenure reforms and other controversial measures aimed at the public schools, has joined with other education advocates to form a group that will grade and endorse political candidates.More

What does 'design thinking' look like in school?
MindShift
Design thinking can seem a bit abstract to teachers. It's not part of traditional teacher training programs and has only recently entered the teachers' vernacular. Design thinking is an approach to learning that includes considering real-world problems, research, analysis, conceiving original ideas, lots of experimentation and sometimes building things by hand. But few schools have the time or wherewithal to integrate these processes into the school day.More