This Week With ISCA
Sep. 22, 2015

Message from State Superintendent Tony Smith, Ph. D.
On Wednesday, the board will meet in Springfield for its annual two-day strategic planning session. During the meeting the board will receive the preliminary statewide results for the first administration of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exams. Though they are still not complete, we expect these initial results will show that the amount of students who demonstrate proficiency on the PARCC exam is lower than the amount of students who were considered proficient on our previous state assessments. However, it is important to remember that the PARCC assessment is a different test that is aligned to the higher expectations of the Illinois Learning Standards and emphasizes students' critical thinking, concept mastery, problem solving and writing skills. More

How can you get students with LD to change their behavior and habits?
By Howard Margolis
Many parents of children with educational disabilities know their children need to rid themselves of behaviors and habits that jeopardize their future. They need to develop ones that propel and sustain progress. Thus, a critical question plaguing parents, teachers and researchers is: "How can we help children make changes vital to their future?" A more precise way of saying this is: "How can we help children develop the behaviors and habits vital to their futures?"More

Most Illinois students fall short on new PARCC tests
Chicago Tribune
In a troubling picture of performance, the vast majority of Illinois students failed to reach the high academic bar on the new state PARCC exams, meaning they weren't on track academically for the next grade level, let alone for college or careers.More

Cyberbullying and sexting: How might they affect your child?
Young people are now more tech savvy than ever, easily adapting to new technology such as mobile phones, tablets and smartphones — devices which are alien to some parents.More

Watch for signs of mental distress in children
The Miami Times
Discussions about mental wellness should be shared with our children. Suicide rates among black children have doubled in the last two decades. U.S. suicide rates have been higher historically amongst whites of all ages, but the rates of suicides amongst Black boys and girls continue to rise.More

Illinois promotes 'Delete Day' in schools
Not long ago, parents and educators worked to encourage kids to learn how to use the Internet. Now they're trying to get them to stop posting every minute of their lives.More

Could Facebook's new 'dislike' button increase cyberbullying?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg announced plans to add a new feature to allow users to show empathy, but some are concerned it could spur more online bullying.More

Under pressure: Help students assess school stress
Pocono Record
Stressed-out students in England recently received a little help with their anxiety after school officials bought in several pooches who are training to become guide dogs to help take the students' mind off of deadlines and assessments. Reportedly, officials said it's been scientifically proven that puppies help to de-stress individuals.More

Why teachers aren't getting their pensions
The Atlantic
Teacher pensions are in trouble. The latest figures show that states and districts are half a trillion dollars behind in their commitments to fully fund the retirement benefits they promised teachers. That's a huge sum affecting some 3.5 million current educators. But not all pension payouts are equal. In fact, just 20 percent of teachers will receive the full amount for which they're eligible, while tens of thousands each year won't see a dime of that retirement money.More

College kids are sad, stressed and scared. Can their counseling centers help them?
When Ramya Babu thinks about her freshman year at Boston University, she remembers the day she stood alone in her dorm room and screamed in anguish. Babu had been thrilled to start college. But just a few weeks into the school year, she began to feel like the world around her was simultaneously spinning too fast and leaving her dizzy, but also moving too slow in a way that made her feel like her loneliness and anxiety would never end.More

4 words that will get students to stop binge-drinking
The Chronicle of Higher Education
We are in a typical college September, when we drown our incoming students in warnings about drink. At freshman orientation, we inundate them with videos, role-plays and small-group discussions about alcohol abuse. At more than 1,000 institutions, they also have to complete an online course on the subject.More