Education Best of the Blogs

Blogs of the Week

December 06, 2011 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

| NEWS | DISTRICT DOSSIER

A ‘Winning Hand’ for School Budgets

Education Resource Strategies, a Watertown, Mass.-based company that helps large urban districts strategize how to deploy their resources, has created a novel game-style process to help school leaders think about budget trade-offs.

Called School Budget Hold ‘Em, the game has the goal of creating a “winning hand” of cards that melds budget priorities with educational priorities.

Leaders of a district start with the percentage that needs to be cut from their budget, and then create a combination of cards equaling that percentage. For example, one card notes that increasing the size of noncore and elective classes by four or five students saves about 1.3 percent. Another card says that a response-to-intervention program adds one-tenth of 1 percent. The cards offer several other options for cuts and investments.

Karen Baroody, the managing director for ERS, said the game allows leaders to think strategically about priorities and reduce defensiveness around certain programs. This is especially important to districts that have already made several rounds of cuts, and are now looking at difficult choices, she said.

—Christina A. Samuels

| NEWS | COLLEGE BOUND

College-Readiness: Help Teens Manage Sleep

College students today lose more than 45 minutes of sleep each week due to their cellphones disrupting their sleep, a study from the University of Rhode Island reveals. The students who used technology at the highest rates also had higher levels of anxiety and depression compared with the rest of the students in the study.

In our culture, it’s almost a sign of achievement to function on minimal sleep, but lack of sleep carries risks, according to the University of Michigan Health Services’ website. Not getting enough rest can cause decreased academic performance; car accidents; illnesses, such as colds and flu; and depression and anxiety. College students are twice as likely to be depressed as the general population, and researchers think their sleep habits contribute to this prevalence.

High school students, too, often suffer from too little sleep. Sometimes teens have a hard time unwinding before 11 p.m., and many have to get up by 6 a.m. for school.

While the average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep, teensneed at least nine, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Students in the Rhode Island study had a “sleep debt” of two hours each night, which is on par with other national sleep studies.

Getting used to the college scene is demanding enough, let alone trying to do it on too little sleep. If we can help our high school students manage their schedules and value a sound night’s sleep, perhaps they can carry that over to college. And that can carry over to their grades, retention, and completion.

—Caralee Adams

| NEWS | SCHOOLED IN SPORTS

Ideas for Making School Football Safer

After nearly a year’s worth of writing about youth football, student-athlete safety, and a whole boatload about concussions, I offer some suggestions for making high school football safer:

1. Institute stronger penalties for helmet-to-helmet hits.

2. Ban the wedge formation: The wedge formation is exactly what it sounds like—often three players, with arms or hands linked, setting up a wall for opposing players during kickoffs.

3. Mandate baseline-concussion tests: For those unfamiliar with baseline-concussion tests, these are typically 20-minute online tests that measure a player’s healthy brain.

4. Reduce practices: In just one week this past August, at least three high school student-athletes died during a brutal heat wave where temperatures soared over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Return to leather helmets?: Logic would dictate that given the technological advancements over the past 100 years, modern football helmets should be much more protective than the old-time leather football helmets, right? As it turns out, a new study found that leather helmets often protect as well, if not better, than modern-day helmets against a wide range of head impacts.

Modern helmets do protect against splitting players’ heads open much better than leather helmets, but aren’t tested against forces that may cause concussions. Should youth-football helmets be tested against not just high-impact, skull-cracking forces, but the lower-impact, potentially concussion-causing impacts, too? There’s little question anymore.

—Bryan Toporek

A version of this article appeared in the December 07, 2011 edition of Education Week as Blogs of the Week


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP