Education

Happy Holidays! Five Education Research Reasons to Be Merry Today

By Sarah D. Sparks — December 25, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

It’s tempting to get gloomy about the state of our schools and our children’s welfare. I freely admit that it can be easier to identify risks and early warnings of doom, and a lot harder to find clear benefits, in education research.

So, as my holiday contribution to peace, joy, and goodwill, here are five reasons from 2014 for more optimistic perspectives:

1) Children are being exposed to less violence. A study in JAMA Pediatrics found large declines since 2003 in the rates of children ages 2 to 17 who were assaulted, bullied, sexually victimized, or exposed to dating violence.

2) Students from racial minorities are (slightly) less often identified as having intellectual disabilities. Five-year trend data in the Journal of Child and Family Studies found significantly fewer black students and moderately fewer Hispanic students categorized as having intellectual disabilities from 2004 to 2008 than a decade prior. Sure, this is a little cherry-picked, as racial disparities in other categories remain unchanged, but give me a break; it’s Christmas!

3) Yes, the United States has a lot of work to do on college enrollment and completion, but Census data show how far we’ve come:

4) Infant happiness shows in adults. An article in the aptly named Journal of Happiness Studies, based on a 28-year longitudinal study, found “positive affect” in infants was significantly associated with later reports of workplace hope and optimism, but negative affect in infancy or adolescence did not predict adult well-being. (That’s a nice sign for all those dealing with mopey toddlers and teenagers.)

5) More parents are reading to their preschoolers. The latest KidsCount data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation show that the percentage of children ages 1 to 5 whose parents read to them less than three times a week continues to drop.

As a runner-up, my colleague Catherine Gewertz over at Curriculum Matters notes that there’s a little light even in one of the most contentious topics of the year: the Common Core State Standards. Several studies out this year note that as principals and teachers get used to the standards, they are becoming happier with them and giving them “higher marks.”

Anyone have some positive studies or data from this year to share?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.

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
Data Webinar
Education Insights with Actionable Data to Create More Personalized Engagement
The world has changed during this time of pandemic learning, and there is a new challenge faced in education regarding how we effectively utilize the data now available to educators and leaders. In this session
Content provided by Microsoft
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
Accelerate Learning with Project-Based Learning
Earlier this year, the George Lucas Educational Foundation released four new studies highlighting how project-based learning (PBL) helps accelerate student learning—across age groups, multiple disciplines, and different socio-economic statuses. With this year’s emphasis on unfinished
Content provided by SmartLab Learning
School & District Management Live Online Discussion Principal Overload: How to Manage Anxiety, Stress, and Tough Decisions
According to recent surveys, more than 40 percent of principals are considering leaving their jobs. With the pandemic, running a school building has become even more complicated, and principals' workloads continue to grow. If we

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 Gunman in Parkland School Massacre to Plead Guilty
The gunman who killed 14 students and three staff members at a Florida high school will plead guilty to their murders, his attorneys said.
4 min read
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP
Education California Makes Ethnic Studies a High School Requirement
California is among the first in the nation to require students to take a course in ethnic studies to get a diploma starting in 2029-30.
4 min read
FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2020, file photo, Democratic Assembly members, from left, James Ramos, Chris Holden Jose Medina, and Rudy Salas, Jr., right, huddle during an Assembly session in Sacramento, Calif. Medina's bill to make ethnic studies a high school requirement was signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
Education California Requires Free Menstrual Products in Public Schools
The move comes as women’s rights advocates push nationwide for affordable access to pads, tampons, and other items.
1 min read
Tammy Compton restocks tampons at Compton's Market, in Sacramento, Calif., on June 22, 2016. California public schools and colleges must stock their restrooms with free menstrual products under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021.
Tammy Compton restocks tampons at Compton's Market, in Sacramento, Calif., on June 22, 2016. California public schools and colleges must stock their restrooms with free menstrual products under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021.
Rich Pedroncelli/AP
Education Florida to Dock School District Salaries for Requiring Masks
Florida is set to dock salaries and withhold funding from local school districts that defied Gov. Ron DeSantis' ban on mask mandates.
2 min read
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, at the Doral Academy Preparatory School in Doral, Fla.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, at the Doral Academy Preparatory School in Doral, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP