The Absolute Best School Climate Blogging (This Week): Little League Edition

By Evie Blad — November 07, 2014 1 min read
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Happy Friday, Rules readers. I’m here to share some great links for folks who care about school climate and child well-being. But first, take a look at this awesome picture tweeted out by the White House today when the Jackie Robinson West All Stars—the U.S. champions in this year’s Little League World Series—stopped by the Oval Office.

What a moment for those kids to remember.

In links this week, we read about the academic effects of the pressure to be sexy, a broader view of college and career readiness, how poverty affects schools, and brain science.

I’m too sexy for ... good grades?

Researchers have known for years that identifying with sexualized images of women in the media contributes to lower self-esteem, body shame, and eating disorders among women. Now Professor Bigler has found that it can also lead to girls getting lower grades and devoting less time to developing competency in work-related skills." —The Christian Science Monitor covers research that shows girls who internalize pressure to look sexy are less likely to see success in school. How can schools counter those pressures to bring balance?

What does it mean to be college and career ready?

Also, cross-cutting capabilities, such as critical thinking, collaborative problem solving, information and technology skills, and noncognitive skills, such as behaviors, planning, goal setting, and self-knowledge, are not uniquely associated with a specific course and cannot be easily attributed to teacher performance or school effectiveness. Such skills may be as essential to long-term success, but they have been largely neglected because current models of CCR appear oriented primarily to holding teachers and schools accountable, rather than focused on student development." —A new research report from ACT suggests expanding the definition of college and career readiness beyond competancy in core subjects to include a wider range of factors, such as non-cognitive skills.

How does student poverty affect schools?

Educators and researchers in several of the nation's largest districts are trying to look at schools based on a fuller picture of children's experiences, rather than only seeing poverty as a label." —Sarah Sparks writes about factors of poverty that are most strongly linked to absenteeism and academic success.


The basic idea is this: The brain as a biological organ has not adapted to institutional education, at least not entirely. For as much as we learn in class, the old-school advice on studying—keep to a ritual, avoid all distractions, find a quiet study space, hole up with the books—is severely limiting. The brain is a quirky learning machine, the science shows, and it works best when those quirks are exploited." —In this Education Week Commentary piece, author Benedict Carey writes that an understanding of how the brain works can transform the learning process.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.