The Absolute Best School Climate Blogging (This Week): Meet the President Edition

By Evie Blad — February 06, 2015 1 min read
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Happy Friday, Rules readers.

Remember Vidal Chastanet, the 13-year-old boy who drew international attention to his school when he told Humans of New York photographer Brandon Stanton about his principal, Nadia Lopez?

The photo led complete strangers to donate more than $1 million to his school, Mott Hall Bridges Academy. The two have been making the media rounds recently, with appearances on “Ellen,” “Good Morning America,” and in many international news outlets.

But something tells me the experience they had in Washington, D.C., this week might be the most memorable.

Here are some other thought-provoking things I read this week.

Are our school climate expectations color blind?

The monochromatic lines of uniformed children mimic prison lines, and the teachers' efforts seem focused on ensuring that students do not talk to each other and do not walk outside the line. All day long, an immense amount of time and energy is spent making sure young African-American students are taught to obey." —Samina Hadi-Tabassum,an associate professor of education at Dominican University, writes in this commentary piece that some majority-minority schools feel like prisons.

Emotional intelligence isn’t enough.

So which should teachers and parents focus on for a child's moral development? Reasoning or emotional skills? As is so often the case in research, it turns out to be both, particularly as neuroscientists have found that the moral development of children involves both emotional and cognitive brain mechanisms." —Vicki Zakrzewski writes in the Huffington Post that "emotional intelligence needs a moral rudder."

Making big bucks off of bullying...

An entire industry has recently emerged to exploit bullying. Filmmakers, politicians, lobbyists, corporations that sell in-school programs, authors, social media marketers, and others, hawk their wares—they all promote themselves under the guise of fighting the problem." —This Atlantic piece questions whether school bullying efforts are tackling the symptoms of a problem rather that killing it at the root.

On the changing teen brain...

As we learn more about the way our brains process social information and emotions, we can better understand the differences between individuals and between age groups. But as technology continues to develop, providing new social arenas and sources of feedback and comparison, we are faced with new expressions of these differences in behavior. With six billion hours of Youtube being consumed every month, it is not just scientists who are trying to understand these behaviors, but advertisers and media companies. It will be exciting to see how things change as the current generation of teens grows up." —This blog post from the Scientific American talks about the ways developing teen brains weigh social and emotional priorities in the internet age.

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