The Absolute Best School Climate Blogging (This Week)

By Evie Blad — April 25, 2014 2 min read
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Happy Friday, Rules readers. I’ve spent my day wondering if students will be able to sit through an entire graduation ceremony without taking a selfie. I’ve also been hoping we could go a few weeks without seeing the word “selfie” in a headline. I start the clock over again every Monday, and I never make it seven days without seeing the offending word.

Let’s stop talking about taking pictures of ourselves and instead dig into some cool Internet stuff for people who care about kids. This week, we read about incarcerated parents, how not to prepare students for high-stakes tests, a new front on the war against youth nicotine use, and more.

On incarceration and student equity:

“Perhaps the best evidence of how widespread the experience of incarceration has become is found in the creation of a new Muppet in 2013 by the iconic children’s show ‘Sesame Street.’ An online tool kit of resources for children of incarcerated parents accompanied the introduction of Alex, a Muppet with an incarcerated father.”
—Holly Yettick writes in Inside School Research about how parental incarceration can worsen disparities between black and white students.

On preparing students for standardized tests:

“Eward said that the soda was part of an overall effort to get kids excited and ready for the FCAT. That includes urging students to get a good night’s sleep, wear comfortable clothes and eat a healthy breakfast.”
—Florida Today writes about an elementary school’s decision to quit giving students Mountain Dew to prepare them for state exams.

On race:

“Self segregation leads to continued stereotyping.”
—Students share six words on race as part of Pro Publica’s coverage of segregation in American schools.

On gender:

“The problem with Happy Meal toys may seem trivial to some, but consider this: McDonald’s is estimated to sell more than 1 billion Happy Meals each year. When it poses this question—'Do you want a boy’s toy or a girl’s toy?'—McDonald’s pressures innumerable children to conform to gender stereotypes.”
—Smart Connecticut teen Antonia Ayres-Brown writes in Slate about her efforts to change the way McDonald’s offers Happy Meal toys to kids based on gender.

On drug prevention efforts:

“The new regulations are appropriately strong in many ways, banning sales to minors and requiring the disclosure of ingredients as well as evidence for any marketing claims that e-cigarettes are healthier than traditional cigarettes. But more is needed.”
—The Los Angeles Times editorial board writes about proposed new federal regulations for electronic cigarettes. I also wrote about concerns about how those products are marketed to teens recently.

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