Forthcoming Research

Budget Cuts:

1. http://www.educationminnesota.org/news/edmnupdates/2010/021510budget.aspx

*While proposing this topic, I realized I have a lot more to research than I thought. I am still unclear about a lot of the budgeting, especially the who, what, where and why of it. Since this journal was assigned, I asked my mother (who is a teacher in the Centennial School District) to start forwarding me all of her emails so I can be up to date on current events from the Department of Education and all other aspects related to the teaching world. When I found this article, I began reading the numbers. It is so hard to believe how much money has to be cut from the state’s budget for education when in reality, the students are our future so from my perspective, money should be spent on them so help them be successful. This short article covers areas from elementary to higher education and is only a short overview of what is to come for this next school year. It ends in a proposition to make the budget cut fixed for years after.

2.Rochester Budget Cuts

When the budget is shown in charts, and the graphs that show the drastic plunge in money available for schools, it is scary to say the least. It is, however, nice to see what the money is put into and where money is taken from. Having this document available through the database is important, I think, because people of the community can look at it and see where the funding goes, where money is cut, and even have the ability to disagree if necessary. If change needs to be made, facts need to be within reach to know what change is desired. There is such a tight budget for schools that what little money can be spent must be spent carefully.

Poverty:

1. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/01/21/backpack-food/

This website is actually from a broadcast from Minnesota Public Radio that recognized one of the community resources I listed in Journal 4. For students in impoverished areas, it is sadly fair to assume that some only get meals throughout the school day, so the question then becomes: What happens when they go home for the weekend? This program in the community packs backpacks with food for children and their families for the weekend. Some of the food is donated, and other food is purchased by the organization when they have money in their budget to do so. This is important because it connects the community to the issues within it.

2. NCLB

This article is great because it relates the NCLB act with minority students in impoverished areas. It discusses the pressures teachers from these areas are put under, especially since the minority students are expected to do poorly. This bias is common, but with help of Title 1 and other programs that focus on drills to ultimately benefit student’s MCA scores they have been matching scores of that of the majority in the school. Schools that experience an AYP that doesn’t show adequate progression begin to develop more central focus on test taking strategies to help their students receive higher scores on statewide testing.

Assessments (NCLB):

1. http://search.ebscohost.com.wsuproxy.mnpals.net/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&jid=55E&site=ehost-live

This article discusses the stress put on teachers for the results of the assessments each year placed upon them by the No Child Left Behind Act. The NCLB creates an uneasy feeling for even the best teachers, because in order to be successful, each child has to score a certain number to make the district look like its teachers are doing their jobs. When it comes to children, there is no telling what is going through their minds, and the importance of the assessments could be the last thing on their minds. It is possible that even the brightest child in class can end up with one of the lowest scores, but that could be because she has a dance performance that night and the show could be the only thing she can concentrate on. So many factors can contribute to the results of a single assessment, and other than AYP’s, there isn’t a score to show progress, which should be the most important score of all.

2. http://web.ebscohost.com.wsuproxy.mnpals.net/ehost/detail?vid=16&hid=15&sid=d3998e8f-d7c3-4596-9605-ee11d8446138%40sessionmgr15&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=aph&AN=33530007

This link correlates failing schools to failing tests scores. I agree with this in a sense; however, failing schools cannot be singled out based on one set of test scores that are taken at the end of the year when students are restless and eager to get out of class and begin their summer vacation. It is understandable that the closer to the end of the school year, the more they will know, but is it the quality or the quantity of the knowledge that is important in these assessments? This article requires payment to read, but so much information was covered in the abstract alone, that it is safe to draw the conclusion linking failing schools solely to poor test scores.

Choice Time

1. Importance of Play

After my first experience in a Kindergarten classroom, I realized that social skills are very important to develop throughout this year of school. One of the easiest ways for them to have social interaction, I observed, was during their free or “choice” time throughout the day. An obvious observation would be that five-year-olds have a very short attention span. When they get a chance during the day to play and interact however they’d like, they develop important social skills. The St. Paul schools want to cut all choice time to leave more time for content from the curriculum, which would be easily defended if the social skills weren’t so prevalent during this time.

2. http://childparenting.about.com/od/schoollearning/a/kindergartenplay.htm

This article covers the importance of both sides: giving Kindergarten more responsibilities and harder curriculum, as well as encouraging the vital need of play time for social interaction. Play time and recess can be identified as a stress reliever, especially during the end of the year assessments. Connecting test scores to free time is another way to possibly improve the schools where test scores are falling, instead of increasing in-class time and drill practice.

Positive Reinforcement

1. http://www.freepatentsonline.com/article/Exceptional-Children/69697627.html
According to this article, “Positive reinforcement is a universal principle that is in effect regardless of the age, gender, culture, or disability of a child”. This is very true. When it comes to encouragement and influencing good behavior, there is no better way than to recognize what is being done correctly. During my classroom experience last week, I noticed my cooperating teacher encouraging students by saying things like, “I like the way _____ is reading quietly” instead of pointing out misbehavior, because that would be recognizing it, which is highlighted as an important strategy in this article.

2. Positive Reinforcement Experiment

This research based article was written about an experiment conducted on a deviant 9 year old student. This student constantly disrupted his classmates and was not grasping the content. The experiment was to use positive reinforcements in order to correct his poor behavior and to influence his academics. It was interesting to find that the initial change of enforcers dramatically changed his behavior, and the cycle went in full swing, ending in extinction and according to Pavlov’s studies would now need internal motivation if the behavior was going to stay in tact.

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