SEL In the News – Question Tank Redux June 23 2016

  • “The past few years have brought some positive developments for families and children. Economic growth has been steady, with nearly 13 million new jobs created since the end of the recession.

  • 1 More children have health insurance. The high school graduation rate is rising, and fewer teens are abusing drugs and alcohol. Births to teenage mothers continue to decline and are at a record low.

  • 2 These improvements in the well-being of young people are due in part to federal, state and local policies that are helping prepare the next generation for the future.”

    tags:SEL EdResearch

      • “poverty can impede their cognitive, social and emotionaldevelopment and contribute to poor health. Continuing to ignore these issues increases a child’s likelihood of experiencing difficulties later in life, such as dropping out of school, becoming a teenage parent and facing poor employment outcomes.”
      • “Researchers estimate that families need an income that is at least twice the federal poverty level — $48,016 for a family of four4  — to cover basic expenses for housing, food, transportation, health care and child care.5 In 2014, 44 percent of children lived in households with incomes less than twice the poverty level.6 And, 30 percent of children lived in families where no parent had full-time, year-round employment.”
      • The top is rising. but the bottom is falling…”The recession deepened the problem of longterm unemployment: In April, nearly 26 percent of the unemployed had been jobless for six months or more, compared with 16 percent to 18 percent in the years prior to the downturn.8″”Workers in the bottom 10 percent of the income scale have seen their real, inflation-adjusted wages decline since 1979, while wages have risen 40 percent for those in the top 5 percent.14″
      • “Recent high school grads who arelucky enough to have a job earn, on average,$10.66 an hour. When adjusted forinflation, that amount is less than thisgroup earned in 2000. “
      • Ouch!” Family income is now more highlycorrelated with college completion thanwith academic ability. In other words,low-performing, high-income kids aremore likely to obtain a college degreethan high-performing, low-income kids.1″
      • “Last year, a report by the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution shared the findings of a bipartisan working group on poverty and opportunity that identified three such values: opportunity,responsibility and security.
      • 1 Opportunity: Individuals, regardless of background, should be given the chance to achieve their full potential. Responsibility: Individuals should be accountable for things they can control.We all have mutual responsibility when it comes to family members and our fellow citizens. Security: Given that there are things beyond our control — such as health crises, accidents and recessions — social insurance can provide some measure of protection.The Closing the Opportunity Gap project of the Saguaro Seminar atHarvard’s Kennedy School of Government also brought together experts with wide-ranging perspectives. Both groups identified policy ideas to reduce poverty and inequality, to increase opportunity and, ultimately, to ensure that family background is not the primary determinant of one’s destiny in the land of the American Dream.
      • 2 These efforts generated promising solutions to some of our most pressing challenges, enabling us to move toward our shared vision of a nation that provides opportunity,rewards responsibility and ensures some measure of security:We can increase opportunity by expanding access to high-quality pre-K and early childhood services so that all children are prepared to succeed in school and by expanding access to higher education and training so that low-income young people have a fair chance to develop their potential. We can reward responsibility by increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit for low income workers who do not have dependent children, a strategy that makes work pay for those struggling to get by on low wages. We can also ensure a measure of security to low-income parents of young children by providing paid family leave that helps them balance their obligations at home and in the workplace.
      • An overall child well being index, not unlike the happiness index used by the OECD…”Minnesota ranked first among statesfor overall child well-being, followed byMassachusetts and Iowa. This is thesecond year in a row that Minnesota heldthe top spot that had been dominated byNew England states for several years. Thethree lowest-ranked states were Louisiana,New Mexico and Mississippi.The map on page 19 shows “
  • Father of cognitive psychology obituary, Jerome Bruner dies. Ed school professor bemoans that lack of adoption of Bruner’s ideals in US education; in particular, the MACOS curriculum.

  • “Colleges want kids who know who they are and what they want. Jobs can help with that.”

    tags:SEL Empathy College Admissions

    • “Colleges will forever find holding a job more attractive, and far sexier than going to Costa Rica to build houses and surf in the afternoons,” said Susan Warner, an independent college counselor in New York City.

      • “Colleges will forever find holding a job more attractive, and far sexier than going to Costa Rica to build houses and surf in the afternoons,” said Susan Warner, an independent college counselor in New York City.
      • “Irena Smith, a former Stanford admissions officer who now runs a private college-consulting practice in Palo Alto, recalled a student whose stand-out essay was about her summers working in fast-food. “Given the population of students I see, she probably shone like a diamond in the applicant pool at Harvard,” she told the Atlantic.”
    • “Michele Borba, author of Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About Me World argues that empathy builds resilience, but that empathy is a verb, not a worksheet: we have to work for it. She interviewed 500 kids for her book to ask them what helped them most in becoming more empathetic—the majority reported it was exposure to different views.”
  • “Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day.”


  • Research seems to suggest that open mindedness, as opposed to intense focus, may lead to more successful problem solving. No wonder my hippie classmates did better on physics tests than I did!

  • Excessive television watching – more than two hours per day – results in short term happiness with long term pain.

  • New study acknowledge prior research that television is generally bad for developing prosocial behaviors, but suggests that heredity plays a larger factor in the brain’s response than previously considered.

  • McREL outlines seven steps to Inside Out Reform in schools. Included are shared purpose, identify higher purpose goals, and peer coaching.

    tags:school reform

  • “Based on data from 22 countries and two international surveys of well-being, researchers found that American parents face the largest happiness shortfall compared to people who don’t have children. The happiness gap between parents and nonparents in the United States is significantly larger than the gap found in other industrialized nations, including Great Britain and Australia. And in other Western countries, the happiness gap is nonexistent or even reversed. Parents in Norway, Sweden and Finland — and Russia and Hungary — report even greater levels of happiness than their childless peers.”

    tags:Happiness SEL Parenting

      • “The two things that came out most strongly in explaining the variation were the cost of care for the average 2-year-old as a percent of wages and the total extent of paid sick and vacation days.”
      • The two policies that seem to have the largest impact on US parent happiness are perhaps symbolic of larger cultural forces that make it difficult to succeed as a parent in the eyes of your peers?
  • “In a study published in this month’s Psychological Science, the graduate student Shira Baror and I demonstrate that the capacity for original and creative thinking is markedly stymied by stray thoughts, obsessive ruminations and other forms of “mental load.” Many psychologists assume that the mind, left to its own devices, is inclined to follow a well-worn path of familiar associations. But our findings suggest that innovative thinking, not routine ideation, is our default cognitive mode when our minds are clear.”

    tags:Learning Productivity

Image Credit: News Stand by Bilal Kamoon, Flickr, CC2.0

About Jack West

Writer, analyst, teacher, coach, maker.

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