Jason Botel has been tapped by US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as the deputy assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education and acting assistant secretary of that office. DeVos recently announced this appointment and several other hires for key positions at the department. Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)
Unseen variables can affect student outcomes, veteran educator Jim Dillon writes in this blog post. He uses the term "dark matter" to describe the idea, noting that this element of performance may be overlooked when assessing and evaluating students. Full Story: SmartBrief/Education
First-graders' reading skills have improved over time, according to a study by researchers at Ohio State University. Data show improvements in reading skills between 2001 and 2013, but the analysis also reveals a gap among some student groups in advanced-skill areas. Full Story: USA Today
Educators in a Pennsylvania school are learning to use trauma-sensitive techniques to respond to student behaviors that may have been triggered by feelings of stress and anxiety. Principal Kim Ellerbee says the approach has shifted classroom culture. Full Story: Philadelphia Public School Notebook
The practice known as "academic redshirting" may not provide commonly touted benefits, assert education researcher Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach and preschool director Stephanie Howard Larson. They explore the practice, which involves not enrolling children in kindergarten when first eligible, but instead holding them back for a year. Full Story: Education Next
Melissa Greenwood is the director of education content at SmartBrief.
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