July 2015

The Role of Adult Mentorship in Helping Children Deal With Trauma
This article from The Atlantic is a teacher’s reflections on hope in a classroom filled with students who have many adverse childhood experiences in their background, including poverty and despair. She laments their lack of belief in a positive future that becomes apparent in their writing assignments. However, a single positive relationship with someone who believes in their strengths and abilities can create resiliency in these students. This change can help bring about a better future for the students, their families, and the educators who serve them.

Study Finds Minority Students Are Underrepresented in Special Education
A new federally-funded study finds that minority students in elementary and middle schools are less likely to be identified as having disabilities and, as a result, are underrepresented in special education. The authors, from Pennsylvania State University and University of California, Irvine, analyzed multi-year, nationally representative data from the U.S. Department of Education. They accounted for several variables that have not been looked at in prior studies, which is one reason these results differ from recent research in this area.

Bill Introduced to Help Children in Foster Care with Educational Stability
U.S. Sens. Al Franken (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have introduced a bill that would ensure that foster students remain in their home schools throughout their placements when it is in their best interest to do so, and if not, they would have to be able to immediately enroll in a new school with prompt access to their educational records. School districts and child welfare agencies would have to ensure transportation is available in these cases. A point of contact for the education of foster children would also need to be designated in the local educational agency.

The Biology of Parenting
Talk show host Charlie Rose and Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel lead a discussion on fascinating topics with a panel of leading child development specialists. This segment, The Biology of Parenting, covers parental behavior, including neglect, and its consequences; cognitive and brain changes discovered in Romanian orphanages; and scientific and personal evidence that the maternal instinct and postpartum depression are not unique to women.

What Poverty Does to the Young Brain
This article describes the results from a major study that looked at the DNA and MRI scans of more than a thousand children alongside the socio-economic, educational, and literacy status of their parents. Differences were evident in the size and architecture of the brains of lower-income children. Studies like this, in the author’s words, “rearrange the morality of parenting and poverty, making it harder to blame problem children on problem parents.”