Seems that what many have known for some time now, that personal contact bests tech-based communications, needed a study. The result: The Center for American Progress found that face-to-face meetings, not emails and the like, are best when it comes to communicating with parents. Moreover, a Big Ideas survey of K-12 teachers found that 84% do NOT believe that student learning would improve if AI-powered robots served as classroom assistants.

Nevertheless, in China, a small robot named Keeko, which boasts various facial expressions, now tells stories and poses logic problems to kindergartners.

Meanwhile…

  1. New York City Mayor DeBlasio recently appointed a school diversity panel to end gifted programs in all city elementary schools to decrease racial and economic segregation. Starting in September, PS9 will be the first to drop its gifted track and replace it with “enrichment opportunities to more students based on their individual strengths and interests.”
  2. There are now some 49 million English-language learners in our schools—a 28% increase nationwide–and the numbers are growing.
  3. A January OECD study found that 47% of boys and 53% of girls worldwide expect to work in just 10 jobs. Topping their lists: doctor, teacher, business manager, lawyer, architect, and police. Girls also favor positions as nurse/midwife positions, psychologist, designer, and vet, while boys went for information technologist, professional sportsperson, and motor vehicle mechanic.
  4. According to Schoolhouse Connection, public schools identified more than 1.5 million homeless children in 2017-18—an 11% increase from previous school years and the highest number ever recorded. Florida and Texas experienced the largest increases, and, in all, 16 states saw a jump in their homeless student populations of 10% or more.
  5. More than 12 states are taking advantage of a 5-year-old federal policy that makes it easier for schools to provide health care to millions of children. About 45 million of them are enrolled in Medicaid and now schools can bill Medicaid when helping students manage such conditions as asthma, diabetes, and food allergies. They can also offer mental health and addiction treatments, provide dental, vision, hearing, and speech services.
  6. Ten years ago, the Association for Computer Machinery founded Computer Science Education Week, and more than 100 million kids have participated in the Hour of Code, so far. Indeed, coding education is now considered a “must-have skill.” Nevertheless, since 2009, the number of female computer science undergrads has declined from 20.7% to 18.7%; among African American undergrads, the number dropped 3%.

Is this what progress looks like?