Summer 'brain drain' worse for poor kids
Studies show that children lose some of their skills over the summer if their brains are not stimulated.
May 31st, 2012
06:07 AM ET

Summer 'brain drain' worse for poor kids

By Jim Roope, CNN
(CNN) – Some call it ‘the summer slide.’ Some call it ‘the summer brain drain.’ But whatever you call it, summer learning loss is a real phenomenon that has plagued students since summer vacations began.

Fourth-grade teacher Marian Valdez says that much of what kids learned in the 3rd grade they seem to forget over the summer.

Listen in as Jim Roope talks to teachers and students about summer:

“We spend the first couple of months, especially in math, reviewing, going back over the facts, time tests, those kinds of things,” said Valdez, who teaches at Washington Elementary in Los Angeles.

The first known report about summer learning loss came in a 1906 New York Times article by William White. He tested students in math before and after the summer and a found loss of skills. So for more than a hundred years, we’ve been trying to stop the summer knowledge leak.
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Filed under: At Home • Behavior • Curriculum • Podcast
Texting teens learn to talk face to face
Lori Kelman (right) helps student Rebecca Smith and other teens improve fundamental communications skills lost to texting technology with her program, Enhancing Teen Communication.
April 24th, 2012
06:34 AM ET

Texting teens learn to talk face to face

by Jim Roope, CNN

Listen to CNN Radio's podcast from Jim Roope about a class that teaches teens to communicate face to face.

Los Angeles (CNN) It's an often-observed teenage obsession: texting. Kids today spend an awful lot of time bent over cell phones sending text messages to each other. In fact, you can observe them sitting within normal talking distance from each other yet instead of talking, they'll be texting a conversation.

"I see that the kids are so involved in texting that they shy away from communicating face-to-face," said Lori Kelman, founder of the program 'Enhancing Teen Communication.'

"They bury themselves in text, hide behind texting, will say things through text that they wouldn't in a million years say to somebody face-to-face. That's not a good thing," Kelman said.

Kelman, who spent most of her professional life as a broadcaster for Los Angeles radio station KFWB and in corporate marketing and public relations, said she got the idea for the program when attending her daughter's class one day and as the kids would stand to introduce themselves and talk a little about themselves, many could barely string two words together. On child she said, stood there, hands folded, staring up for five minutes, not able to utter a word. "My heart broke for her," Kelman said.

This lack of fundamental communications skills, she believes, is a result of texting technology. It can hurt teens, she says, as they interview for jobs or college.
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Filed under: Podcast • Practice • Technology
Cheating scandal turns foes into allies
February 24th, 2012
06:10 AM ET

Cheating scandal turns foes into allies

Listen to CNN Radio's podcast Jim Roope tell the story of how the former head of the teachers union (who very much disliked charter schools) will now become its principal. And he is getting help from a former school board member who disliked the teachers union as much as the former union head once disliked charters.

By Jim Roope, CNN

(CNN) A cheating scandal at a Los Angeles charter school system last year has resulted in an unlikely partnership in the creation of a new charter school system.

Last year, John Allen, the executive director of Crescendo Charter Schools, a six-campus charter school system in L.A., allegedly told teachers at all six schools to unseal the state standardized tests and create a lesson plan that teaches directly to the test.

Some of the teachers refused Allen’s request as they viewed it as cheating. First grade teacher Elise Sargent said their jobs were threatened if they didn’t comply.

“There was a lot of confusion going on,” said Sargent. “For a while there was a lot of undercover talks about how we are going to get this out. We needed to make sure the Los Angeles Unified School District knows about this,” she said.

Sargent said the hesitation came with the fact that the teachers at Crescendo were not unionized and so were not sure the union would help or protect them. Sargent said they braved a call to then teachers’ union president A.J. Duffy.
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Filed under: Charter schools • Cheating • Podcast • Policy • Practice