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Research Suggests Positive Impact of Music Education

Can studying music help students to achieve college- and career-ready goals?  That was the case for Fatima Salcido, a student at Tulane University, and Christian Martinez, a high school junior who is earning college credits from Los Angeles City College. For both Fatima and Christian, the Harmony Project, a nonprofit instrumental music program in Los Angeles, provided them not only music instruction, but skills that helped them succeed in academic areas like reading.

Researchers at Northwestern University are conducting studies of the impact of music education on child and adolescent brain development, focusing on students participating in both the Harmony Project and public charter schools in Chicago. They are looking at how music education affects learning and communication skills, and exploring the possibility that music can positively affect the academic achievement gap between groups of students.

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National Study Points to Charter Sector Gains

Charter schools are making gains in their overall performance, including the performance of minority and low-income students, compared to traditional public schools, according to the National Charter School Study 2013 from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University. The independent national study of charters and matched traditional public schools in 26 states updates data and comparisons of charter and traditional public schools’ performance in CREDO’s landmark 2009 study that involved 16 states.

The average charter school student in the 26 states gained an additional eight days of learning each year in reading beyond their local peers in traditional public schools, according to the latest study. This compares with a loss of seven days each year in reading for the average charter school student in the 2009 study. In mathematics, charter students went from a 22-day deficit in learning compared to their traditional public school counterparts in 2009 to being on an even par with them in the 2013 study.

Department Awards Nearly $5 Million in Charter School Grants for Planning, Program Design, Implementation and Dissemination

(October 5, 2011)  The U.S. Department of Education announced today charter school grants totaling $4,792,526 to charter developers for planning, program design, and initial implementation, as well as for dissemination. These Charter School Program Non-state Educational Agency (Non-SEA) grants will assist in expanding the number of high quality charter schools in the nation by providing funding to 23 new, or recently opened, charter schools over the next three years. These grants will also provide three high quality charter schools the ability to partner with other charter and non-charter public schools to improve academic performance and share effective practices.

Education Innovation: What It Is and Why We Need More of It

Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Innovation and Improvement Jim Shelton was the featured guest blogger on Education Week’s “Sputnik” blog on September 28.  To read Shelton’s piece, “Education Innovation: What It Is and Why We Need More of It,” check here.

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“Neighborhoods of Opportunity” Report Highlighted at Revitalization Conference

In July, OII staff from Promise Neighborhoods participated in the Neighborhood Revitalization Conference, hosted by the United Neighborhood Centers of America. The conference featured the release of Building Neighborhoods of Opportunity, a report from the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, which highlights key lessons from organizations that are revitalizing neighborhoods across the country.

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