Many kindergartners struggle with self-regulation | MSUToday | Michigan State University

Many children are still learning to control their behavior as they enter kindergarten and may need educational support to develop that critical skill, indicates one of the most conclusive studies to date of early childhood self-regulation. MSU scholars co-authored the study.

Source: Many kindergartners struggle with self-regulation | MSUToday | Michigan State University

Published: Oct. 25, 2016


Contact(s): Ryan Bowles, Andy Henion

Many children are still learning to control their behavior as they enter kindergarten and may need educational support to develop that critical skill, indicates one of the most conclusive studies to date of early childhood self-regulation.

The federally funded study, co-authored by Michigan State University scholars, shows major differences in how self-regulation develops in children ages 3 to 7. While some enter preschool more able to control their behavior and ready to learn, others don’t develop such self-control until they get to kindergarten – or even later.

The findings come as preschool and kindergarten classrooms in the United States have shifted focus over the past few decades from social and emotional skills, such as self-regulation, to more academic skills. The researchers suggest it may be time to put some of the focus back on self-regulation, widely accepted as a marker for future success.

“If you can help children to develop this fundamental skill of behavioral self-regulation, it will allow these students to get so much more out of education,” said Ryan Bowles, associate professor in MSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies. “Self-regulation is very predictive of academic success.”

Together with recent MSU graduate Janelle Montroy, Bowles and colleagues analyzed the data from three separate studies that measured the “Head, Toes, Knees and Shoulders” task, in which young children are instructed to do the opposite of what they’re told. If they’re told to touch their head, for example, they’re supposed to touch their toes. This ability to do the opposite of what they want to do naturally and to stay focused for the entire task involves self-regulation.

A clear pattern emerged in each of the studies, with participants generally fitting into one of three trajectories: early developers, intermediate developers and later developers. On average, the later developers were 6-12 months behind intermediate developers and at least 18 months behind early developers. Overall, about a fifth of the 1,386 participants appeared to make few gains on behavioral self-regulation in preschool.

“I was surprised by the consistency of the findings,” said Bowles. “To replicate the same finding multiple times in a single study is remarkable.”

Echoing previous research, the study also found that development of self-control was linked to several key factors: gender (boys were more likely to be later developers), language skills and mother’s education levels.

“It’s well known that self-regulation is crucial to helping kids get an early jump on education, from math to literacy – really all the skills they learn in school,” Bowles said. “So the kids that develop later are really missing out on these great opportunities. They’re already behind.”

The study, which appears online in the journal Developmental Psychology, was co-authored by Montroy, now an assistant professor at the University of Texas Health Center; Lori Skibbe of MSU; Megan McClelland of Oregon State University; and Frederick Morrison of the University of Michigan.

The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.


King of the Castle – EduShyster

King of the Castle

What kind of school demands $6,000 in *liquidated damages* from a teacher who changed jobs? This kind of school…

When I heard the story of a teacher at Massachusetts’ largest charter school who received a $6,087 *bill* from said school after he let them know that he wouldn’t be returning to teach there this fall, I had to know more. Surely there had to be some kind of mistake or miscommunication, and by *we’re claiming liquidated damages,* the school really meant *thanks for your years of service and good luck at your new job.* So I did what anyone playing the part of a journalist on the Internet can do. I contacted the teacher and asked him if he would consent to a tell-all on my blog. To which his lawyer said *please don’t.* But I was still left with another unanswered query—call it Question 2—what kind of a school goes after a teacher like this anyway? It’s field trip. Follow this link to the full blog post: King of the Castle – EduShyster

Close schools because of poor test scores? Michiganders say no

Just 2% of the participants said that closing low-performing schools is a potential fix for improving public education.

Source: Close schools because of poor test scores? Michiganders say no

From the Detroit Free Press story:

The poll of 600 voters was conducted Oct. 6-9. About 60% of the calls were completed via landline, while 40% were conducted over cell phones. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Lanne said during a media conference call this morning that while voters are concerned about the quality of public education, “closing public schools is really not a part of their prescription for improving schools.”

Related: Is your school among the worst-performing in Michigan?

Some key findings:

•Just 2% of the participants said that closing low-performing schools is a potential fix for improving public education. Participants were given a list of eight potential fixes, and 27% said returning the curriculum to the basics of reading, writing and math received the most support. That was followed by the 22% of participants who said spending more money on public schools and the 12% who said increasing teacher salaries are options. Closing low-performing schools ranked dead last.

•82% of Michigan voters agreed with the statement that “a public school should never be closed based solely upon results from statewide standardized testing.” Broken down by political party, 75% of Republicans and 85% of Democrats agreed with the statement.

•93% agreed with the statement that “the state should not be allowed to order a public school to close without a formal public hearing, giving parents and teachers the opportunity to discuss the impact of the schools closing on the local community.” About 26% of the 600 poll respondents were parents with a child attending a public school in Michigan.

Read Lori Higgins complete news story here:



Hacking: What journalists need to know. A conversation with Bruce Schneier – Journalist’s Resource

The hacking of Democratic Party organizations has made internet security germane to the 2016 presidential election campaign. America’s intelligence community has accused high-level Russian officials of backing these cyberattacks in an attempt to influence the election result. Such allegations have helped thrust relations between Washington and Moscow to their lowest point in decades.

Meanwhile, the integrity of America’s internet infrastructure was tested on Oct. 21, 2016 with a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

Journalist’s Resource spoke with security expert Bruce Schneier about the attacks and what journalists need to know. The interview, conducted by email while Schneier was traveling, has been edited for length.

Schneier is the chief technology officer at Resilient (an IBM company focused on security), a board member at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a New York Times best-selling author. His blog, Schneier on Security, is a resource for security specialists and journalists alike. He wrote a prescient piece about DDoS attacks on his blog a month before the 2016 attack on Dyn.

When the U.S. government says the email hacks are coming from Russia, what is it that they are looking at? In your book Data and Goliath, you write that often we can only suspect a source based on possible motivations. Are you able to explain to journalists how the government might know or track the source?

Attack attribution is complicated in cyberspace, and journalists are right to be skeptical of any official attribution. In some cases, the forensics makes it relatively easy to identify attackers. In other cases, it’s impossible. The deciding factors are generally the technical skill of the attacker and the attributor. It is possible to “false flag” attacks. That is, to make them appear to come from somewhere they’re not. There are also instances where only the pervasive internet eavesdropping capabilities of the NSA allow us to attribute an attack, and in those instances the details of that attribution will remain secret.

In every case, though, it is far easier to attribute an attacker to a particular region or computer than to a person or organization. For example, it can be impossible to know if a particular attack from China is state-sponsored, done by a hacking organization with the tacit approval of the Chinese government, or done by a lone hacker without the government’s knowledge. Recently, Yahoo claimed that their massive hack was “state sponsored.” It wasn’t, but the claim was their way to claim that the attackers were very sophisticated, and that the press shouldn’t blame them for their shoddy security.

Are there red flags journalists should look out for to better scrutinize organizations’ attribution of attacks to particular sources?

Honestly, just know that you don’t have the technical chops to tell the difference between a legitimate attribution and wishful thinking. Get technical help.

Are there any caveats journalists should regularly write into their pieces when citing organizations’ attribution of attacks to particular sources? Can malware designed for a specific cyberattack then go on to live a life of its own, causing “accidental” additional hacks?

I would avoid the “life on its own” metaphor, since that points to artificial intelligence and the stuff of movie plots.

More specifically, though, the answer is yes. It’s very hard to tailor a piece of malware for a specific cyberattack, because there’s rarely anything specific about a given target. Everyone uses the same software, the same operating systems, the same applications software, the same internet protocols. So malware has to be pretty general by design. This is more true the more autonomous the software is. If there’s a person — whether a criminal or a government soldier — hacking into a network, there’s not a lot of spillover. But if that same person releases a cyberweapon into the wild intended for a specific target, collateral damage is inevitable.

Intelligence experts sometimes say that divulging certain details of a cyberattack can reveal too much about a government’s cyber intelligence methods and capabilities, thus giving cyber foes an edge. Would you say this is true and a legitimate security concern?

It is, and that makes attribution especially difficult. If the “sources and methods” — as they’re called — are more secret than the information collected from those sources and by those methods, then that information won’t be revealed to the public. We saw this in the North Korean attack against Sony. The U.S. government had attribution information, probably from NSA eavesdropping, but it couldn’t make that information public. They basically asked the world to trust them, and many people did not.

What might be some of the technical concerns about potential hacking on Election Day?

This is a complicated question, and a complete answer will fill this entire publication.

Briefly, there are three areas of concern. The first are the voting rolls that determine who is allowed to vote. The second are the voting machines themselves, especially the computerized touch-screen machines with no voter-verifiable paper audit trail. And the third is the tabulation system, as the results from each machine are combined into a final result. All of those three areas are vulnerable to hacking, although the practical problems of pulling off a successful hack are much more complicated than is generally reported. Even so, the vulnerabilities are critical to fix because the system must be trusted. Elections serve two purposes. The first is to choose the winner, and the second is to convince the loser that he lost fairly. Everyone must trust the system.

My primary concern surrounding Election Day is not that the election will be hacked, but that it will be claimed to be hacked and we will have no way to verify that it wasn’t.

What should journalists remember when they are writing about cyber threats?

Computers are taking over the world. Your smartphone is a small portable computer that happens to make phone calls. Your refrigerator is a computer that keeps things cold. Your oven is a computer that makes things hot. An ATM machine is a computer with money inside. Your car is not a mechanical device with some computers in it. It’s a computer with four wheels and an engine. […]

Cyber threats are not just threats. They’re threats to our homes, our families, our businesses, our country. Understanding the risks of any technology in the 21st century means understanding cyber threats. As to specifics: journalists should learn enough to understand what they’re reporting on.

Are you seeing anything missing from the current reporting about the hacks? If so, what?

I would like stories about computers and hacking to contain more nuance — what’s happening and what’s possible; what it means in context, and what it doesn’t mean. Too much reporting is worst-case “what if” scenarios and wild speculation. It might be better headlines to report this way, but it isn’t the best way to inform the public.

What are the biggest security concerns you think journalists need to be following?

I am worried about the increasing legal uses of data by governments and corporations, and the increasing vulnerabilities stemming from computers having the ability to affect the world in a direct and physical manner. Both will change our notions of risk and security in ways we cannot yet comprehend.

I also worry about government creating internet policy without understanding how the internet actually works. There is a huge gap between policymakers and technologists, and that will result in both bad policy and bad technology.

What are some ways for journalists to protect themselves?

This is a complicated question, and journalists should seek advice outside this short paragraph. I recommend the Committee to Protect Journalists, and any of the good security guides you can find by typing “computer security for journalists” into your search engine. It’s important that journalists take steps to protect both themselves and their sources, especially in countries where freedom of the press is at risk.

Other resources:

  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a nonprofit that defends civil liberties on the internet.
  • The Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University publishes research on all aspects of internet and the law, including on cybersecurity.
  • Brian Krebs, a former reporter for the Washington Post, authors an insightful blog on internet security.
  • Radio Free Europe has a timeline of major cyber attacks, including suspected sources.


Keywords: hacking, internet security, email, leaks, Russia, DNC, DDoS attacks, Dyn, internet of things


Writer: | Last updated: October 24, 2016

Source: Hacking: What journalists need to know. A conversation with Bruce Schneier – Journalist’s Resource Journalist’s Resource

CURMUDGUCATION: The Death of Testing Fantasies

The slightly-cranky voice navigating the world of educational “reform” while trying to still pursue the mission of providing quality education.

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: The Death of Testing Fantasies

The Death of Testing Fantasies

Posted by Peter Greene: 27 Oct 2016

It is one of the least surprising research findings ever, confirmed now by at least two studies– students would do better on the Big Standardized Test if they actually cared about the results.

One of the great fantasies of the testocrats is their belief that the Big Standardized Tests provide useful data. That fantasy is predicated on another fantasy– that students actually try to do their best on the BS Test. Maybe it’s a kind of confirmation bias. Maybe it’s a kind of Staring Into Their Own Navels For Too Long bias. But test manufacturers and the policy wonks who love them have so convinced themselves that these tests are super-important and deeply valuable that they tend to believe that students think so, too.

Somehow they imagine a roomful of fourteen-year-olds, faced with a long, tedious standardized test, saying, “Well, this test has absolutely no bearing on any part of my life, but it’s really important to me that bureaucrats and policy mavens at the state and federal level have the very best data to work from, so I am going to concentrate hard and give my sincere and heartfelt all to this boring, confusing test that will have no effect on my life whatsoever.” Right.

This is not what happens. I often think that we would get some serious BS Test reform in this country if testocrats and bureaucrats and test manufacturers had to sit in the room with the students for the duration of the BS Tests. As I once wrote, if the students don’t care, the data aren’t there.

There are times when testocrats seem to sense this, though their response is often silly. For instance…

Read the full blog post here: