This week, we discuss media literacy education and the role it could play in combating Truth Decay; how investing in principals can help students succeed; what happens when parents help their unemployed adult children financially; how augmented reality could help kids get active; the U.S. economic plan for the Middle East; and avoiding summer learning loss.
RAND is studying Truth Decay, the diminishing role of facts and analysis in American public life. One driver of this phenomenon is today's increasingly complex information environment. There are more sources of information than ever before; the line between fact and opinion is blurring; and in some cases, disinformation is actively being spread. Could media literacy education help people become more discerning about the content that they consume, create, and share? In our latest Truth Decay report, RAND experts comb through the evidence to find out.
It takes more than good teachers and textbooks to give students the education they deserve. RAND research shows just how important principals are, too. When six large urban school districts implemented “principal pipelines” to hire, train, and support school leaders, they saw positive outcomes. In fact, students in pipeline schools outperformed peers by six percentage points on reading tests. In math, they scored nearly three points better.
It's widely known that more and more parents are financially helping their unemployed adult children. But what are the effects on parents themselves? A new RAND study finds that such decisions may not result in the best financial outcome for the older generation. That's because parents offset the costs by changing their behavior. In particular, they spend less money on food, work more, and save less for retirement.
The average American child spends more than six hours each day in front of a screen, playing games or using apps. Can these same kinds of online activities be a way to get kids outside and moving? Some augmented-reality app developers believe it can be done. And RAND's Deborah Cohen says it's worth a try: “Technology is not going away, so it is useful to consider how it might be used to help children enthusiastically engage in more vigorous outdoor activity.”
Last month, the White House released its economic development plan for the Middle East. The plan did not mention the political context in the region. It also did not address the difficult issues specific to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to RAND experts, this approach is “like trying to sell a car without an engine.” Why? Because an economic strategy that doesn't address core political issues would have no governing entity to put it into effect.
It's National Summer Learning Week, a good time to revisit RAND's body of research on the importance of education all year round. The knowledge and skills that students lose during the summer months is cumulative over a child's development. This “summer slide” also widens the achievement gap between low- and upper-income students. Fortunately, summer learning programs can help. And RAND research offers guidance about how to establish and sustain them.
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