Weekly NewsBrief 5/26-6/1

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Principals, teachers prioritize social-emotional skills for students – By Linda Jacobson, Education Dive

Almost three-fourths of principals say developing students’ social and emotional skills is either their school’s top priority or one of the top goals, according to new results from the American Educator Panels, an ongoing project of the RAND Corp.

The surveys of both teachers and school leaders, however, showed teachers place more importance than principals on students developing specific skills, such as understanding and managing emotions, showing empathy, and setting and achieving positive goals.

“Although we can’t know for sure, one hypothesis is that the difference stems from the fact that teachers spend more time than principals interacting directly with students," Laura Hamilton, the lead author of the report, said in an email. "Teachers, therefore, might be more attuned to the skills that students bring to school and the need for students to develop and apply these skills in the classroom."

But principals were more likely than teachers to strongly agree that social-emotional learning (SEL) programs can lead to improvement in other areas, such as student achievement, school climate and student behavior.

 

Boosting Aid With a Tax on Business – By Ashley Smith, Inside Higher Ed

Lawmakers in Washington State are taking a novel approach to funding higher education with a new scholarship program that will make tuition at the state's colleges and universities free for thousands of low-income families.

Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, on Tuesday signed into law a work-force investment bill that creates the Washington College Grant. The scholarships, which will be fully funded through an increase in the state’s business and occupation tax, guarantees financial aid for more than 110,000 low- and middle-income Washington residents. The grant will help students pay little or no tuition.

The scholarship program is one of the more progressive statewide grants to emerge in recent years. It’s a first-dollar scholarship, which means qualified students can be eligible for the aid regardless of whether they receive federal or other state grants. Students can use the grants to attend any of the state’s public or private two- and four-year colleges. Part-time students, students pursuing a certificate or those enrolled in an approved apprenticeship also can qualify for the grant. And the grant isn’t limited to recent high school graduates but is open to any potential student who doesn’t already hold a bachelor’s degree.