Bringing Art Back

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Does your child’s school have arts education programs?  In New York City, over 420 public schools do not have arts programs.  Follow Parent Co. as we meet a group of students and artists working to change that.
 
This video is a part of Parent Co. Stories, a new video series sharing authentic stories for curious parents.  Subscibe to our channel to see the latest stories every week: http://bit.ly/2ryLtAn
 

Special Thanks to Thrive Collective, whose work in NYC and beyond is looking to bring art back to public schools and help students and schools thrive.  Learn more at thrivecollective.org
 
 

6 Thoughtful Gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week

Time to say thank you to the tireless people who challenge the minds of our kids, support them, and inspire them to think big about their future.

It’s almost teacher appreciation week!  Time to say thank you to the tireless individuals who challenge the minds of our little ones, support them both academically and socially, and inspire them to think big about their future.

How are you going to show your appreciation?
Parent Co asked a handful of teachers – from preschool to high school – to tell us what some of their most meaningful teacher appreciation gifts have been over the years.  We invited them to tell us not only about the “things” that students and parents have given them, but the other gifts of words, time, or thoughts that have meant something to them.  So before you buy that “World’s Greatest Teacher” mug check out what teachers have to say about the best gifts they have received.

1 | Thank you notes

This simple solution was mentioned by almost every teacher we talked to –genuinely being thanked for their work.  “I do feel that at times parents spend way too much on their child’s teacher and completely miss what teachers actually appreciate most, a simple thank you.  When parents thank teachers for their work with their child it really means a lot.
This is especially true when they use examples of specific things the teacher did, such as a learning activity or project their child really enjoyed or growth that they have seen in their child.”  Handwritten pictures and notes from children are equally valued for their simplicity and thoughtfulness.

2 | Memory jar

Taking the thank you note idea to the next level, one teacher told us how a room mother gathered comments on the best memories that kids and parents had of their time together in the classroom.  She put them on separate sheets of paper and stuffed them into a jar for the teacher to take out and read.
“The memory that is still taped to my desk is a handwritten note from a student that says ‘when I crushed my spelling test.’ This student used to tell me that he was going ‘to crush this’ when he thought he was going to do a good job. This message spread to the rest of the class…it became a motto!”

3 | A donation in the teacher’s honor

One teacher mentioned that he liked to “pay it forward” by inviting parents to make a donation to a charitable organization that he supports in lieu of shopping for a gift.
“In the past, I have sent a note out prior to gift time thanking families for their generosity and suggesting charitable organizations they could support in lieu of traditional gifts. I make it very clear that there is NO pressure for any gifts at all, but many families have expressed thanks- a gift in a teacher’s name is a little less stressful than determining a ‘thoughtful’ gift!”

4 | Your time as a volunteer

“I don’t know if this counts as a gift,” one teacher said, “but it’s great when parents can come into the classroom and do a special activity, share their knowledge about a specific subject with the class, or just help out.”
Teachers have a lot of planning to do every day to keep our kids engaged; if we have something to contribute we can lighten their load even just for an hour.  Do this just once and you’ll have a newfound appreciation for how much work it takes to keep a group of kids interested and paying attention for an hour much less a whole day!

5 | Build a bouquet

If you can get the whole class on the same page, have each child bring the teacher one flower.  Put them together and the teacher has a beautiful bouquet for her desk or to bring home.  This group gift reminds her of each kid in the class without cluttering her desk (or a drawer at home) with a bunch of separate gifts.

6 | Lunch break

This takes a bit more planning, but a couple of teachers have had parents bring them a special lunch during teacher appreciation week.
“The greatest ‘Teacher Appreciation’ event ever was when a group of parents came in before our lunch period, decorated our team’s break room with flowers and table cloths (!), and served us lunch during our lunch break. Parents actually served the sandwiches and beverages while we all chatted.  I think the monetary cost was minimal (donated flowers and multiple parents chipping in on food) but the impact of “getting away” in the middle of the day was amazing.  I think this happened three years ago and we still talk about that amazing lunch not infrequently.”

Heads up – there are also a few things that teachers quietly and politely said we could discourage.

Gift cards are nice if they are for places where teachers actually shop, but a pile of gift cards to a big chain coffee shop doesn’t do much good if the teacher prefers to go to their local coffee shop.  Likewise, teachers get a lot of candles and mugs.  There are only so many candles they can burn in a given year.  The caveat – a homemade candle made by your child from your own beeswax was a noted exception (possibly because this author raises bees and the teacher was a friend).
The lesson here is this – while teachers appreciate your gifts, they don’t want you to spend loads of money on gifts that won’t get a lot of use or aren’t from the heart.  They remember the gifts that make them feel special, help them to take a “time out” from the stress of their work, and reinforce the value of the time they spend with our kids.

Is Good Old-Fashioned Horseplay Worth the Occasional Black Eye?

In an age when kids are given less and less permission to get physical, one mom sings the praises of her son’s battle wounds.

Last week while I was at work, I glanced down at my phone and saw that I had a missed call from a number that I both recognized and dreaded – my son’s school.

My first thought was that Johnny was sick – probably a stomach bug. (Why is it always a stomach bug?) I called back, and while I waited for the school secretary to pick up, I began doing a mental review of the last four days. Where had he been (besides school) that was particularly germy, and when was the last time I drank after him?

Just as I was beginning to feel a bit queasy myself, a text came in from Johnny’s teacher. False alarm. He did not have a stomach bug. He had a black eye – a bad one.

Immediately my own nausea subsided. I was relieved. Once his teacher assured me that he was fine and that his injury was not the result of a fight, I was thrilled! (I was also relieved that I did not have 24 gruesome stomach bug hours ahead of me.)

I was happy that my son was not seriously injured. But I was thrilled because Johnny got his black eye on the playground. On the playground! That could only mean two things: 1) It was recess, and 2) there was horseplay. Yes!

For the most part, school has been a positive experience for my kids. They have had great teachers and made wonderful friends. But one thing I have worried about is how little time the children get for recess and how many restrictions there are on that time. Most days, if they are lucky, the kids at my son’s school get one 20-minute recess. That is precious little time for energetic 9-, 10- and 11-year-olds to run, play, and socialize. Of course if it’s raining or below 40 degrees, that 20 minutes is spent indoors.

Still, Johnny’s black eye is a good sign for the kids at his school. While some schools are banning balls and limiting or prohibiting things like tag and cartwheels, Johnny got his black eye while playing football with his buddies – a very physical game (even the touch version) but something boys have played on playgrounds and empty lots across the country for generations.

Were Johnny and his friends playing rougher than school rules technically allow? Maybe. I don’t know exactly how it happened, but I do know that they were playing rough enough for Johnny to get a pretty good shiner. And I know that that kind of play is good for him. I also know, despite recent trends to make recess “safer,” that black eyes, broken bones, bruises, and stitches are all a part of growing up – or at least they should be. Of course no one likes to see their kids hurt, but as my mother used to say, “That’s what you get when you play rough.”

I say it to my kids, too, but it’s not a warning. It’s just a fact. The truth is, rough play is actually good for kids for a lot of reasons. It helps burn off energy. It can build physical fitness. And it’s fun. But rough play also teaches kids three very important lessons – bravery, toughness, and healthy fear. It takes bravery to attempt a running cartwheel, to jump off something high, or to risk being “it” to “unfreeze” a friend in a game of tag. It’s true that any one of these activities can result in injury. That’s why it takes guts to attempt them – a willingness to take a risk. And when kids succeed in these minor acts of bravery, they are emboldened to try other things. They gain confidence to succeed in other ways.

Rough play also teaches toughness. Scraped knees, bloody noses, and black eyes are all “job hazards” of childhood. Through these minor injuries kids learn that some things are simply worth the pain. That’s true on the playground, and it’s true in life. Whether it’s running a 5K, having a baby, or being king of the mountain, some things are worth the pain. And some aren’t…

Johnny was proud of his black eye. We sent pictures to his cousins and to his brother in college. It was a badge of honor at school. But if he had broken an arm and been sidelined for the rest of baseball season, he might not have been quite so pleased with himself. He would have learned the hard way that his actions can sometimes have unpleasant consequences. And that, too, would have been a good lesson. Sometimes a childhood injury is just the thing to instill and little healthy fear into a child and to teach him both to test and respect his own limitations.

In a perfect world our kids would never get hurt. But this world is far from perfect. Hovering over our children and sheltering them from some of childhood’s favorite pastimes, might prevent a few black eyes, but it won’t keep them from getting hurt – not in the long run.

So, yes. I was thrilled when my son came home with a black eye because it meant that he goes to a school where kids are still allowed to get a little wild – to be kids and to play games that are fun, physical, and character-building. To me, that’s worth a black eye every now and then.

Why You Should Become an Education Activist

Making sure our kids’ schools fit their needs is the responsibility of every parent. Speak up. Advocate. Make change.

I am not an activist. 

I vote, but don’t campaign. I give money to causes I believe in, but don’t tell others to do the same. But in the past five years since I’ve had children in the public school system, all that has changed.

When I spent time in the kindergarten classroom and saw how cramped the space was; when I saw children were literally on the floor, under tables, crying – I talked to the teacher, then the principal. He was rudely unresponsive. So, I did some research about budgets and state law.  I contacted the superintendent, assistant superintendent, and five members of the school board.

I spoke at a board meeting, shaking with rage and nerves the whole time. I was on the local news twice, including one day when I hadn’t showered. And when all of those efforts made not one drop of difference, I moved my child to another school.

To choose a school with better chances of success in kindergarten, I asked everyone I knew about their experience. I called district offices where no one wanted to answer questions about class size. Finally, I called every elementary school in my city to find real numbers — not school averages, but how many five- and six-year-olds one teacher was expected to wrangle.

Before switching, I went to observe. I’d learned my lesson. The tone and tenor of one classroom, far from our home, was unlike anything else I’d seen. Immediately I knew it was the right place for my son.

It shouldn’t be this hard. I speak English as my first language, have my own transportation, work from home, and have a master’s degree. Even with these advantages, navigating the education system in my community was exhausting.

Fast forward a few years and my second child was set to begin kindergarten. We were at the same school where we’d found such contentment the first time around. With a wonderful teacher, we began the year. My son had some special needs – a chronic health condition – and a brilliant mind. I met with the teacher early on and together we figured out accommodations to make things work.

Despite the teacher’s best efforts, my boy was not thriving. One day I noticed he’d begun to count on his fingers, like his peers, something he’d not done since he was three years old. I recognized the need for intervention and began to confer.

I met with the principal, so unlike the first one I’d encountered. She was responsive to my concerns and came up with alternatives. Stymied by rules, she involved district administrators.  I spoke again with superintendents, even state legislators. 

I was treated by these officials with such remarkable condescension. I was told by many that my opinion did not matter, that every parent wants to think their child is special. In not so many words, the message was clear: suck it up.

The first time around, I was disillusioned and pained by how the system didn’t seem set up for student success. This second time I was heartbroken to see how nothing had changed, despite the amazing people in the real classrooms.

Something has shifted inside me over these five years. I’m up to date on state education policies, as well as national trends. I know the people involved in every level of leadership in my community, and know who can be taken at their word. I tell strangers they don’t have to take the status quo when I overhear them worrying in the parking lot.

I still hate meeting new people and hate how my voice sounds amplified through a microphone.  I don’t want to be seen as an agitator or loudmouth. But once it became about my kids, my preferences went out the window. 

I’m working with a small group of parents to get approval to expand our school. We’re hitting roadblock after roadblock. Some people want to give up, don’t think it’s worth the hassle. I get that. I just know that no one else will advocate for my children if I don’t. Special education parents changed the system over the past 50 years, fighting for every child. 

My quests may be less dramatic but the idea is the same: our kids are worth fighting for.

Cherish the Last Month of School With This Spotify Playlist

Cherish the last month of school with a School Playlist that will have you wishing you could go back to homeroom.

As Alice Cooper famously put it, “school’s out for summer!” Well, almost… But while Summer means lots of free time for our little ones, it can sometimes in turn mean less free time for us. So why not cherish the last month of school with a School Playlist that will have you wishing you could go to homeroom too?

Families With Kids Lead Trend of Segregated Neighborhoods

Driven by school district options, families with children are leading the trend to less diverse, more segregated neighborhoods in the United States.

Driven by school district options, families with children are leading the trend to less diverse, more segregated neighborhoods in the United States.

A new study published in the American Sociological Review  finds that among families with children, neighborhood income segregation is driven by increased income inequality in combination with a previously overlooked factor: school district options.

Study author Ann Owens, an assistant professor of sociology at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, examined census data from 100 major U.S. metropolitan areas, from Los Angeles to Boston.

She found that:

  • Income segregation between neighborhoods rose 20 percent from 1990 to 2010
  • Income segregation between neighborhoods is twice as high among households that have children compared to those without.

For families with high income, school districts are a top consideration when deciding where they will live. For those in large cities, they have multiple school districts where they can choose to buy homes.

Schools are not a priority for selecting a home for childless families. This likely explains the reason that they did not see a rise in the income gap or in neighborhood segregation.

On  Newswise, Owens said “Income inequality has an effect only half as large among childless folks. This implies that parents who have children see extra money as a chance to buy a home in a good neighborhood so that their kids may attend a good school.”

Studies have shown that integrated learning environments are beneficial for children of disadvantaged households, and do no harm to children whose families have higher incomes.

She said the increased neighborhood income segregation that her study uncovered is a troubling sign for low-income families. Studies have shown that integrated learning environments are beneficial for children of disadvantaged households, and do no harm to children whose families have higher incomes.

“The growing income gap and increased economic segregation may lead to inequalities in children’s test scores, educational attainment, and well-being,” Owens said. “Neighborhood and school poverty are big drivers of low-income kids’ poor educational outcomes, so rising income segregation perpetuates inequality and may reduce poor kids’ mobility.”

Since the No Child Left Behind Act went into effect in 2002, more data than ever have been made available on schools, the quality of their teachers, and their student achievement. It has given rise to a sense of competition and rankings. Owens said this increased focus on performance, plus having access to more information about schools, may have made school an even greater priority for parents.

“School policy can also be housing policy.” – study author Ann Owens

“If schools play an important role in residential segregation, then breaking that link and making it less important and sort of alleviating parents’ concerns about where their kids are going to attend school would reduce income segregation,” Owens said.

Changing school attendance policies could be “more feasible than reducing income inequality, raising the minimum wage, instituting metropolitan governance, or creating affordable housing stock to address residential segregation,” Owens wrote.

Source Newsroom: American Sociological Association (ASA)

Shopping for a New School? Read These 6 Tips From a School Counselor.

Parents are gearing up for the next school year and starting the process of looking at potential middle and high schools for their child.

Tis the season for school shopping – that is, shopping for a new school.

Parents are gearing up for the next school year and starting the process of looking at potential middle and high schools for their child.

As a school counselor, I receive lots of phone calls and meet with prospective parents several times before the end of the school year. Most districts have an application process if you want your child to attend a school outside of the attendance area you live in; others a lottery system. Regardless, you need to do your research and visit the school before you make any decisions.

Parents put a lot of pressure on themselves to make sure their child has the best education, often listening to the opinions of those around them rather than trusting their own judgement. This is a very personal decision; one that only involves the needs of your child.

It’s important to start asking yourself questions such as: what are the most important things you want in a school? What kind of learner is your child? Do they need specialized instruction? Do they thrive on interaction with staff and students? Is it important for you and your child to have access to staff? What is the schools core beliefs and mission and do they match with your own?

In order to make the most out of the school interview process, use the following tips to ensure a successful visit.

1 | Research their websites.

Take notes about courses offered, class size, standardized test scores, programs for students with special needs, state and national ranking, sports and extracurricular activities offered, and opportunities for enrichment.

2 | Call and ask for a tour.

This initial visit should just be a tour; do not meet with anyone until you have a good feel for the environment. Ask to see classes your child might be interested in, talk to students, visit the lunchroom during lunch time, and walk the hallways during passing time.

3 | Go home and reflect on your first impression.

Here’s the thing, you can print out detailed check-lists, take copious notes, talk to all your friends, and see what is being said on social media, but the bottom line is how does the school feel to you and your child? After 15 years as a counselor, I truly believe that the climate of the school is the #1 factor in determining student success both academically and socially for many students.

Once you have a feel for the environment of the school, begin writing your list of questions. Take a look at the original list you made before the visit and add questions based on how you felt about the climate of the school. Make note of any impressions you had, things you noticed or need clarification on, and concerns you may have.

4 | Sit down with your child and make a list of the things that excited you about the school.

  • What felt good?
  • What part of the building did you like the best?
  • What are you most excited to learn more about when you do your official visit?
  • Were there any activities or classes you observed that you are interested in trying?
  • Who did you like meeting?

5 | Call and make an appointment with the school counselor.

Most counselors will schedule 30-60 minutes for an initial meeting about the school. Make sure your list of questions has a short and long list. The short list contains the essential questions you need answered and the long list adds the other topics you would like to cover if there is time.

  • Tip: don’t waste your time asking questions that are answered on the website and school profile. Facts are facts. Test scores, number of AP courses offered etc.  are already available to you; instead ask about how the staff advises students on selecting their courses and planning their overall academic education plan. Are they all about numbers and pushing their advanced programs at the detriment of the students overall health or do they take a holistic approach and consider your entire child and how those courses may fit in to their life? The sign of a good school is their level of involvement in helping your child design a program that fits their individual needs with consideration of outside interests, family life, church and volunteer activities, extracurricular/sports commitments, and time just to be a kid.

6 | Ask the most important questions and take notes.

The questions that often don’t get asked and counselors will tell you are the deal breakers in making a decision. I like to call these the feeling questions; the ones that you can’t find answers to on the school website, profile, or google search.

  • Does it feel like it offers a safe and inspiring environment?
  • Does the school feel like a community?
  • Do the students seem engaged?
  • Do the teachers look like they are enjoying what they are doing?
  • During passing time, are staff out in the hallway talking with students and also keeping an eye on what is going on?
  • What is the atmosphere of the lunchroom? Does it seem like the right environment for your child? People discount the importance of the lunchroom to teenagers. Often times it is the scariest part of the day for kids.

A hot topic right now is school security. You might want to spend some time asking questions such as: does the school have security personnel on staff? How do they keep students safe from potential intruders or students who may become violent? Does the school practice safety drills so the students know how to respond in this situation?

At this point, it is absolutely normal to feel very overwhelmed! Now it’s time to sit down with your child and take a look at the notes you took. I would recommend sitting at the computer and typing (bullet style) the key points you learned, including: academics, extracurricular/sports/clubs, and overall climate and atmosphere. Send this list to the counselor you met with and ask them to check for any mistakes in the information you learned. Ask if they have anything they would like to add in order to help you make this decision. This is a great way to reconnect with them and make sure your information is correct.

I truly believe there is a school for every student and every school has something important to offer. The most important thing to keep in mind during this entire process is that teenagers need to feel like they belong to the community, have a purpose and that they can find success no matter what their academic level is.

I Thought I’d Be Lonely in The Bathroom: Observations from a School-Day Empty Nester

I ran into a friend and she asked me how I liked being home alone all day. “I’m pretty much the happiest woman in the world right now.”

Little Mikey threw up all over the small, windowless bathroom.

Three or four times I went in armed with paper towels and good intentions but each time I’d start dry heaving and would have to run out of the room. Eventually I just closed the door and waited for his mother to get home to clean it. She paid twice what any of my other babysitting jobs did and I still couldn’t bring myself to do it. While she drove me home I kept apologizing. She said, “It’s okay. You get to practice with baby spit up and work your way up to bathrooms full of vomit.”

That’s when I first learned that there would be many small steps that prepare us for the larger parenting moments.

I’m still a good fifteen years or so away from having a completely empty nest (assuming none of the older ones try to move back in before the younger ones move out) But right now, I find myself on a threshold: a baby step toward the empty nest. It started when I registered my youngest child for full-day kindergarten.

The first time I found myself in that position I said to my husband, “Maybe we should think about adopting!” and extended my time at home raising babies by another four, then six, then eight years. This time there will be no new babies. This is really it.

Once I dropped those registration papers off, I found myself getting lost in watching my last baby singsong her way through putting her boots on. I began spontaneously hugging her with more frequency. A friend of mine told me that when her son was a few months shy of graduating high school, she found herself wanting to spend more time with him, wanting to enjoy every moment with him before he inevitably left her. I experienced this as well; finding myself completely fascinated by this little girl dressing up as a fairy-bride-pirate-ninja (when you’re on your fifth kid that fascination doesn’t happen as frequently).

After she started full-day school, I was at the supermarket (alone!) one day and found myself trying to decide which feminine care product might be the best for my oldest daughter. I noticed a mother with a baby strapped to her chest also making a decision for her child because, perhaps a bit ironically, the diapers are kept in the same row as the tampons. Seeing a baby – especially one that was carried the way I carried all of mine – made me smile, but I didn’t feel the need to become that lady clucking, “They grow so fast!” to younger moms yet.

I kept waiting for it to hit me: I’d see another mama with a baby in striped pajamas and I wondered if this would be the time I’d suddenly start crying in the produce section. Or maybe it’d hit me on the way home when I passed the playground filled with young parents pushing toddlers on swings. “Guess I’m no longer part of the weekday late morning playground scene,” I’d think to myself, wondering if there was a hint of wistfulness there.

But . . . no. No, there was not.

I wondered if I’d miss them now that they were all at full day school . . . I didn’t.

I thought that maybe I’d be lonely in the bathroom sometimes. Maybe it’s too soon to tell for sure but from what I can tell so far, this going to the bathroom by myself thing is actually pretty nice. I have yet to wish there was a small someone to talk to while I’m on the toilet or in the shower. As a matter of fact, it’s sort of luxurious.

“Getting all the kids off to school, I mean, THAT! That’s the pinnacle right? I mean that’s the GOAL, man!”

I ran into a friend and she asked me how I liked being home alone all day. “I don’t want to sound like I hate my kids or anything . . . but I’m pretty much the happiest woman in the world right now.” She, with three young adult children, admonished me immediately. “There’s nothing wrong with that! Getting all the kids off to school, I mean, THAT! That’s the pinnacle right? I mean that’s the GOAL, man!”

She was right. This was GOOD. We survived infancy, toddlerhood, and preschool. We unlocked the next level! They’ve taken a step towards becoming independent and educated adults. I’ve begun to wean off a life of being so desperately depended on. It’s okay to celebrate this time!

This, I realized, is a baby step of parenting. This is my spit up . . . and from now on I’m going to appreciate it.

ADHD Misdiagnosis in Girls Has Profoundly Negative Consequences

ADHD symptoms are dramatically different in girls than boys.

ADHD materializes dramatically differently in girls, with potentially serious negative consequences.

In Quartz, Jenny Anderson reports that girls’ ADHD symptoms tend toward inattentiveness and disorganization, vs boys who typically exhibit hyperactivity.

“Anxiety and depression turn into low self-esteem and self-loathing, and the risk for self-harm and suicide attempts is four-to-five times that of girls without ADHD,” 2012 research shows.

ADHD is a chronic neurobiological disorder which affects the brain structurally and chemically, as well as the ways in which various parts of the brain communicate with one another.

According to this Quartz article,

  • ADHD affected 7.3% of girls in 2011, compared to 16.5% for boys.
  • Girls tend to develop ADHD later than boys. They frequently mask it in an attempt to conform to society’s expectation that they are on the ball and organized.
  • While ADHD symptoms can become less intense for boys after puberty, for many girls, it gets worse.
  • Teachers and parents often miss the warning signs.
  • Failing to diagnose the condition, girls miss out on critical academic services and accommodations, as well as therapy and medication.
  • Many girls end up misdiagnosed and treated with anti-anxiety or depression drugs, some of which exacerbate the effects of ADHD.

According to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry study referenced in the Quartz article, there is “evidence that boys are wildly over-diagnosed with ADHD.”

Read “Decades of failing to recognize ADHD in girls has created a “lost generation” of women” on Quartz.

Computer Tests Widen Writing Achievement Gap for Low-Income Kids

The Department of Education wants to move students to computerized tests, but low-income kids don’t get much practice typing on a computer.

The Department of Education wants to move students to computerized assessments. They’re faster, easier and cheaper to grade than hand-written tests.

However, as highlighted by (@jillbarshay) for Hechingerreport.org, a 2012 U.S. Department of Education study reveals a potentially major flaw with this plan: Low-income kids don’t get as much practice typing or writing on a computer as higher-income kids.

When it’s time to test their writing skills on a computer, the lower-income kids are slower and less able to write because they don’t know how to effectively type and edit with a computer keyboard vs higher-income kids who have better access to computers.

When tested with a pencil and paper, low-income students produced better writing using than they did with the computer.

Simply put, the “Performance of fourth-grade students in the 2012 NAEP computer-based writing pilot assessment” found that “the use of the computer may have widened the writing achievement gap.”

As quoted on Hechingerreport.orgSteve Graham, a professor at Arizona State University said:

“Your familiarity with the tool makes a difference. They actually do better writing by hand if they’re less experienced [with computers]. And if they’re more experienced, then there may actually be an advantage toward writing on the computer.”

Solutions might include teaching kids how to type efficiently on a computer keyboard. This also includes teaching how to cut, paste, delete and edit in a digital document.

Source: Using computers widens the achievement gap in writing, a federal study finds  on Hechingerreport.org