All Articles Education Updates Extra Credit: Success skills, civics assessments, prison dorms

Extra Credit: Success skills, civics assessments, prison dorms

Find out more about some intriguing, bonus education topics curated for SmartBrief readers.

3 min read


success skills, civics assessments, extra credit


Extra Credit is a weekly column serving up a fresh helping of news, updates and resources from the education world. Want more? Sign up now for SmartBrief’s free education newsletters.

success skills, extra credit, civics assessment
Jens Lelie/Unsplash

Switching the K-12 spotlight to social success. Parents who cringe at hearing “social-emotional learning” may prefer a New York City school’s different take. The Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women has woven the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment into the fabric of the school. It’s not about teachers being counselors; it’s about teachers strengthening students’ success skills: personal responsibility, respectful speaking, self-awareness, time management and decision-making, for example. “These are skills that students need to be successful, that ultimately impact our communities,” says Urban Assembly’s Brandon Frame. 

Prison environments that resemble college dorms. At Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, S.C., older incarcerated men such as Khalil Scott are housed with and serving as mentors to their younger peers, teaching life skills, conflict resolution, restorative justice and effective communication. The dormlike unit keeps its residents from having to watch their backs and provides an atmosphere conducive to studying. “ … If you bring education, if you actually tend to trauma, most everyone can change in some way or another,” says Quantae Priest, who transferred to a different prison that allows him to enroll in university classes.  

Mental health Band-aids won’t stop mass shootings. St. Paul, Minn., criminology and criminal justice researchers Jillian Peterson and James Densley, in an effort to prevent more people from becoming mass shooters, have created a vast database of details on decades’ worth of mass shooters and cataloged information about their psyches after interviewing people in their lives. The ultimate problem isn’t solutions, but funding. For example, proactive mental health programs in schools may pinpoint students with a propensity for violence before they become mass shooters — but the effort could cost $35 billion per year. Nobody’s saying, ‘Let’s fund this, let’s do it, we’ll get the votes.’ That’s the political piece that’s missing here,” Densley says.

An academic exodus in higher ed. The pandemic has forced a reckoning among those in academia, many of whom had struggled with systemic bias, toxic working environments, political hostility and poor pay — and now were saddled with more work and different expectations. A Facebook support group for those leaving academia has 20,000 members — including tenured professors. “The overwhelming narrative is that people are happier once they leave academia,” anthropologist-turned-career-coach Karen Kelsky says. But grants, a fresh urgency to provide mentorship, a building of community among the typically underrepresented faculty and forays into hybrid work and flexibility may spark a change.

More interesting education takes:

Surge of interest in K-12 civics education hits wall of assessment questions. (Diverse Issues in Higher Education)

Researchers need a different approach to student trauma to avoid exacerbating it. (Rowan University) 

Opinion: Instead of loan forgiveness, reinvent — don’t tinker with — higher ed to better promote social mobility. (The Atlantic) 

Which degrees see the most graduates? (EdSurge) 

Diane Benson Harrington is an education and leadership writer at SmartBrief. Reach out to her via email, Twitter or LinkedIn



Choose one or more of SmartBrief’s FREE email newsletters on a range of education topics. They’re among SmartBrief’s more than 250 industry-focused newsletters.