California Educator

May 2014

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Know & Tell Research Interesting facts about everything in the education world By Cynthia Menzel I F Y O U D I S C O V E R research you think we should shine a light on, send it along with your name and local chapter to Eye fatigue can be prevented or reduced by making simple changes. Here are eyestrain prevention tips from organizations such as Prevent Blindness, the National Eye Institute, and Get Eye Smart: • Place the screen 20-26 inches away from your eyes and a little below eye level. • Create an eye-friendly schedule. Break up the time spent on the computer during the school day by fitting in activities such as reading, exercising or eating lunch. • Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Ever y 20 minutes, look away from the screen for 20 seconds at something 20 feet away. If you have trouble remembering to take a break, tr y an app such as ProtectYourVision or Workrave that will remind you with automatic alerts. • Consider using a glare filter over your screen. • K e e p t h e r o o m 's l i g h t i n g d i m m e r t h a n t h e c o m p u t e r s c r e e n t o r e d u c e g l a r e a n d m a k e i t e a s i e r f o r y o u r e y e s t o s e e t h e s c r e e n . • Turn down the brightness and turn up the contrast of the screen settings. DID YOU KNOW? BECOMING "EYEGERNOMIC" — FOR YOU AND YOUR STUDENTS For the fourth year in a row, California's graduation rate climbed as the dropout rate fell, particularly for students of color. Eight out of 10 stu- dents statewide (80.2 percent) who started high school in 2009-10 graduated with their class in 2013. Graduation rates among African American and Hispan- ic students climbed faster than the statewide average, although the rates remained lower overall. Along with the rise in the graduation rate, there was a dip in the drop- out rate. Of the students who started high school in 2009-10, 11.6 percent dropped out. That is down 1.5 percentage points from the 2011-12 dropout rate. Again, the decline in dropout rates among African American and Hispanic students compared favorably to the statewide rates. Among African American students, 19.9 percent dropped out, down 2.2 percentage points from the year before. Among Hispanic students, 14.1 percent dropped out, down 2 percent- age points from the year before. The number of California school districts in fi nancial jeopardy has dropped sharply for the second year in a row. This year's First Interim Status Report for fiscal year 2013-14 shows only 49 local education- al agencies (LEAs) are either in negative or qualified financial status. In last year's First Interim Status Report, there were 124 LEAs in financial jeopardy. Twice a year, the California Department of Education receives Notice of Interim Certifications on the financial status of the state's 1,038 LEAs, comprising school districts, county offices of education, and joint powers agencies. The certifications are classified as positive, qualified or negative. A 2014 Consumer Electronics report shows that 70 percent of U.S. adults experience eyestrain while on digital devices, including computers, tablets and smartphones, yet about half don't know how or have never tried to reduce their visual discomfort, called computer vision syndrome. Research shows that people hold digital devices closer to their eyes than they hold books and newspapers. That forces their eyes to work harder as they strain to focus on tiny font sizes. Digital devices may also be linked to eye fatigue because of a tendency to blink less often when staring at a com- puter screen. People usually blink about 18 times a minute. This naturally refreshes the eyes. But studies suggest that people only blink about half as of- ten while using a computer. This results in dr y, tired, itching and burning eyes. 23 M AY 2 0 1 4 Educator 05 May 2014 v1.6 int.indd 23 5/16/14 3:21 PM

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