America’s Most Challenging High Schools ranks schools through an index invented by Washington Post education columnist Jay Mathews. The index formula is a simple ratio: The number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school in 2013, divided by the number of graduates that year. Noted in our national and local tables is the percentage of students eligible for government meal subsidies — a common benchmark for poverty — and each schools’s average SAT score, a common college entrance exam with a national average of 1498 out of 2400. This year, the list also notes whether each school has an 11-person football team as an indicator of changing school cultures, the subject of Mathews’ analysis of the 2014 results. The list includes some private schools — noted with a (P) — for comparison. Certain public schools with highly selective admissions are omitted from the list, but information about them can be found online, along with full local and national lists, at www.washingtonpost.com/highschoolchallenge.Read full article >>
During her career in newspapers and television, my wife, Linda, was a master at finding the hidden heart of what was going on. While editing stories and managing projects, she had a knack for seeing what was most surprising and interesting in the mass of facts before her. When she had a thought recently about my annual rankings of the nation’s high schools, I listened carefully.Read full article >>
Travis Durfee is a teacher at Watkins Glen Middle School in Watkins Glen, New York who is administering Common Core-aligned standardized tests to students that were designed by Pearson, the education company. In the following piece, which he calls “Driving Lessons,” he looks from within the schoolhouse gates at the disconnect between the mandated exams and the Common Core State Standards that the tests are supposed to be designed to evaluate. He describes his piece this way: ”The essay contrasts my father’s driving lessons with what drives my lessons in the classroom today--the mad dash toward accountability under a new educational paradigm where the Common Core trumps common sense.”Read full article >>
If you doubt the power of the charter school movement, consider this: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, just slapped down New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, over the issue. Or, as education historian Diane Ravitch put it in this piece for the New York Review of Books blog:Read full article >>
Michelle Rhee still doesn’t get it.
The former D.C. schools chancellor and now leader of a national organization that pushes corporate school and attacks teachers unions, just wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post that uses bad analogies and a number of straw men to argue against the growing “opt out” movement in which parents are refusing to allow their children to take high-stakes standardized tests. A small but growing number of educators are refusing to administer the tests, too.Read full article >>
D.C. officials released a proposal for new elementary school boundaries Saturday, the first comprehensive overhaul of the politically sensitive partitions in four decades.
The proposed new lines — redrawn to adjust for schools that are overcrowded or underused and to address travel or safety issues — could affect thousands of families. But even more far-reaching than the reconfigured map is a set of three policy proposals the city also unveiled at a public meeting, parts of which could fundamentally change how students are assigned to traditional public schools.Read full article >>
Virginia’s elementary and middle school students will have fewer Standards of Learning tests starting next school year, since Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) on Friday signed into law a bill that eliminates five tests.Read full article >>