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The Washington Post Local Education section provides coverage and analysis of schools, home school and education policy for DC, Maryland and Virginia. With in-depth coverage and analysis of Washington, DC education and schools, including DC charter schools, DC Schools Chancellor, DC teacher contract news and map of DC schools.
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New rules planned for colleges to track dating violence, domestic violence and stalking

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 11:08am

The federal government is pushing colleges for the first time to make public a tally of reports of dating violence, domestic violence and stalking.

The Obama administration announced Thursday that proposed regulations will require colleges to compile and disclose statistics on such incidents to comply with a federal law enacted last year. A final version of the regulations is expected to be published on Nov. 1.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Aren’t California tenure policies in fact unreasonable? Plus 4 more Vergara questions asked and answered

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 5:02am

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu handed down a ruling in Vergara vs California this month tossing out California statutes providing job protections to teachers, siding with plaintiffs who argued that California children who live in low-income families receive an inadequate education because they get weak teachers who can’t be fired. The ruling has been stayed until an appeal can be heard, but there are a lot of questions about the judge’s decisions as well as tenure policies in California. Here are five key issues explained by Kevin Welner, the director of the National Education Policy Center, an attorney and a professor education policy at the University of Colorado Boulder. Last week, Welner wrote a piece about the case trial, titled “A silver lining in the Vergara trial?”

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: From Redskins to Redhawks: Why one Washington high school changed team name after 88 years

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 4:01am

This week, a Washington state high school whose sports teams were known as the Redskins for 88 years gave final approval for a new logo with the team’s new name: The Redhawks. Why did it make the change? Because it determined that while tradition was important and change is hard, the Redskins name is disparaging and should be “retired with honor and dignity.” The story of this name change at Port Townsend High School in Washington state seems particularly relevant given that on Wednesday, the Redskins professional football team learned that it was losing its trademark protection after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled that the name is disparaging to Native Americans. This happened once before and the decision was later overturned, but it seems less likely that a Redskins appeal this time would come out successful. The owner of the Redskins, Daniel Snyder, has been resisting calls to change the team name. But some high schools around the country have decided that it is time to give up the Redskins name, including Port Townsend High School. After a parent complained about the Redskins name in 2012, the school formed a committee to conduct a review of the name last year. The panel’s report could in fact be a template for any other teams looking to find their way out of a Redskins controversy, the Peninsula Daily News reported. The Mascot Study Committee Report said in part:

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Categories: Education News

Report shows school disengagement among Latino youth

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 12:01am

High dropout rates and school disengagement among Montgomery County’s fast-growing Latino population appear to stem from such factors as low expectations from teachers, a lack of parental involvement and not having regular computer access at home, according to a study released Thursday.

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Categories: Education News

Prince George’s considers lifting cellphone ban in county schools

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 7:00pm

A Prince George’s County school board committee agreed Wednesday night to recommend that the school system do away with rules that prohibit students from using cellphones during the school day, the strictest cellphone regulations in the Washington region.

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Categories: Education News

Analysts: Federal government should cut funding from lowest-performing colleges

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 6:22pm

The federal government spends billions of dollars a year on higher education but almost never cuts off funding to colleges and universities that struggle to fulfill their mission.

One reason is that policymakers are reluctant to penalize students enrolled in these schools. Another is a lack of consensus on what constitutes the lowest acceptable performance.

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Categories: Education News

Starbucks chooses Arizona State to deliver online college courses for employees

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 5:48pm

Like an extra shot of espresso in a cup of coffee, the announcement this week that Starbucks will spend millions of dollars to help its employees take online college courses at low cost or for free sent a jolt through the world of higher education.

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Categories: Education News

Jindal says he’s withdrawing Louisiana from Common Core standards

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:45pm

Tensions over the Common Core in Louisiana erupted into an intramural battle Wednesday as Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) declared he was withdrawing his state from the national education standards while the state’s top education officials insisted Louisiana would keep them.

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Categories: Education News

White House Maker Faire aims to inspire new generation of tinkerers

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 1:11pm

President Obama invited dozens of tinkerers, inventors and entrepreneurs to show off their creations at the White House Wednesday during its first-ever Maker Faire.

Obama said he hopes to “inspire a new wave of innovation”  among Americans that can bring new jobs and new industries that will help rebuild the nation’s economy.

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Categories: Education News

At Hayfield graduation, principal David Tremaine’s death looms large

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:00pm

On Tuesday afternoon, Hayfield Secondary senior Derek Kominars received his diploma, a feat that almost never happened.

At a candlelight vigil the night before, Kominars credited his success to former principal David Tremaine, who died Monday after a three-year struggle with colon cancer. Tremaine, 49, joined Hayfield in 2010, and Tuesday’s graduating class was made up of the freshmen from his first year as principal. One of them was Kominars.

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Categories: Education News

How not to blow $100 million on schools

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:53am

In a recent New Yorker piece, my former Washington Post colleague Dale Russakoff exposed the realities of big-money school reform. She described, in depressing detail, how the $100 million donated by Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg to transform public education in Newark was sucked into the vortex of that troubled school system, leaving few traces of improvement.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Sarcasm, Scarlett Johannson and why machines should never grade student writing

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 6:01am

Can machines really grade essays as well as humans? Naturally, there is a study that says they can (there are studies saying just about everything), but a number of experts say otherwise. Here’s one of them, writing about why the machines are inferior graders and should not be used. It was written by Maja Wilson, the author of “Rethinking Rubrics in Writing Assessment” and the coauthor, with Richard Haswell, of “Professionals Against Machine Scoring Of Student Essays In High-Stakes Assessment” (humanreaders.org). She taught adult basic education, alternative education, and high school English in Michigan’s public schools for ten years. This fall, she will join the teacher education faculty at the University of Maine, Farmington.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: What real learning actually looks like in class

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 4:01am

For decades educator Marion Brady has been writing about what real learning looks like in class — and it frankly doesn’t resemble much of what you’d see today in public schools where standardized tests drive what and how teachers teach. In the following post Brady explains what project-based learning is and why it is superior to the current theory under which teachers labor. Brady, a veteran classroom teacher, who has written history and world culture textbooks (Prentice-Hall),  professional books, numerous  nationally distributed columns (many are available here), and courses of study. His 2011 book, “What’s Worth Learning,” asks and answers this question: What knowledge is absolutely essential for every learner? His course of study for secondary-level students, called “Connections: Investigating Reality,” is free for downloading here. Brady’s website is www.marionbrady.com.

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Categories: Education News

Montgomery to reexamine later high school start times

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 8:14pm

The Montgomery County Board of Education asked Tuesday for new, lower-cost options for shifting high school start times, opposing a recommendation from Superintendent Joshua P. Starr to shelve the district’s effort to give teens more time to sleep.

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Categories: Education News

Plan to build school on Arlington parkland draws protests

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 7:05pm

Advocates for open space in Arlington are organizing a campaign to quash a proposal by the Arlington School Board to build a new elementary school on parkland next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School.

“The school board voted to take land purchased for parks and pave it for parking lots and new buildings,” Jim Presswood, a leader of an advocacy group, said in a statement Tuesday. “This was not what voters wanted when they approved park bond issues.”

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Categories: Education News

Students pushing Potomac bluestone for official D.C. rock

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 6:26pm

The District has an official flower, the American Beauty rose. The city also has an official bird, the wood thrush, and an official tree, the scarlet oak. But unlike most U.S. states, it has no official rock.

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Categories: Education News

In Fairfax, Colvin Run students talk with astronauts on space station

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 4:34pm

Students at Fairfax County’s Colvin Run Elementary made an unusual long-distance phone call Tuesday, connecting with NASA astronauts orbiting Earth aboard the International Space Station.

The video conference was part of a NASA effort to promote science in schools and allowed 19 curious students the rare opportunity to pose questions about the effects of gravity, or lack thereof, to the astronauts as they floated upside down in space.

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Categories: Education News

State prosecutors investigate school board’s use of credit cards in Montgomery County

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 4:29pm

Maryland state prosecutors are investigating whether the Montgomery County Board of Education’s use of county-issued credit cards amounts to criminal misconduct, according to officials familiar with the probe and a subpoena issued this month.

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Categories: Education News

D.C. school-boundary overhaul triggers discussion about school quality

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 1:45pm

The tension between neighborhood schools and school choice was on full display Monday night at the District’s Savoy Elementary, where several dozen parents and community members showed up to weigh in on the city’s latest proposal to overhaul school boundaries and student-assignment policies.

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Categories: Education News

Montgomery schools official to repay district for purchases listed in expense reports

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 1:40pm

Expense account records show that a deputy schools superintendent in Montgomery County charged $486 to her publicly funded credit card for a computer bag and leather computer carry-all.

Records released this month show that Kimberly A. Statham, deputy superintendent for teaching, learning and programs, bought the items in May 2013, during a trip to Chicago for a conference.

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Categories: Education News
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