Education News from Washington Post

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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.
Updated: 11 hours 11 min ago

Strauss: Mother of 7 in jail because her kids skipped school dies in cell

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 8:39am

A 55-year-old Pennsylvania mother of seven, sentenced to serve two days in jail because her children were absent too much from school and she couldn’t pay some $2,000 in truancy fines, was found dead in her cell.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: One thing we can learn from Shanghai: How to develop teachers

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 6:02am

Shanghai has been No. 1 on the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, two straight times — in 2009 and 2012 — though it is now considering pulling out of the exercise in part, officials say, because they don’t want to place so much emphasis on standardized tests. That sounds refreshing. And here’s another lesson from Shanghai: how to professionalize teaching and develop teachers. Here to explain how Shanghai does it is Rachel Evans,  a National Board Certified Teacher in Seattle, Washington. Since 2010, she has been an active member of her district’s International Schools Leadership Team, working collaboratively with colleagues to develop a framework for international education for Seattle Public Schools. She is also a Virtual Community Organizer and Collaboratory member with the Center for Teaching Quality.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: AFT’s Weingarten smacks Arne Duncan about his praise for Vergara decision

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 11:27pm

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten just sent a letter (see below) to Education Secretary Arne Duncan blasting him for his statement praising a California judge’s decision to throw out five state statutes that provide job protections to teachers.

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Categories: Education News

D.C. releases new boundaries proposal with emphasis on neighborhood schools

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 8:01pm

D.C. officials on Thursday put forth a new proposal for public school boundaries that would maintain a system of neighborhood schools while providing a pathway for children, particularly those who are disadvantaged, to gain access to schools outside their immediate communities.

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Categories: Education News

With California tenure ruling, a Democratic divide

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 7:52pm

When a California judge struck down tenure and other job protections for teachers this week, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) both applauded, revealing fissures in the once-solid alliance between labor unions and the Democratic Party.

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Categories: Education News

Montgomery school board committee to recommend changes to spending rules

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 7:45pm

A Montgomery County school board committee tentatively agreed Thursday to recommend tightening the district’s expense-reporting practices in the wake of concerns about improper credit card charges and vague rules.

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Categories: Education News

Prince George’s school board approves charter school’s new campus location

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 6:00pm

The Prince George’s County Board of Education on Thursday approved a recommendation by schools chief Kevin M. Maxwell to allow a charter school to lease a vacant elementary school in Forestville, despite objections from some parents about safety concerns.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Real learning doesn’t ‘look like 6-year-olds slumped in chairs … staring at iPads’ — parent tells school board

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 12:16pm

Massachusetts parent Tassia Thomas gave the following testimony to the Cambridge School Committee — a panel of seven members that sets policy and oversees Cambridge Public Schools — earlier this month. It appeared in Cambridge Day , which said it had lightly edited her comments for publication.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: New York Gov. Cuomo may face primary challenge from progressive Democrat

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 6:02am

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, seeking re-election this year, recently secured the endorsement of the progressive Working Families Party, which had been expected to back a challenger but sided with the governor after he made a series of promises about meeting their political agenda. But a good number of party members are unhappy with the choice, especially education activists who oppose Cuomo’s support of corporate school reform and he must face a challenger in the Democratic primary in September. Writing about the possibility and what a challenger could hope to accomplish is Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School, who has been chronicling the flawed implementation of school reform and the Common Core State Standards across the state for some time (here, and here and here and here, for example).

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: California PTA urges sane homework loads

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 4:01am

 Race to Nowhere is a film produced and co-directed by Vicki Abeles about the consequences young people face today as a result of being over-scheduled, over-tested and pressured to achieve. Since the film came out in 2010, Abeles, an attorney and mother of three has been advocating for sane homework policies. In this post she writes about how some parents California finally took steps to stop the enormous homework load their children were dealing with every night and where they hope to take their campaign.

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Categories: Education News

Montgomery’s records reveal school board’s credit card use as policy discussion looms

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 6:40pm

A review of nearly 1,500 pages of records shows that Montgomery County school board members took sharply different approaches to using their district-paid credit cards, with some charging restaurant meals with constituents or elected officials while others barely used the cards at all.

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Categories: Education News

Virginia’s top education officials visit Arlington schools

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 5:50pm

Virginia’s top education officials visited Arlington schools Wednesday during their first visit to a Northern Virginia district since they were appointed earlier this year.

Secretary of Education Anne Holton started in her post in February and State Superintendent Steve Staples’s first day was May 1. The education officials said they want to understand the needs of local school districts and to learn about what is working so they can share with other districts across the state.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: A silver lining in the Vergara decision?

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 12:32pm

A decision by a California judge on Tuesday to strike down — pending appeal — five state statutes that provide job protections to teachers has deeply troubled many teachers and teacher activists concerned about the effect on the profession should the ruling stand. Here is a detailed look on what might be a silver lining in the ruling for those concerned about equity in public education. It was written by Kevin Welner, the director of the National Education Policy Center, is an attorney and a professor education policy at the University of Colorado Boulder.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Assessing learning without tests

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 4:01am

In this era in which standardized tests are the be-all and end-all of accountability, it may seem impossible to imagine a teacher evaluating how well students are learning without giving them a test. Joanne Yatvin actually did it and she explains it in this post. Yatvin is a past president of the National Council of Teachers of English who now supervises student teachers for Portland State University. She also writes books for teachers.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Is this the beginning of the end of teacher tenure?

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 2:45am

Teachers’ unions just got whacked by a California judge who bought the specious argument offered in the “Vergara trial” that state laws giving tenure, seniority and other job protections to public school teachers deprive students of their constitutional right to an adequate education.  Though he stayed his Tuesday decision striking down five state statutes on teacher employment until an appeal could be made, more such lawsuits will now be filed in other states.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: One sweet video: Soldier back from Afghanistan surprises son at school

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 8:02pm

My Post colleague Ovetta Wiggins wrote this story about an Army  soldier who returned from Afghanistan to surprise his son at a school Career Day at a school in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Watch Dellion Sitladin, Sr., who hadn’t seen his son for almost a year, walk in on Career Day event at Langley Park-McCormick Elementary.

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Categories: Education News

Gates Foundation urges delay in using tests for teacher evaluation

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 6:36pm

The Obama administration is resisting mounting calls for a moratorium on using student test scores to evaluate teachers, students and schools.

On Tuesday, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has invested more than $200 million to create, support and implement the Common Core State Standards, said states should hold off from using new standardized tests aligned to the Common Core to evaluate teacher performance.

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Categories: Education News

Howard U.’s board leaders change, among other shifts at schools in the D.C. region

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 6:08pm

With the approach of summer, leadership shifts are in motion at colleges and universities in the Washington region, including a switch atop the Howard University Board of Trustees.

Here are some of the notable developments:

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Categories: Education News

Virginia statewide school takeover board ruled unconstitutional by Norfolk judge

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 5:34pm

A Norfolk Circuit Court ruled Tuesday that a statewide school takeover board created by the Virginia General Assembly to manage struggling schools is not constitutional.

Judge Charles E. Poston said that Virginia’s constitution vests the authority to establish school divisions in the Board of Education, not the General Assembly, and gives local school boards the authority to supervise the schools.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Gates Foundation backs two-year delay in linking Common Core test scores to teacher evaluation, student promotion

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 4:53pm

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation issued an interesting letter (see below) on Tuesday saying that it now supported delaying by two years using student standardized test scores in high-stakes consequences on teacher evaluation and student promotion while schools are learning how to implement the Common Core State Standards and new Core-aligned standardized tests.

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Categories: Education News
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