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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: 6 hours 23 min ago

More than 200 Fairfax students among National Merit semi-finalists

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 1:13pm

More than 200 Fairfax County students have been named National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists for 2015.

The 205 Fairfax seniors are among 16,000 high school students who are semi-finalists this year for the scholarship program. The students were picked based on their 2013 PSAT and qualifying test scores. The semi-finalists represent the top-scoring students in each state and make up less than one percent of all high school seniors.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: How a Koch foundation influenced a university economics department

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 11:02am

Earlier this year, I published a piece about the role that the billionaire Koch brothers are playing not only in conservative politics but in pushing their own agenda in higher education. The piece was written by Dave Levinthal of the Center for Public Integrity, one of the country’s oldest and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organizations that reveals abuses of power, corruption and betrayal of public trust by public and private institutions. It said in part:

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Categories: Education News

Prince George’s to hold free student immunization clinics Saturday

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 10:27am

The Prince George’s County School System is making a final push for students who have not received the new required immunizations to get their shots before Tuesday’s deadline.

The school district will offer free immunization clinics on Saturday at four schools. Health professionals will be on hand at Bladensburg, Fairmont Heights, Northwestern and Oxon Hill high schools to provide the immunizations. The clinics will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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Categories: Education News

Record donations to colleges in D.C., Maryland and Virginia

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:00pm

The University of Maryland plans to announce Friday that it has received the largest donation in its history, a $31 million gift from Brendan Iribe, a highly successful 35-year-old high-tech entrepreneur who dropped out of U-Md. during his freshman year in the late 1990s. He said the university was an inspiration to him, a place where he forged lifelong relationships, and he wanted to give back to students who are studying, and will study, computer science.

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Categories: Education News

Brendan Iribe, co-founder of Oculus VR, makes record $31 million donation to U-Md.

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:00pm

Brendan Iribe dropped out of college during his freshman year at the University of Maryland to join a throng of young entrepreneurs hoping to shake up the world with high-tech start-ups.

Iribe’s brief tenure in College Park was followed by extraordinary successes in video-game technology, as he held key positions in companies that sold for millions or hundreds of millions of dollars. His latest venture, Oculus VR, which developed the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset, sold to Facebook for $2 billion this year.

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Categories: Education News

Montgomery warns Gaithersburg parents about new whooping cough case

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 7:14pm

Health officials have confirmed another case of whooping cough among Montgomery County students, 16 of whom have become sick since an outbreak in the first week of school.

The newest case was confirmed Wednesday at Gaithersburg High School, the eighth county public school in less than three weeks with a whooping cough diagnosis. A letter was sent to parents notifying them of the highly contagious illness, officials said.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Common Core: What’s true, false and fuzzy

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 4:00pm

Thomas Scarice, the superintendent of Madison Public Schools in Connecticut, has been a vocal critic of high-stakes test-based school reform. This year  he sent a letter to state legislators explaining why these “reforms will not result in improved conditions since they are not grounded in research” and he has spelled out what he sees as the worst effects of the test-based “accountability” movement. In the following post, he attempts to separate myth from truth about the Common Core State Standards. This appeared on the website of Scarice’s school district and in the Shoreline Times.

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Categories: Education News

McKinley Middle School teacher asks students to compare Hitler, Bush

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:31am

One D.C. middle school homework assignment goes a little something like this: Compare and contrast former President George W. Bush with Adolf Hitler.

On Tuesday, as McKinley Middle School students worked on a unit about war and peace, a teacher handed out a worksheet she created that said just that. The Northeast Washington students were told to turn the worksheet in Wednesday after finishing up readings about Hitler and Bush.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Kindergarten teacher: ‘There is a good possibility I will be fired but…’ (update)

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 5:00am

(Update:  Statement from superintendent of district in which teacher works has been added)

Teachers are increasingly speaking up about the onslaught of standardized tests that students in all grades — including  kindergarten — are required to take in public schools today. Some are refusing to administer the tests, which can result in a teacher being dismissed for a breach of contract. Here is a letter that a Florida kindergarten teacher, Susan Bowles of Lawton Chiles Elementary School in Gainesville, Florida, posted on Facebook to the parents of the students in her class, detailing the tests she is expected to give to 5-year-olds and problems that have developed in administering the tests. She also explains why she will no longer give the Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading, or FAIR, tests to her students anymore — even if it cost her her job. She gave me permission to publish it.)

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Education Dept. offers 9/11 teaching materials — but won’t guarantee their accuracy

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 4:00am

Teachers looking for materials to help them devise lesson plans on the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks can find a lot of them on the Internet. There are lesson plans on the website of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, as well as materials on Scholastic. org and  on the New York City schools website, and on The National History Clearing House at George Mason University, created with U.S. Department of Education funds.

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Categories: Education News

Two Howard County students show up to school draped with Confederate flags

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 9:58pm

Days after a Howard County student unfurled a Confederate flag at a football game, two high school students showed up at Glenelg High School on Wednesday with Confederate flags draped over their shoulders.

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Categories: Education News

Two applicants seek to restart D.C.’s Options Public Charter School

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 7:13pm

The D.C. Public Charter School Board has received two applications for potential new charter schools, both of which seek to take over Options, a school for at-risk students that is under court receivership.

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Categories: Education News

Sept. 11 ceremonies a tradition at Montgomery school

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 6:47pm

Thursday marks the 13th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, and at a middle school in Damascus — which lost a former teacher at the Pentagon on 9-11 — it marks another remembrance of that indelible day in history.

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Categories: Education News

In-seat attendance up in D.C. schools

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 4:10pm

D.C. law requires schools to track attendance and get involved when children rack up unexcused absences. But schools are also paying closer attention to students who send in doctors notes or accumulate other excused absences.

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Categories: Education News

Letting families decide homework amount

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 2:08pm

My grandsons don’t get much screen time. By that I mean they are almost never exposed to television, laptops, tablets, smartphones and whatever is the latest thing keeping our youth awash in entertainment.

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Categories: Education News

Arlington schools announce key findings from ‘Big Data’ competition

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 1:15pm

A high-tech team of number crunchers received a $10,000 prize in an Arlington competition aimed at examining public school student data to predict dropout rates.

The Big Data Roundtable event drew 23 teams, including the winning group from Deep Learning Analytics, which had experts from academia, the World Bank and top consulting corporations such as AIG and Booz Allen Hamilton.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Do students learn more when their teachers work well together?

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 11:46am

If you think that focusing on improving relationships among teachers is just a “warm and fuzzy” idea that doesn’t really matter to student achievement, read this post by Esther Quintero, senior fellow at the nonprofit Albert Shanker Institute, where this first appeared.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Long Island high school requires students to wear IDs, sign in and out of bathroom

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 10:46am

A Long Island high school is now requiring students to wear identification cards at all times while in school and to sign in and out of the bathroom every time they use the facilities.

Irene McLaughlin, principal of Northport High School, wrote in a back-to-school letter sent to parents (see below) that the moves are being taken in an attempt to cut down on disciplinary problems and to prevent students from missing a lot of class time. She said that the sign-in process at the bathrooms will be monitored constantly by staff members. “It is important to note,” she wrote, that bathrooms in the commons are “open for use all day, even through change of periods” and that student bathrooms “in the instructional hallways” will be open during class.

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Categories: Education News

Common Core 2.0: Common Core by another name

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 12:01am

This story has been updated to reflect that Maine incorporated the Common Core into its already-existing “Maine Learning Results” instead of adopting a new name for the standards.

As the national debate over the Common Core K-12 academic standards rages on, most of the states that originally adopted them are standing by the standards, though they’re calling them something different.

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Categories: Education News

Olney mother remembers teen and says others can learn from his death

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 7:26pm

His blue Sherwood High School lacrosse jersey was laid out beside his gloves and his stick and his brightly colored cleats. They filled a table near the front of an Olney church, where hundreds gathered Tuesday to mourn Shawn Gangloff.

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Categories: Education News
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