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: 1 hour 23 min ago

Strauss: School reformers love ‘choice,’ except when

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 1:19pm

School “reformers” love to promote “choice.” Charters. Vouchers. Tuition tax credits. It’s all about giving parents choices, right?

Well, not always.

Reformers don’t actually like choice quite so much when:

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Prince William delays SOL testing for a week

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 10:55am

Prince William School officials earned state approval to push back Standards of Learning tests in elementary and middle schools by as much as a week to give students more time to prepare.

The suburban district has canceled school 13 times this year, including Monday, due to snow and ice, one of the highest snow day records in the region.

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On Race to the Top funds, D.C. stumbles

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 12:01am

Of the 12 jurisdictions that won the earliest grants under the Obama administration’s Race to the Top program, the District of Columbia has come under extra scrutiny by federal officials concerned about its ability to manage the money.

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Strauss: Florida moves toward school voucher expansion -- but with no accountability

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 11:04pm

Florida’s legislators appear to be on their way to passing legislation that will greatly expand the state’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program -- a voucher-like scheme that allows public money to be used for private school tuition. A Miami Herald editorial said the plan will “please the few” but undercut “the many,” while Frank Cerabino, a writer for The Palm Beach Post, went further, describing the legislation as an opening gambit in what “promises to be a banner year for the dismantling of public education in Florida.”

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Categories: Education News

D.C. Council member Catania proposes sweeping special-education legislation

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 9:48pm

D.C. Council member David A. Catania introduced a package of legislation Tuesday meant to overhaul special education services by speeding up their delivery to students and strengthening parents’ rights in disputes with schools.

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Yolanda Adams appears in benefit concert to help school in Kenya

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 1:29pm

Award-winning gospel artist Yolanda Adams will headline a fundraiser next month to help Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt expand its cultural exchange program with a school in Kenya.

Adams will appear at Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland for two shows (3 p.m. and 7 p.m.) on April 6.

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Cheh introduces bill to provide poor D.C. children with meals on snow days

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 1:00pm

D.C. Council Member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) introduced a bill Tuesday that would require the District to provide free meals for poor children on days when schools are closed for snow or other inclement weather.

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Strauss: Russia’s plagiarism problem: Even Putin has done it!

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 11:41am

Russia has a really big plagiarism problem. So many businessmen, academics and high-ranking government officials -- President Vladimir Putin included -- have been found to have plagiarized their college and doctoral theses that Russia’s education minister just denounced the revelations, saying they were hurting Russia’s reputation.

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Strauss: 50 myths and lies about public schools

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 4:00am



A valuable new book called “50 Myths & Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools” takes a stark look at some of the worst ideas being promoted by school reformers around the country as ways to improve the public education.

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Strauss: Wyoming is first state to officially reject new science standards

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 3:31pm

This time the ruckus wasn’t as much about evolution as man-made climate change, but whatever the reason, Wyoming has become the first state to legislatively block the Next Generation Science Standards, an initiative aimed at boosting science education across the country.

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Snow days are adding up at Washington area schools this winter

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 3:30pm

This post has been updated to reflect school closures on Monday, March 17.

With a series of storms and cold snaps during the winter of 2013-2014, snow days at the region’s schools have been piling up. The snowstorm that began early Monday morning has led the region’s school systems to cancel school yet again, and school closures in most jurisdictions have passed the number of closures during the 2009-2010 winter, when the area was hit with “Snowmageddon.”

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Categories: Education News

Fairfax teens to send rockets in flight

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 2:35pm

Aspiring teenage rocketeers from 14 Fairfax County schools will take part in qualifying rounds this month for the Team America Rocketry Challenge.

Thirty Fairfax teams, including an all-girls group from Longfellow Middle School, will compete for a spot in the national finals to be held in May at Great Meadow in the Plains, Va. The contest is sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association to promote science, technology, engineering and math among the nation’s youth.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Billionaires are privatizing science too -- not just public education

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 12:48pm

One of the distinguishing features of the modern school reform movement is the extent to which super-wealthy private philanthropists are leading the drive to privatize the public education system. Some of them believe the public system is inefficient, while others simply don’t believe in the public sector -- but whatever the motive, the vast amounts of private money that the wealthy have poured into reform initiatives that they favor have driven the public agenda. But now it turns out that it isn’t just public education that billionaires are privatizing. They are doing it with science, too.

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Strauss: Are American students grossly unprepared for college?

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 4:00am

It has become a common refrain from school reformers that a very large percentage of high school graduates must take remedial classes when they get to college. Are they right? Award-winning Prinicipal Carol Burris of South Side High School in New York looks at this issue in the following post. She has been exposing the problems with New York’s botched school reform effort for a long time on this blog. (You can read some of her work here, here, here, here, and here.)

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Categories: Education News

SAT usage declined in 29 states over 7 years

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 11:02pm

The College Board aims to start a national crusade for college access with a revamp of its SAT admission test to debut in 2016.

But the nonprofit organization faces a major hurdle in its quest: Use of the SAT has shrunk in huge swaths of the country since the test’s last makeover nine years ago.

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Categories: Education News

In Reston, Mini Maker Faire encourages creativity

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 7:12pm

On Sunday afternoon, 7-year-old Russell Welland built a parachute out of coffee filters, cups and pipe cleaners. He wanted to make it fly.

So the amateur aeronautical engineer tested the parachute by putting it in the bottom of a tall plastic tube set atop an electrical fan in a South Lakes High School auditorium.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Parent to officials: ‘if you know it’s wrong but remain silent, you’re complicit in educational malpractice’

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 4:30pm

Here’s a letter from Massachusetts parent Ricardo D. Rosa to the New Bedford School Committee and Superintendent Pia Durkin about high-stakes standardized testing. Rosa explains why he wants to opt his children out of this month’s Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exams and all upcoming high-stakes test, including the Common Core-aligned tests being designed by a consortium of states called PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers).

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Categories: Education News

Mathews: Why I no longer fear the SAT

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 4:28pm

I tried. I really did. When the College Board announced its latest SAT changes and my e-mail box overflowed with analyses of their importance for the future of our republic, I tried to ignore them.

The SAT and its feisty competitor, the ACT, are the most discussed and feared exams in the country, but I learned long ago that they don’t deserve all that attention. I wanted to let this latest SAT freak-out pass without my mentioning it. I decided to weigh in only when otherwise intelligent people began to suggest even more bizarre changes to the test, such as adding ways to measure emotional maturity and creativity.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Town judge -- and ‘spiritual’ weight loss consultant -- elected to NY Regents

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 12:44pm

This is a good example of why it is important to do your homework before you vote. On anything.

New York legislators elected -- and last week the entire body confirmed -- four new members of the state Board of Regents, which makes and oversees education policy and has been under attack for the botched rollout of the Common Core State Standards.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: How three teachers are dealing with Common Core in class

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 10:00am

Love them or hate them, the Common Core State Standards in math and English/Language Arts are being implemented in classrooms in most of the country -- in some places better than others. A nonpartisan organization called Young Education Professionals asked a few teachers how they are dealing with the new standards, and their reports are below. The teachers work in Maryland and Washington and D.C.; Virginia is one of the few states that did not adopt the Common Core. This appeared on the organization’s website.

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Categories: Education News
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