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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: 10 hours 24 min ago

Mathews: A startling waste of precious classroom time

Sun, 06/08/2014 - 1:49pm

Lucia and Ignacia Barajas are sisters who attend Compton High School in southern Los Angeles County. They want an education, but their school seems unable to give them enough time to get one.

During the 2011-2012 school year, Lucia’s biology teacher went on maternity leave. For two months there were nothing but short-term substitutes in the class, most staying only a few days. In the fall 2013 semester, Ignacia’s American history class had more than 10 substitute teachers, and some days none at all. The restless students waited outside the door until they were sent to the library or another classroom.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Did Bill Gates fund an ‘educational coup’?

Sun, 06/08/2014 - 11:55am

My Post colleague Lyndsey Layton has written an illuminating story about the role Bill Gates and his money played in the Common Core State Standards initiative and its adoption by 45 states and the District of Columbia. In great detail, she explains how on one summer day in 2008, two men — Gene Wilhoit, then-director of the Council for Chief State School Officers, and David Coleman, at the time an educational consultant and an “emerging evangelist for the standards movement” — persuaded Gates to fund the creation and marketing of what became the Common Core.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: ‘Sweat shop’ kindergarten: ‘It’s maddening’

Sun, 06/08/2014 - 11:18am

Last week I published some kindergarten schedules from school district Web sites that showed just how much kindergarten has changed in recent years as the drive to push curriculum down through the grades has gathered steam. Rather than learn through structured play, which is how experts say young children learn best, 5- and 6-year-olds are being asked to sit doing math, reading and writing for hours at a time, sometimes with no recess or a very short one. Some teachers have dispensed with snacks during half-day kindergarten because there just isn’t any time. Many kindergartners take home homework every day.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Just ask the teachers

Sun, 06/08/2014 - 10:04am

One of the central features of corporate school reform is that those driving it haven’t bothered to seriously ask teachers to offer their solutions to improving public education. Meg White, an assistant professor in the School of Education at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, looks at this omission in the following post.

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Categories: Education News

How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution

Sat, 06/07/2014 - 7:25pm

The pair of education advocates had a big idea, a new approach to transform every public-school classroom in America. By early 2008, many of the nation’s top politicians and education leaders had lined up in support.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: School’s eighth-grade graduating class had 9 sets of twins (but school didn’t realize it)

Sat, 06/07/2014 - 10:39am

The eighth-grade graduating class of a middle school in suburban Chicago had nine sets of twins — that’s 18 out of 268 students, or a little over 7 percent — but officials didn’t realize it until a parent figured it out last month.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Newseum in D.C. to create free 9/11 curriculum for teachers

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 12:34pm

In an effort to teach current and future generations of young people about what happened to the United States in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the Newseum in Washington D.C. will create a new interactive online curriculum that will be available for free to teachers and students everywhere.

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Categories: Education News

ACT president: Take whichever college admission test suits you. Or take both.

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 11:38am

Not long ago, the ACT surpassed the SAT as the most widely used college admission test in the country. But the president of the testing organization that leads the market advises students to take whichever exam suits them — or both.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Common Core testing group announces timeline for exam delivery

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 11:31am

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, one of the two multi-state consortia designing Common Core tests, on Friday announced its timeline for delivering key components of its assessment system to states for use in the 2014-15 school year.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Six rules for teaching World War II

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 10:28am

The 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied France during World War II seems like a good time to look at how that war (and all wars) should be taught to young people who know may know close to nothing about these historical events and may not see why what happened decades ago is relevant to their lives. Polls and surveys of Americans have shown over the years that a majority don’t know a great deal about important details of World War II although they do view it as a “just war.”

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: What happened when George failed his state standardized test

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

What happens to a young student who fails a mandated standardized test that decides whether he/she can move to the next grade, or to an older student who fails a test that determines if he/she graduates?  Here is a 20-step description of what happened to a boy named George. It was written by educator Kathleen Jasper, founder of ConversationED, a website that offers a platform for conversations about education and courses for schools, districts and companies on action research, leadership and technology. This appeared on the Web site’s blog.

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Categories: Education News

ACT college admission test to report new scores in 2015

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 12:01am

Starting next year, students who take the ACT college admission test will face a more complex task if they choose to write an essay and will receive new scores for English language arts and the combined fields of science and mathematics.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Two more states pull out of Common Core

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 11:16pm

Two Republican governors, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma and Nikki Haley of South Carolina, have just signed laws pulling their states out of the Common Core State Standards initiative amid growing anti-Core sentiment around the country.

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Categories: Education News

Georgetown Day School buying Tenleytown properties

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 7:34pm

Georgetown Day School, one of the region’s top private schools, announced a massive campus consolidation plan Thursday with the purchase of the Tenleytown Safeway and the former Martens Volvo/Volkswagen car dealership properties.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: U-Va. law school mistakenly sends out e-mail with private student data (update)

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 3:15pm

(Update: Statement for University of Virginia)

A University of Virginia law school official mistakenly sent an e-mail to lots of people containing private information about all of its clerkship applicants, with very detailed data about each one, including grade-point average and where friends live.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Judge puts hold on Common Core contract to Pearson

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 12:36pm

Last month I wrote about how the huge education company Pearson won a huge contract with one of the two multi-state consortia designing new Common Core-aligned tests. Pearson was the only bidder for the contract — to develop test items and forms, deliver paper and online versions, etc. — but as it turns out, an education corporation is contesting the contract, contending that the bidding was biased and that it would have tried to win the contract if it had been fair. A judge has ordered that the contract be put on hold while this is investigated.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: The education question we should be asking

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 5:01am

One area of education that doesn’t get enough attention in the loud education reform debate is exactly what is worth learning. In the following post Alfie Kohn explores this problem. Kohn (www.alfiekohn.org) is the author of 13 books about education, parenting, and human behavior, including “The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom about Children and Parenting,” just published this spring. He lectures widely across the United States and abroad.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: A clever way to get rid of teachers

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 4:02am

When the North Carolina Senate late last month rolled out a new step salary schedule for teachers, it was reported in the state media as offering a big raise to educators while taking away job protections. But the new plan isn’t exactly what it seems. It  ”incentivizes”  teachers at specific experience levels to leave the classroom and find another profession. Educator James Hogan explains what lawmakers did in the following post.  The final version may look different when the House and Senate compromise, but this is a look at senators are thinking. Hogan taught high school English for years and runs Teach Kids Productions, which makes mostly short films for schools on literary subjects that are intended to spark discussion in classrooms.

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Categories: Education News

Wilson High principal comes out as gay at school’s Pride Day

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 9:37pm

The principal of one of the District’s largest and most sought-after public high schools came out as gay to the school at a Pride Day event Wednesday, his hands shaking as he said that he had “hid in the shadows for the last 50 years” but was inspired by his students to declare his sexual orientation openly.

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Categories: Education News

Montgomery schools officials to close some meetings on credit card practices

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 8:05pm

A Montgomery County school board committee that is examining board members’ credit card practices plans to close some of its meetings to the public as it reviews elected officials’ expenses.

Board of Education President Phil Kauffman (At Large) said the ad hoc committee — which includes three of the board’s eight members — is exempt from open meetings law requirements because it does not include a board quorum and is not an official board body.

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Categories: Education News
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