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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: 7 hours 34 min ago

New Coursera chief stresses the ‘wow’ factor of huge audience for free online courses

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 10:31am

A little more than two years ago, the emergence of massive open online courses wowed the higher education world. The sheer scale of the response to free classes from star faculty at prestigious universities boggled minds. A single professor was capable of reaching more students — topping 100,000, say — with one online course than she would have drawn in an entire career of lecturing on campus.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: In surprise move, key legislator allows state testing moratorium to pass

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 4:01am

This actually happened: A key legislator listened to his constituents and changed his mind about an important piece of legislation, which changed the fate of the bill.

It just happened in Rhode Island, where House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello first opposed a three-year moratorium on using a standardized test as a requirement for high school graduation, but then learned about what was at stake for students and decided to support it. Instead of tabling legislation calling for a moratorium, which had already been approved by the state Senate, he allowed it to come up for a vote on the last day of the legislative session and it passed 69-3. It would be surprising if Gov. Lincoln Chaffee did not sign the legislation into law.

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Categories: Education News

How teachers are solving the problem of incompetent teachers

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 8:12pm

Greg Jouriles, one of the best high school teachers I know, still remembers a conversation 17 years ago with a top student. Jouriles was the teacher union bargaining chair. His team had just negotiated the best contract he could get, but he was irked there would be no raises that year. The student seemed unmoved. “Don’t you think we deserve a raise?” Jouriles said.

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Categories: Education News

Fairfax student finishes school with perfect attendance

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 6:12pm

In her 13 years in Fairfax County schools, Catherine Overberg never had a sore throat or a fever. At McLean High School this year, she skipped “senior skip day.”

From kindergarten through her high school graduation last week, Overberg never missed a day of school.

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Categories: Education News

Montgomery schools chief offers new plan to tackle high rates of math exam failure

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 5:53pm

Montgomery County school officials have found no single cause to explain the district’s steep failure rates on high school math exams, but they are proposing a series of steps designed to help boost student performance and close the math achievement gap.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: A teacher’s plea to bosses: Give us ‘time and autonomy to create solutions’

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 11:01am

If you talk to teachers about their jobs, one of the things you will hear most consistently is that they don’t have enough time to plan, collaborate and learn from each other. Here is an open letter from a teacher to superintendents and administrators everywhere explaining why this is so important. It was written by Paul Barnwell, who teaches English and digital media at Fern Creek Traditional High School in Louisville, KY. When not experimenting with urban gardening, bow hunting, writing his blog Mindful Stew, or traveling with his wife, he’s an active participant in Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf Teacher Network and the Center for Teaching Quality‘s Collaboratory.

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Categories: Education News

D.C. school boundary proposal spurs citywide debate about quality

Sat, 06/21/2014 - 5:50pm

D.C. parents and activists are calling the District’s latest proposal to overhaul school boundaries an improvement over previous iterations, but many continue to voice concerns that the plan does not address some of the most pressing challenges facing the city’s public schools.

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Categories: Education News

Montgomery school board race focuses on achievement gap and accountability issues

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 7:45pm

The long ballot for Tuesday’s primary in Montgomery County includes just one Board of Education race: to fill the at-large seat of Shirley Brandman, who is stepping down.

Montgomery’s eight-member board makes policy for a sprawling district with 151,000 students and a $2.3 billion operating budget. Voters will consider four candidates, with the top two vote-getters advancing to November’s general election.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Getting kids involved in summer learning — city by city, town by town, student by student

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 4:26pm

Sarah Pitcock is the CEO of the National Summer Association, which is dedicated to creating quality summer learning opportunities for young people, particularly low-income students who suffer more learning loss over the summer than other students. In this post Pitcock explains the problem of summer learning loss, and some solutions.

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Categories: Education News

Autistic student who graduated at the top of his class shares his valedictory speech

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 4:22pm

Unable to communicate at the age of 3, Montel Medley was diagnosed with autism.

With support from his mother, Roberta, and his teachers in Prince George’s County, Montel went on to earn a 4.0 grade point average at Surrattsville High School, graduated at the top of his class and gained acceptance to Towson University.

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Categories: Education News

In Fairfax, new principal selected for Poe Middle School in Annandale

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 2:19pm

A new principal has been appointed to Annandale’s Poe Middle School, six months after the previous principal was arrested on charges of embezzling school funds.

Maria Eck will join the Poe faculty on July 1 to replace Sonya Swansbrough, who was arrested in November. Swansbrough has been placed on administrative leave without pay.

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Categories: Education News

Prince George’s education foundation raises $120,000 at annual golf fundraiser

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 10:09am

Business owners and Prince George’s County Public School leaders joined on the links and for lunch at the Country Club at Woodmore in Mitchellville Thursday to help raise money for the Prince George’s County public schools.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Special-needs student may be barred from graduating because of two points on standardized test

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 5:01am

Unless the Rhode Island House of Representatives goes along with a Senate-approved moratorium on the use of a standardized test as a requirement for high school graduation, Molly Coffey won’t be able to get a diploma. On that critical test, the 18-year-old, who has a form of Down syndrome,  missed the graduation cutoff by two points, and it simply isn’t enough that she passed all of her classes,  completed her senior project and plays in three sports and participates in the Special Olympics.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Superintendent: The greatest ‘crime’ committed against the teaching profession

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 4:01am

Thomas Scarice, the superintendent of Madison Public Schools in Connecticut, has been a vocal critic of high-stakes test-based school reform. Earlier 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.” In the following piece, he looks at what he sees as the worst effects of the accountability movement.

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Categories: Education News

In TV reports, former JMU student says assailants were given light punishment

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 8:55pm

A former James Madison University student who said she was sexually assaulted by three male students on a spring break trip has charged that the university gave the men a light punishment despite finding them responsible for misconduct, according to television reports this week.

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Categories: Education News

D.C. Public Schools will take a hiatus from test-based teacher evaluations with move to Common Core exams

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 7:21pm

D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced Thursday that test scores will not play a part in teacher evaluations next year, a move meant to alleviate anxiety and account for unexpected complications as the city shifts to exams based on the Common Core State Standards.

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Categories: Education News

Michelle Obama addresses hundreds of graduates helped by D.C. CAP

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 7:10pm

Da’Quan Jones graduated this week from the District’s Roosevelt High School and is heading off to Hampton University, where he plans to study business management and theater arts.

In earning his high school diploma, Jones already has beaten the odds — just 38 percent of African American men graduate from high school on time in the District. Now, with the help of the D.C. College Access Program — an organization that has played a key role in boosting the number of D.C. students who go to and get through college — he is seeking to become the first man in his family to pursue higher education.

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Categories: Education News

Field test of Common Core exams went well, officials say

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 4:19pm

More than 1 million students in 14 states tested new Common Core standardized exams this spring, and the experiment went well, the test creators said Thursday.

The field tests — administered to students in grades 3 through 11 in Maryland, D.C. and elsewhere — were meant to help fine-tune the online exams before they go live next year.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: And now, a Common Core brawl

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 12:18pm

You’d think that the heated debate, overcharged rhetoric and complete nonsense being spouted for and against the Common Core State Standards would be enough for one education reform. But no, now we have a brawl. Yes, in Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal — who loved the Core before he hated it — has essentially declared war on other state officials with whom he agreed for years. And now teachers and students are in the crosshairs of a political fight that has everything to do with presidential politics and nothing to do with learning how to read and write.

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Categories: Education News

9 things you didn’t know about Eric Williams, Loudoun’s next superintendent

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 11:25am

Next week marks the end of a more than two-decade run at the helm of the Loudoun County Schools for Edgar B. Hatrick III.

The longest-serving schools chief in the region will retire June 30. Eric Williams, a relative unknown to county residents, will take charge. Williams has been the superintendent of York County schools in Virginia since 2008. He’s also a former high school history teacher in Fairfax.

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Categories: Education News
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