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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: 3 hours 2 min ago

One college lands anew in U.S. News rankings, while others are deleted from it

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 11:37am

Sarah Lawrence College, dropped from a U.S. News and World Report ranking several years ago because of an admissions policy shift, is happy to be back. This says something about how college leaders view the rankings they love to hate.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Bill Gates wants your kids to learn history this way — and he’s paying to get it into schools

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 11:01am

Bill Gates can’t seem to stop getting big ideas about public education — and then using part of his fortune to see them implemented.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has spent billions of dollars on various initiatives that Gates thought would help improve public education, including a small schools initiative that he abandoned when he didn’t get the results he wanted; pilot programs in creating controversial teacher evaluation systems linked to student standardized test scores; and promotion of the Common Core State Standards. The foundation has even funded an effort by the Council of Chief State School Officers to evaluate student work for things like creativity.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Michelle Obama’s shout-out to Khan Academy

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 9:53am

The Obama administration keeps expressing its admiration for Khan Academy and its founder, Salman Khan.

Last year, Khan, who started the now-famous Web site that offers thousands of free videos for students in a range of subjects, interviewed Education Secretary Arne Duncan  about the future of education. (You can watch the video here or below.)

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Categories: Education News

U.S. News college rankings: Amid predictability, some major shifts

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 12:01am

St. John’s College in Annapolis has long disdained the rankings game. The liberal arts school, which focuses on the great works of Western civilization, was known for not responding to requests from U.S. News & World Report for information that the magazine uses to sort the nation’s colleges.

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Categories: Education News

Towson freshman dies after being found unresponsive at off-campus apartment

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 11:29pm

A Towson University student died over the weekend after she was found unresponsive at an off-campus apartment.

Baltimore County police said Monday they were still investigating the circumstances that led to the death of 18-year-old Julia Margaret Ratnaraj, a freshman from Sewell, N.J., outside Philadelphia. Ratnaraj’s high school counselor said she was a talented artist who made a difficult decision to attend a different college than her twin sister.

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Categories: Education News

Michelle Obama to students: Challenges are an advantage, not a disadvantage

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 8:45pm

ATLANTA -- Michelle Obama urged African American teenagers in a tough Atlanta neighborhood to push ahead with their studies and make it to college, whatever hardships they face on the way. She talked of her upbringing in working-class Chicago and said the students are “no different” from her.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Anti-testing movement growing, finding success around country

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 4:03pm

A new report on growing resistance to high-stakes standardized testing around the country finds that the movement is growing and meeting some success in numerous states where officials have decided to cut back on the numbers of tests students must take and/or the consequences for students and educators.

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Categories: Education News

Brookland Education Campus celebrates International Literacy Day

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 2:43pm

The students at Brookland Education Campus added an extra minute of reading to their school day Monday, joining with readers around the world for International Literacy Day.

The annual event was started by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to promote reading worldwide.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Why kids should choose their own books to read in school

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 1:00pm

At one time many public schools gave students time to read books of their own choosing, an activity based on the common-sense theory that kids will read what interests them, and that kids who can choose what they read will learn to enjoying reading, and, hence, read more. Unfortunately, many schools no longer let students choose any of the materials that they read. Why this is a problem is explained in this post by Joanne Yatvin, a one time Principal of the Year in Wisconsin and a past president of the National Council of Teachers of English, who has never been able to kick the reading habit.

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Categories: Education News

District to hire a chief student advocate

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 12:53pm

The District is looking for a “Chief Student Advocate” to lead a new effort to help students and their families navigate the school choice process and access educational resources they need.

The person will lead a newly created “Office of the Student Advocate” within the D.C. State Board of Education that was approved by the D.C. Council last year.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Interactive science classes benefit black, first-generation college students, study finds

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 12:28pm

A new study about college-level science shows that all students do much better when traditional lecture classes are made interactive — but those most helped are first-generation and black students.

The study — titled “Getting Under the Hood: How and for Whom Does Increasing Course Structure Work?” — looked at data from six semesters of large science lecture courses at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The researchers compared student achievement in classes  with a traditional structure — in which students listened to a traditional lecture from a teacher and did not do any work until it was time to study the night before an exam — with student achievement in classes that had an interactive structure, in which students did homework that prepared them for performing activities during class, for which they received credit.

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Categories: Education News

Amid whooping cough outbreak, health officials offer free vaccinations

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 9:47am

As Montgomery County grapples with a whooping cough outbreak, health officials are offering free immunizations to seventh grade students this week, part of a continuing effort to get students in line with new state requirements.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: ‘We must push back against the misguided and dangerous belief that a new generation of teachers can emerge spontaneously’

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 4:00am

The Urban Teacher Education Consortium is a national consortium of teacher educators who are dedicated to development strong preparation programs for cities across the country. Members of the consortium have just released a position paper on the training of teachers, releasing it at a time of “encroaching dehumanization and disempowerment of both teachers and their students.”

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Categories: Education News

Virginia man’s claim on African land is unlikely to pass test

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 5:48pm

When Jeremiah Heaton trekked across the desert and planted a flag in an 800-square-mile patch of land between Egypt and Sudan in June, he staked a claim to the area, calling it his “Kingdom of North Sudan.” He said he wanted the barren, craggy swath so his 7-year-old daughter Emily could be a princess, and he vowed to start an agricultural center there.

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Categories: Education News

Whooping cough outbreak in Montgomery includes students at public, private schools

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 5:01pm

Montgomery County’s earliest sign of a whooping cough outbreak came during the first week of the school year, on Aug. 26, when health officials say they got a call about a newly diagnosed case involving a student who had attended a Pennsylvania summer camp.

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Categories: Education News

A custodian in Fairfax continues to serve ‘his’ students

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 4:49pm

The avuncular man with white hair shuffled through the classroom, diligently pushing his broom across every corner and crevice of the linoleum floor, just as he has for the past quarter- century.

Chin Park, 86, is the oldest staffer at Fairfax County’s Mount Vernon High School, and his pride for his custodial work hasn’t diminished even a bit. Neither the years nor his infirmities — he cradles his left arm close to his hips, the result of a 60-year-old war injury — have slowed him down.

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Categories: Education News

How to rate schools without test scores

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 12:22pm

Greg Jouriles works at the school from which I graduated, Hillsdale High in San Mateo, Calif. He teaches social studies. He was the teacher union representative for several years. He is part of an unusually collaborative staff that has raised instruction for all — with complex projects, more writing and oral exams — to a level nearly unheard of in a nonselective school.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Common Core math homework ‘help’

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 10:14am

WGRZ-TV, an NBC affiliate in Buffalo, N.Y., does a useful continuing series called Homework Helper that is designed to assist students and their parents to better understand schoolwork.

The series includes a set of 10 videos aimed at helping decipher Common Core math, with this explanation:

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Does holding kids back a year help them academically? No. But schools still do it.

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 10:00am

It may seem to make sense to hold back for a year a student who can’t read well but a mountain of research shows that it doesn’t actually help. Unfortunately, school reformers don’t seem to care what the research says. Here to discuss this is Paul Thomas, an associate professor of education at Furman University in South Carolina. This appeared on The Conversation.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Testing revolt brews in Florida as Miami schools chief urges delay in new exams

Sat, 09/06/2014 - 4:01pm

In Florida, the state where former governor Jeb Bush (R) pioneered the use of high-stakes standardized tests for school “accountability” purposes, a testing revolt is unfolding.

Late last month, the Lee County school board voted to drop all state-mandated tests as an act of “civil disobedience,” though the vote was rescinded because of fear that students would suffer the consequences.

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Categories: Education News
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