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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 48 min ago

Skipping a grade is rare, but it might just save the world

Sun, 03/02/2014 - 2:47pm

When Linda Mc­Veigh began second grade at Kit Carson Elementary School in Lawndale, Calif., her teacher saw she was far ahead. She had learned to read at age four from her 12-year-old aunt. The blonde 7-year-old from a rural Oklahoma family was funny and talkative. Her math scores were very high.

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Strauss: Your kid is being bullied at school -- but not in the way you think

Sun, 03/02/2014 - 11:30am

How bad is the standardized testing obsession in public education? Really bad, says James Arnold, the former superintendent of Pelham City Schools in Pelham, Ga., in the following post. A version of this appeared on his blog.

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Fairfax County teachers propose cutting ‘extras’ in protest of lagging salaries

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 9:07pm

Some teachers in Fairfax County are planning to protest lagging salaries by cutting back on work that is outside of their contract, a move that could cause students to miss out on many extra after-school services that teachers provide.

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Prince George’s County schools hope to recruit more male teachers

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 7:39pm

When Albert Lewis attended middle school in Prince George’s County in the late 1990s, he was shocked to walk into his eighth-grade history class and find a black man sitting behind the teacher’s desk.

Nathaniel Laney’s presence was a first for Lewis, who is now a teacher himself. Until then, he had never seen a male teacher outside of gym class.

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Strauss: Why most professional development for teachers is useless

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 12:30pm

There has been a strong reaction to my recent post titled ”A video that shows why teachers are going out of their minds,” which revealed Chicago teachers being led in a professional development session in which they sound like kindergarteners, repeating words in unison. Some commenters on the post defended the practice but most of the comments attacked it, revealing what is well known in the education world: Most professional development (PD) is lousy.

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Alvin Crawley to become next superintendent of Alexandria schools

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 10:06pm

Alvin L. Crawley will become the next superintendent of the Alexandria City Public Schools system, making permanent an interim post he has held since October.

The Alexandria School Board announced the decision Friday afternoon after slightly accelerating the search for a new schools chief in order to meet a state law that says the top position cannot go unfilled for more than 180 days.

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Arlington County schools plan to give every student a tablet in gradual technology rollout

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 9:59pm

Arlington County public schools are planning to introduce a technology initiative starting next school year that would give every student a tablet.

The rollout, included in Superintendent Patrick K. Murphy’s budget proposal, would begin by giving all second-graders iPads and all sixth-graders Chromebooks in the fall. Two new grades would be added each year.

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Sister of young victim of Birmingham church bombing tells students about segregation

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 8:28pm

The students at Kenmoor Middle School in Prince George’s County were about the same age as the young girl in the photo, taken more than 50 years ago.

The picture, along with books and other mementos, sat on a table near E. Dianne Braddock, 69, as she spoke about growing up in the segregated South. But the girl in the photo, dressed in her Sunday best with white-rimmed glasses, a yellow hat and long, white gloves, was not Braddock.

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U. of Richmond’s Ayers will step down in 2015

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 5:12pm

University of Richmond President Edward L. Ayers announced Friday he will step down in June 2015 after he finishes his eighth year as leader of the prestigious private institution in Virginia’s capital.

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Cantor accuses de Blasio of waging a ‘war’ against children in N.Y. charter school debate

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 5:06pm

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) accused New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio of waging a “war” against children after the mayor announced Thursday that he will rescind approvals for three public charter schools to be located inside traditional public schools.

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What cost $60 million and just shut down? This Texas high school football stadium.

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 4:20pm

Let’s take a walk down memory lane, back to the long-forgotten era known as 2012. A high school football stadium in suburban Dallas with an eye-popping price tag — $60 million — opened up that August, drawing quite a bit of attention.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: A video that shows why teachers are going out of their minds

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 9:53am

The video below is not a parody. It shows Chicago Public School teachers in a professional development session that will make you understand why teachers are going out of their minds and to what extent administrators have infantilized teachers.

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Strauss: Winning videos from first White House Student Film Festival

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 7:01am

President Obama is hosting the White House’s first ever Student Film Festival, an event aimed to showcase technology in learning, and below are some of the 16 short films selected to be screened, all of them made by students from elementary through high school.

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Strauss: Why preschool critics are wrong

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 6:00am

W. Steven Barnett is the director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University and he is annoyed. At what? People who keep arguing that preschool has not lasting benefits -- despite evidence to the contrary. In this post he takes on the critics and their interpretation of the research.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Why NAEP isn’t really ‘the nation’s report card’

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 5:00am

The National Assessment of Educational Progress is known across the country as “the nation’s report card” because it is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know in different subjects. The body that oversees NAEP, the National Assessment Governing Board, this week marked its 25th anniversary with a conference in Washington, at which Richard Rothstein and Rebecca Jacobsen made a presentation about the beginnings of NAEP and how its original intentions have become skewed. This post by Rothstein is a shortened version of the presentation. Rothstein is a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, a non-profit organization created to broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers, and also a senior fellow at the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy, University of California (Berkeley) School of Law. Jacobsen is an associate professor of education at Michigan State University. This appeared on the institute’s website.

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Categories: Education News

Ex-Montgomery music teacher indicted on 39 counts of sexual abuse of girls, including rape

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 9:32pm

A former Montgomery County music teacher was indicted Thursday on 39 criminal counts related to his alleged sexual abuse of 14 elementary school girls and rape of a middle school student during his lengthy career in the county’s public school system.

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Categories: Education News

Henderson faces D.C. Council questions about achievement gap, middle schools

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 8:16pm

D.C. Council member David A. Catania recited a litany of data Thursday to illustrate the city’s large and persistent student achievement gaps, using an annual oversight hearing for the school system to ask whether officials are moving quickly enough to improve outcomes for poor and minority children.

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Liberty U. officer who shot student during hammer attack won’t be charged

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 7:58pm

A Liberty University security officer will not be charged in the fatal shooting of a student who attacked him with a hammer in November, according to prosecutors in Lynchburg, Va.

Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Jeffrey Bennett ruled that the officer, A.S. Mulberry, acted in self-defense when he fired two shots at Liberty freshman Joshua Hathaway on Nov. 19 at an off-campus dormitory known as Residential Annex II. Hathaway, 19, swung at Mulberry with a short-handled metal sledgehammer, making Mulberry fear for his safety, according to Bennett’s report.

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Categories: Education News

Arlington schools chief proposes raising pay and cutting 75 jobs

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 6:17pm

Arlington County Schools Superintendent Patrick K. Murphy unveiled a $539.4 million budget plan Thursday that would increase salaries and consolidate services for students pursuing alternative paths to high school graduation.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Gates Foundation opposes release of teachers’ VAM scores in Florida

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 5:16pm

Readers of this blog know that I am not a fan of the “value-added method” of evaluating educators. VAM uses student test scores and adds them into complicated formulas that can supposedly figure out the “value” teachers add to student learning. (Can a complicated formula really factor out the post traumatic stress that affects a student’s ability to take a standardized test or the effects of persistent hunger?) Assessment experts have cautioned that the use of VAM for high-stakes evaluation decisions is a bad idea because the results are generally not valid or reliable, but policymakers have gone ahead and required school districts to use them anyway.

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