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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: 2 hours 48 min ago

Fairfax Parent groups to host discussions on teen alcohol and drug use

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 4:00pm

Parent groups in Fairfax are hosting a series of talks for parents featuring area teens openly discussing alcohol and drug use among high schoolers on the weekends.

The “Saturday Night in the Suburbs” events will kick off tonight at 7 p.m. at Herndon High School.

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Are math textbooks ready for Common Core?

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 12:03pm

The most visible symbols of the nation’s long-criticized, mile-wide, inch-deep traditional math standards are the 15-pound textbooks that students have been hauling back and forth from school for years.

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Strauss: Class size matters a lot, research shows

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 9:00am

Every now and then someone in education policy (Arne Duncan) or education philanthropy (Bill Gates) or the media (Malcolm Gladwell) will say something about why class size isn’t really very important because a great teacher can handle a boatload of kids.

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Strauss: One way to help solve America’s major curriculum problem

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 5:00am

Common Core State Standards, accountability, benchmarks, teacher quality, evaluation, test design and uses, value-added measurement, Race to the Top, international comparisons -- all of these are at the center of fierce debates in the education world. Marion Brady argues in this post that they are all sideshows to the real problem in American schools -- curriculum -- and he offers a way out. Brady has worked as a teacher, administrator, college professor, contributor to academic journals, textbook and professional book author, consultant to publishers and foundations, newspaper columnist.

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Will Dartmouth figure out big applicant drop?

Sun, 02/23/2014 - 10:18pm

If there were a prize this year for cluelessness in American higher education, it would go to Dartmouth College. That fine Ivy League institution has a brilliant faculty, terrific students and a lovely New Hampshire campus, yet seems unable to realize how ignoring high school students’ hard work and financial needs has hurt its reputation.

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After Fairfax County student deaths, a renwed focus on mental health

Sun, 02/23/2014 - 9:27pm

The back-to-back deaths this month of two students connected to Langley High School both shocked the school community and renewed the Fairfax County school system’s focus on teens’ mental health.

Within hours of the news that the two students had killed themselves on consecutive days, school and county officials were gathering to help Langley students and staff cope with their grief and determine what led to the tragedies. The healing process is underway, said School Board member Jane K. Strauss, whose Dranesville district includes the high school. But many answers are still elusive.

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Audit of D.C.TAG scholarship program shows millions of dollars unaccounted for

Sun, 02/23/2014 - 8:02pm

The popular D.C. tuition assistance program that helps city students pay for college can’t explain how millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent since 2004, according to an unreleased audit that describes weak financial controls and management problems at the city agency that administers the program.

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D.C. charter board adopts new way to judge alternative schools

Sun, 02/23/2014 - 6:42pm

The D.C. Public Charter School Board has adopted a new way to define “alternative schools” and judge their performance, taking an important step toward plugging a hole in the board’s system for identifying which city charter schools are serving students well and which need to either improve or be closed.

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Strauss: Why test-based school reform isn’t working -- by the numbers

Sun, 02/23/2014 - 2:00pm

Award-winning Prinicipal Carol Burris of South Side High School in New York 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.) In the following post she looks at irrefutable data to show that the test-based reforms are taking public education down the wrong road. Burris was named New York’s 2013 High School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and in 2010, tapped as the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State. She is the co-author of the New York Principals letter of concern regarding the evaluation of teachers by student test scores. It has been signed by thousands of principals teachers, parents, professors, administrators and citizens. You can read the letter by clicking here.

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Fairfax school chief uses staff cuts, raises as budget tactic

Sat, 02/22/2014 - 7:57pm

Fairfax County’s new school superintendent made her priorities clear when she unveiled her first budget proposal, which calls for classroom teachers and staff to receive significant raises next year, at a cost of $41 million.

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Two Fairfax school board members attend ‘off the record’ community meeting on budget

Sat, 02/22/2014 - 5:16pm

Two Fairfax County school board members participated in what was described as an “off the record” community meeting Saturday morning at Luther Jackson Middle School to discuss the budget for the next school year.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: You think you know what teachers do. Right? Wrong.

Sat, 02/22/2014 - 12:30pm

You went to school so you think you know what teachers do, right? You are wrong. Here’s a piece explaining all of this from Sarah Blaine, a mom, former teacher and full-time practicing attorney in New Jersey who writes at her parentingthecore blog, where this first appeared.

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Ole Miss police seek to question three students in noose case

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 7:04pm

Three white freshmen at the University of Mississippi are being sought for questioning in the racially-charged vandalism of the school’s James Meredith statue, according to the university.

A noose and a Georgia flag from before 2003 (the year the state flag stopped including a Confederate battle flag) were discovered on the statue Sunday morning. Authorities had said they were looking for two men seen in the area and shouting racial slurs, but added that the third man’s name was also prominent in the investigation.

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Strauss: Study: High school grades best predictor of college success -- not SAT/ACT scores

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 5:29pm

A three-year national study of colleges that do not require applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores found only “trivial” differences in the college graduation rates or the cumulative grade point average of students between those who do and those who do not send in their standardized test results.

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Work limits may be easing for Va. adjunct college instructors; federal health law at issue

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 5:18pm

Virginia’s limits on the work schedule of part-time college instructors, imposed last year to minimize health insurance expenses of public community colleges under the Affordable Care Act, appear to be easing for at least some of the adjunct professors.

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Strauss: Jon Stewart rips bill allowing teachers, parents to hit kids hard enough to bruise

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 4:42pm

Put this in the you-can’t-make-up-this-stuff category: A legislator in Kansas was pushing legislation to allow teachers and parents to whack kids hard enough to bruise. Why? Out of the mistaken belief that beating up children is an effective disciplinary method.

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Categories: Education News

LSU chief cheers federal college ratings plan

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 3:52pm

There are plenty of college presidents skeptical of President Obama’s plan to rate their schools on value and access. But don’t overlook those who support the idea, such as F. King Alexander of Louisiana State University.

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Categories: Education News

Fairfax schools to host STEM events

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 2:55pm

Fairfax County schools will host two upcoming events for students interested in science, technology, engineering and math.

On Saturday, middle and high school students, parents and teachers keen to learn more about future trends in STEM-related fields can gather at Chantilly High School from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The expo will include presentations on how to prepare for a STEM career from experts from the CIA, Northrop Grumman, the FBI and Micron Technology. Exhibitors will also provide students with information on businesses, industries and educational opportunities involving technology, engineering, math and health and medical sciences. Those interested in attending the expo can register here.

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Categories: Education News

Alexandria School Board reconsolidates middle schools

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 2:53pm

The Alexandria School Board unanimously approved a plan Thursday night to re-consolidate the city’s middle schools, dissolving the five smaller schools within schools that were created just four years ago.

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Categories: Education News

Baker files for reelection less than a year after school governance changes take effect

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 2:05pm

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), who has told county residents to “judge this administration” on what happens to the school system, filed for reelection on Friday.

Baker’s bid for a second term comes less than a year after he sought a complete takeover of the county’s long-struggling school system.

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