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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: 5 hours 27 min ago

California court rules teacher tenure creates impermissible unequal conditions

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 1:35pm

A Los Angeles judge Tuesday struck down teacher tenure and other California laws that offer job security to educators, a decision that is expected to trigger widespread challenges of teacher job protections nationwide.

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Categories: Education News

Montgomery meetings on credit card practices now open

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 1:14pm

Montgomery County school board committee meetings that are expected to focus on the board’s credit-card practices and expense-reporting procedures will now be mostly open to the public.

Phil Kauffman, president of the Board of Education, said in an interview that a meeting scheduled for Thursday will include a 30-minute closed session for legal advice and then become an open meeting at 11:30 a.m.

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Montgomery schools chief reverses course on proposal to change high school start times

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 11:58am

Schools Superintendent Joshua P. Starr withdrew his support Tuesday from a long-discussed proposal to reset the opening bells of Montgomery County high schools nearly an hour later and allow bleary-eyed teenagers more time to sleep.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Why math fills so many of us with dread

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 7:02am

If you are someone who suffered from math anxiety, you may not believe that it does not have to be a permanent condition. That’s what author  Annie Murphy Paul, who concentrates on how we learn and how we can do it better, explains in the following post. Paul is a contributing writer  for Time magazine, writes a weekly column about learning for Time.com, blogs about learning for a number of websites and contributes to various publications.  She is the author of “The Cult of Personality,” a cultural history and scientific critique of personality tests, and of “Origins,” a book about the science of prenatal influences. Her latest book is “Brilliant: The New Science of Smart.” This post appeared Paul’s Brilliant Blog.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: There are no miracle schools, but there are a lot of really good ones

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 4:01am

For two decades,  Ellie Herman was a writer/producer for television shows including “The Riches,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Chicago Hope” and “Newhart.” Her fiction has appeared in literary journals, among them The Massachusetts Review, The Missouri Review and the O.Henry Awards Collection. In 2007, she decided “on an impulse” to become an English teacher. She got a job at a South Los Angeles charter school that was 97 percent Latino and where 96 percent of the students lived below the poverty line. She taught drama, creative writing, English 11 and 9th grade Composition at a charter high school in South Los Angeles until 2013. That’s when she decided to stop teaching and spend a year visiting classrooms and learning from other teachers. She is chronicling the lessons she is learning on her blog, Gatsby in L.A., where the following post appeared. Here’s an earlier post of hers, titled “Seven things kids need to read better (and raising standards isn’t one of them)”.

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Categories: Education News

Student counterprotesters at Wilson High far outnumber anti-gay Westboro protesters

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 3:46pm

Members of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church picketed the District’s Wilson High School on Monday morning, railing against the school’s gay Pride Day and its principal, who came out as gay to his school community during last week’s pride rally.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Blue-collar and service work takes more smarts than you may think — author

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 3:02pm

Mike Rose is a respected education scholar on the faculty of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and author of a number of books, including “Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Education,” “ Possible Lives: The Promise of Public Education in America,” and Why School? Reclaiming Education for All of Us”.

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Montgomery schools to receive new report on start times

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 2:20pm

It’s a question that has been discussed and debated for more than 18 months: Should high school schedules in Montgomery County be shifted so that sleep-deprived teenagers can get more rest in the mornings?

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Strauss: How much Bill Gates’s disappointing small-schools effort really cost

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 2:03pm

For five years  it has been said that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spent more than $2 billion to fund an initiative to create small high schools in an effort to increase student achievement and graduation rates, all based on the premise that smaller schools were more conducive to learning and retention than larger ones. The reason the $2 billion has been cited is that it was mentioned in the January 2009 annual letter (see below) issued by the foundation and signed by Bill Gates as the co-chair of his foundation. It said in part:

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Categories: Education News

Maya Angelou inspired students at D.C. schools that bear her name

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 1:46pm

Poet and memoirist Maya Angelou’s death late last month triggered a torrent of appreciations for her life from public figures, including President Obama, Oprah Winfrey and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

But Angelou touched plenty of people whose names are not widely known, including hundreds of students at a D.C. charter school that bears her name.

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Categories: Education News

U-Penn. president Gutmann remains bullish on free online courses

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 11:55am

Two years ago prestigious universities banded together to launch a wave of free online courses that seemed a harbinger of a new era in higher education.

The hype about massive open online courses, or MOOCs, has faded somewhat. The revolution, in some ways, is becoming more of an evolution. The notion sometimes bandied about that the emergence of these free online courses will break the business model of higher ed remains wholly unproven.

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Categories: Education News

Common standards for nation’s schools a longtime goal

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 11:36am

The notion that U.S. students should share core knowledge is not new.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower suggested national academic standards were needed as early as 1959. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton both proposed that states voluntarily adopt national standards, efforts that crumbled under charges of federal overreach.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Ravitch: Time for Congress to investigate Bill Gates’ role in Common Core

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 8:01am

The critical role that Bill Gates played in the creation and implementation of the Common Core State Standards initiative is the subject of this story by my Post colleague Lyndsey Layton. She explains how Gates was persuaded  in 2008 by  Gene Wilhoit, then-director of the Council for Chief State School Officers, and David Coleman, at the time an educational consultant  and now president of the College Board,  to use his foundation’s vast fortune to  fund the creation and marketing of what became the Common Core. The story also shows how Gates money was spread around to help the marketing of the initiative to states and other education constituencies. As a result of the article, Diane Ravitch, an education historian who has become the unofficial leader of the movement fighting corporate school reform, called Gates’ involvement in the Core as something of an education “coup” by a private philanthropist. In this post, she urges Congress to hold hearings about the Gates role and the connection between his foundation and the Education Department.

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Categories: Education News

Examples of how Common Core has changed test questions in Mississippi

Sun, 06/08/2014 - 6:08pm

Mississippi, which historically ranks among the lowest-scoring states on achievement  tests administered by the federal government, adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010.  The state slowly phased in the standards until the current school year, and now all Mississippi students are being taught to the new standards. They will take new standardized tests based on the Common Core in spring 2015.

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Categories: Education News

Arlington cracks down on carwash fundraisers

Sun, 06/08/2014 - 4:55pm

The Boy Scouts from Troop 162 in Arlington wanted to raise money for a week-long canoe trip this summer, so they planned to host two carwashes in a church parking lot.

But before they could break out their sponges, buckets and posters, Scoutmaster Michael Ingles heard about new restrictions on charity carwashes at the county’s schools. He looked into the regulations and found something that surprised him: “The only carwash you can do is your own carwash in front of your house,” he said.

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Categories: Education News

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
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