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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 12 min ago

Fairfax schools band directors win honors

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 1:16pm

Two Fairfax County band directors received honors this month for exemplary leadership in musical education.

Jane Morgan, who teaches at Stratford Landing and Waynewood elementary schools, and Linda Gammon, of Rachel Carson Middle, were named the 2013-2014 band directors of the year by the Fairfax County Band Directors Association.

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Alternative education gets a remake in Montgomery schools

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 12:38pm

School board members in Montgomery County got their first detailed look this week at a new plan to turn around the district’s beleaguered alternative education program for students in middle and high school.

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Loudoun School Board approves pilot musical theater magnet

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 9:25am

The Loudoun County School Board has approved a musical theater pilot program that is scheduled to start next fall at Heritage High School.

As many as 32 talented high school juniors or seniors will be selected for the part-time magnet program, designed to give them an edge when applying for specialized arts programs in college or pursuing work in the field.

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Strauss: Education reform and the corrosion of community responsibility

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 7:00am

The law of unintended consequences essentially states that individual and government actions always have some unintended consequences. In the following post, Arthur H. Camins writes about the unintended consequences of many education reform policies. Camins is the director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. The ideas expressed in this article are his alone and do not represent Stevens Institute. His other writing can be found at www.arthurcamins.com .

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In a first, Agriculture Dept. plans to regulate food marketing in schools

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 11:10pm

For the first time, the federal government plans to regulate how food is marketed in public schools, part of first lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to reduce the allure of unhealthy foods to the nation’s children.

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D.C. schools announce $5 million satisfaction initiative

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 7:56pm

D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced Tuesday that she will set aside $5 million in next year’s budget to help city schools boost student satisfaction.

The move comes in response to pleas from parents, teachers and principals to invest in making schools places that children enjoy and are excited about, Henderson said in a call with reporters Tuesday.

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Strauss: First black female Ole Miss student body president reacts to newest racial incident at university

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 6:30pm

Kimbrely Dandridge was elected as the first black, female student body president at the University of Mississippi in 2012, and now is a first-year law student at Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law. A recent racial incident at Ole Miss caused her to write the following piece, which was published on the Hechinger Report and excerpts of which first appeared in the The Daily Mississippian.

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First lady’s junk food plan redux

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 6:04pm

Earlier today, I wrote about regulations proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that would ban, for the first time, advertising in public schools that pushes foods high in fat, sugar, salt — otherwise known as junk food.

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Strauss: The most meaningless teacher evaluation exercise ever?

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 5:02pm

If ever there were a meaningless exercise in the annals of evaluation, it would be this one.

The Florida Times-Union newspaper sued the state Education Department to get access to what are called “value-added” scores of teachers that are used to make high-stakes decisions about their jobs. These scores come from student standardized test scores, which are then plugged into a complicated formula that supposedly can calculate the “value” a teacher adds to a student’s achievement. In Florida, half of a teacher’s evaluation comes from these scores and the other half from administrative observation; the ratios are different in different states.

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Winners and losers in D.C. school renovation funding shift

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 4:05pm

Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) is seeking to shift nearly $100 million in school capital funds for the current fiscal year, a move that would accelerate renovations at some schools and delay expected work at others.

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Pr. George’s school board to vote on $1.75 billion budget

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 2:41pm

The Prince George’s County Board of Education is expected Tuesday night to approve a $1.75 billion budget proposed by Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell that expands programs to boost academic achievement, provides more professional development for teachers and promotes parent involvement.

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Maxwell hires Shawn Joseph as deputy school superintendent in Prince George’s County

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 9:30am

Prince George’s County Schools Chief Kevin M. Maxwell has hired a former school superintendent from Delaware to serve as deputy superintendent, signaling that Maxwell has not finished assembling his new executive cabinet.

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Strauss: The forgotten factor in student achievement: the student

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 5:00am

Will Fitzhugh is the founder and editor of The Concord Review, believed to be the world’s only English-language quarterly review for history academic papers by high school students. The Review, founded in Massachusetts in March 1978, comes out four times a year and has published more than 1,000 history research papers -- with an average of 6,000 words, with end notes and bibliography -- from secondary student authors in 46 states and nearly 40 countries. The latest edition, Winter 2013, includes research papers on Jackie Robinson, the Proclamation of 1763 and the German Navy in World War I.

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Strauss: Oscar-nominated ’12 Years a Slave’ to be distributed to high schools

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 11:50pm

After I saw “12 Years a Slave” late last year, I wrote that it was a film that mature high school students could and should see to help understand the realities of the horrors of slavery in the United States. The movie, based on an 1853 memoir of the same name by Solomon Northrup, tells with great power the story of how an educated and accomplished free black man was kidnapped, sold into slavery and held for a dozen years.

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D.C. official faces questions about D.C. TAG audit

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 7:40pm

D.C. Council members on Monday quizzed State Superintendent of Education Jesús Aguirre about an unreleased audit showing that city officials cannot account for nearly $10 million in federal taxpayer dollars meant for a tuition assistance program that helps D.C. students pay for college.

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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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