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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: 9 hours 49 min ago

Strauss: Common Core: What’s true, false and fuzzy

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 4:00pm

Thomas Scarice, the superintendent of Madison Public Schools in Connecticut, has been a vocal critic of high-stakes test-based school reform. This year  he sent a letter to state legislators explaining why these “reforms will not result in improved conditions since they are not grounded in research” and he has spelled out what he sees as the worst effects of the test-based “accountability” movement. In the following post, he attempts to separate myth from truth about the Common Core State Standards. This appeared on the website of Scarice’s school district and in the Shoreline Times.

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Categories: Education News

McKinley Middle School teacher asks students to compare Hitler, Bush

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:31am

One D.C. middle school homework assignment goes a little something like this: Compare and contrast former President George W. Bush with Adolf Hitler.

On Tuesday, as McKinley Middle School students worked on a unit about war and peace, a teacher handed out a worksheet she created that said just that. The Northeast Washington students were told to turn the worksheet in Wednesday after finishing up readings about Hitler and Bush.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Kindergarten teacher: ‘There is a good possibility I will be fired but…’ (update)

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 5:00am

(Update:  Statement from superintendent of district in which teacher works has been added)

Teachers are increasingly speaking up about the onslaught of standardized tests that students in all grades — including  kindergarten — are required to take in public schools today. Some are refusing to administer the tests, which can result in a teacher being dismissed for a breach of contract. Here is a letter that a Florida kindergarten teacher, Susan Bowles of Lawton Chiles Elementary School in Gainesville, Florida, posted on Facebook to the parents of the students in her class, detailing the tests she is expected to give to 5-year-olds and problems that have developed in administering the tests. She also explains why she will no longer give the Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading, or FAIR, tests to her students anymore — even if it cost her her job. She gave me permission to publish it.)

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Education Dept. offers 9/11 teaching materials — but won’t guarantee their accuracy

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 4:00am

Teachers looking for materials to help them devise lesson plans on the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks can find a lot of them on the Internet. There are lesson plans on the website of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, as well as materials on Scholastic. org and  on the New York City schools website, and on The National History Clearing House at George Mason University, created with U.S. Department of Education funds.

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Categories: Education News

Two Howard County students show up to school draped with Confederate flags

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 9:58pm

Days after a Howard County student unfurled a Confederate flag at a football game, two high school students showed up at Glenelg High School on Wednesday with Confederate flags draped over their shoulders.

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Categories: Education News

Two applicants seek to restart D.C.’s Options Public Charter School

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 7:13pm

The D.C. Public Charter School Board has received two applications for potential new charter schools, both of which seek to take over Options, a school for at-risk students that is under court receivership.

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Categories: Education News

Sept. 11 ceremonies a tradition at Montgomery school

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 6:47pm

Thursday marks the 13th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, and at a middle school in Damascus — which lost a former teacher at the Pentagon on 9-11 — it marks another remembrance of that indelible day in history.

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Categories: Education News

In-seat attendance up in D.C. schools

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 4:10pm

D.C. law requires schools to track attendance and get involved when children rack up unexcused absences. But schools are also paying closer attention to students who send in doctors notes or accumulate other excused absences.

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Categories: Education News

Letting families decide homework amount

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 2:08pm

My grandsons don’t get much screen time. By that I mean they are almost never exposed to television, laptops, tablets, smartphones and whatever is the latest thing keeping our youth awash in entertainment.

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Categories: Education News

Arlington schools announce key findings from ‘Big Data’ competition

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 1:15pm

A high-tech team of number crunchers received a $10,000 prize in an Arlington competition aimed at examining public school student data to predict dropout rates.

The Big Data Roundtable event drew 23 teams, including the winning group from Deep Learning Analytics, which had experts from academia, the World Bank and top consulting corporations such as AIG and Booz Allen Hamilton.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Do students learn more when their teachers work well together?

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 11:46am

If you think that focusing on improving relationships among teachers is just a “warm and fuzzy” idea that doesn’t really matter to student achievement, read this post by Esther Quintero, senior fellow at the nonprofit Albert Shanker Institute, where this first appeared.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Long Island high school requires students to wear IDs, sign in and out of bathroom

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 10:46am

A Long Island high school is now requiring students to wear identification cards at all times while in school and to sign in and out of the bathroom every time they use the facilities.

Irene McLaughlin, principal of Northport High School, wrote in a back-to-school letter sent to parents (see below) that the moves are being taken in an attempt to cut down on disciplinary problems and to prevent students from missing a lot of class time. She said that the sign-in process at the bathrooms will be monitored constantly by staff members. “It is important to note,” she wrote, that bathrooms in the commons are “open for use all day, even through change of periods” and that student bathrooms “in the instructional hallways” will be open during class.

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Categories: Education News

Common Core 2.0: Common Core by another name

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 12:01am

This story has been updated to reflect that Maine incorporated the Common Core into its already-existing “Maine Learning Results” instead of adopting a new name for the standards.

As the national debate over the Common Core K-12 academic standards rages on, most of the states that originally adopted them are standing by the standards, though they’re calling them something different.

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Categories: Education News

Olney mother remembers teen and says others can learn from his death

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 7:26pm

His blue Sherwood High School lacrosse jersey was laid out beside his gloves and his stick and his brightly colored cleats. They filled a table near the front of an Olney church, where hundreds gathered Tuesday to mourn Shawn Gangloff.

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Categories: Education News

Prince William County reburies remains unearthed in school construction project

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 6:06pm

By 2016, a now-rocky plot south of Manassas will be home to rowdy football games and a new high school.

But on Saturday, it was the site of a solemn moment as Prince William County school officials and members of a local family gathered to dedicate a burial plot for the remains from a more than century-old grave. The grave, which likely belonged to ancestors of the Lynn family, was unearthed when contractors were preparing to build playing fields for the new school.

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Categories: Education News

Howard County Schools disciplines student who displayed Confederate flag at game

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 5:53pm

A Howard County student who unfurled a Confederate flag at a high school football game was disciplined, according to a spokeswoman for the school system.

Rebecca Amani-Dove, the spokeswoman, would not say what type of action was taken against the Glenelg student who displayed the flag while standing at the top of the bleachers during the season opener between Glenelg and River Hill high schools on Friday night. The student was immediately told to take the flag down.

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Categories: Education News

On U.S. News glamour lists, public colleges and universities are scarce at the top

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 4:58pm

Most college students in the United States — more than seven of every 10 — attend public institutions of higher education. The reason is straightforward: These schools have larger capacity and lower tuition.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: How U.S. News concocts its college rankings

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 3:53pm

U.S. News& World Report just released the 2015 version of its famous college rankings (which, frankly isn’t very different from the 2014 version). Princeton is No. 1. Harvard is No. 2. Yale is 3. And it turns out, there are three No. 4s — Columbia, Stanford and Chicago. Stanford and Chicago  both shared No. 5 last year, but this year, they got just that much better to move on up.

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Categories: Education News

Prince George’s Board of Education to hold retreat this week

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 2:44pm

The Prince George’s County Board of Education this week will hold its second retreat since the school system underwent a major overhaul last year.

This time, the reconfigured board will focus some of its attention on defining and developing “a more effective working relationship” with Kevin M. Maxwell, the schools chief executive officer, and his team.

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Categories: Education News

Howard Fuller: A civil rights warrior or billionaire’s tool?

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 2:43pm

He’s been called both a respected voice in the African American community and a tool of billionaire conservatives. He’s a onetime labor activist who says teachers unions are blocking poor children from getting a good education. And he’s a civil rights champion who broke with the NAACP over publicly funded vouchers for private schools.

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Categories: Education News
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