Education News from Washington Post
She began her career in a school cafeteria, as a lunch lady. In three weeks, she will take over as head of the nation’s largest labor union, representing 3 million educators.
Lily Eskelsen García, 59, a telegenic, guitar-slinging firebrand, has made her unlikely rise to the top of the National Education Association as the union faces the most daunting political challenges in its 157-year history. She is already fighting back with blunt talk, urging teachers nationwide to revolt against “stupid” education reforms and telling politicians to leave teaching to the professionals.Read full article >>
In March 2013, Atlanta Schools superintendent Beverly Hall and 34 other educators and administrators were charged in a 65-count indictment on racketeering charges in what prosecutors say was a conspiracy to cheat on high-stakes standardized tests. Those 35 were just a fraction of the more than 175 principals and teachers found by state investigators in 2011 to have cheated to make it seem as if students were doing better on tests than they actually performed because the scores affected the adults’ jobs.Read full article >>
Thousands of students will be using new laptops and tablets soon with a major technology initiative underway in the Montgomery school system.
The school board recently gave the go-ahead for the purchase of 40,000 laptops and tablets as the first stage of an effort slated to bring 100,000 devices into Montgomery’s public schools by 2017-2018.Read full article >>
Last month I published a defense of race-based affirmative action for African-American students in college admissions by Richard Rothstein, research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, a non-profit created in 1986 to broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers. Here is a new piece by Rothstein, expanding his discussion. Rothstein is senior fellow of the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at the University of California (Berkeley) School of Law, and he is the author of books including “Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right, and “Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap.” He was also a national education writer for The New York Times. This appeared on the EPI blog.Read full article >>
The next outpost of one of the country’s best-known high-tech charter school chains will be on a wooded hilltop across the street from an aging public housing development in Anacostia.
School officials recently announced plans for Rocketship’s first D.C. school: A 54,000-square-foot, two-story building with a glass entrance, outdoor terrace, multiple play areas and nature trails. It is scheduled to open in the 2015-2016 school year.Read full article >>
“Great by Choice,” a book that examines why some companies thrive during chaotic times while others do not, has become a staple for business leaders across the country as they look for ways to boost profits.Read full article >>
Throughout the first Obama administration and well into the second, many teachers and principals said they could not get a word in edgewise to Education Secretary Arne Duncan and his advisers, who plowed ahead with education reforms that many educators said blamed teachers for things that weren’t their fault and set up standardized test-based “accountability” systems that were unfair. If Duncan was listening to anyone, it appeared to many educators that it was Bill Gates, who was pumping many millions into the reforms Duncan was promoting. Tensions between Duncan and many teachers were so high that in May 2011, he wrote an open letter during Teacher Appreciation Week in which he felt compelled to declare his respect for teachers:Read full article >>
See old friends from class. Talk to some former teachers. Maybe even pick up a free backpack.
Those were some of the things on Paige Blake’s agenda as she spent a couple of hours with her dad, Randolph, at the Prince George’s County Back to School Fair on Saturday at the Showplace Arena.Read full article >>
Keoni Wright is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit organized by Campbell Brown’s education advocacy group that is seeking to overturn New York laws that provide tenure and other job protections to K-12 teachers. Brown has appeared on a number of television shows explaining her new endeavor, which will involve filing lawsuits in other states, as well, in an attempt to have national impact on tenure laws. (Here’s a write-up about her appearance on “The Colbert Report,” and here’s a fact-check of what she said on the show).Read full article >>
Here’s an interesting case of unintended consequences in education reform — in this case, grading policy at an Ivy League school.
A decade ago the faculty at Princeton University adopted a grading policy that was intended to distinguish between good and great work but that wound up restricting the number of top grades professors handed out. The policy recommended that each department award no more than 35 percent of grades in the “A” range, resulting in strange grading curves that rob students of A’s they rightly deserve. Last October, new Princeton President Christopher Ludwig Eisgruber formed a committee to review the policy, noting that there had been some unfortunate unintended consequences of the policy (and even “poor behavior” by some professors). The committee’s report was just released (see below) and it exposes an unfair system. The key recommendation:Read full article >>
Arlington County's high school football players will have new helmets this year, purchased to mitigate the risk of head injuries and concussions.
Officials announced the new helmets in a letter to parents this week, and said they are part of a “comprehensive concussion management plan” the district has adopted.Read full article >>
A former Prince George’s County teacher won a $350,000 jury award after accusing the school system of discriminating against him because he is white.
Jon Everhart alleged in his lawsuit against the Prince George’s County school board that a black principal forced him out of his job because of his race.Read full article >>
“Complex” isn’t the same thing as “complicated” — and the difference matters. In this post, Stanford University’s Larry Cuban explains why in the context of school reform. Cuban was a high school social studies teacher for 14 years, a district superintendent (seven years in Arlington, VA), and professor emeritus of education at Stanford University, where he has taught for more than 20 years. His latest book is “Inside the Black Box of Classroom Practice: Change without Reform in American Education.” This appeared on Cuban’s on School Reform and Classroom Practice blog, which just turned 5 years old.Read full article >>
Strauss: ‘Nothing But Tears’ baby shampoo (because ‘it’s never too early’ to toughen up kids for school)
From the hilarious (and satirical) newspaper The Onion, a story with this headline: Johnson & Johnson Introduces ‘Nothing But Tears’ Shampoo to Toughen up Newborns.
This tweet from the satirical newspaper says it all:Read full article >>
Amid widespread debate about head trauma and the safety of playing football, parents of the athletes at Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville, Va., were thrilled when a Bethesda, Md., company offered to place impact sensors on team helmets. A light would turn on when a helmet took a big hit, an indicator that trainers should check for a concussion.Read full article >>
I’ve posted a number of pieces recently about how kindergarten has been changing over the last decade or so. (See here, here, here and here.) Once a time for socialization and learning through play, school reformers have turned it into an academic exercise that, in some classrooms, leaves little or no time for play, recess or even snack for children as young as 5-years-old. Here is a vision of what kindergarten actually should be. It was written by Laurie Levy, founder and executive director of Cherry Preschool in Evanson, Illinois, and a writer on early childhood education. This first appeared on AlterNet.org.Read full article >>
Federal civil rights officials have found that two Prince William County public schools for students with emotional disabilities frequently restrained, secluded and removed children from classrooms in a “one-size-fits-all” approach to behavior management that took away instructional time and did not account for individual student needs.Read full article >>
A proposal meant to silence dissenters on the governing board of Virginia’s flagship public university was officially scuttled Wednesday, days after state lawmakers raised an outcry.
The initial version of a “statement of expectations” for the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors had stated that board members should not speak out publicly on board decisions — “whether past, present or imminent” — without permission from the board’s leader. The proposal drew sharp criticism after it surfaced publicly last week.Read full article >>
The Prince George’s County Public School System is expecting thousands of families on Saturday to attend its annual Back to School fair at the Showplace Arena, an opportunity for students to register for classes, purchase uniforms and even get required immunizations.Read full article >>