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Updated: 11 hours 22 min ago

Middle schools present vexing problem for D.C. leaders as parents choose other options

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 6:06pm

Dupont Circle’s Ross Elementary has undergone a transformation in recent years, morphing from a school that neighbors dismissed into one so highly sought-after that there is a near-hopeless waiting list for pre-kindergarten classes.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: The 2014 Presidents’ Day quiz

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:37am

Here it is: the 2014 Presidents’ Day quiz. How much don’t you know?

1) Which president was the first to be born a U.S. citizen?

a) James Madison
b) Martin Van Buren
c) John Quincy Adams
d) Andrew Jackson

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Veteran teacher: I’m sick of being called ‘burned out’

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 5:00am

A veteran teacher sent me the following e-mail and agreed to let me publish it without her name. I thought it spoke to what a lot of veteran teachers are feeling, so here it is:

I had a first-year teacher use the phrase “burned out” regarding some of the veteran teachers in my building recently. I take offense at the fact that some members of the current crop of newbies have been brainwashed (fed codswallop) into thinking that they are going to come riding in on a white charger and save the children from the existing teachers who are sorry old burned-out nags.

I have been teaching middle-school math for 20 years. I feel like a veteran of a war. Almost like the veteran sergeant in an old war movie who is still standing after numerous campaigns and is there to greet the new group of raw recruits. I have seen administrators come and go. I have seen curriculum ideas come and go. I have seen all manner of policies come and go. I have taught students who were considered unteachable. That being said, I feel that I am at the top of my game this year.

In an effort to align my instruction with the Common Core State Standards, I am incorporating Singapore Math into my daily lessons so that students who have poor number sense can become better math students. We don’t have a textbook I am using my years of experience and knowledge to pull material together that I feel will best serve my students. I use daily assessment to guide my teaching. I share data/test results as feedback with my students when they take yet another standardized test. I have control of my classroom and can cover the material I need to cover in the 50 minutes allotted without spending half of the time doing crowd control.

There are lots of new teachers who are great to work with. They have a lot to offer and their input is appreciated and applauded. But there are new teachers coming in who believe that just because I am old enough to be their mother in some cases, I have no value. I am more than ready to listen to their ideas. If they are good ones that I feel will benefit the students great. But if I don’t greet their idea with pomp and fanfare (because we’ve already tried it with little success), it doesn’t mean I’m burned out.

But I am tired of bright new teachers of whatever age, coming into my building and just from looking at me, assume that it’s time to shove me to the side because they’ve been brainwashed that veteran teachers have no value in this “grand new world of education.”

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Categories: Education News

High school course too tough for you? That’s good.

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 11:05pm

My wife surfs the Internet more than I do and delights in sharing her discoveries. “You’ll like this comment,” she said last week. A reader wrote that the rising number of students failing Advanced Placement tests “could be a response to Jay Mathews’ ridiculous Challenge Index.”

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Categories: Education News

Gray keeping Lanier as police chief hailed as signature accomplishment in crime fight

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 6:47pm

One of the first things Vincent C. Gray did when he was elected mayor in 2010 was decide to keep Cathy L. Lanier as police chief. By nearly all accounts, it was also one of the smartest things he’s done.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Why Presidents’ Day is slightly strange

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 2:13pm

Most federal holidays are clear-cut. On the Fourth of July, for example, Americans celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. On the other hand, Presidents’ Day is a slightly strange holiday for three main reasons:

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Arne Duncan heads the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game class

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 2:00pm

Arne Duncan may have missed his calling: The 6-foot-5 education secretary was the star of Friday night’s NBA All-Star Celebrity Game in New Orleans, “winning” the MVP award with 20 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Look who’s advocating for public schools

Sat, 02/15/2014 - 4:01pm

The National School Boards Association is launching a campaign in support of public education -- with some unexpected help.

Called “Stand Up4Public Schools,” the campaign’s goal is to persuade association members to be more forceful advocates for public schools and locally controlled school districts at a time when, in the name of reform, many school boards have lost their power to mayoral and even state takeovers and traditional public schools have come under attack. As an example, consider this: John Huppenthal, the reform-minded superintendent of public instruction in Arizona, is sending a message in robocalls promoting a voucher program that lets parents use public money to send their kids to private school, according to the Phoenix New Times.

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Categories: Education News

Maryland students avoid ‘double-testing’

Fri, 02/14/2014 - 7:28pm

About 25,000 elementary and middle school students in Maryland public schools, who will take the new Common Core exams for a test-drive next month, have been excused by federal officials from also having to take the Maryland School Assessment.

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Categories: Education News

Waivers might spare school districts from making up all snow days

Fri, 02/14/2014 - 4:39pm

As school boards puzzle through how to make up all of the instructional time lost to snow days, there could be an option more appealing than shrinking spring break or summer vacation — a state waiver.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: How ‘data walls’ in classrooms humiliate kids

Fri, 02/14/2014 - 4:33pm

A long time ago I had a math teacher at West Miami Junior High School who changed the seating arrangement in my class every week according to how well each of her students did on weekly exams. Given that math was not one of my better subjects, this weekly exercise generally left me mortified with my seat assignment. It did nothing to spur me to do better, as it was presumably intended.

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Categories: Education News

U-Va. launches free Thomas Jefferson course online

Fri, 02/14/2014 - 3:57pm

Peter S. Onuf tells people upfront that he is not “a Jefferson worshiper.”

The University of Virginia scholar, who teaches a free online course on Thomas Jefferson that will debut Monday, is struck by the paradox of a slave-owning Founding Father who espoused liberty. Onuf’s own political sympathies lie with the party that opposed the nation’s third president.

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Categories: Education News

Duncan to play in celebrity basketball game

Fri, 02/14/2014 - 3:31pm

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan plans to play in his third NBA All-Star celebrity game Friday night in New Orleans. Duncan played basketball at Harvard and spent four years as a professional player in Australia. He’ll be joined on the court by actor Kevin Hart, ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” radio program co-host Mike Golic, some WNBA players and Victoria’s Secret model, Erin Heatherton.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: How investing in paste and crayons can help save Detroit and other big cities

Fri, 02/14/2014 - 1:30pm

What will save Detroit and other ailing big U.S. cities? Here’s an idea from Conor P. Williams, a proud product of Michigan’s public schools, and currently a senior researcher in the New America Foundation’s Early Education Initiative. Follow him on Twitter: @conorpwilliams. This first appeared on the Shanker blog.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Map: How much snow it takes to close U.S. schools

Fri, 02/14/2014 - 11:29am

How much snow does it take to close schools? It depends on where you. Here’s a map put together by Reddit user Alexandr Trubetskoy which answers the question (with explanations).

Caveats:

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: At least 44 school shootings since Newtown -- new analysis

Fri, 02/14/2014 - 1:09am

There have been at least 44 school shootings on K-12 or college campuses in 24 states -- an average of more than three a month -- since the deadly 2012 attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., according to a new analysis. Twenty-eight people have died and 37 have been injured.

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Categories: Education News

Power stayed on throughout D.C. region despite the snowstorm

Thu, 02/13/2014 - 9:19pm

The same snowstorm that grounded airplanes, shuttered hundreds of schools and emptied the region’s streets Thursday somehow left the lights on throughout the Washington region.

In recent years, similarly colossal storms have severed power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses, leaving them without heat or air conditioning, shutting off televisions and darkening streetlights. Violent thunderstorms in June 2012 cut power to more than a million customers in the region. But by mid-afternoon Thursday, fewer than 500 outages were reported in the Washington area, including 390 in Frederick County.

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Categories: Education News

Disadvantaged children can hurt achievement of others in their classrooms, study finds

Thu, 02/13/2014 - 3:56pm

Large numbers of low-income children who begin formal schooling with many disadvantages - poor medical care, homelessness, an uneducated mother, for example - not only struggle with schoolwork but hurt the achievement of other children in their classrooms, according to a new study.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Why boy born without complete brain has to take 2014 standardized test

Thu, 02/13/2014 - 3:42pm

Michael is a boy born with a brain stem but not a complete brain with cognitive ability. He can hear, but he can’t see or talk or understand basic information. Yet last year, when he was 9, he had to take an alternative version of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test -- and he is going to have to do it again this year.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: ‘Ice is back and the road won’t listen’ -- school declares snow day by rap video

Thu, 02/13/2014 - 12:00pm

“Ice is back and the road won’t listen,” raps Michael Ulku-Steiner, the head of private Durham Academy in North Carolina, and Lee Hark, assistant head of school, as they announce a snow day for Thursday to the tune of “Ice, Ice, Baby,” by Vanilla Ice.

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Categories: Education News
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