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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: 1 hour 57 min ago

Mathews: How to end homework for moms

Sun, 06/29/2014 - 2:25pm

My worst memory of homework was the Tootsie Roll log cabin project our daughter did for what otherwise seemed a well-run elementary school in Scarsdale, N.Y. All parents have had such moments. They reappear in nightmares long after the kid has gotten a job and a health plan and doesn’t need our help with anything anymore.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Common Core’s testing framework is crumbling

Sun, 06/29/2014 - 10:24am

In 2010, Education Secretary Arne Duncan gave a major speech praising the Common Core State Standards and new Core-aligned standardized tests that the Obama administration was funding and that would be developed by two multi-state consortia. He said:

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Categories: Education News

Steep failure rate on Algebra I exams in Montgomery leads to mass recalculation

Sat, 06/28/2014 - 6:37pm

Montgomery County’s failure rate for the June final exam in Algebra 1 was so steep — 82 percent for high school students — that district officials say they decided to add 15 percentage points to all test grades, recalculate scores and reprint thousands of report cards.

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Categories: Education News

In Fairfax County kindergarten classes, school system’s future comes into focus

Sat, 06/28/2014 - 6:12pm

The kindergartners of the Class of 2026, who finished their first year in Fairfax County schools Wednesday, constitute the largest and one of the most ethnically, culturally and socioeconomically diverse groups of students the county has seen, a fact that school system administrators say could pose significant challenges in the decade to come. 

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: ‘I teach because…’

Sat, 06/28/2014 - 12:01pm

Maribeth Whitehouse has been a special education teacher in the Bronx for nearly a decade. In 2012, she scored in the 99th percentile — better than nearly all other teachers in New York City — on  teacher data reports created through “value added measures”, which supposedly can determine the “value” of a teacher by plugging student standardized test scores into a complicated formula. Yet she told the New York Times’ Michael Winerip that such data is “nonsense” — and she helped organize a protest by other teachers who had top scores because, as she wrote at the time in this piece:

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Categories: Education News

Md. groups to collaborate on evaluation process for teachers, principals

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 8:05pm

Maryland education officials, teachers unions and other education organizations signed a written agreement Friday to collaborate on methods for assessing classroom effectiveness, a central element of the state’s evaluation system for teachers and principals.

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Categories: Education News

Report cards delayed in Montgomery after recalculation of final exam grades

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 7:11pm

Report cards for Montgomery County’s 151,000 students were mailed Friday after a three-day delay that followed a mass recalculation of final exam grades for Algebra 1, according to the school system.

Schools officials said late Friday that they added 15 percentage points to all Algebra 1 exam scores after they became aware that already-high rates of failure had risen markedly.

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Categories: Education News

Prince George's school board approves $1.8 billion budget for school system

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 2:37pm

The Prince George’s County Board of Education reconciled changes made by the County Council in the school system’s 2015 budget Thursday night and approved the $1.8 billion spending plan just days before it goes into effect.

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Categories: Education News

No more half-day Mondays in Fairfax elementary schools

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 1:47pm

Fairfax County elementary school students will receive an extra 75 hours of instruction next year after the school board voted late Thursday to eliminate half-days on Mondays.

The school board voted 10 to 1, with one board member absent, to end the 40-year practice in elementary schools.

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Categories: Education News

Prince George’s school board approves more-lenient cellphone policy for students

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 11:51am

Cellphones will no longer be prohibited in classrooms or on school buses in Prince George’s County under a new policy approved unanimously by the school board Thursday night.

School Board Member Verjeana M. Jacobs (District 5) said the district received international attention when it approved its cellphone policy, considered one of the strictest in the Washington region, four years ago. The policy not only banned the use of cellphones but also included a penalty of confiscation.

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Categories: Education News

Sen. Claire McCaskill turns her focus to sexual assaults on college campuses

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 10:50am

As Congress explores proposals to combat sexual assault at colleges, a familiar lawmaker is in the thick of it: Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

McCaskill (D), a former prosecutor with much experience in handling sex crime cases, is in her second term in the Senate. She helped broker legislation last year and this year to overhaul how the military responds to sexual assault.

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Categories: Education News

New school in Hyattsville named for former superintendent Edward Felegy

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 10:26am

A new elementary school in Prince George’s County was given a name Thursday night.

The Prince George’s County Board of Education agreed to follow Schools Chief Kevin M. Maxwell’s recommendation and name the school in honor of a former superintendent who served during the early 1990s, a period marked by financial crisis, low student test scores and tensions over court-ordered busing.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: A disturbing look at Common Core tests in New York

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 9:46am

The promise of new standardized tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards  was that they would show which students were ready for college and career and which weren’t. But in New York, a look at the tests shows how the state is failing to meet that promise. This was written by Carol Burris and John Murphy. Murphy, a former English teacher, is the assistant principal of South Side High School in New York, and he coordinates the school’s IB program.  Burris, principal of South Side High School, has been chronicling the flawed implementation of school reform and the Common Core State Standards across the state for some time (here, and here and here and here, for example). She was named New York’s 2013 High School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and in 2010, tapped as the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State. Her new book is “On The Same Track: How Schools Can Join the Twenty-First-Century Struggle Against Resegregation.”

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Obama expands use of standardized tests for special-needs and American Indian students

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 8:56am

President Obama recently told graduates at the University of California, Irvine, that people who deny the science behind climate change are just as wrong as people who say the moon is “made of cheese.” Congress, he said, “is full of folks who stubbornly and automatically reject the scientific evidence” about climate change and call it a hoax.

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Categories: Education News

D.C. parents, politicians seek to slow school boundary overhaul

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 7:29pm

Dozens of parents and several D.C. Council members called on city officials Thursday to slow their effort to overhaul public school boundaries, arguing that education leaders should focus on improving schools before redrawing maps.

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Categories: Education News

Congress explores proposals to combat sex assault at colleges

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 6:10pm

Congress is exploring proposals to combat sex assault at colleges, months after taking action to overhaul how the military responds to sexual violence.

“This is an issue that has for far too long been swept under the rug,” Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said Thursday at a hearing on campus sex assault.

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Categories: Education News

Thousands of Montgomery students expected to get meals during summer

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 3:41pm

School is out for the summer, but free meals for students from needy families will continue at more than 115 locations across Montgomery County.

The program delivered more than 200,000 meals last summer and expects to serve as many or more this year, said Marla Caplon, director of food and nutrition services for Montgomery schools.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Standard & Poor’s rates outlook for charter school sector as ‘negative’

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 6:01am

Standard & Poor’s has issued a new report that extends its “negative” outlook for the charter school sector. Of 214 public charter school ratings done by the agency, 41, or 19 percent, are negative while only 4 — or 2 percent — are positive. Furthermore, it says, funding has not generally “returned to pre-recessionary levels, and some schools are struggling to operate in this “new normal.’”

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: What’s with that ‘go you chicken fat go’ iPhone ad?

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 4:01am

If you’ve heard the song with the lyrics “go you chicken fat go” in ads for iPhones, you may have stopped and wondered what the heck a song about chicken fat has to do with Apple and its telecommunications products. I can’t answer that question, but here’s why you are reading about it on an education blog.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Arizona schools chief won’t resign after calling welfare recipients ‘lazy pigs’ and other incendiary comments

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 12:05am

(Update: He won’t resign)

The schools superintendent of Arizona, John Huppenthal, has admitted to — and apologized for — writing anonymous blog posts over the last several years with some incendiary comments, including calling welfare recipients “lazy pigs.” But he says he won’t resign and is running for re-election this year.

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Categories: Education News
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