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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: 2 hours 26 min ago

Montgomery schools chief offers new plan to tackle high rates of math exam failure

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 5:53pm

Montgomery County school officials have found no single cause to explain the district’s steep failure rates on high school math exams, but they are proposing a series of steps designed to help boost student performance and close the math achievement gap.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: A teacher’s plea to bosses: Give us ‘time and autonomy to create solutions’

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 11:01am

If you talk to teachers about their jobs, one of the things you will hear most consistently is that they don’t have enough time to plan, collaborate and learn from each other. Here is an open letter from a teacher to superintendents and administrators everywhere explaining why this is so important. It was written by Paul Barnwell, who teaches English and digital media at Fern Creek Traditional High School in Louisville, KY. When not experimenting with urban gardening, bow hunting, writing his blog Mindful Stew, or traveling with his wife, he’s an active participant in Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf Teacher Network and the Center for Teaching Quality‘s Collaboratory.

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Categories: Education News

D.C. school boundary proposal spurs citywide debate about quality

Sat, 06/21/2014 - 5:50pm

D.C. parents and activists are calling the District’s latest proposal to overhaul school boundaries an improvement over previous iterations, but many continue to voice concerns that the plan does not address some of the most pressing challenges facing the city’s public schools.

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Categories: Education News

Montgomery school board race focuses on achievement gap and accountability issues

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 7:45pm

The long ballot for Tuesday’s primary in Montgomery County includes just one Board of Education race: to fill the at-large seat of Shirley Brandman, who is stepping down.

Montgomery’s eight-member board makes policy for a sprawling district with 151,000 students and a $2.3 billion operating budget. Voters will consider four candidates, with the top two vote-getters advancing to November’s general election.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Getting kids involved in summer learning — city by city, town by town, student by student

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 4:26pm

Sarah Pitcock is the CEO of the National Summer Association, which is dedicated to creating quality summer learning opportunities for young people, particularly low-income students who suffer more learning loss over the summer than other students. In this post Pitcock explains the problem of summer learning loss, and some solutions.

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Categories: Education News

Autistic student who graduated at the top of his class shares his valedictory speech

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 4:22pm

Unable to communicate at the age of 3, Montel Medley was diagnosed with autism.

With support from his mother, Roberta, and his teachers in Prince George’s County, Montel went on to earn a 4.0 grade point average at Surrattsville High School, graduated at the top of his class and gained acceptance to Towson University.

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Categories: Education News

In Fairfax, new principal selected for Poe Middle School in Annandale

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 2:19pm

A new principal has been appointed to Annandale’s Poe Middle School, six months after the previous principal was arrested on charges of embezzling school funds.

Maria Eck will join the Poe faculty on July 1 to replace Sonya Swansbrough, who was arrested in November. Swansbrough has been placed on administrative leave without pay.

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Categories: Education News

Prince George’s education foundation raises $120,000 at annual golf fundraiser

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 10:09am

Business owners and Prince George’s County Public School leaders joined on the links and for lunch at the Country Club at Woodmore in Mitchellville Thursday to help raise money for the Prince George’s County public schools.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Special-needs student may be barred from graduating because of two points on standardized test

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 5:01am

Unless the Rhode Island House of Representatives goes along with a Senate-approved moratorium on the use of a standardized test as a requirement for high school graduation, Molly Coffey won’t be able to get a diploma. On that critical test, the 18-year-old, who has a form of Down syndrome,  missed the graduation cutoff by two points, and it simply isn’t enough that she passed all of her classes,  completed her senior project and plays in three sports and participates in the Special Olympics.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Superintendent: The greatest ‘crime’ committed against the teaching profession

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 4:01am

Thomas Scarice, the superintendent of Madison Public Schools in Connecticut, has been a vocal critic of high-stakes test-based school reform. Earlier 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.” In the following piece, he looks at what he sees as the worst effects of the accountability movement.

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Categories: Education News

In TV reports, former JMU student says assailants were given light punishment

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 8:55pm

A former James Madison University student who said she was sexually assaulted by three male students on a spring break trip has charged that the university gave the men a light punishment despite finding them responsible for misconduct, according to television reports this week.

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Categories: Education News

D.C. Public Schools will take a hiatus from test-based teacher evaluations with move to Common Core exams

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 7:21pm

D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced Thursday that test scores will not play a part in teacher evaluations next year, a move meant to alleviate anxiety and account for unexpected complications as the city shifts to exams based on the Common Core State Standards.

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Categories: Education News

Michelle Obama addresses hundreds of graduates helped by D.C. CAP

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 7:10pm

Da’Quan Jones graduated this week from the District’s Roosevelt High School and is heading off to Hampton University, where he plans to study business management and theater arts.

In earning his high school diploma, Jones already has beaten the odds — just 38 percent of African American men graduate from high school on time in the District. Now, with the help of the D.C. College Access Program — an organization that has played a key role in boosting the number of D.C. students who go to and get through college — he is seeking to become the first man in his family to pursue higher education.

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Categories: Education News

Field test of Common Core exams went well, officials say

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 4:19pm

More than 1 million students in 14 states tested new Common Core standardized exams this spring, and the experiment went well, the test creators said Thursday.

The field tests — administered to students in grades 3 through 11 in Maryland, D.C. and elsewhere — were meant to help fine-tune the online exams before they go live next year.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: And now, a Common Core brawl

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 12:18pm

You’d think that the heated debate, overcharged rhetoric and complete nonsense being spouted for and against the Common Core State Standards would be enough for one education reform. But no, now we have a brawl. Yes, in Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal — who loved the Core before he hated it — has essentially declared war on other state officials with whom he agreed for years. And now teachers and students are in the crosshairs of a political fight that has everything to do with presidential politics and nothing to do with learning how to read and write.

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Categories: Education News

9 things you didn’t know about Eric Williams, Loudoun’s next superintendent

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 11:25am

Next week marks the end of a more than two-decade run at the helm of the Loudoun County Schools for Edgar B. Hatrick III.

The longest-serving schools chief in the region will retire June 30. Eric Williams, a relative unknown to county residents, will take charge. Williams has been the superintendent of York County schools in Virginia since 2008. He’s also a former high school history teacher in Fairfax.

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Categories: Education News

New rules planned for colleges to track dating violence, domestic violence and stalking

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 11:08am

The federal government is pushing colleges for the first time to make public a tally of reports of dating violence, domestic violence and stalking.

The Obama administration announced Thursday that proposed regulations will require colleges to compile and disclose statistics on such incidents to comply with a federal law enacted last year. A final version of the regulations is expected to be published on Nov. 1.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Aren’t California tenure policies in fact unreasonable? Plus 4 more Vergara questions asked and answered

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 5:02am

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu handed down a ruling in Vergara vs California this month tossing out California statutes providing job protections to teachers, siding with plaintiffs who argued that California children who live in low-income families receive an inadequate education because they get weak teachers who can’t be fired. The ruling has been stayed until an appeal can be heard, but there are a lot of questions about the judge’s decisions as well as tenure policies in California. Here are five key issues explained by Kevin Welner, the director of the National Education Policy Center, an attorney and a professor education policy at the University of Colorado Boulder. Last week, Welner wrote a piece about the case trial, titled “A silver lining in the Vergara trial?”

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: From Redskins to Redhawks: Why one Washington high school changed team name after 88 years

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 4:01am

This week, a Washington state high school whose sports teams were known as the Redskins for 88 years gave final approval for a new logo with the team’s new name: The Redhawks. Why did it make the change? Because it determined that while tradition was important and change is hard, the Redskins name is disparaging and should be “retired with honor and dignity.” The story of this name change at Port Townsend High School in Washington state seems particularly relevant given that on Wednesday, the Redskins professional football team learned that it was losing its trademark protection after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled that the name is disparaging to Native Americans. This happened once before and the decision was later overturned, but it seems less likely that a Redskins appeal this time would come out successful. The owner of the Redskins, Daniel Snyder, has been resisting calls to change the team name. But some high schools around the country have decided that it is time to give up the Redskins name, including Port Townsend High School. After a parent complained about the Redskins name in 2012, the school formed a committee to conduct a review of the name last year. The panel’s report could in fact be a template for any other teams looking to find their way out of a Redskins controversy, the Peninsula Daily News reported. The Mascot Study Committee Report said in part:

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Categories: Education News

Report shows school disengagement among Latino youth

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 12:01am

High dropout rates and school disengagement among Montgomery County’s fast-growing Latino population appear to stem from such factors as low expectations from teachers, a lack of parental involvement and not having regular computer access at home, according to a study released Thursday.

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Categories: Education News
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