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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: 11 hours 16 min ago

Strauss: How children learn to read

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 9:00am

How do children really learn to read? Answering that question is Joanne Yatvin, a past president of the National Council of Teachers of English who now supervises student teachers for Portland State University. She also writes books for teachers.

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Strauss: The science behind figure skating, the half pipe and other Olympic sports

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 5:00am

The National Science Foundation has for years been partnering with NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News, to present a series of 10 videos and other materials explaining the science, technology, engineering, design and mathematics behind Olympic winter sports. The stories in the videos are told by athletes as well as engineers and scientists. Below are some of the winter sports videos, including a tutorial on engineering the half pipe and the physics behind ice figure skating. And you can find others here .

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Pr. George’s school cancels immigration-themed skit amid objections

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 12:37am

A classroom skit that third-graders were preparing to present in a Prince George’s County elementary school was canceled after a parent alerted school officials to material she thought was offensive to immigrants.

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Shallal criticizes D.C. school reform efforts, saying he would chart a different course

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 8:19pm

The District’s high-profile efforts to improve public schools have largely failed, said restaurateur Andy Shallal, the first mayoral candidate to challenge the fundamental policies that have driven D.C. education reform under Mayor Vincent C. Gray and his predecessor, Adrian M. Fenty.

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Three Friendship Collegiate seniors surprised with Hanover College scholarships

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 6:28pm

Three seniors at Northeast Washington’s Friendship Collegiate Academy went to school Tuesday expecting nothing more than an ordinary February day. And then, in the middle of class, they were ambushed with a surprise announcement: Each had won a scholarship to Hanover College, a small liberal arts school in southern Indiana.

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Meet the undocumented immigrant who hopes to be UNC’s next student body president

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 5:22pm

Students at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill are voting again today to pick a new student body president, a week after the original election’s results meant that a runoff would be necessary.

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Strauss: Does Common Core’s focus on ‘close reading’ make sense?

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 12:00pm

Depending on whom you ask, the Common Core English Language Arts standards are either exactly what U.S. schools need, or exactly what they don’t need. Here’s an argument for the latter opinion, by Aaron Barlow, an associate professor of English at the New York City College of Technology. This was first published on the Academe Blog, the blog of Academe Magazine, which is published by the American Association of University Professors.

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Strauss: Teacher to 3rd graders: I apologize for having to ‘quantify you with a number’

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 5:00am

Barnett Berry is the founder and chief executive officer of the Center for Teaching Quality, a national nonprofit organization based in Carrboro, North Carolina aimed at transforming the teaching profession. He wrote to me about a colleague of his, Wendi Pillars, a teacher who wrote an apology to young students who are being forced to take too many tests and miss out on hands-on projects and other enriching work. First read what Berry has to say about Wendi Pillars, and then read her letter.

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U.S. Naval Academy midshipman found dead after apparent car accident

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 7:02pm

A midshipman was found dead in an Annapolis creek Sunday after what was apparently a single-vehicle automobile accident on campus, U.S. Naval Academy officials said.

It is too early to know what caused the accident or when it occurred, said Commander John Schofield, a spokesman for the academy. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is leading an investigation.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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