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Updated: 11 hours 56 min ago

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

For a hearty few Fairfax County students, an extended school year finally ends

Wed, 06/25/2014 - 7:40pm

Sophomore Brooke Smith was seated in Falls Church High School this week when she sent her mom a text message: “With all my best friends in class!”

The photo she sent along with the text showed rows of empty desks.

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Categories: Education News

Two parent advocates from Silver Spring advance in Montgomery school board race

Wed, 06/25/2014 - 5:33pm

Two parent advocates from Silver Spring will face off in the November general election for an at-large seat on the Montgomery County Board of Education, following their primary victories Tuesday.

Jill Ortman-Fouse, 50, and Shebra Evans, 42, emerged as the top two vote-getters from a field of four candidates in the nonpartisan race. Both have held PTA leadership roles and other education-related posts. Both have children in Montgomery’s public schools.

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Categories: Education News

Prince George’s students are encouraged to complete homework over the summer

Wed, 06/25/2014 - 1:18pm

Students in Prince George’s County each summer are sent home with homework packets to help them retain what they have learned during the school year.

“You have learned so much in math this year!” reads the information for students entering the fifth grade. “This packet is a compilation of important mathematical concepts and skills that you are expected to know prior to moving to the next level. These examples focus on both mathematical skills and problem solving. While you may use calculators and other tools as needed, be prepared to explain the reasoning behind your answers. Grids are included for the last weeks in June, all of July and the first weeks of August. Some problems require answers from previous days, but overall you may do the problems in any order or any day that you choose.”

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: A bone-headed tweet from Education Department

Wed, 06/25/2014 - 11:51am

Put this in the you-can’t-make-up-this-stuff category:

Someone at the U.S. Education Department tweeted out what was considered a funny reminder for students to fill out their federal financial aid forms, known as FAFSA. The tweet had a picture from the movie “Bridesmaids” depicting the drunken character played by Kristen Wiig’s character on a plane with the words, “Help me. I’m poor.”  After the tweet got strong blowback from folks who found it offensive, the Education Department took down the tweet and apologized.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: The Great Teachers and Principals Act: not so great after all

Wed, 06/25/2014 - 10:01am

Last year I published a piece by Kenneth Zeichner, a professor who has done extensive research on teaching and teacher education, which discussed legislation in Congress about teacher and principal preparation programs. The legislation is officially called the “Growing Excellent Achievement Training Academies (GREAT) Teachers and Principals Act”  and referred to as the GREAT Act.  That post focused on the role of an organization called the NewSchools Venture Fund in promoting this federal legislation promoting alternative teacher preparation programs. Zeichner, a professor of teacher education at the University of Washington, Seattle, and professor emeritus in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, recently published with a co-author a paper in the Teachers College Record that elaborates on the original article.

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Categories: Education News

D.C. considers guaranteeing preschool across most of city

Wed, 06/25/2014 - 9:16am

The District’s latest proposal to overhaul school boundaries has generated plenty of pushback, but it also includes at least one far-reaching idea that appears to have strong support: guaranteeing access to pre-kindergarten for students who live in-bounds for high-poverty schools.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Reformers lose one to a veteran teacher

Wed, 06/25/2014 - 8:55am

There’s a new piece on The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog with this headline: “ Vergara vs. California: Are the top 0.1% buying their version of education reform?” Anybody paying attention to school “reform” knows that the answer to that question is that some folks in that group are trying their best. But they don’t always win. They didn’t in a highly contested Democratic primary race for a seat on Colorado’s state Board of Education.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Is this really how we should test reading development in kids?

Wed, 06/25/2014 - 5:01am

DIBELS, or Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills,  is a set of procedures and measures developed at the University of Oregon for assessing literacy development in students from kindergarten through sixth grade. The DIBELS website says that the measures — one-minute fluency exercises — were “specifically designed to assess the five early literacy components: Phonological Awareness, Alphabetic Principle, Vocabulary, Comprehension, and Fluency with Connected Text,” but critics say its validity is very weak. (Here’s an extensive critique.) Nonetheless, DIBELS has become widely used in schools around the country since 2001 — reaching some 2 million children a year. In this post, Rachael Gabriel,  an assistant professor of reading education in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut, write about continuing problems with DIBELS and how struggling readers are affected.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: U.S. Education Department bailing out for-profit college chain

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 4:54pm

The U.S. Education Department just announced an agreement — or, rather, a bailout — with for-profit Corinthian Colleges, Inc., which would keep open the chain of more than 90 schools that has been investigated repeatedly by government entities for issues including false advertising and high dropout rates. It even was found to have paid companies to hire its graduates temporarily to boost its job placement rates.

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Categories: Education News

Prince George’s libraries offering free lunch to students

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 4:26pm

Grab a book and get a meal.

The Prince George’s Memorial Library System is providing free lunch to children who might otherwise go hungry during the summer because they depend on free and reduced-price lunches during the school year.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Better ways to use millions of dollars now spent on testing

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 12:16pm

Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent by states and school districts on standardized tests every year, money that could be used for purposes far more helpful in improving student achievement. What are those purposes? Here are some suggestions, from Jim Arnold and Peter Smagorinsky. Jim Arnold recently retired from the superintendent’s position of the Pelham City Schools in Georgia and he blogs at drjamesarnold.com. Peter Smagorinsky is Distinguished Research  Professor of English Education at the University of Georgia. His essays are archived here.

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Categories: Education News

Garza unveils new hires in Fairfax schools leadership team

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 11:24am

Fairfax County schools superintendent Karen Garza has announced a slew of new hires as part of her organizational shake-up of the administration that will take effect July 1.

The hires include five new “executive principals” who will serve as deputies to the assistant superintendents leading the recently created “regions” that will divide the county’s 196 schools, replacing the old eight clusters. Garza also created two new executive principals for school improvement, who will focus on student achievement in schools with lagging performance.

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Categories: Education News

States’ special education services face tighter oversight by the Obama administration

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 9:01am

The Obama administration is tightening its oversight of the way states educate special-needs students, applying more- stringent criteria that drop the number of jurisdictions in compliance with federal law from 38 to 15.

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Categories: Education News

States’ special education services face tighter oversight by the Obama administration

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 9:01am

The Obama administration is tightening its oversight of the way states educate special-needs students, applying more-stringent criteria that drop the number of states in compliance with federal law from 38 to 15.

Read full article >>
Categories: Education News

Strauss: How Arne Duncan talked about Common Core without mentioning ‘Common Core’

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 6:01am

Here’s how Education Secretary Arne Duncan just gave a speech that discussed the Common Core State Standards without actually mentioning the words “Common Core.”

Duncan was in Texas on a trip that included an appearance in Austin at the 2014 annual convention of the National PTA, at which he gave a speech after being introduced by National PTA President Otha Thornton. In the speech (titled “A Vision for Better Education: Areas of Surprising Agreement” by the U.S. Education Department, which posted the speech here), Duncan talks about various education issues, including “new, higher learning standards that many states have adopted.”

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Major probe of Michigan charter schools finds wasteful spending, little accountability

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 4:01am

This week the Detroit Free Press is publishing results from its year-long investigation into charter schools in Michigan, which has more for-profit companies operating schools than any other state. The findings, based on tens of thousands of records spanning two decades as well as hundreds of interviews, paint a dismal picture of a charter sector that spends $1 billion annually with little accountability and lax oversight. Ultimately, the paper found, Michigan’s charter schools do no better in terms of student achievement than traditional public schools.

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Categories: Education News

Wallace Foundation aims to help school leaders get better, donates $30 million

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 12:01am

Fourteen school systems around the country, including the District and Prince George’s County, will receive grants totaling $30 million to improve the effectiveness of unsung middle managers in large urban districts — those who supervise principals.

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Categories: Education News

Children’s Defense Fund summer literacy program opens in Prince George’s County

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 3:51pm

Prince George’s County on Monday became home to a new summer literacy program sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund, one of 131 Freedom Schools operating across the country.

About 100 students began the six-week literacy program designed to address the reading and reading comprehension problems that face middle school students.

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Categories: Education News

Langley Park study finds students face serious challenges

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 2:19pm

Most of the children who live in Langley Park are at risk of not completing high school, as gang involvement, pregnancy and the need to work are all trumping education in the small, high-
poverty Prince George’s County community, according to a study released Monday.

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Categories: Education News
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